Final Week That Was
It has been a long wet season but we finally got to the end of the regular season. The all-star season is fast approaching with high expectations for several teams as the voting begins.
The 9-10 year old all-star teams have been selected and both teams look pretty darn good. I was thoroughly impressed with the 9-10 division this season as several players stood out in both ages. A trip to the region in West Virginia could be in store for the ten year old team as they are heavy on power, defense and pitching.
The Major league season is down to one last game for all the marbles. The defending champion Cardinals got hot in the second half claiming the title and will face off against the White Sox who won the first half. The edge has to go to the Cardinals with Christian Dixon on the mound with the White Sox struggling through a disappointing second half at 7-7. With that being said, picking a favorite usually spells doom for that team so don’t be surprised to see the White Sox find a way.
The 11 and 12 year old all-star teams will be voted on tonight after the championship game. The pressure is intense this season for both coaches with a chance to head up the 12 year old team as expectations are incredibly high. The pressure these guys are feeling leading up to this game is small time compared to the weight that will be thrust on the winner’s shoulders tomorrow when the reality of the task ahead hits home. This season, all eyes will be intensely focused on the team as a return trip is not only the goal but expected. If properly voted on, this all-star team could be one of the best the park has ever produced. Everyone will be rooting like never before for another season to remember.
I had the good fortune to watch a 7-8 year old championship game between the Reds and the Dodgers and I have to say, I was floored by the talent on the field from both teams. Diving catches, players throwing out runners from their knees was the norm. Both shortstops were incredible and the Dodgers first baseman was a beast. I believe the future is extremely bright with these youngsters waiting in the wings. I can’t wait to watch these guys as nine year old players next season!
That’s all for the regular season with the focus shifting to the all-star teams as they make their way through the tournament season. Best of luck to every team and player involved. Bring home the gold!
Closing Ceremonies will be tomorrow (Wednesday). A time has not been set.
Playing Catch-up Around-the-Quad Style
Excuse my absence last week. I had to babysit a few 11-12 Red Sox Rugrats in St Louis last weekend as the photo below illustrates. The team stayed Saturday – Monday taking in the sights.
The 11-12 Red Sox at Busch Stadium after the Cardinals played the Giants
Now that I am back we can get back to the drama that has taken place around the quad over the past two weeks. Up first is the Minor League race.
The last time we visited the minor division the Angels were cruising along undefeated, two weeks later nothing has changed. The Angels are still undefeated with one second half game remaining versus the Braves. The Angels defeated the Nationals Saturday clinching their side of the division so my guess is a game versus the first half champions will take place in the near future. Until then, the Angels have a date with the Braves and ace pitcher Kaleb Powell. I have mentioned before that I like the Braves chances in any game Powell pitches and this one will be no different. Powell is a beast and the Angels will have their hands full.
The other side of the division has the Braves and the Brewers locked in a battle for the second half crown. The Braves have to defeat the Angels and hope for a Cardinals win over the Brewers to tie for the second half. There is a chance this could happen but the odds favor the Brewers as the Cardinals have fallen on hard times late in the season.
I picked the Brewers to win the overall title at the beginning of the season so I can’t jump ship now. If there is an overall championship game, my guess is it will be the Angels and the Brewers with the Brewers winning it all.
The major league has been very competitive in the second half as we now have a three-way tie for the second half lead entering the final week of the regular season. The first half champion finished with two losses which is one less than the three leaders have lost to date. In all we have five teams with a chance to claim to the title as the Cardinals, Red Sox and Braves are tied with three losses while the Pirates and the Marlins are close behind with four. A slip by the leaders in the final week of play could put the league in chaos as a four-way tie is a possibility after the final week of play. There will be some sleepless nights for the board as the week progresses. Here is a look at the contenders:
Braves: The Braves tied for the first half championship with the White Sox losing in a play-off. The loss was just a minor bump in the road as the Braves got back to work with an impressive 7-3 record entering the final week of play The Braves have a difficult road ahead playing the Pirates tomorrow, the White Sox Friday and the Red Sox on Saturday with a final game versus the Cardinals that is a continuation of a suspended game earlier in the second half. Odds are the Braves do not survive the road without at least one loss which would mean a tie would be the best they can hope for.
Cardinals: The Cardinals have the easiest road of the three loss teams as their remaining schedule is against teams with losing records. If the Cardinals can win those games all that will be left is the suspended game versus the Braves where the Cardinals enjoy a 6-1 lead. The Braves do have the bases loaded with no outs so they have a chance to turn the tide. My take is the Cardinals make it to the suspended game with three losses and a chance to win the title outright.
Red Sox: The Red Sox have completed their gauntlet of a schedule with three losses and have since gone on a lengthy winning streak to enter a three-way tie. The Red Sox finish the schedule versus the Mets, Padres and Braves. The Red Sox are capable of winning all three but the final game versus the Braves looms large. We will have to see how the week goes for the Braves pitching to determine the Red Sox chances of finishing with three losses.
Marlins: The Marlins are one game back and cannot afford to drop another or their chances end. The road ahead is not a cakewalk as the Marlins finish against the Mets, Dodgers and Pirates. The Dodgers have been a thorn in the side of the leaders in the second half playing great baseball over the last two weeks. If the Marlins can get by the dangerous Dodgers then a final game versus the Pirates will determine if the Marlins have a chance at tying for the title with help from the leaders.
Pirates: The Pirates are the sleeper hiding in the bushes waiting for a chance to strike. With four losses the Pirates must win out and hope for help like the Marlins. The Pirates have a chance to help themselves as they have games versus the Braves and the Marlins to end the season. If the Pirates can win out it is possible a tie for the second half is in picture.
I can’t make a prediction since I am involved in this mess so best of luck to the teams involved. The White Sox are at the end of the tunnel waiting for a winner.
Player of the Week
This week, the player of the week will cover the last two weeks combined so in my opinion, this one will be even more important as the winner will display a two week level of excellence. Here are the finalists:
As always we begin at .500 which is some pretty good hitting over a two week period. We have two players that made the list and here they are.
Ethan Lyle: Mr. Lyle has been on a tear in the second half which is why the Dodgers have been an improved team. The future looks bright with Lyle in Dodgers blue.
Seth Holmes: Seth Homes is a newcomer to the league but has adjusted to life at Moss Wright well making the player of the week list on a regular basis. The Padres pitcher/center fielder had another great two weeks finishing at .500 which is no surprise this far into the season.
Chance Merithew: Chance Merithew is another regular on the list. The Braves utility player has been a major threat in the batter’s box hitting several homeruns while compiling a strong average all season. The Braves have the best record in the park and Merithew is part of the reason.
Hunter Scurlock: Hunter Scurlock is another Dodgers player on the list this week. Scurlock has been the Dodgers ace all season and now is bringing a strong bat to the party as well. Scurlock has been on a tear in the second half which is something coaches like to see as the all-star season approaches.
JT Kiernan: The Pirates are battling for the second half championship sitting a game behind the leaders. JT had a great two week run which has kept the Pirates in the game and more of this production will keep them there.
Alex Dillard: Big D has been a regular on the player of the week list helping the Red Sox claim the second best record in the league as well as a tie for first in the second half. Dillard is a threat every at bat which brings concern to every coach in the league.
Dane Hurley: The Marlins have been up and down this season but one constant has been the play of Dane Hurley. Hurley once again graces the player of the week list with an impressive .571 average hitting another homerun to boot.
Jimmy Watson: Jimmy Watson makes the list again for the Mets. The team has had a rough year but Watson has held firm continuing to battle through adversity.
Drake Sanson: What else can you say about the red haired wonder? Sanson has been on the list all season keeping the Pirates in contention for the second half crown with solid numbers like the digits he posted over the past two weeks.
Tyler Cummings: The Padres have talent but haven’t been able to put it together this season. Tyler Cummings is one of those talented players that have steadily produced week after week. This week the numbers are strong again as Cummings continues to put up solid numbers week after week.
Joel Littlepage: This was the first player I checked when I began compiling the list and after seeing his 8-12 two week total I knew this would be the player of the week but believe it or not we have another that is even higher. Nevertheless Littlepage has set the league on fire this season with clutch hitting and pitching helping the Braves battle for the second half championship.
Down to the finalists
We are now down to the final two players for the coveted player of the week award. Both players will be first ballot all-stars on the twelve year old team but one was a little better this week. Here is your runner-up:
Hunter Crawford: Hunter Crawford is a man child if there ever was one. I mentioned he added speed to his massive power this season as he has sprouted up several more inches from last season while slimming down. Crawford is a major force to contend with every game the Marlins play and will continue to be a threat in the post season as well.
Player of the Week
I have to admit I am proud to announce this week’s player of the week. I was totally shocked when I went through the books and realized this player has gone two weeks in the league without making an out compiling an impressive 8-8 week drawing seven walks in the process which means teams are being very careful when the big right handed batter steps in the box. The Player in question is……..
Hayden Layne: Hayden Layne is a first ballot all-star for the Red Sox and has been Mr. Everything all season throwing four one-hitters while leading the team on offense. The Red Sox are tied for the second half lead with three games left and Layne is a major reason the Sox are in contention.
