Players of the Chapter
It took two attempts, but Tony Chamra
finally acquired Christian Yelich from the Kansas City Boulevards this
past chapter. (More on that deal below.) This trade coincides with
Yelich's hottest hot streak of the season. He hit .364/.427/.727 this
past chapter with a league-leading 29.6 runs created. That is a
performance the Mustangs could have used, as they went just 13-11 last
chapter and fell to four games behind the division-leading Chicago
The EL Hitter of the Chapter led his
team to an EL-best 17 wins in Chapter Three. Great Lakes Sphinx star
Manny Machado was one of only three unanimous selections to the all-star
game. He led the EL in batting (.429), OBP (.477), slugging (.755), and
runs created (35.4) in Chapter Three.
The Ravenswood Infidels have opened up
a comfortable four-game lead in the universally-coveted position of
second wildcard in the Ozzie League. Eduardo Rodriguez has not had a
very good season for the Infidels (7-4, 4.59 ERA in 84+ IP) overall, but
he shined in Chapter Three, going 4-0 with a 2.61 ERA, and ranking among
the top four in opponents average (.185), OBP (.244), and slugging
(.343). He is our OL Pitcher of the Chapter.
On the EL side, the choice for POC is
crystal-clear. South Carolina's Blake Snell led the league in all three
triple-slash categories (.151/.250/.217), and ranked #2 in ERA (1.47).
Incredibly enough, he went just 2-1 in five starts.
Top Stories of the
Story #1: Charlotte (Finally) Gets Yelich
Tony Chamra's first attempt to land
Christian Yelich died when the deal surpassed the VORP cap. The deal was
reworked, but wasn't agreed upon until May 3rd, which meant that Yelich's
Mustangs debut will not begin until the second half of the season.
For Charlotte fans, Yelich represents a much-needed boost to a Mustangs
offense that ranks #2 in the Eck League in runs scored and yet trails
the #1-ranked Chicago Black Sox by 16 runs. He currently leads the Ozzie
League in batting (.338), OBP (.438), slugging (.658), and runs created
(83.6). If he hadn't been traded, he may have won the OL MVP!
Charlotte has been chasing Chicago all
season. Instead of gaining ground, as expected, the Mustangs managed to
lose ground in Chapter Three. While Charlotte barely topped .500
(13-11), the Black Sox went 16-8 and expanded their lead to four games
in the division.
This division race now has major
implications in this new BDBL era of two wildcards per league.
Currently, the Southern Cal Slyme and Great Lakes Sphinx share the
wildcard lead, and would play each other in a one-game playoff if the
season were to end today. Charlotte trails both teams by two games,
with the sub-.500 Buckingham Sovereigns a relatively distant four games
behind Charlotte. That one-game playoff has become a neck-and-neck race between
three teams. However, Charlotte would prefer to win the division
and leave the wildcard race to the Black Sox. Yelich could help them do
Story #2: St. Louis Pulls Ahead
The defending champion Apostles were
the unanimous favorites to win the Wilkie Division in preseason polling.
They were also picked to win the Eck League title for the second year in
a row. It took them three chapters, however, to finally overtake the
Southern Cal Slyme in the division race.
St. Louis trailed SoCal by two games
heading into Chapter Three. They posted a respectable 15-9 record in
Chapter Three while the Slyme completely collapsed, going just 8-16. In
the span of just 24 games, the Apostles went from trailing by two to
leading by a comfortable five games.
The Slyme's pitching tanked in Chapter
Three. They went from a fourth-ranked 3.85 ERA in the first two chapters
to a whopping 4.83 ERA in Chapter Three. Sean Manaea, Raisel Iglesias,
and Chapter Two's Pitcher of the Chapter James Taillon went a combined
0-9 with a 6.07 ERA last chapter.
St. Louis didn't exactly dominate in
Chapter Three. They posted a runs differential of just +4 and ranked in
the middle of the pack in both runs scored and allowed. Nevertheless,
they eked out 15 wins thanks to some luck in one-run games (5-2) and
extra innings (3-1).
Story #3: Los Altos on a Record Pace (Again)
The Los Altos Undertakers led the
league in wins in Chapter Three for the third chapter in a row. They
lead the BDBL in wins overall (58), and are on pace to win 116 games
this season. If they continue at this pace, it will be the fourth time in
five seasons that they have won 115+ games, and the tenth time in
twenty-one seasons that they have won 100 or more (with one other season
in which they won 99.)
