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The Home Run Derby Is Back For 2016


Wow, that was a great winter hibernation. Let me log in here to the World Wide Web and see whats been going on in the baseball world…. WHAAAAAATTTT?!?!?!?!

  • The Cubs purchased away Lackey and Heyward from the Cardinals?!
  • The Yankees added Aroldis Chapman to an already elite pair of closers?!
  • The Diamondbacks are buying big names?!
  • The Giants are stocking up on pitching again for their normal even years World Series?!
  • The Padres cleaned house after going bankrupt in 2015?!
  • The Brewers have traded away every starting player in 2015 except 1 OF, their 2B, their Catcher (yet), and 3 SP?!

It’s going to be a loooooong summer for ma and all other Brewer fans…

Well, at least I have the 2016 Kings of Cork Home Run Derby to look forward to!!!

That’s right we are back for our 7th season. Rules are the same. Pick a total of 5 guys from the predetermined groups, and if your team hits the most home runs combined, you are crowned THE King/Queen of Cork! All you have to do is go here and click the submit button (deadline is March 27th).

I’m excited to be hosting the contest yet again and can’t wait for the sounds of the cracking bats, the smells of the grills, and the tastes of the $10 beers. This may be the only baseball I look forward to as I watch the Brewers lose 100 games in order to rebuild. How many of you will join me?

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June’s Home Run Recap

Summer is in full swing. The weather is hot. The Sun is scorching everything. And vacations are pulling us all into a relaxing dream world that ends abruptly with returning to work. I wouldn’t call running the HR Derby ‘work’ but summer has a firm grasp on me and I’m trying my best to stay focused on baseball in my free time. But holy crap its past the midway point in July and I’m just recapping June… that’s unacceptable.

But we made it through the longest week of the summer. The week where we get a home run derby, 1 game with all the stars of the game, and then 2 days with no baseball (at least the British Open started today so there is something to talk about in the sports world).

Speaking of the home run derby (not ours, we will get to that in a bit), if you missed it, the new format was AWESOME!! That derby was probably the best that I can remember watching. Which isn’t saying much because I usually hardly watch the Home Run Derby because it used to be so boring watch every batter take 25 pitches just to swing at one. But the new rules of unlimited outs with 4 total minutes (plus bonus time the player could earn) made it exciting and actually a competition. Mad props to the hometown hero Todd Frazier for winning but watching Joc Pederson hit some of those bombs was absolutely amazing. I can’t wait to see the line of players signing up for next years derby (instead of the usual running away from it).

Ok onto our derby… So the month of June is well past us but it was an exciting race. Our monthly winner, lead by Pujols’ 13 and Stanton’s 12 (before he swung and broke his wrist), was Pete Rose From The Dead whose team tallied 37 homers. In a very close 2nd was our current leader Get Deep with 36. And 3rd for the month of June was our first ever winner $5 Donation with 34.

The actual players that hit the most home runs in June were Pujols with 13, Stanton with 12, Arenado with 12, and JD Martinez with 11. Odds are if you had 1 or 2 of those players you made a big jump in the standings. And there were 5 teams who made a leap of more than 30 spots in the month of June. Grand Slam moved up 32 spots from 67th to 35th. Chicks Dig The Long Ball jumped 34 spots from 62nd to 28th. FRANtastic Five and Nana and Me both jumped 35 spots from 78th to 43rd and 99th to 64th respectively. And JoseyWales was our biggest mover in June with 39 spots from 75th to 36th.

On the other end of the spectrum, the losers in the month of June were two teams moving more than 30 spots in the wrong direction. Tom Pipines Ear Hair must have gotten trimmed in June because their team dropped 39 spots from 18th to 57th. And Bovee’s Home Run Derby Team dropped a whopping 41 places from 35th to 76th.

Player swaps since mid-June will be covered in the next week because Giancarlo is about to be trade eligible and I’m expecting roughly 40 moves. So rather than make another post, I will just lump all the moves in the past month into one large update.

And now back to your regularly scheduled programming of baseball.