That’s it for this week. Good luck to those in contention for second half titles. Maybe the rain will someday give us a break.
Until next week…………………..
Another Rain Soaked Week that Was
Eventually the rain will stop and we will get back to a regular week at the quad but until then we will have to make due with makeup games galore. The major division has been decimated with an overload of games per week due to the rain with several teams playing 5 games a week. The unfortunate circumstances will most likely determine who wins the second half due to who had the easier schedule with rain out games. But the games must go on so here we go with this week’s developments.
The minor league division has become very interesting in the second half. The first half champion Brewers have taken on two losses and the Angels and Nationals have caught fire. The Angels must be carrying around a few rabbit’s feet in their back pockets as they won a few unbelievable games lately. All of the scores from the past week are not in so the standings and this report will reflect what has been turned in.
1. Angels 6-0: The Angels have won three games by one run and if I remember correctly they were all last inning comeback victories. The Angels were the league champions last season and have the talent to play with any team in the division so expect them to continue to fight for the second half crown. They definately never quit until the final out has been recorded.
2. Nationals 4-1: The Nationals have been playing well lately. Their only blemish in the second half was a loss to the Angels where they seemed to take the game off. They bounced back in the next game winning easily and also look to be primed to challenge in the second half. Their next four games will determine how much of a threat the Nationals are in the second half.
3. Braves 3-2: The Braves are always a threat with Kaleb Powell in the lineup. When the big righty is on the mound I like the Braves chances in every game. The Braves have a favorable schedule the rest of the way which may put them in position for the second half title. Stay tuned.
4. Cardinals 3-2: The Cardinals won their side of the first half championship so they know they are in “the game” no matter how well their second half goes. The road the rest of the way has some pot holes that the Cardinals must avoid. Three losses may be the number so one loss is all they can take the rest of the way. This team has what it takes to accomplish the task. We will have to wait and see if it comes to pass.
5. Brewers 3-2: The other first half division champ is in the same position knowing they are in the game. The schedule is favorable until the end so the Brewers will be in the mix for the second half crown. If so, they will wait to see who emerges from the other half to play for all the marbles. Expect this to happen.
Usually when the count reads 3-0 the player takes a pitch before getting the green light to swing. This was the case for Jackson Brown of the Braves. Brown received the take signal from head coach John Robertson but decided to run the red light swinging at the 3-0 offering. Luckily for Mr. Brown, the ball sailed over the fence for a homerun. Better yet, the bases were loaded and the hit, a grand slam, tied the game for the Braves. A game they ended up winning the next inning. I believe all was forgiven but my guess is it won't happen again….:-)
On to the Major League race and predictions for the remaining rain filled make-up schedule.
The Cardinals and the Braves are tied for first heading towards the new week. Both teams have one loss with their game suspended until the end of the season due to a protest. Here is what we have to date.
1. Cardinals 5-1: The Cardinals are a half-game ahead of the Braves in the second half race. The schedule has favored the Cards up to this point but the road becomes more treacherous in the weeks ahead as dates with the White Sox, Marlins, Braves and Red Sox loom in the near future. They will need to win at minimum two of those four games to be in the mix for the second half crown. The key will be how their pitching holds up against those foes as the games are only a few days apart forcing the Cards to win a few without their ace on the mound.
2. Braves 4-1: The Braves came close to winning the first half but close only works in horse shoes so they have to win the second half to have a shot at the title. The Braves have a tough road ahead as a date with the Marlins comes tonight and a matchup with the Cardinals next week. The big test will be the final two games as the Braves have back to back matchups with the White Sox and the Red Sox. If they can get to this point with one loss they will have a good chance to be in the mix for the second half crown.
3. White Sox 4-2: The first half champs have lost two games in the second half. Both to Red Sox ace Hayden Layne. The Sox haven’t been as dominant in the second half but are assured of one thing, they are in the championship game regardless of how their second half finishes. A game versus the Cardinals and back to back games with the Marlins will give us a good idea where the Sox will finish. If they can navigate this road with a minimum one loss, the White Sox may have a shot at a second half title.
4. Marlins 3-2: The Marlins dropped a few games early due to the rain soaked schedule every team has been forced to play. Nevertheless the Marlins are still in the hunt but have more trouble on the horizon. A game tonight versus the Braves is the first challenge as Hunter Crawford is unavailable versus the dangerous Braves lineup. Dane Hurley is available but will have to go the distance which will be a difficult task. If the Marlins pass this test they have more trouble on the weekend. The Cardinals wait on Saturday with back to back games versus the White Sox coming on Sunday and Monday. If the Red Sox back to back to back games versus the White Sox, Marlins and Cardinals are any indication, the Marlins chances of making it through this gauntlet is unlikely as pitching matchups usually decide who wins at this level. If they do survive you may be looking at the second half champs.
Player of the Week
We have nineteen players who qualified for the player of the week column with four newcomers to the list. We will begin at .500 and move up the scale.
Hitting .500 for the week is a great accomplishment. Here are the players that hit that plateau.
Joel Littlepage: The Braves SS/P has been a regular on the list this season. Littlepage finished the first half with the second best average in the league and is off to a good start in the second half helping his team claim a piece of the second half lead with the Cardinals. Tread carefully when this guy steps in the box.
Julius Elders: Elders is a first timer to the list and with his offensive exploits, helped the Braves claim a share of the second half lead. If Mr. Elders can continue this kind of output the Braves will be in great shape as the second half continues.
Chris LeMay: Chris LeMay has gotten hot for the Cardinals and the hot streak has coincided with the Cardinals first place run in the second half. LeMay is a solid contributor on defense and with the offense coming around the Cardinals will be a threat to claim the second half title.
Ethan Lyle: Eleven year old players were supposed to have difficulties on offense versus the stout twelve year old pitching offered every game but Lyle has been visiting the player of the year list all season. A solid pitcher as well as hitter, the future looks bright for the Dodgers with Lyle in the lineup.
Jimmy Watson: Watson must have liked being on the list for the first time because here he is again for a second week in a row. Watson and the Mets have had a long rough season but not giving up and continuing to work hard is what it takes to lead in the future. Better times are ahead.
Christian Brinkley: The Phillies have had an up and down season to date. One constant has been the play of Christian Brinkley. You can always expect Brinkley to collect at least one hit for the Phillies every game which has been a reason why the Phillies are a threat in every game they play. If you don’t believe, ask the White Sox their opinion.
Kailey Brown: The queen returns to the list. Miss Brown has taken a few weeks off from the list letting others have a shot at a little publicity but this week she makes her return. Kailey has been a big reason why the White Sox are in position to win the league championship and will continue to do so as the season progresses.
We have two members who posted an average of .571 this week and coincidentally they come from the same team.
Marcus Watson: Marcus Watson had another solid week at the plate which has led to a first place standing for the Cardinals in the second half. The speedy shortstop has been consistent in the lead-off position and you can expect the same production the rest of the season.
Max Galpin: Max is the third piece of the big three for the Cardinals. Galpin finished off a stellar first half with a strong .400 average and has continued to produce for the second half leaders. Expect the Cards to continue to challenge the rest of the season.
Normally we are almost through the list but this week we are only reaching the halfway mark. The hitters are heating up with the weather which is a good sign for the post season. Here are the .600 members.
Jacob Smith: Jacob Smith is a first time player on the list. The youngest player in the league, Smith has strength and power to compete at the highest level. The Dodgers are in good hands for the next few years with Smith and Lyle on the roster.
Logan Moore: Need I say moore? Yes it is spelled incorrectly but it just felt right the way Logan Moore has played this season. The Marlins are blessed to have Moore on their team and they are taking advantage, challenging for the second half title.
Alex Smith: Alex Smith is beginning to catch fire with the bat. The Red Sox 2B/P took a few weeks to get his legs against the stout twelve year old pitching but now seems accustomed to the blazing speeds he faces game after game playing for the Red Sox. This week he faced Dane Hurley, Hunter Crawford, Nick Pianto, Austin Mays and Christian Dixon finishing with a lofty .600 average which makes his appearance this week even more impressive.
Drew Robertson: The Braves version of the big three includes Drew Robertson. Robertson has been a steady contributor for the Braves keeping them in the mix for the title all year long. The icing on the cake this week for Robertson was his first homerun. Nice!
Bryson Duffer: Bryson Duffer has been a regular on the mound for the Phillies taking on many tough assignments with good success. Now the eleven year old has added his bat to the equation and the Phillies are reaping the benefits.
Jacob Seals: Small in stature but big on production. Jacob Seals is one of the engines that propel the White Sox propellers. The Sox are in the driver’s seat after winning the first half championship and Seals was a big reason why.
750 is a really good week. This week we had two that reached this level and here they are.
Wyatt Crowe: I saw this kid during evaluations and never in my wildest dreams think that a player of the week mention would be in the future but here we are. Mr. Crowe came to life making the list for the first time while helping the Braves claim a share of the second half lead. More production like this and the Braves may be playing a rematch with the White Sox for the league title in a few weeks.
Hunter Crawford: A regular on the list, this first ballot all-star has been a terror for teams all season long. Another great week is becoming normal for the man-child in Marlins orange.
