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Big Daddy Baseball League

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slant.gif (102 bytes) From the Desk of the Commish


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November, 2020

2020 Playoffs Preview

If you enjoyed the teams that played in the 2019 postseason, you'll love the 2020 postseason! For the first time ever, all six of the division winners from 2019 repeated as division winners in 2020. The two newcomers -- Bear Country and Cleveland -- got here the hard way. Both wildcard races came down to the wire. Bear Country finished tied with Ravenswood for the OL wildcard, and won a one-game do-or-die match to get to the postseason. Cleveland needed a sweep against the Myrtle Beach Hitmen in their final series of the season in order to win the EL wildcard outright. They did just that, requiring extra innings in the final game of the season to do it.


106-54 1,005 726 279 58-22 48-32 .847 .842 .848 4.20 .741 .758 .730
96-64 762 736 26 53-27 43-37 .766 .824 .750 4.22 .758 .800 .736

Lifelong best friends Jeff Paulson and Matt Clemm will meet in the BDBL playoffs for the first time since 2003. In case you've forgotten (or weren't born yet), Bear Country pulled off a major upset in that series, winning in six games with the help of series MVP...(checking my notes)...Brian Buchanan??

For the second year in a row, the Undertakers enter the postseason with the #1 seed in the BDBL, thanks to a league-best 106 wins, which barely topped Southern Cal's 105. Needless to say, this is familiar territory for this franchise. This is the ELEVENTH time in twenty-two seasons that Los Altos has finished with 100 or more wins. Their runs differential of 279 also leads the BDBL. This marks the sixth time that they have done so.

The 2020 Undertakers are the first team in the BDBL to score 1,000+ runs since the 2009 St. Louis Apostles. They are also one of only five teams in history (four of them this year!) to hit 300+ home runs. Their offense was truly a team effort, as seven different players hit 20+ homers (plus Cory Seager, who finished with 19), six players drove in 80 or more runs, and six created 80+ runs.

In his seventh (and final?) season with the Undertakers, Nolan Arenado (.300/.359/.526) once again ignored ballpark factors and led the team with 122 runs created, 39 home runs, and 115 RBI's. Shin-Soo Choo (.290/.369/.474) smacked 46 doubles, 21 homers, and stole 22 bases in 25 attempts. Rookie Fernando Tatis (.351/.417/.725) added 29 home runs in only 316 at-bats while playing out of position at second base for most of the season.

Joc Pederson (.269/.350/.533) posted a .937 OPS against righties, and hit 31 homers in just 400 at-bats against them. Cory Seager (.278/.332/.515) led the Ozzie League with 53 doubles. Danny Santana, batting at the bottom of the lineup more often than not, hit .282/.331/.524, with 27 home runs and 81.7 runs created. Dan Vogelbach hit just .198 for the season, and yet even he contributed with a .364 on-base percentage and 30 homers. Mitch Garver (.278/.349/.602) also joined the 30-homer club with 31.

Yet another rookie, Bo Bichette, earned just 187 at-bats, but hit a whopping .385/.437/.717 with 14 homers during his short stay. He will be eligible for 16 PA's in the Division Series (or roughly four games.) As if the Undertakers don't have enough shortstops, Nick Ahmed (.307/.368/.563) also excelled in his short 254-AB stint.

Way back in February, I wrote on this page: "The most glaring weakness (of this team) is a starting rotation that looks awful beyond its ace." The Los Altos ace, Gerritt Cole (20-8, 3.69 ERA in 231+ IP, with 358 K's) was as brilliant as expected, but the rest of the rotation wasn't exactly awful. Sandy Alcantara (18-5, 4.00 ERA in 216 IP) and David Price (10-4, 3.62 ERA in 117 IP) were much better than expected. Aaron Sanchez (12-2, 5.67 ERA in 133+ IP) and Caleb Smith (12-10, 5.77 ERA in 163+ IP) were abysmal. Still, despite their awfulness, both of those horrendous pitchers won more games than they lost, thanks to run support of 7.7 and 6.3, respectively.

As always, since the dawn of time, the Undertakers managed to keep runs off the board thanks to their bullpen. Dustin May (1.49 ERA in 36+ IP), Seth Lugo (1.83 ERA in 83+ IP, 41 saves), and Reyes Moronta (3.26 ERA in 60+) did most of the heavy lifting in the late innings.