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Moving Day: Closing Down May

The statistics have been verified and as much as I look them over and over again, I still can’t believe that a team hit 45 home runs in May. Yes, Icy Hot In Your Joc dominated the derby in May. Four of his five hitters hit more than 9 home runs. Stanton and Joc Pederson had 9 a piece. While Josh Donaldson had 10 and Harper had a whopping 13. This catapulted Icy Hot In Your Joc into 1st place overall with an 6 home run lead. Their team may be hard to catch without injuries.

Second for the month (or the first loser) was Get Deep whose team hit 40 home runs in May. No surprise that their team also had Donaldson and Stanton but substitute Arenado’s 9 home runs instead. 40 is still pretty good and has put Get Deep into contention whose currently sitting in 2nd overall.

West Coast Useless more than doubled his overall home run total in May (as did Get Deep) from 18 to 56. Their team hit 38 in May for the 3rd most while utilizing a similar set of players as the two teams above: Stanton, Donaldson, and Pederson. Their team moves into the top-5 but has a ways to go to catch the leader.

Biggest movers in May:

  1. Walker This Way jumped 61 spots! (91st to 30th)
  2. Kettle Poppers moved 47 spots (68th to 21st)
  3. The Flying Aces gained 45 spots (94th to 49th)
  4. Bleacher Bums moved 44 spots (89th to 45th)
  5. Why Is Ozzie In The Hall jumped 43 spots (86th to 43rd)

Biggest losers in May:

  1. FRANtastic Five plummeted 58 spots (20th to 78th)
  2. Grand Slam dropped 56 spots (11th to 67th)
  3. Tulowizki’s dropped 51 spots (17th to 68th)
  4. Mayer’s Mashers dropped 48 spots (15th to 63rd)
  5. Devil Dogs and Denton’s Biggest Fan dropped 44 spots (29th to 73rd and 46th to 90th)

Recent Transactions:

  • The Big Stinkey – Todd Frazier for Yasiel Puig (May 18)
  • Another year, Another Wasted… – Bryce Harper for Yasiel Puig (May 18)
  • Pete Rose From The Dead – Joc Pederson for Jayson Werth (June 5)
  • Warning Track Power – Bryce Harper for Corey Dickerson (June 8)
  • Devil Dogs – Joc Pederson for Jayson Werth (June 8)
  • Hit Bull Win Steak… – Bryce Harper for Corey Dickerson (June 8)
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May Derby Update

I haven’t been completely idle from baseball. Just idle from informing you guys of baseball information. So here it is, the first formal HR Derby update of 2015:

For the majority of our Derby managers, spring couldn’t come soon enough for Giancarlo Stanton. He’s got 10HR total now thanks to 4 in his last 8 games. Including this HUGE blast which left Dodger stadium (which went 474 feet and 2nd only to ARod’s 477ft blast):

We officially have 105 teams entered in this season’s HR Derby. And leading the way early this year is basically every team that selected Nelson Cruz (who hit 10 in April and 5 in May so far). Cruzin’ for a Bruisin’ (a previous overall winner in 2013) won the month of April with 29 homers. And I’m sure R. Dziedzic is singing their team’s theme song after Stanton’s two home run day yesterday put their team back on top.

logo_1631473_web Right behind the top team are Ballz Deep, Icy Hot in your Joc, and Philly Phanatic. Ballz Deep has been our leader for the most of May thanks to Cruz and Bryce Harper. Harper has 8 home runs in his last 9 games. That’s simply ridiculous and he’s living up to his hype from 4 years ago. Icy Hot in your Joc is the only one of the bunch that doesn’t own Cruz. They also have Harper’s HR streak but also put Joc Pederson’s weird HR streak on top of it to help their team lead the month of May so far. And Philly Phanatic has to be fanatic about this season because their team is typically near the bottom of the standings. But sitting in the top-5 has got to feel pretty good (at least better than the rest of us who are sitting in the bottom half of the standings).

Recent Transactions:

  • Let’s Play Two – JP Arencibia traded for Luis Valbuena (April 25)
  • I Must Be In The Front Row – Yan Gomes traded for Devon Travis (May 4)
  • The Flying Aces – Yan Gomes traded for Joc Pederson (May 5)
  • Dinger Derby – Alex Rios traded for Joc Pederson (May 5)
  • Scotts Jogging Shorts – Alex Rios traded for Josh Reddick (May 5)
  • Mayer’s Mashers – Juan Francisco traded for Chris Young (May 5)
  • Nana and Me – Jonathan Lucroy traded for Joc Pederson (May 11)
  • Snoop’s Troops – Jonathan Lucroy traded for Luis Valbuena (May 12)
  • The Geezerhawks – Yasiel Puig traded for Mark Teixeira (May 15)
  • 27 years since a Dodger Championship… – Yasiel Puig traded for Adrian Gonzalez (May 15)
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Schnide Update

Someone always has to be picked last in dodgeball. And someone always has to be the last one to hit a home run in the Kings of Cork Home Run Derby.