We are now in some rare air. You have to be really seeing the ball well to bat over 800 for the week. Let’s see who made the list.
Christian Dixon: Another first ballot all-star, Dixon has been hitting for power and average which is a nice combination. Dixon added two homeruns to go with his lofty 800 average. The Cardinals are in the mix for the second half title and with Dixon at the helm, the odds look good.
Player of the Week
This week has another new Player of the Week. We still haven’t had a repeat winner which, again, speaks volumes about the talent in the league.
Haven Mangrum: I said last week that a week without Haven Mangrum on the player of the week list would be unconstitutional. Mangrum is consistency at its best, regularly getting on base game in and out and then creating havoc while on the paths for the Phillies. The Player of the Week had an incredible .857 campaign which is absolutely playing on another level. I thought the award was Dixon’s for sure until Mr. Mangrum swooped in and took it away. Both were worthy but Haven was a little bit better.
Until next week……….. NO RAIN PLEASE!!!
The Week That Was
I’m inside on a weekend so it must be baseball season at Moss Wright 2013 because that seems to be the place I spend my weekends due to the three week rain fest we have had to endure. Now that I have vented my frustrations I can get to why we are here; the week that was at the quad.
The Minor League has seen some interesting developments to start the second half. The Brewers were jinxed by yours truly and lost their first game of the season; the Nationals are on a tear defeating the Brewers and almost everyone else in their second half path and the Red Sox are looking much improved losing a couple of close games to start the second half.
Second Half Race
I know there are two divisions for scheduling purposes but I do not have the break down so I will keep everyone grouped together for the purpose of this segment.
The Brewers are in the chase for the second half after losing their first game of the season to the Nationals. Since the defeat, the Brewers have won two with a rain out game with the Yankees on the horizon.
The Nationals have been on a tear winning six straight dating to the first half but came across a buzz saw yesterday in the form of the Angels. The Angels defeated the Nationals dropping them to 3-1 in the second half.
Speaking of the Angels, the Halos have won two in the second half and possibly three but I don’t have the games from Thursday so I will have to keep it at two. The 2-0 mark puts the Angels in the second half lead.
The Braves are rallying once again posting a 2-1 mark behind the arm of Kaleb Powell. Powell gives the Braves a fighting chance to claim the second half.
The Cardinals are flying high again posting a 2-1 mark after losing a close game to the Nationals earlier in the week.
The Yankees are possibly 2-1 if they defeated the Angels this past Thursday but I don’t have those games so I will put them in the chase pending an update next week. The Yankees could be a dark horse in the second half. Pitching will determine their fate.
My early first week prediction is the Brewers will get back on track and take the overall title. I am not sure who they will play form the other division but my gut says the Brewers have too much pitching not to win the championship.
The Major League race is heating up. We have one undefeated team after week one with a host of teams drafting behind the leader with one loss.
<!--[if !supportLists]-->1. <!--[endif]-->The defending champion Cardinals are leading the pack with a 2-0 record which could possibly be 3-0 pending a protest review that is unresolved as of this writing. Christian Dixon has led the team with towering homeruns and powerful pitching giving the Cards a legit chance at claiming the second half title for a chance to repeat as league champs.
<!--[if !supportLists]-->2. <!--[endif]-->The First half champion White Sox took one on the chin from the Red Sox falling 1-0 but got off the mat to post a 1-1 record. The White Sox are in the driver’s seat knowing they are in the final game regardless of their second half position.
<!--[if !supportLists]-->3. <!--[endif]-->The Pirates are 2-1 after winning two come from behind games this week. The Pirates are a veteran team which should help them traverse the rough waters ahead.
<!--[if !supportLists]-->4. <!--[endif]-->The Phillies are hanging tough posting a 2-1 record. After falling to the Marlins to start the second half, wins over the Padres and Dodgers have them in contention.
<!--[if !supportLists]-->5. <!--[endif]-->The Red Sox lost a heartbreaker in the final inning to the Braves but are still in the hunt with a 2-1 record.
The next week or so will give us an idea who the second half will come down to as the weather continues to cause problems for the pitching rotations of every team leaving the teams with the deepest staffs as the potential front-runners.
Players of the Week
Everybody got in at least two games this week so we can include every team. I do not have the Thursday night games so those will not be included for this segment.
The .500 clubs is where you will find half of this week’s members as seven players fit the bill. Here are the top offensive players of the week.
Landon Goodman- Cardinals: Landon Goodman is beginning to catch fire for the Cardinals. The big eleven year old started the season on the slow side but has made up ground quickly putting him in position for a possible post season nod. The Cardinals are in first place in the second half and Goodman has done his part to put them there.
Hunter Crawford- Marlins: The Marlins man child has had one heck of a season to date. Crawford has grown a foot (It seems) and slimmed down adding explosive speed to his already impressive skills. A first ballot all-star for the twelve year old team this season, Crawford is doing his part to give the Marlins a chance to win the championship.
Logan Moore- Marlins: Mr. Moore makes the list for possibly the first time this season and did it in impressive fashion belting a homerun to leftfield Saturday night adding an exclamation point to his appointment to the list.
Jimmy Watson- Mets: Watson is a first timer to the list and like Goodman; the eleven year old is beginning to find his legs against the dominant twelve year old pitchers. The Mets have had a rough year but Watson and a few others that didn’t make the list give the team a bright future.
Seth Holmes- Padres: Seth Holmes should be a household name to every coach in the league by now as this tall, powerful and lightning fast player has been a regular on this list all season. The Padres have had a difficult time in their expansion season but Holmes has been one of the bright spots.
Haven Mangrum- Phillies: The list would not be the same if Mangrum wasn’t on it. I can always count on Mangrum finding a way to get on base and make the list the same as I can count on the rain to fall when the weekend arrives in 2013. Automatic.
Nick Pianto- White Sox: Pianto has had his struggles at the plate this season but this week was different as the White Sox pitcher posted a strong 4-8 week in the White Sox two games. Pianto has been a rock on the mound for the Sox helping them to the first half crown.
The .600 club is a lonely one this week but the player that occupies the spot has been one of the bright lights in the league all season.
Austin Mays- White Sox: Mays started the week off strong going 2-3 but hit a pot hole in the second going 0-3 putting his appointment on the list in jeopardy. But never fear, Mays calmly went 4-4 on Saturday to bring his total to 6-10 thus earning a spot on the treasured list. Mays finished the first half as the league batting champ at .633 and from the looks of things, may end up on top when the season ends.
Now we are getting to the crème of the crop for the week; the players that stood out more than anyone else. The .667 club is a virtual “who’s who” among players at the park. These guys are some of the league’s best.
Joel Littlepage- Braves: The Braves tied for the first half championship with the White Sox in part because of this players accomplishments on offense and defense. Littlepage has been a regular on the player of the week list all season and has continued that excellence as we move through the second half. A first ballot all-star, Littlepage finished the first half batting race in second with a .600 average and may be the man at the top by year’s end.
Christian Dixon- Cardinals: Another regular on the list, Dixon had a normal 2-3 week (not including Thursday) with a homerun to boot. Every swing of the bat can produce tape measure blasts which makes people stop and watch this first ballot all-star every time he walks to the plate.
Deuce Drennan- Phillies: Deuce is a first timer to the list going 2-3 for the Phillies. More output like this and the Phillies could be a major player In the battle for the second half crown.
Hayden Layne- Red Sox: The name says it all. When Hayden Layne is on the field people stop and watch as the Red Sox Mr. everything is putting together another stellar year. Aside from a 4-6 week at the plate, Layne went the distance against the White Sox limiting the first half champs to one hit and no runs while striking out eleven. Expect another first ballot nod for Layne at season’s end.
Alex Dillard- Red Sox: The second half of the Red Sox big one/two punch, Dillard came close to hitting a pair of homeruns this week smashing both off the center field fence. Dillard had to settle for a pedestrian 4-6 week. Ho hum for a player that spends nearly every week on the list.
.750 is a pretty good week I might say. Getting a hit in 75% of your plate appearances is nothing to sneeze at and this week we have one player on the list.
Jared Wilkerson- Padres: The Padres catcher has put together a great season at the park posting a solid .409 average in the first half. Wilkerson looks to be adding to those first half numbers in the second half going 6-8 for the week with a homerun. Wilkerson is new to the league but is gaining some fans as the season continues.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
I don’t think we have had a repeat winner this year and this week will be no different as a new face emerges as this week’s player of the week. The winner has been a regular on the list all season but hadn’t had the best week until now…..
Chance Merithew- Braves: Chance Merithew is a regular on the list as his first half average of .483 will attest but this week Merithew was better than all the rest going 4-5 which is good for a .800 mark. (The Thursday game is not included). Merithew was a player that many believed should have been on the eleven year old all-star team last season but may not have any problems this season as his bat and glove have been shouting all season long.
Congratulations to everyone on the list for a great week and good luck to all as we begin a new week MINUS RAIN for once. PLEASEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!
Until next week…………………………………….
Rainy Week that Was
This edition will be another abbreviated version as once again, we were pounded by Mother Nature so there will not be a player of the week listing due to cancellation of games to get the first half contenders games in.