Bear in mind that all of this is
happening while the Undertakers' big winter free agent signing, Matt
Carpenter, is batting just .250/.352/.438. Just imagine how many games
this team will win when he inevitably heats up.
The Undertakers are also accomplishing
this feat despite the fact that they only have one decent starting
pitcher (Seth Lugo), who is severely limited in usage (just 110 for the
season.) The team's ace, Gerritt Cole, is 12-4 on the season despite
posting a mediocre ERA of 4.41. Tanner Roark (who has now been released) is a mediocre 8-7 with a
4.06 ERA. Rich Hill owns an atrocious 4.94 ERA, and Chris Archer (6.54
ERA in 74+ IP) has been even more disastrous!
How on earth does a team lead the
league in wins with such awful starting pitching? It's an easy answer.
It has been the same answer to explain the Undertakers success since
our very first season in 1999: the bullpen. Last year's first round midseason free
agent draft pick, Seranthony Dominguez, owns a microscopic 0.98 ERA in 27+
(Fun fact: here are some of the
superstars who were selected ahead of Dominguez in that draft: Justin
Dunn, Ezequiel Duran, Connor Scott, Dylan Covey,
Andrew Knizner, and Corbin Martin. You want to know why Jeff dominates
this league every year? Look no further.)
In addition to Dominguez, his fellow
all-star Colin McHugh has posted a perfect 5-0 record along with a 1.30
ERA in 34+ IP. Jeremy Jeffress (2-0, 1.34 in 33+) and Reyes Moronta
(5-0, 1.89 ERA in 33+ IP) have also been perfect on the season.
Combined, those four relievers are a perfect 14-0 on the season!
But wait! There's more! Sean Doolitte
(3-0, 2.35 in 23 IP) and Lugo (9-0, 2.37 in 57) also haven't lost a
single game this season. Put them all together, and those six pitchers
are a combined 26-0 with a 1.76 ERA in 209 innings! That's better than vintage
Are we having fun yet? Is there any end
to this dynasty?
Story #4: Akron's Power Ranking Dominance
Los Altos may be running away with the
league's best record once again, but it's the Akron Ryche who are
dominating the league with a +132 runs differential. The Akron offense
leads the entire BDBL in runs scored (452). They also lead the BDBL in
batting (.277) and slugging (.470).
All-stars Starling Marte
(.331/.372/.623, 24 HR) and Ronald Acuna (.325/.398/.649, 20 HR) are
both on pace for more than 120 runs created this season. Marte's OPS is
more than 200 points above his MLB OPS, and he has already hit four more
home runs (in just 284 AB) than he hit all of last season in MLB (20 in
559 AB.) Acuna is also playing way over his head, with an OPS that is
129 points above his MLB OPS, and with nearly as many home runs as he
hit in MLB (26) in roughly half the at-bats.
No other Akron batter has more than 44
runs created. No other player has hit more than 10 home runs or has
driven in more than 36. Those two all-stars have carried this team to
the best runs total in the entire BDBL.
On the other side of the ball, Akron
ranks fourth in the BDBL in fewest runs allowed. Here again, Akron has
benefited from some pitchers who appear to be performing way above their
heads. Marcus Stroman's 3.41 ERA in 87 IP is more than two runs below
his MLB ERA (5.54). He allowed an average of 10.1 hits per nine in MLB,
but has yielded just 8.2 in the BDBL. He also owns a lower walk rate and
home run rate than he had in MLB. And his OPS allowed against
left-handers is 200 points below his MLB rate!
On the flip side, Akron's pitching has
excelled despite the surprisingly weak performance of Robbie Ray. Ray
owns a 4.84 ERA in 80 innings, and has already allowed more home runs to
left-handers (5) than he did in MLB (4). Lefties slugged just .248
against Ray in MLB, and yet have slugged .527 against him in the BDBL.
As long as Marte and Acuna continue to
perform so far above their heads, Akron will continue to rank near the
top of Jim Doyle's Power Ranking.
Story #5: All Hail the Ozzie!
For the second year in a row, the Ozzie
League triumphed over the Eck League in interleague play, firmly
establishing themselves as the superior league:
OL W Pct.