The Jamboree baffled the BDBL punditry for the entire season with their very low runs differential. That differential of just +26 ranks last among the eight playoff teams. Not coincidentally, Bear Country's +13 Pythagorean difference ranks #1 in the entire BDBL (with the SoCal Slyme as the only other team to reach double digits.) Normally, those wacky Pythagorian discrepancies are caused by a wacky record in one-run games, but Bear Country won 60% of their games overall, and 60% of their one-run games as well.

Offensively, the Jamboree rank just eighth in the OL in runs scored, just ahead of the lowly Joplin Miners. Three of their batters -- Paul Goldschmidt (.321/.391/.615), Jeff McNeil (295/.382/.538), and J.D. Martinez (.303/.375/.481) -- created 100+ runs. Wilson Ramos (.321/.385/.459) and J.D. Davis (.290/.335/.448) also had productive years. Beyond those five, the Bear Country lineup was a conglomeration of bench players like Luis Rengifo (.258/.341/.425), Adam Engel (.259/.300/.420), and Garrett Hampson (.188/.209/.317).

On the pitching side, the starting rotation was led by two 17-game winners: Hyun-Jin Ryu (17-6, 3.53 ERA in 196+ IP) and Luis Castillo (17-8, 3.73 ERA in 198 IP). John Means (10-9, 3.77 ERA in 169+ IP) and Ryan Yarbrough (13-9, 4.11 ERA in 151 IP) fleshed out the rotation, with Frankie Montas (5-5, 3.48 ERA in 101 IP) and late-season addition Jeff Samardzija (7-4, 3.49 ERA in 77+ IP for BCJ) adding some depth.

Aroldis Chapman (2.77 ERA in 61+ IP) led the BDBL with 45 saves, with Stefan Crichton (1.91 ERA in 33 IP), Casey Sadler (2.92 ERA in 49+ IP), and the controversial Francisco Liriano (2.56 ERA in 31+ IP as a Jamboree) getting most of the work at the back end of the bullpen.

The Undertakers won ten of their sixteen regular season match-ups against Bear Country this year. The Jamboree managed to split two series against Los Altos at home, and lost three of four in both series played in the Graveyard of Los Altos. Bear Country beat up left-handers this year, but were merely mediocre against righties. With three of Los Altos' likely four starters, and their best bullpen arms, all being right-handed, that appears to give the Undertakers an advantage. Likewise, the Undertakers appear to have the advantage in the opposite direction. They posted an .842 OPS against lefties (second only to the Infidels in the OL), and three of Bear Country's best starting pitchers are lefties.

Advantage or not, it will be fun to watch these two lifelong friends battle it out in the postseason for the first time since George W. Bush was still president.

Prediction: Los Altos in five.


105-55 968 797 171 51-29 54-26 .865 .884 .858 4.49 .769 .793 .754
90-70 813 756 57 43-37 47-33 .781 .819 .769 4.41 .774 .797 .754

A tale of two teams. The Slyme won their division by thirty games -- a wider margin than every other division winner in the BDBL except Salem. Cleveland barely eked into the playoffs with an extra-innings win in their final game of the season. SoCal pummeled their opponents, scoring 968 runs (second-best to only Charlotte in the EL) and outscoring the opposition by 171 runs. Cleveland scored over 150 fewer runs than SoCal, outscored their opponents by just 57 runs, and owe much of their success to winning one-run games (29-20).

The Slyme offense was carried by four huge bats. Eugenio Suarez (.303/.387/.659) led the entire BDBL with 158 RBI's, and ranked second to only Christian Yelich in home runs (62) and runs created (158.3). Ketel Marte (.321/.385/.599) racked up a whopping NINETY-FIVE extra-base hits, including 51 doubles, 13 triples, and 31 homers. He also swiped seven bases in seven attempts. Jorge Soler (.295/.359/.652) smashed 52 homers and drove in 131 runs. He and Suarez became the first teammates in BDBL history to hit 50+ homers in the same season. Yoan Moncada (.340/.383/.567) won the EL batting title, and led the EL in triples (15). 70 of his 190 hits went for extra bases.

The Slyme smashed 288 home runs as a team, and had seven players with 20+ homers. In addition to the above-mentioned players, Jose Abreu (25), Jorge Alfaro (26), and Willie Calhoun (20) also joined the 20-homer club this year. Calhoun hit a whopping .369/.404/.672 in only 241 at-bats, and is eligible to bat 26 times in the Division Series. As if all those sluggers weren't enough, late addition Michael Brantley (.289/.362/.503) also hit 21 homers overall.