As stated earlier, the Brewers were the first half overall champions. The league is split into two divisions to help with scheduling the games so the Cardinals were crowned champions of the other division... Congratulations to both teams on a great first half and best of luck to all as the second half begins.
The Major League is in total chaos as far as the schedule goes due to the crazy amount of rain we have endured. The first week of second half games were pushed back to make room for the final two contenders for the first half championship to get their final games in. The White Sox and the Braves finished with 11-2 first half records and played each other on Thursday for the first half title so I will use this section to post the game as it is not a regular listing on the schedule.
White Sox 2 0 0 2 0 0 4 6 0
Braves 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 6 0
First Half Championship
The first half championship came down to the White Sox and the Braves who posted identical 11-2 first half records. The Braves entered the game on an impressive eight game winning streak while the White Sox boasted a six game run. The odds were in the White Sox favor as the Braves had to play and win a game at 6:00 just to qualify for the championship at 7:45 while the White Sox had the advantage of rest. Rest eventually won out as the White Sox surged to an early 2-0 lead on the strength of back to back to back hits to start the game. Kennedy Jordan, Austin Mays and Jacob Seals all reached safely with a single, double and double respectively allowing Nick Pianto to do the rest on the mound stifling the Braves batters for six innings. Pianto finished the game allowing one run on six hits while striking out nine. The lone run came in the final inning when the game was all but over.
Leading 2-0 after one inning, the White Sox went cold at the plate in the second and third as Chance Merithew and Joel Littlepage struck out five of the six batters they faced but the fourth was another story. With the top of the lineup coming to the plate, the White Sox added two runs to their total as Austin Mays hit his second double of the game followed by Jacob Seals who followed suit with a double to the same spot in left field. Seals would drive home Mays and would score two batters later when birthday girl, Kailey Brown, brought him home with a single past the second baseman into right field. The score was now 4-0 and the Sox were cruising.
On the other side of the plate, the Braves were still trying to find some rhythm to their offense but it just wasn’t there as the White Sox held the Braves batters to singles causing them to have to string together multiple hits to score runs, a feat they didn’t have the legs to do.
The Braves got on the board in the sixth when Javonta Flippin led off with a single followed by another single by Cobey Allison moving Flippin to third. Drew Robertson would get Flippin home with a fielder’s choice to short but the lone run would be all they could muster as the White Sox defense held firm closing out the game two batters later.
The win gives the White Sox the first half championship and a date in the championship game if they do not win the second half. The rest of the league will be chasing the White Sox hoping to get the second piece of the championship and a shot at the White Sox in the championship game. Good luck to all and pray for SUNSHINE!!!!
Until next week…………….
The Week that Was
Well we can’t seem to get in a full week without the weather playing Wreck-It Ralph on the schedule and since we are all huddling indoors today, what better time than to catch up on the week that was. Once again, Mother Nature spoiled another Saturday schedule throwing the first half into chaos. Luckily the minor league first half race is in the books but the Major League race is another story. We will get to that later in the segment.
Finally! I have some scores from the 4-5-6 division. I can only write about the standings in the lower division as I can’t seem to wake up at the crack of dawn to come watch the games but here goes.
The first half race is officially over in the American League as the Cardinals have a three game lead with two games to play. The Cardinals are undefeated for the season and have won impressively all season. The Twins look like the major threat to the Cardinals heading in to the second half with the added advantage of having played the Rangers and the Phillies in the first half. Based on that fact, it is a pretty safe bet to say the Twins could win the second half and play the Cardinals for the overall title at the end of the season.
The National League is anything but settled as the Rangers and Phillies are both undefeated. The beauty of this situation is the Phillies and the Rangers meet on the final game of the first half. I expect both teams to be undefeated when they meet so that game will be for the first half title. Field 6 will be rocking when that game is made up. (Rained out today……sigh) Based on games played I will have to favor the Rangers slightly, but the Phillies are used to winning as the team is on a two year undefeated streak dating to last season which makes this game very interesting.
Well my plan for a huge clash between the Cardinals and the Brewers went into the recycle bin when the Cardinals lost to the Reds April 23rd. That loss put the Cardinals two games behind the Brewers which made the, “BIG GAME,” just another contest. The Brewers won that game 8-3 wrapping up the first half championship in the process. The Brewers are beginning to hit through the lineup which spells trouble for the rest of the league. They may not lose a game this season.
The Major League will come down to the White Sox and the Braves for the first half crown. The White Sox are in the driver’s seat at 10-2 with one game versus the Mets remaining. The Braves have two games remaining versus the Phillies and the Padres. I believe both teams will win out prompting a play-off for the first half title. The edge has to go to the White Sox due to their win over the Braves earlier in the season.
The power surge continues in the Major league as eight homeruns were hit this week. Christian Dixon got in on the action with two massive blasts while Dane Hurley has completed the feat from both sides of the plate. I do not have the numbers but my guess is we have passed the season total from a year ago with more than half the season left. The hitters are really impressive this season.
Players of the Week
Our list is much smaller this week as I decided, due to the rain shortened week……….AGAIN, I would only include the teams that played more than one game so here goes.
We had several members in the .500 club this week which means these guys were swinging the bat well. Here’s a look at the list:
Dane Hurley: .500 (3-6) Mr. Hurley continues to carry a hot bat for the Marlins and is a big reason why the Marlins are one of the better teams in the league. Hurley has the distinction of being the only player to hit a homerun from both sides of the plate. A feat, to my knowledge, that’s never been done at the quad since the fences were moved back to 227 feet. NICE!!!!!
JT Kiernan: .500 (2-4) I am pretty confident this is the first time JT has been on the list which is always a thrill because it shows the depth of the league. The Pirates have been on a tear lately and Kiernan is a reason why. One of those two hits went yard as Kiernan added to the eight homerun total in the league this week.
Alex Smith: .500 (2-4) Alex Smith is another first timer to the player of the week list. Smith has been improving each week for the Red Sox and looks to be ready to be a major contributor in the second half.
Graham Parrish: .500 (3-6) The Red Sox put two first timers on the list this week as Graham Parrish debuts with his teammate. Parrish has been solid on the mound for the Sox, posting a 3-0 record as of yesterday’s game and is now showing signs of being an offensive contributor as well. There is power in the bat so a homerun may not be far behind for this stout eleven year old.
Jacob Seals: .500 (3-6) Jacob is a regular on the list as he is one of the top players in the league. Seals had another consistent week for the first place White Sox hitting two singles and a triple. His combination of speed and power is a powerful weapon the White Sox use daily.
I believe we have another first timer appearing in the .571 batting range this week.
Tyler Henley: .571 (4-7) The Marlins had a strong finish to the week and Henley was a big part of the team’s success. Not only was he a strong offensive contributor, but he helped the team on the mound defeating the Mets 16-0 last night throwing a two hitter in the process. Tyler gives the Marlins another weapon heading toward the second half which should help them contend for the championship.
The .600 club is a one man show as a Pirate sails in to harbor.
Gray Phillips: .600 (3-5) The Pirate had a great week at the plate with a double and two singles helping the Pirates to a .500 record for the week. Gray has been solid on the mound giving the Pirates a pretty nice one/two punch with Drake Sanson.
Drake Sanson: .667 (2-3) Speaking of Drake Sanson, here is another regular on the list each week as the red haired Pirate is the spark that makes the skull and bones flag fly. Sanson is this season’s version of Lorenzo Butler as he can beat out almost any ball that hits the ground. Sanson gives the Pirates a legitimate shot at the second half championship.
We are getting down to the end with the overall winner coming from the last few players.
Jeffrey Adams: .667 (2-3) Jeffrey Adams is a first timer to the list. The Red Sox shortstop/second baseman has been a main cog on defense for the Red Sox and has also swung the bat well making the Red Sox one of the top teams in the league.
Chris Lemay: .667 (4-6) The Cardinals have a consistent contributor on both sides of the ball in Chris Lemay. Lemay is a utility fielder meaning he can play multiple positions and has been posting good numbers on offense for the defending champs. Expect more of the same from him in the second half.
Max Galpin: .667 (4-6) The Cardinals place another player on the list. Max Galpin recorded two doubles and two singles this week helping the Cardinals post a .500 week. Galpin has power and is a threat to go yard each time he walks to the plate.
Christian Dixon: .667 (2-3) The third Cardinal to make the list, Dixon had the best week of all. Dixon had two hits for the week as both were rocketed into orbit for homeruns. Dixon was the only player to hit two homeruns this week which would make him a perfect candidate for player of the week but one player was just a little better.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Austin Mays: .714 (5-7) The White Sox #1 pitcher/shortstop was on fire this week going an impressive 5-7 with a homerun to boot. The offensive showing helped the White Sox remain deadlocked with the Braves for the first half championship. The kid isn’t big in stature but packs a wallop on the mound and in the batter’s box. He may be the difference if the White Sox are to win the first half crown.
That’s all I have for a rain soaked Saturday. Good luck to the teams fighting for first half glory and better luck to those gearing up for the second half.
Until next week…………………………………………………….