What really surprised me is that Evan Gattis got off the schnide prior to our schnide rider, Cedar Rapids Skip. Gattis currently has 1 HR (thanks to tonight) and 14 strikeouts. That doesn’t sound that awful, until you multiply those numbers by 20 where 280k’s in a season is straight up ridiculous.

Our lone goose egg team Cedar Rapids Skip doesn’t have a bad team. Stanton is the clear favorite in group A. Tulo isn’t on the DL so he should be hitting them out any day. And Cespedes hasn’t lost 90 lbs this offseason. It’s only a matter of time before The Skip gets of the schnide and mounts a comeback towards the top of the standings.

I always like to state that no one is out of this competition after April. And the current leader Cruzin’ for a Bruisin’ is the perfect example. That little *2013* next to their team signifies one of the best comebacks in Kings of Cork history. Their team started May in dead last of the 2013 season after a horrible April. I think their team had like 8 total home runs and their team put the pedal to the metal the remaining months and took home the crown.

So don’t give up if your team is looking pathetic after 10 days of baseball. If you are in the top 10, take a picture because you may not see those beautiful single digit numbers in your team ranking ever again.

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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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Six Years And Counting

I’m happy to announce that the Kings of Cork Home Run Derby is back for the 6th straight year. And it’s amazing to me to look back and see where we came from. What started as a close family/friendly wager with less than 40 people has turned into almost 100 people from all over the US and even a few from around the world. I like to think that everyone keeps coming back for the low cost fun, the easy to understand rules, and the camaraderie.

So with that, I’m pleased to announce that the 2015 Kings of Cork Home Run Derby player groups have been released and the competition’s registration is officially open. Feel free to to submit an entry at anytime over the next several weeks as the registration will remain open until March 29th at Midnight. If you submit your entry early and want to change it, that is completely acceptable. Just drop me an email with what you want to change.

The reason I like to publish the groups and entry form so early are for those die hard fans that like to travel down south and watch their favorite players during Spring Training. It allows them to maybe bribe their team’s players or simply scout their team’s players. So don’t feel rushed that you have to submit your entry today because I will send plenty of reminders via email over the next month (you will receive the emails as long as you are a previous participant or on the email list).

Thanks for checking in and thanks to the returning players. Enjoy the soon to be coming Spring weather which also brings the return of baseball.

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HR Derby – August Trades

So because I’ve been nonexistent the past few weeks, I thought I’d give everyone an update of trades made in the home run derby this past month. So no rants or weird links, let’s just dive right in:

  • Cowhide Joyride July 31 – Will Middlebrooks traded for Jose Abreu (only after hanging on to Middlebrooks for 2 months too long)
  • Chicks Dig The Long Ball Aug 8 – Wil Myers traded for Javier Baez (and let the trades start for Baez)
  • Hangovers Happen Aug 14 – Ryan Zimmerman traded for Anthony Rizzo (Rizzo also might be the first player in HR derby to have -1 HR in a day)
  • Kettle Poppers Aug 21 – Goldschmidt traded for Giancarlo Stanton (This may be what catapults him back into first place in September)
  • …but when I do, I Profar Dos Equis Aug 21 – Goldschmidt traded for Giancarlo Stanton
  • Philly Phanatic Aug 21 – Goldschmidt traded for Giancarlo Stanton (common trend on Aug 21)
  • Little Stinky Aug 22 – Allen Craig traded for Javier Baez
  • Team Biogenesis Aug 22 – Eric Hosmer traded for Javier Baez
  • Bucky Ballers Aug 22 – Allen Craig traded for Oswaldo Arcia (which I immediately gave him crap about and that day Arcia hit a HR)
  • Break Even Aug 23 – Allen Craig traded for Josh Donaldson
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The Long Overdue August Post

Hey look at that, I found some spare time to share random baseball thoughts and ramblings with other people.