SoCal ranked in the middle of the EL pack in ERA despite the presence of Cy Young candidate Lucas Giolito (21-6, 3.42 ERA in 192+ IP, 252 K's). He was backed in the starting rotation by Zack Greinke (19-6, 4.11 ERA in 228 IP), Trevor Bauer (18-7, 4.48 ERA in 204+), and Cole Hamels (14-3, 5.26 ERA in 133+). Thirteen different pitchers earned a save in SoCal's bullpen-by-committee. Giovanny Gallegos (2.94 ERA) earned 10 of those saves in just 33+ innings. Jarlin Garcia (2.88 ERA in 50 IP), Jameson Taillon (2.31 ERA in 39 IP), and Sam Gaviglio (3.63 ERA in 86+ IP) did the bulk of the late-inning heavy lifting.

The Rocks ranked just eighth in the EL in runs scored and posted a below-average slugging percentage despite smashing 271 home runs as a team. As always (it seems), Cleveland led the Eck League in stolen bases, with 133. (The next-highest total was just 53.) NINE different Cleveland batters finished with 20 or more home runs, although only two managed to top 30.

Trevor Story (.276/.342/.516, with 35 HR) and Tommy Pham (.292/.363/.488) both finished with over 100 runs created. Luke Voit (.291/.389/.492), Gleyber Torres (.267/.315/.521, with a team-leading 43 HR), and Justin Turner (.283/.365/.447) all created 90+ runs. Catchers Jason Castro (.274/.336/.583) and Gary Sanchez (.202/.263/.423) combined to hit 45 home runs. Both Story (37) and Pham (39) swiped more than 30 bags.

Cleveland's and SoCal's overall pitching numbers are very similar. They finished within eight points of each other in ERA. Their hit and home run rates were very close. SoCal pitchers walked significantly more batters, but also struck out significantly more. Cleveland's starting rotation featured a dominant rookie, Mike Sorotka (15-4, 3.71 ERA in 179+ IP), a familiar veteran, Justin Verlander (14-15, 4.42 ERA in 224 IP, with 306 K's), and a Japanese import, Miles Mikolas (14-6, 4.40 ERA in 188+ IP). All three starters are rated Vg for endurance, so the Rocks could conceivably use a three-man rotation in the playoffs. If not, then they'll have to choke down whatever Reynaldo Lopez (10-7, 5.66 ERA in 175 IP) serves up.

Yusmeiro Petit (2.56 ERA in 77+ IP) shared the BDBL's saves lead despite his ungodly home run rate (1.6 per nine.) Joaquim Soria (3.01 ERA in 71+ IP), Josh Osich (3.21 ERA in 67+ IP), Steve Cishek (3.36 ERA in 64+ IP), Nick Wittgren (3.56 ERA in 55+ IP), and Yoan Lopez (3.80 ERA in 64 IP) carried the bulk of the bullpen.

Southern Cal and Cleveland played to a draw during the regular season, with each team winning six games. Oddly enough, both teams went 2-4 at home during those series. So, is SoCal's home field advantage in the Division Series really an advantage? Interestingly enough, Justin Verlander lost all three of his starts against the Slyme this year -- and those games weren't even close. In 18 innings, Verlander posted an ERA of 11.50 against the Slyme.

It seems as though it would take quite an upset for Cleveland to defeat the Slyme in this series. It isn't as if the Slyme are strangers to being upset in the postseason, however. In fact, the Slyme have won 100+ games seven previous times in history. Five out of those seven times, they lost the Division Series, including one sweep and two losses in only five games. In other words, the Rocks could have a fighting chance!

Prediction: Nah. Southern Cal in four.



103-57 913 709 204 54-26 49-31 .822 .800 .834 3.89 .701 .732 .675
97-63 961 762 199 51-29 46-34 .844 .834 .848 4.49 .748 .733 .757

Salem lost their season series against only one opponent this year. Care to guess who?

Lucky guess. Yes, the Cowtippers lost seven of their twelve match-ups against Akron this year, and four of those losses came at home in Sam Adams Stadium. However, to be fair, three of Salem's losses to Akron were started by Anibal Sanchez, who won't see the light of day in November.

The Cowtippers scored 58 more runs this year than they did during their championship year of 2019. But in this offense-crazy year, their 913 runs scored was only the fourth-best total in the Ozzie. Salem also set a franchise record with 275 home runs...but that was only the third-highest total in the Ozzie (and eighth-highest in the BDBL!)