The Week that was…Abbreviated version
This will be an abbreviated week due to the rain over the weekend. This week we will cover the first half races in the Minor and Major divisions.
Sometimes your best laid plans go astray. That would be the case with my Cardinals versus Brewers showdown for the crown on May 3rd. The Brewers got by the Braves 5-4 but the Cardinals weren’t as lucky, falling to the Reds 7-6 to give the Brewers a two game lead entering the final week of play. I can’t see the Brewers losing two games with the depth they have on the mound. I’m not going to jinx them by saying the first half is over but……. You do the math.
The Major League has been a three team race for the past few weeks and now we may be down to two. The Braves defeated the Cardinals this past week to move one more game closer to the finish line while the White Sox defeated the Red Sox on Thursday to stay even with the Braves while pushing the Red Sox a game back. Looking at the schedule, three losses will be the maximum loss total for the first half champion which would bring about a playoff in all likelihood but my guess is if the White Sox get past the Cardinals, they will finish with two losses which leaves the Braves games versus the Marlins their game of the season in order to stay even with the White Sox. My gut says the White Sox come out on top as first half champs.
There will not be a “players of the week” due to the rain and minimum number of games played by the teams. We will get back at it next week. Until then……………………………….
Week Three: First Half Races
We are now three weeks in the books and the fog is beginning to settle in the minor and major division first half races. Here is what we have:
With four games remaining in the first half we have a nice scenario forming. The Brewers are still undefeated at 7-0 but the Cardinals and the Angels are close behind at one and two losses respectively. The Cardinals are the only team between the two who have a chance to directly affect the Brewers won/loss total as the two teams meet May 3rd in what may be a game that determines the first half race. But before I get ahead of myself, let’s look at the Brewers remaining games. The Brewers play the Braves, Reds, Cardinals and Cubs to close out the first half. That, my friends, is not an easy road to travel. The Braves went toe to toe with the Brewers with Kaleb Powell throwing a no-hitter in a losing effort and the Reds are one of the better teams in the league. The Brewers could have a loss before they reach the Cardinals game on May 3rd which, if that is the case, will make that game a “game of the week” candidate.
The Cardinals remaining schedule is against the Reds, Angels, Brewers and Reds which is a tough gauntlet as well. The Angels game will be a huge test and may determine both teams fate. My guess is the Cardinals will beat the Reds and win a close one versus the Angels setting up the big game. The way the Cardinals have been playing, an epic battle is in store with the Brewers May 3rd.
The Angels finish the first half against the Yankees, Cardinals, Braves and Red Sox. Looking at the list I have to say the chances are slim the Angels will survive to claim the first half. The slow start to the season put this team in a bind that may be too tough to overcome. My guess is the Angels will be a major player in the second half race.
The May 3rd game between the Cardinals and the Brewers is too close to call. Both teams have good pitching and are deep on offense and defense. Make sure to have a good seat at 3:30 on May 3rd because this one could be a good one. I hope both teams make it to this game with the title on the line.
Three weeks are in the books are we are no closer to naming a first half champion as we were in week one. The Red Sox were in the driver’s seat after a big win over Cameron Hansen and the Padres in the Friday night 7:45 nightcap game but were unable to sustain the momentum the following morning against the Braves and now sit in a three-way tie for the lead with the White Sox and Braves. All three stand at 6-2 so let’s take a look at the road ahead and see what we can see.
The Red Sox have five games remaining in the first half against the White Sox, Marlins, Padres, Phillies and Pirates. Thursday night’s game versus the White Sox will be a big test as well as the following game versus the Marlins. My guess is the Sox need no worse than a split to remain in the race heading into the final week.
The White Sox play the Red Sox, Pirates, Cardinals, Dodgers and Mets to end the first half. The next three games will determine where the White Sox finish as the final two should be wins for this well rounded team.
The Braves finish the first half versus the Dodgers, Cardinals, Padres, Marlins and Phillies. This is not an easy road either which, at first glance, gives the edge to the White Sox. The Braves have their tough games spread out enough that they may be able to work their pitching to their advantage so a final week push to the title could be in store.
Lost in all the commotion is the Phillies. The Phillies have quietly been going about their business winning games staying within striking distance of the leaders and now have their chance to pounce. The Phillies play the Marlins, Pirates, Mets, Red Sox and Marlins to close out the first half. If they can continue their hot streak it is still possible they could be in the mix on the final weekend of the first half. Two big games versus the Marlins and another versus the Red Sox will be the key to their hopes.
The edge has to go to the White Sox as the remaining schedule looks much more manageable than the rest of the contenders. The Cardinals playing the Braves on Thursday and the White Sox on Monday is another advantage to the White Sox as Christian Dixon will most likely pitch against the Braves making him ineligible versus the White Sox if he passes the 65 pitch threshold. That leaves the Red Sox game as the only true tough game left and that game may not be a MUST win as the Red Sox and Braves have dangerous games in the final week. The White Sox may be able to lose another game and still reach the title game or win it outright.
We had two big hits that were the talk of the park this week. The first was in the minor league as Ty Reeves blasted a pitch deep in center field clearing the fence by an easy margin. Reeves became the first minor league player this season to hit a homerun.
The second blast will be talked about for years to come as hits like these are rare at Moss Wright Park. Hunter Crawford form the Major League Marlins launched a pitch into orbit in the first inning of the Marlins/Pirates contest. People who witnessed the hit said it cleared the first row of cars in the parking lot which is an estimated 330 feet from home plate. There hasn’t been a hit that long since 2010 when 6’2” Ryan Hatten hit a bomb in the same parking lot that cleared the left field light pole (275 feet away) at its half-way point while still rising and landed deep in the parking lot. Crawford, like Hatten, fits the description of “man-child”. I expect he will wow us again before the season ends.
Players of the Week
Who had the hot bat this week in the major league division? Let’s look back at every team’s games and see.
We had several .500 batting averages for the week. We will begin at the bottom and move up. To be on this list means you were one of the stars in the league on offense which is a huge honor.
Landon Goodman: The Cardinals eleven year old went 2-4 and is beginning to show signs of the big bat he wielded in the minor league. The emergence of Goodman is a big plus for the Cardinals as the season unfolds.
Logan Moore: The Marlins are on a roll and Logan Moore is one of the reasons why as his defense and bat have helped the recover after a tough start to the season. A 3-6 week will help a team’s win total as well.
Tyler Cummings: The Padres newcomer has been a key cog in the Padres offense and defense all season. The lead-off batter had another good week at the plate going 4-8.
Drake Sanson: The Pirates have had a regular mainstay on the player of the week list in Sanson. The red haired wonder had another good week going 4-8 helping the Pirates win totals along the way.
Blayne Douglas: The Pirates picked up a great find in eleven year old Douglas. Douglas was 2-4 for the week and is showing the Pirates 2013 draft class is one of the better classes in the league.
Courtland Jordan: The Red Sox first baseman had another good week going 3-6 in helping the Red Sox claim a share of first place in the first half standings entering the final weeks of play. Jordan is as consistent as any player in the league.
Hayden Layne: The Red Sox shortstop/pitcher/catcher does it all for the Red Sox posting another great week going 4-7 in three games. Layne is another reason the Red Sox are tied for first place with the Braves and the White Sox.
Andrew Waters: Waters has been playing a limited schedule lately but has been productive when available. Waters was strong again this week going 3-5 for the Pirates who need his production going forward.
Christian Brinkley: The Phillies have been on a tear of late and Brinkley is one of the reasons why. Brinkley had a great week going 3-5 helping the Phillies move in to contention in the first half race.
Landon Moore: The Marlins have been almost unstoppable since the first week. Landon Moore was one of those reasons as he helped his team this week going 3-5. The way the Marlins are swinging the bat every team should be worried.
Ethan Lyle: The Dodgers have been on a rough patch lately but not because of Mr. Lyle. Lyle had another great week at the plate going 3-5. The eleven year old is making a strong case for a spot on the eleven year old team at the end of the season.
Joel Littlepage: The Braves are battling the White Sox and the Red Sox for the first half crown and Littlepage is a reason why they are in contention. Littlpepage had another good week at the plate going 3-5 and played some stellar defense against the Red Sox in their 5-3 win. You have to be careful when this batter come to the box.
.667 is a pretty nice average to carry for a week. There were four players who reached this plateau in week three.
Christian Dixon: The Cardinals are dangerous every time they walk on the field and Dixon is the main reason. Dixon was 2-3 this week drawing a few walks in the process as teams try to minimize the damage this player can dish out. The Mets found out the hard way Saturday when one of those hits went deep in to the Saturday night sky.
Hunter Crawford: The Marlins are flying high lately winning three straight before the Pirates finally hooked them Saturday and Hunter Crawford has been the catalyst for the surge. Crawford was 4-6 for the week with one of the four hits a shot that will be talked about for years to come. When you hit a ball an estimated 330 feet people start talking. I think there may be a few more of those in store for the season ahead.
Seth Holmes: The Padres picked up another great newcomer in Seth Holmes. Holmes has been on the list for three weeks and is possibly leading the league in average after going 2-3 in limited work this week due to injury. Holmes was 4-5 in week one, 3-6 in week two and now 2-3 which comes to a hefty .643 three week average. Not bad for a new face in the league.