First thing obviously comes first… the Kings of Cork Home Run Derby. It’s still a two horse race but one is starting to pull away thanks to… Chris Carter?! Why is that guy always a surprise in this thing? He has lead numerous teams in the past to some type of glory in the Derby (usually top-10) but no one gives him any credit. Well, The Big Stinky is the team that is capitalizing this season. Their team is stacked too. They have correctly picked the best player in 3 out of 5 categories (Cruz, Carter, and Abreu). The other impressive quality about this team is that The Big Stinky was the first team to ever stumble on to our competition via the World Wide Webs with no ties back to The Commish at all. They fully trusted mailing a random guy $5 in snail mail waiting for it to pay some dividends. Well in their fourth year in the derby, they just may get a return on their investment big enough to play ‘free’ for the next 30 seasons (assuming no inflation on the registration dues).

However, they have Paul Goldschmidt, who we all know is out for a while with a broken hand, AND they already used their trade on a guy that was supposed to be out for the season but has returned early and already hit some home runs (Avisail Garcia). That gives an opening for the team that has been leading most of the way, Kettle Poppers. Their team is also leading my fantasy baseball league, which would be a very impressive double win in the same season if they can pull off a victory in the HR Derby and maintain their lead in fantasy baseball. They also have Goldy but still can use a trade (now that Goldy is trade eligible).

And don’t forget we are still playing for monthly winners. The Big Stinky is currently in 2nd place for August with 18 and half of them are from Chris Carter. The only team currently in front of them is Mauer Power. Thank you Carlos Gomez (6HR), J-Upton (5HR), and company. There are still 10 days left so there are plenty of games left before the August King (Queen) is crowned.

I mentioned Fantasy Baseball earlier and I’d like to come back to that topic. Even though it’s August and football preseason games are starting… IT’S STILL BASEBALL SEASON. Just in case anyone forgot. Why is it that every one forgets about baseball during the playoff push and playoffs because football has started? I don’t understand why there is more draw to football over baseball. I always like to blame that it’s for the lazy fan. The one that just wants to be able to tune in to their team for a single day for a few hours a week. But there has to be something more and I can’t place my finger on it.

But back to Fantasy Baseball. Fantasy Baseball is for the diehards, fantasy football is for the weak/lazy. Yes at times I am completely consumed and overwhelmed trying to manage 2 baseball teams consistently over 180 days. But it’s intense, fun, and most players in fantasy baseball are very passionate about the game (and you have to be, the game lasts FOREVER). What I think draws me towards baseball is all the various strategies, trade possibilities, injuries, off days, scoring categories, player statistics, and the diehards. It’s a game that involves a high level of thinking and predicting outcomes based on hundreds of statistics. You will sit there and contemplate starting a pitcher when you know that it’s against the Cardinals at home where they always destroy starting pitchers. But you need K’s and Wins, so you have to start him only to watch him give up those 10 runs in 4 innings. Or if you benched him, he throws a complete game shutout. But then there are the trades… its such a long season and players are so volatile that you see trades proposed or accepted that you would have never thought possible. Trades that sound completely lopsided in real life actually mean something in a 180 day season (really, who trades Billy Hamilton for King Felix… someone desperate for steals is who).

Every year I rant about this, but baseball is superior to football in both real life and fantasy… or at least it should be during the last few weeks of the MLB season when the NFL is just beginning its season. Rant over.

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The King Of June: Keeping Up With The Joneses

Well we are 2 days into July and everyone East of the Rockies seems to be floating including the Kings of Cork headquarters. Hopefully the spring rains and severe storms are gone until 2015 and we can focus back on baseball.

Since it is July already, we need to recap what’s happening in the Kings of Cork Home Run Derby. But you will have to wait a little bit longer. However, I will give a sneak peak. Three teams managed to hit 30+ home runs in June which is the exact same number in the months of April and May. Two of them are a father/son duo who are also at the top and bottom of the top-10 list. The son got the better of the month of June (congrats Keeping Up With The Joneses), but the father still leads the whole competition (and 10+ over his son in 10th). And other than second place, no other team is in striking distance at the moment.

A full recap of June will be available soon.

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