Three Cowtippers topped 100 runs created this year: Rafael Devers (.318/.369/.583, with 42 2B and 40 HR), Jose Ramirez (.277/.343/.550, 40 2B, 31 HR), and Christian Walker (.265/.340/.479, 35 2B, 29 HR). Trea Turner (.301/.351/.488) came up a little shy of 100 runs created, but led the team with 50 doubles and 31 stolen bases. Ramon Laureano (.272/.321/.545), Tom Murphy (.321/.375/.664), Cameron Maybin (.358/.436/.614), and Shohei Ohtani (.282/.334/.514) all had big years at the plate as well.

Salem led the BDBL in ERA (3.89), and were one of only two teams to finish with an ERA below 4.00 (with Buckingham clocking in at 3.99). In the Year of the Home Run, Salem pitchers managed to keep the ball in the park. They led the BDBL in fewest homers allowed (184). They also led the BDBL in lowest OPS allowed (.701), and were one of only three teams in the league to strike out over 1,600 batters.

The starting rotation of Sonny Gray (20-7, 3.06 ERA in 191+ IP), Stephen Strasburg (16-8, 3.85 in 229), Max Scherzer (15-9, 3.57 in 189), and Jon Gray (9-6, 3.51 in 164+) was excellent, although perhaps not as good as expected. Rowan Wick (0.50 ERA in 35+ IP), J.B. Wendelken (1.83 ERA in 34+ IP) and Aaron Bummer (2.01 ERA in 44+ IP as a Cowtipper) were lights-out in the bullpen.

The Akron offense enjoyed one of the greatest performances of any team in league history. They slugged .500 as a team, which hadn't been done since 2004. They hit over 300 home runs (301), which had only been done once before this season. They scored 961 runs, which would rank #15 all-time prior to this year. Of course, in this season of hyper-inflated offense, Akron was hardly alone.

Ronald Acuna (.295/.387/.587), playing in just his second season, led the team with 151.4 runs created (second in the OL) and 49 home runs. Josh Bell (.292/.364/.578, 41 2B, 41 HR) and Starling Marte (.323/.373/.602, with 34 HR) created 125 and 111.4 runs, respectively. The rest of the Akron lineup featured a hodgepodge of short-usage superstars like Jesse Winker (.298/.399/.570 in 265 AB), David Dahl (.297/.355/.524 in 357 AB), Keston Hiura (.304/.345/.579 in 299 AB), Austin Nola (.319/.371/.588 in 257 AB), Donovan Solano (.349/.372/.508 in 238 AB), and Tommy Edman (.308/.342/.507 in 341 AB.)

No Akron pitcher threw more than 154 innings, and only one topped 150. Given the mediocre performances and low usage of the three-to-five pitchers who tossed between 70-135 innings, it seems likely that Akron will employ a pitching-staff-by-committee approach in the playoffs, as they have throughout the regular season. That committee could be led by Luke Weaver (8-1, 3.57 ERA in 70+ IP), who is limited to five innings in the Division Series. Or someone named Jacob Waguespack (5-5, 3.57 ERA in 85+ IP), who is limited to six.

Other than Marcus Stroman (10-7, 5.17 ERA in 153+ IP), who seems unlikely to make the postseason roster, the only Akron starter with unlimited usage (just barely) is Mike Clevinger (9-7, 4.21 ERA in 134+ IP.) Brandon Woodruff (10-9, 3.92 ERA in 131 IP) is limited to nine innings, which means he could conceivably make two short starts in the series. Once the game is turned over to the bullpen, Will Smith (3.25 ERA in 69+ IP), Andres Munoz (1.44 ERA in 25 IP), and the ridiculously dominant Scott Oberg (0.31 ERA, 29 IP, 8 H, 0 HR, 7 BB, 29 K) will see the bulk of the late-game innings.

Last season's OLDS match-up between these two teams resulted in five closely-fought nail-biters, each decided by three or fewer runs. I expect this year's battle to be more of the same from these two evenly-matched teams.

Prediction: Salem in seven.


101-59 944 726 218 56-24 45-35 .850 .886 .839 4.24 .766 .804 .741
99-61 902 703 199 48-32 51-29 .821 .831 .818 4.08 .737 .742 .734

These two teams are no strangers to the postseason. This is Chicago's eleventh trip to the postseason and Kansas' twelfth. Given that, you would think that these two teams have faced each other many times in November. But in fact, they have only done so twice: once in 2001 (won by Kansas), and once in 2012 (won by Chicago.) Both meetings came in the Division Series. This, then, will be their rubber match.