Haven Mangrum: The Phillies Haven Mangrum is another regular on this list so it is not a surprise that he posted another great week going 2-3 in two games. As I said last week, Mangrum is the last player you want on base as headaches usually follow as he wreaks havoc on opposing defenses Jackie Robinson style.
How high can we go this week? Last week we had three that were perfect but perfection in this league isn’t going to happen often. Posting a .750 average is pretty darn good in my opinion and this week produced two such players.
Ollie Talmadge: After taking last week off to “let some other kids get some recognition”, the Dodgers Ollie Talmadge is back with a nice 3-4 week in two games. Talmadge in the lineup makes the Dodgers a threat every game they play.
Jared Wilkerson: The Padres have another newcomer on the list this week. Jared Wilkerson posted a solid 6-8 week for the Padres. The Padres are beginning to get the bats going which could spell trouble for the rest of the league in the weeks ahead.
And then there were Two
The top two averages for the third week of the season was a close battle. One team played three games this week and the other played two but both players deserve the top award.
Alex Dillard: Big “D” as he is known on the Red Sox team, has been lighting up pitchers with a vengeance. Dillard posted an impressive 8-10 week highlighted by three doubles a triple and a homerun. The kid has power and an eye for the strike zone which makes him a problem for opposing pitchers and another reason the Red Sox are tied for first.
Dane Hurley: The Marlins Dane Hurley probably wasn’t a name coaches would think of when making a pre-season all-star list. That name has prominently placed itself on the minds of those coaches as Hurley has, once again, posted big numbers for the Marlins. This week was no different as Hurley went 5-6 which is good for a .833 average in two games for the Marlins. With Hurley, Crawford the Moore twins and Pentecost in the lineup, the Marlins are knocking on the championship door and may be the one standing at the end of the season.
Player of the Week
Dane Hurley gets the nod this week for his spectacular .833 week going 5-6 for the Marlins. The marlins have benefitted from Hurley’s bat by evening up their record at 4-4 after a slow start to the season.
Until next week………………………………….
The Week That Was
This is the first installment for the Minor League as we finally got almost all of the games caught up. After two weeks the pre-season favorite Brewers are still undefeated but not by much. Saturday night the game of the week pitted the undefeated Braves versus the undefeated Brewers with both team’s aces on the mound. This game was as advertised as hits were few and runs fewer. The Braves Kaleb Powell had the better evening throwing a no-hitter but the Brewers Bryson Miller got the win as passed balls were the theme of the game giving the Brewers a 4-1 victory.
My early surprise is the Cardinals who won a grand total four games last year. This season things are different as the red birds look like a team that believes they can win every game they play. I am missing one game from Saturday but my guess is they won giving the Cardinals a shiny 4-1 record after two weeks of play. It’s “all gravy” from here on out as the previous season win total has been met in the first two weeks. I expect the Cards to win several more as the season progresses.
The Brewers are undefeated through two weeks of play and they have looked good but my gut says they will not end the season with zero losses. The league has improved overall which means more difficult games day in and day out and the way the Braves played the other night payback may be in the cards the next time those two meet. With that said, the Brewers still are my favorite to win the league title.
Two weeks have passed and we have no teams undefeated. The surprise is that the Red Sox are not undefeated after getting through a tough matchup last Sunday versus Hunter Crawford and the Marlins only to fall two days later to a young Mets team that hadn’t won a game.
The other last undefeated team was the White Sox but the Sox had a much more difficult task against Christian Dixon and the Cardinals. Dixon would shut down the vaunted White Sox offense limiting them to one run on two hits. The Cardinals won the game 2-1 which, at the time, put them in a first place tie with the Red Sox and the White Sox with a weekend date against the Red Sox looming. In that game the Cardinals would fall as Hayden Layne and company would accumulate eight hits off of Dixon while Layne would completely shut down the Cards offense only allowing one lead-off triple from Marcus Watson striking out sixteen. So where do we stand after two weeks of play? We are exactly where we were after week one with the White Sox in first at 5-1 and the Red Sox a half game behind at 4-1.
So who is gaining steam after two weeks of play? That would be the pre-season favorite Marlins. The Marlins were put on the mat in week one losing all three games but found their stride in week two going 3-0 to even their record at 3-3. The pitching staff has gotten it’s legs and the offense is starting to click so watch out to those who have the Marlins on their schedule in weeks to come.
Tough-man err woman award
I mentioned Miss Kailey Brown last week as she and newcomer Seth Holmes led the league in hitting with matching .800 averages. This week I have to compliment the Alabama…. I mean, Auburn fan for her toughness. The Braves were the opponent with Joel Littlepage on the mound. A pitched ball hit Kailey squarely on the left wrist which was inadvertently called a foul. With a quickly bruising left wrist, Kailey continued the at-bat and promptly hit a single into left field. She left the game when she could no longer move her fingers but re-entered after working through the pain to regain a little movement in the hand. After returning, she promptly goes 1-2 to finish the game 2-3. There might not be a tougher kid in the league than this young lady.
Offensive Players of the Week
Finding a player of the week is getting harder as we move deeper into the season. This week the list grew to twenty two players who had a .500 average or higher.
Here is the list:
Max Galpin of the Cardinals had a great week going 5-10 which was good enough for a .500 average.
Christian Dixon: Dixon is heating up as the big right handed hitter was 4-7 (.571) Dixon has yet to really unleash but as this week’s average will attest, the big bomb is only an at-bat away.
Doc Rogan: The Mets Doc Rogan had a long week with his teammates as they had to make up a rain out game and played four games this week. Rogan finished those four games 2-4 (.500) and helped his team defeat the Red Sox on Tuesday with one of those hits.
Seth Holmes: Last week Mr. Holmes led the league going 4-5. His curtain call was another solid week going 3-6 (.500) for the expansion Padres. Holmes is letting everyone know who he is early in the season and the league is taking notice.
Haven Mangrum: The Phillies Haven Mangrum was also .500 for the week going 2-4 in two games. The speedy lefty is beginning to heat up which could cause headaches for the rest of the league.
Jay Flemming: I wrote about Mr. Flemming last year about his snazzy one handed catch, drop, flip, catch and throw act he performs at first base. For those not in the know, Flemming lost one arm in a boating accident so the catch, drop, flip, catch and throw is a must for him to participate in the game. I still like to watch him play because it never gets old. Okay why is Flemming on the offensive player of the week list? The Phillies Flemming had a great week posting a .500 average (2-4) for the week; a week when the Phillies took down the Padres on Sunday.
Drake Sanson: The Pirates Sanson, the youngest twelve year old in the league, used his power and red headed speed to post a .571 (4-7) average this week. Sanson is a thorn in teams side, the same as Mangrum; hard to get out and a nightmare on the bases.
Alex Dillard: Big “D” got the bat going for the Red Sox with a strong 3-6 (.500) week. The big catcher/third baseman helped the Red Sox bounce back from their big loss to the Mets to defeat the Cardinals in a battle for first. Dillard is dangerous every time he walks to the plate.
Kennedy Jordan: The White Sox lead-off batter has set the table for the Sox helping propel the team to a tie for first with the Red Sox. This week the small, speedy centerfielder went 5-9 (.556) helping the White Sox finish the week at 5-1.
Hayden Layne: The Red Sox #1 pitcher and lead-off batter has been stellar in the first two weeks. Layne finished the week 3-5 (.600) and caped the offensive week off with a sixteen strike-out game versus the Cardinals on Saturday to keep the Red Sox tied for first with the White Sox.
Courtland Jordan: Another Red Sox power hitter, Jordan also went 3-5 (.600). Jordan started week one a little slow but caught fire in week two combining with Dillard and Layne to lead the Red Sox to a first place tie after week two.
Austin Mays: The White Sox shortstop/pitcher had a great week going 5-7 (.714) which helped the Sox finish the week with a 5-1 record. Batting behind Jordan in the two spot has been a pain for opposing teams to date. What a one-two punch.
Blayne Douglas: The Pirates Douglas had a great week helping the Pirates get into the first half race going 5-7 (.714). The Pirates offense is beginning to click and Douglas is a big reason.
Jacob Watts: The Mets Jacob Watts was a big reason the Mets defeated the Red Sox on Tuesday blasting a pitch over the right field fence. Watts finished off the week 5-7 (.714) and is looking to be a twelve year old leader the young Mets team needs.
Mark Brown: The Dodgers Mark Brown was mentioned last week for his hitting prowess and he didn’t slow down in week two going 3-4 (.750) with a homerun to boot. Brown and Talmadge have been big twelve year old contributors for a Dodgers offense that relies mainly on eleven year olds.
Chance Merithew: The Braves catcher has been on a roll for two weeks. This week Merithew was 3-4 (.750) with another homerun on Saturday night. The combo of Merithew and Littlepage is as strong a one-two punch in the league.
Hunter Crawford: The Marlins Hunter Crawford has the best fastball in the league and the bat isn’t bad either. Crawford was 4-5 (.800) in games that have been turned in, (Missing Saturday) but nevertheless the man-child is heating up which is good news for the Marlins.