Chicago was one of four teams in the BDBL this season to hit over 300 home runs. Given that only one other team had ever accomplished this feat prior to 2020, this speaks volumes about what a ridiculous season this has been. No fewer than EIGHT Chicago batters smashed 20 or more home runs, including three with 40+ and three more with 30+.

Four players topped 100 runs created: Kris Bryant (.297/.389/.587, with 43 HR and 139.8 RC), Bryce Harper (.268/.378/.545, 41 HR, 129.5 RC), Freddie Freeman (.309/.400/.577, 37 HR, 123.9 RC), and Mike Moustakas (.275/.344/.554, 43 HR, 102.8 RC). Kyle Schwarber (.242/.339/.528) managed to hit 35 homers in only 472 at-bats. Jose Baez (.291/.322/.549) contributed 44 doubles and 27 homers. Rookie Eloy Jimenez (.292/.330/.605) blasted 37 bombs in his intro to the BDBL. Wilsson Contreras (.283/.354/.504) managed to hit 21 homers in only 399 at-bats. As if all of this weren't enough, John Gill added Trey Mancini (.291/.353/.531 overall) for some reason. If you count his 29 homers, that gives Chicago NINE batters with 20+ homers in 2020.

On the pitching side, Charlie Morton (21-7, 3.94 ERA in 210 IP) and Shane Bieber (16-8, 3.90 ERA in 235+ IP) were the #1 and #1-A of the Chicago rotation. Clayton "Asswipe" Kershaw (12-12, 4.96 ERA in 192+ IP) got smacked around unexpectedly, as did Dallas Keuchel (8-4, 5.65 ERA in 100+ IP.) Which means that either Tyler Mahle (9-7, 4.44 ERA in 117+ IP) and/or Adam Plutko (7-4, 4.92 ERA in 100+ IP) could see some starts in the Division Series.

The Chicago bullpen was very good, led by closer Carlos Martinez (1.50 ERA in 42 IP, 33 saves), and backed by Tyler Chatwood (2.93 ERA in 76+ IP), Brandon Kintzler (3.54 ERA in 53+ IP), Oliver Drake (2.52 ERA in 39+ IP), Daniel Hudson (3.69 ERA in 68+ IP), and Daniel Bard (3.88 ERA in 48+ IP).

The Law Dogs were one of four Eck League teams to top 900 runs scored this year -- which is really insane when you think about it. Their 902 runs ranks fourth in the EL. In any other year, Clay Bellinger (.308/.380/.643, with 55 HR and 142 RBI) would be the odds-on favorite to win the MVP award, but this year he will have several challengers. Max Muncy (.286/.408/.606, 44 HR), Whit Merrifield (.302/.350/.461), and Eduardo Escobar (.277/.332/.515, 34 HR) all joined Bellinger in the 100-RC Club.

It would be a surprise if Jacob deGrom (23-4, 2.72 ERA in 221+ IP) doesn't win his second consecutive Cy Young award at the end of this season, although Buckingham's Lance Lynn definitely considers major consideration as well. deGrom was the sole shining light in the Kansas rotation this year, as Cal Quantrill (8-3, 3.94 ERA in 109+ IP), Madison Bumgarner (13-13, 4.76 ERA in 219+ IP), Brad Keller (11-10, 4.77 ERA in 179+ IP), and Trevor Richards (3-6, 5.91 ERA in 64 IP) all stumbled badly.

One of the more remarkable seasons in 2020 came from Nick Anderson (3.18 ERA in 66+ IP), who went relief! He sported a sparkling 13/111 BB/K ratio in his 68 innings of work. Ken Giles (2.98 ERA in 45+ IP) led the bullpen with 20 saves. He was backed by John Gant (1.90 ERA in 66+ IP), Zach Britton (2.20 ERA in 41 IP), John Brebbia (2.25 ERA in 32 IP), and Josh Taylor (2.64 ERA in 47+ IP), among others.

Chicago won eight out of the twelve games played against Kansas this year. They went 4-2 in their home park and 4-2 in Kansas. One of the quirks about the Kansas Law Dogs this year was that they won more games on the road (51) than at home (48). That may not play a factor in this series, given the results of the regular season. This match-up, more so than any other this postseason, looks like a coin flip. Both teams will be at the mercy of the God of Random Dice Rolls, even more so than usual.

Prediction: Chicago in six.

Remaining predictions:

  • Los Altos over Salem in five.
  • Southern Cal over Chicago in seven.
  • Los Altos over Southern Cal in six.