Joel Littlepage: The Braves have a terrific one-two punch in Littlepage and Merithew. The other half was just as good this week going 4-5 (.800) with a homerun on Saturday as well. In order to take down the Braves you first have to control the law-firm of Littlepage and Merithew.
Dane Hurley: The Marlins have another bat in the arsenal in Hurley who was 5-6 (.833) (missing Saturday) for the week. Hurley, Moore, Crawford and Pentecost is a difficult road to travel for any team in the league. Pitchers beware.
Okay, now we are down to the final three up for offensive player of the week with the winner coming from the group.
Cobey Allison: The Braves Allison was perfect for the week going 2-2 in two games as the lanky eleven year old has battled back from injury and now looks to be a player in the Braves offensive arsenal.
Logan Moore: The Marlins Logan Moore was perfect as well but I have one game missing (Saturday). Moore was a perfect 5-5 in the games I have which is another reason the Marlins are finding their groove going undefeated in week two (3-0).
Andrew Waters: The Pirates Waters helped the skull and bones flag sink several opponents this week going 5-5. In those games, the Pirates posted impressive numbers and now look to be hitting their stride heading into week three.
The week two winner is Andrew Waters. I have to give Logan Moore the runner-up because I didn’t have Saturday’s game log. If Waters and the rest of the Pirates offense can sustain the offensive pace, the Pirates will have a thing or two to say about which team wins the first half.
Great Plays of the Week
There were a few plays that need to be mentioned. The first came from Jacob Brown of the Major League Mets. Brown, playing short, snagged a blitzed line drive off the bat of the Red Sox Hayden Layne stealing a hit from Layne and two runs to boot. The snag helped the Mets efforts in defeating the Red Sox on Tuesday.
Cam McClanahan of the minor Reds had a great play on Saturday. McClanahan, playing third, dove to his left to corral a hard grounder. Instead of getting to his feet, he fired a strike to first from his knees to record the out. What a great play!
Marcus Watson robbed the Red Sox Alex Smith of a hit on Saturday playing short. Smith hit a hard grounder up the middle. Watson raced to his left scooped up the ball and fired a bullet to first to retire Smith in a “bang-bang” play. The play didn’t affect the outcome but it was a big time play.
Back to Back Jacks
These two guys have been at it since day one. Chance Merithew and Joel Littlepage hit back to back homeruns versus the White Sox but it wasn’t enough to keep the Sox from the winner’s circle but it was still impressive to watch.
That’s all I have this week. Until next week……….
The Week That Was Week One
Major League Version
The rain finally gave way to sunshine and baseball in Goodlettsville finally began. The Major League got started on Tuesday with two games between the Dodgers and White Sox and the Marlins versus the Braves. Between the two, the Marlins and Braves was the anticipated matchup. The Marlins are the pre-season favorites to claim the 2013 league championship so everyone wanted to get a look at Hunter Crawford and company as they took the field. The Braves claimed victory in grand fashion as Joel Littlepage hit a walk-off homerun giving the Braves a 5-4 edge and with that blast, a season of drama officially began.
Stars of the Week
We had several stars this week in the Majors division. The first was the Dodgers Ollie Talmadge. Talmadge was on fire in week one going 7-11 (.636) helping the Dodgers to a 2-2 record.
Another batting star was newcomer Seth Holmes for the expansion Padres. Holmes had a terrific week going 4-5 (.800) in the Padres first two games with two singles and a triple in his first game and followed that up with a first inning homerun in his second.
I can’t forget the Dodgers Mark Brown who was almost as impressive as Ollie Talmadge in week one. Brown went a sound 5-9 (.555) which was another reason the Dodgers started the season off on a good note.
Jacob Seals: Hmmm…. lead-off batter for the eleven year old all-stars last season. Should I expect anything short of greatness from the White Sox player? Nope. Jacob was stellar in week one going 2-3 in all three week one games giving him a stat line of 6-9 (.667). Jacob Seals is going to be a handful all season long. Did I mention he had two singles a double a triple and two homeruns in those first at bats? Not bad for one of the smallest players in the league.
Another player to look out for is Hayden Layne from the Red Sox. In his 9-10 baseball days he was known as the Sherman Tank and based on his first week of work he may roll over the competition again as a twelve year old. Layne started the week going 5-9 (.555) with a mammoth homerun in his final at bat of the week versus the Marlins. The fences may need to be re-enforced.
Staying with the Red Sox, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Sam McLendon in the stars of the week; McLendon was on fire hitting not one, not two, but THREE inside the park homeruns for the Red Sox. The final “inside the parker” was in walk-off fashion to defeat the Pirates. McLendon showed he will be hard to handle with the speed he possesses.
The Red Haired Wonder: This kid has red hair for a reason, it goes naturally with his blazing speed and great bat. The kid I’m talking about is Drake Sanson from the Pirates. Drake had a great first week as well going 4-6 in two games which is good for a .667 batting average. Drake will be a thorn in the side to every team that has the Pirates on their schedule.
Last but not least: Last season in the minors we had Mia “the Queen” Dean. This year we have a new queen in White Sox player Kailey Brown. Kailey is the cousin of 2012 Little League World Series All-Star centerfielder Jayson Brown and based on the way she plays the game the talent doesn’t fall far from the tree. Kailey had an “okay” first week playing with the boys. All she did was go 4-5 which was good enough to tie her with Seth Holmes for the best first week average in the league this season (.800). The scary thing about Kailey, she is only eleven years old. White Sox nation rejoice!
Standings: Week One
After one week of play we have only two teams left undefeated. Those two are the White Sox and the Red Sox which are both 3-0. The White Sox have looked almost unbeatable in their three games posting double digit runs in each game while playing stellar defense. The Red Sox path to an undefeated week was a little more challenging. The Red Sox recorded their first win 5-1 but win number two would be much more challenging. The Pirates were dead even at 7-7 entering the Red Sox bottom half of the sixth when Red Sox batter Sam McLendon hit a walk-off inside the park homerun down the right field line. Win number three was just as difficult as Hunter Crawford and the Marlins stepped up to the plate. Crawford held the Red Sox in check for two innings before the Sox were able to push across three runs in the third. Crawford reached his pitch allotment at the end of the fourth which allowed the Sox to pull away for a 7-2 win in the final inning.
The Braves had the difficult task of playing four games in five days to open the season. The road was difficult but the Braves managed to post an impressive 3-1 record to pull one game behind the White Sox and the Red Sox. The Braves recorded two wins before falling to the expansion Padres in a closely contested game, 7-5. They bounced back the next game defeating the Marlins 4-3 to finish off the first week in third.
The Cardinals are also sitting in good position with one loss. The defending champs lost their opening game to the Dodgers but came back strong in game two defeating the Marlins to even their record.
The Padres are a surprising 1-1 after week one. This team is expected to be a beast to handle all season so when the Dodgers unleashed Ollie Talmadge on them, the Dodgers got the victory and the park was abuzz. I don’t expect the Padres to drop many games this year and this may have been a good wake-up call they needed.
The Dodgers are an impressive 2-2 after week one. The pitching staff isn’t as deep as a coach would like but the team has managed and it doesn’t hurt to have Mark Brown and Ollie Talmadge swinging the bat as well as they are to start the season. The Dodgers have been more of a Jekyll and Hyde team to date struggling in one game only to come back the next looking awesome. Once they get things straightened out they could do some damage.
The Phillies are 1-2 to start the season having a tough stretch of games in the first week. They picked up a good win Sunday over the Mets which could be what the team needs to get on a roll in week two.
Play of the Week
We could have had several players who had the play of the week but it is not often a player hits three inside the park homeruns over a two day stretch so the award goes to Sam McLendon. McLendon hit two of Friday night and then followed that up with another in the final inning versus the Pirates down the right field line giving the Red Sox an 8-7 victory. Congrats to Sam for a great start to the season.
Has anyone noticed an increase in homeruns to start the season? There were total of 8 hit in week one (three inside the park). I can’t remember this many this early since the fence was backed up to 227. We could have a big year for the long ball. Stay tuned.
That’s about all I have for now. Once we get going and more information rolls in, more ages will be included so stay tuned……………………..
And So It Begins…………AGAIN!
2013 Season Here We Come
The countdown begins as the start of the season fast approaches. Expectations are high for every team as dreams of a championship dance in their heads. Before we talk about what’s ahead first we will recap the champs from last season.
2012 Regular season champs:
I wasn’t given any information on the “A” division last season so I wasn’t able to write much about the youngest group but I do know the National Phillies, coached by Joey Keef, won the National League going undefeated and return this season for a chance at a repeat. Will Coach Joey Keef have the kids shave his head again at the conclusion of another championship season? Time will tell…….
National League Champs: Giants (ran the table in the National league winning both halves)
American League Champs: Rangers (upset win over the favored Rays in the playoffs)
National League Champs: Cubs (Second best team in the league last year behind steady pitching)
American League Champs: Orioles (head and shoulders the cream of the minor league last season)
League Champions: Cardinals (With Brock-a-licious Myers, Blake Osborne, Andrew Snyder, John Williams and a host of good eleven year olds, a championship was expected)
2013 Season Forecast
“A” and “AA”
I don’t have enough information on the younger ages to go over the teams. I will hopefully get updates as the season progresses.
Something is Brewing
This season, the early talk in the minor leagues has been about the expansion Brewers. The Brewers, coached by Kip Brown, loaded up in the expansion draft picking up three strong ten year olds in Peyton Carney, Bryce Miller and Kanon Lewis and added a fourth, Nathan Frontz, to the mix as well. The team was rumored to have had an excellent 9 year old draft highlighted by Ryan Oden making them one of the early favorites to claim the minor league crown.
Angels in the Outfield:
Last season this team, known as the mighty Orioles, was the class of the minor leagues. They rolled through the competition with a 20-3 record and from early reports I have received, are primed and ready to steam roll again. Jordan “The Zugernator” Zugar will be one of the top players in the league and should help the Angels continue their dominance from the 2012 season. The team also features several seasoned veterans in Owen EL-ShiShini, Colby Henley, Logan Galbreth, Ty Lawrence and newcomer Zachary Latumondler. These ten year old leaders along with a strong 9 year old class should mean the Angels will be at or near the top all season long. Look for Tanner and Tyler Jones as well as Isaiah Page to be major contributors as well.
The Nationals were the Rays last season. The Rays were the proverbial thorn in the side for many teams in 2012 and from the way they played in the Pre-Season tournament, look to be a head-ache for every team again this season. Jarrett “The Giant” Webb leads the team with power at the plate and a pretty good arm on the mound. The supporting cast is strong so expect the Nationals to be in the mix all season long.
A new era begins for the Cubs
Last year the Cubs won another championship under the helm of Coach Bo Boguskie. This season Coach Bo steps down and turns the reigns over to Josh LeMay. The Cubs road to a championship will be much tougher this year and my guess is they will not claim the prize but I expect them to be in the mix all season long coming up a little short.
Big Red Machine
I haven’t had a chance to see the Reds this season but I do know they had a great year last year challenging the Orioles for the second half championship before falling short. This season should bring similar results with the Reds battling for the title but for now, until I can see them on the field, my instincts tell me they may fall short again this season. Time will tell.
From feeling blue to seeing red
The Cardinals were the Dodgers last season. The Dodgers had a rough year in 2012 but expectations are high with the return of Luke Flemming from a season of travel ball. Walker Sipe adds speed to the leadoff position as well as a good glove at second while nine year old Zach McWilliams should be one of the top 9 year olds in the league and one of the better pitchers as well. Four more ten year olds return to form the core of the team and the 9 year olds should provide good support. The Cardinals will be improved this year. Expect a run for the title as well.
The Braves return arguably the best player in the league in Caleb Powell and because of that, should be one of the top teams in the league. Asher Peck had a strong nine year old season for the Braves and should be even better the second time around as a ten year old. New addition Devvan Darden has the speed in the leadoff spot to give teams fits and Jackson Brown looks ready to shine as well. The nine year old class is led by Tyler Robertson and Braden Kelly which gives the Braves a roster with good support. The Braves are another team to watch this season and a serious run at the title should be expected.
I haven’t seen the Rangers this season so I will have to wait to see how the 2013 version stacks up to the rest of the field. The team lost several key players (Cobey Allison and Derek Steen) from last year’s team which should be hard to overcome.
Last season the Rockies which are now the Yankees were one of the better teams. The Rockies and Cubs had several close games but as was the case with the Rangers, the Yankees lose several key players from last season’s team. I have heard the team has replaced the lost talent well and has some power in the lineup. One player; I don’t know the name……YET, hit a bomb on field 5 an estimated 240 feet. That’s a nice poke on the major league field which measures 227. A run at the title is not out of the question for this team in 2013.
Expansion Red Sox
The second expansion team this season is the Red Sox. I haven’t seen the Red Sox this season so I will have to wait until the start of the season for any report.
Who Will Be King?
So the teams are set. Who will be king of the heap at the end of the season? The answer is anyone’s guess but my best jab at it is this is the Brewers race to lose. It will be fun watching to see how it unfolds and the competition should be fierce. Good luck to every team and remember to have fun.
MAJOR LEAGUE MADNESS
Let the drama begin! This season we could have a record five or six teams log-jammed at the top of the standings as the league is as balanced as it has been in many years. The champion could end up with 10 losses by year’s end. Let’s take a look at the field:
Last season the Cardinals were the class of the league. The team finished off the season 19-5 claiming the league championship. Gone are the likes of Brock Myers, Blake Osborne, Andrew Snyder and John Williams but the team returns two of the top players in the league in Christian Dixon and Marcus Watson. The duo should lead the Cardinals this season with many wins in their wake. The team isn’t as deep as last season, for obvious reasons, but will be in the hunt for the championship.
The Marlins had a great second half last year almost going undefeated and finishing the season with a 15-9 record. That 2nd half run led them to the second half championship and a date with the Cardinals in the league championship game. The Cards won that game but the Marlins emerged feeling their chances for a title in 2013 would be great. Hunter Crawford returns as the top pitching threat for the Marlins with Seth Pentecost and Dane Hurley providing support giving the Marlins one of the best three 12 year old pitching combos in the league making them one of the favorites to end the season on top.
The Red Sox finished the 2012 season with a 16-8 record but were unable to topple the Cards in any of their 3 games last season which left them on the outside looking in when the dust settled. The team returns their top pitcher and hitter from last season, Mr. everything Hayden Layne. Layne finished the season with only one loss on the mound and led the team with a .466 batting average. The supporting cast looks strong with Alex Dillard, Courtland Jordan, Jeffrey Adams and Kaline Christian providing 12 year old leadership. The question for the Sox will be who will take command of the #2 pitching role for the team? That question remains to be answered entering the start of the season and that role will determine the fate of the team.
The White Sox struggled to a 10-14 record last season but the future looks bright as the team restocked with new talent. Kennedy Jordan, Jacob Seals and Austin Mays return and with the addition of Nick Pianto, Jacob McDonald and Kailey Brown the White Sox are a serious contender for the league title in 2013.
Known as the Rangers for many years, the Mets begin fresh with a new name and a new coach but the goal remains the same, win the league championship. The Mets are one of the youngest teams in the league but don’t let age fool you. The team has talent and that talent will be on display every game. Jacob Brown will be the senior leader on the team with Michael Biggs and Jacob Watts returning as well. The team added Johnny Drake to the roster adding an extra twelve year old to the mix. Jimmy Watson, Brady Sullivan, Cole Biggs and the rest of the eleven year old roster add depth to a team that won 14 of 24 games a year earlier.
The Braves finished 2012 with an 11-13 record but all indications point to a much improved 2013 season. The team is led by Joel Littlepage, Drew Robertson and Chance Merithew on the mound as well as Isaac Clark, Julius Elders and Javonta Flippin on the defensive side. With Littlepage, Robertson and Merithew forming a three-headed twelve year old pitching rotation, the Braves will have a leg up on the competition the same as the Marlins which means the Braves should contend all season for the league crown.
The Phillies finished off the 2012 season 9-15 but return the steady arm of Haven Mangrum. Mangrum was arguably the top pitcher for the Phillies last season as injuries to Austin Ford put the team in a bind for much of the season contributing to the team’s struggles. Christian Brinkley, Zane Stewart Jay Flemming and newcomer Deuce Drennan provide twelve year old depth while the team has several solid eleven year old additions as well with Jacob Johnson and Sam Browning leading the way. The Phillies will be a tough out every game this season and should improve on last year’s win totals.
The Pirates were the Reds last season and finished the year with an 8-16 record. Drake Sanson returns as the team’s spark plug while Grey Phillips, Rex Warren, Andrew Waters, Garrett Stephens and JT Kiernan add to the team’s twelve year old depth. The team has looked good heading into the start of the season and my guess is they will be one of the teams that fight for the title of champion in 2013.
The Dodgers finished the season 6-18 but have looked strong in the pre-season. Hunter Scurlock returns as the team’s top player while the addition of Ollie Talmadge adds extra thump to the team’s lineup. Mark Brown and Taylor Lazenby fill out the remaining twelve year old talent while Ethan Lyle, Jacob Smith and Jackson Dycus add depth to a much more talented lineup in 2013. Expect the Dodgers to surpass the season totals from a year earlier.
The wild card of the league is the expansion Padres. The Padres didn’t play in the pre-season tournament and thusly are a virtual unknown entering the start of the season. The team loaded up with a formidable twelve year old cast headed by Cameron Hansen, Seth Holmes and Tyler Cummings. The team had a great eleven year old draft to go with the good crop of twelve year old selections which makes the Padres a top contender on paper. They should be just as good on the field.
Who Has The Edge?
Now that the teams have been introduced, the overall pre-season favorite for the 2013 crown is the Marlins. The Marlins have a strong cast of pitchers to go along with a solid defense and a deep lineup. That combination should make them a difficult team to beat game in and out which makes them my favorite to take the2013 crown. Good luck to every team as they prepare for the start of the season.
Until Next Week……..