Wednesday, December 20, 2017

P-Town Axemen Ready for Foray into Mike McClurg-Mason Dixon Tabletop League

First baseman Joey Votto is expected to anchor a powerful P-Town Axemen
lineup that will take the field during the 46th year of the Mike McClurg-Mason
Dixon Tabletop League.

The P-Town Axemen -- loaded with a high-powered collection of returning players, including Joey Votto, Justin Upton and Zach Greinke -- are gearing up for their manager's first year in the Mike McClurg-Mason Dixon Tabletop League, which has been rolling since 1973.

"It's a great honor to be invited into the MM-MDTL," said Axemen GM and Manager Rob Priewe.

The Axemen are comprised of the roster that formerly competed as the County Road Rebels, under the direction of Terry Evans of Tishomingo, Mississippi. During 24 seasons in the MM-MDTL, Evans compiled a record of 2157-1731, including five championships. Whoa!

Easing the transition will be a roster bursting with talent, both in the field and on the mound.

"I can't thank Terry enough for the team he has handed off to me," Priewe said. "I can only hope to have the kind of success that Terry's squads have enjoyed over the years."

At present, the Axemen depth chart looks like this:

Catcher - Gary Sanchez
First base - Joey Votto
Second base - Marwin Gonzalez, Logan Forsythe
Shortstop - Trevor Story, Adrelton Simmons
Third base - Josh Donaldson
Outfield - Justin Upton, Jackie Bradley Jr., Steven Souza, Kevin Kiermaier 
Designated hitter - Nelson Cruz
Gerrit Cole

Starting pitchers - Gerrit Cole, Zach Greinke, Sonny Gray, Ivan Nova, Kevin Gausman, Joe Ross, Steven Matz, Brandon Finnegan

Relief pitchers - Brad Hand, Kyle Barraclough, Trevor Rosenthal, Hector Rondon

The MM-MDTL Draft/World Series is set for Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, beginning at 1 p.m. ET. 

The MM-MDTL is a 20-team APBA baseball game league, which uses the basic game with modifications and a 25-player roster.


Monday, December 18, 2017

Loggers Struggle to Stay Even in Sunrise Baseball Association

Nolan Arenado once again led the Loggers offense with 33 home runs and 115 RBI
 during the 2017 season of the Sunrise Baseball Association.
Photo credit:

A year after playing in the SBA World Series, the P-Town Loggers struggled in year two to stay at or above .500, eventually falling to fifth-place with a 79-83 record.

The Loggers finished 14 games behind the Eastern Division-winning Reno Gamblers (93-69), managed by my brother, Phil Priewe, also in his second year in the Sunrise Baseball Association. Ultimately, the Tidewater Skippers led by Pat Lowery took home this year's SBA Championship.

While improving in most hitting categories, especially batting average and on-base percentage, the Loggers had a significant drop-off in home runs, along with a decline in pitching from the year before, when they came within two games of winning it all in the 12-team APBA dice baseball game league.
Leadoff hitter Brandon Crawford set a new
team record, scoring 99 runs in 2017.
Photo credit: Rawlings

Similar to the year before, the Loggers' offense centered around third-baseman Nolan Arenado and shortstop Brandon Crawford. Batting lead-off, Crawford set new team records for hits (177), runs (99) and triples (15). Arenado set a new team record with 115 RBI, to go along with 33 home runs and 79 runs. However, he batted only .225, and his home runs were down from 51 the year before.

The most frequently used Loggers lineup looked like this:
  1. Brandon Crawford, SS, .266, 18 HR's, 99 runs, 45 doubles
  2. Starling Marte, LF, .293, 11 HR's, 79 runs, 55 stolen bases
  3. Dustin Pedroia, 2B, .277, 13 HR's, 79 RBI
  4. Nolan Arenado, 3B, .225, 33 HR's, 115 RBI
  5. Yangervis Solarte, 1B, .269, 10 HR's, 45 RBI
  6. Sean Rodriquez, RF, .204, 25 HR's, 66 RBI
  7. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF, .214, 4 HR's, 38 runs
  8. Jason Castro, C, .215, 12 HR's, 39 RBI
Marte set team records for batting average and stolen bases, while Pedroia set a new team record for on-base percentage at .337.

Overall, the team raised its batting average to .234 and on-base percentage to .294. However, slugging fell to .387, while home runs dropped to 164 -- a tally the Loggers don't want to repeat in 2018.

The Loggers' pitching also declined from the previous year.

Kendall Graveman led the Loggers with
12 wins in 31 starts. Photo credit: Topps
Newcomer Kendall Graveman led the team in wins with 12, followed by Collin McHugh (10), Steven Wright (9), and Gerrit Cole (8) and Marco Estrada (8), who was acquired mid-season in hopes of helping push the Axemen to the playoffs. Unfortunately, Wright set a new team high for losses with 13. James Paxton went 6-8 and Lance McCullers posted a record of 4-8.

The bullpen continued to be one of the Loggers' strengths, led by Blake Treinen's team-high 20 saves in 57 games, a new team record. Paced by Treinen (3-3) and his 2.15 ERA, the relievers compiled a combined 2.76 ERA. Hansel Robles went 3-4 in 61 innings, followed by Tyler Clippard's 3-3 record and 3 saves in 54 innings. Mark Rzepczynski was 6-7 with 4 saves in 48 innings.

Hitters' higher batting averages and on-base percentage were aided slightly by a new league rule resulting in a single on a bases empty 65-35 dice roll, which league members instituted in part to combat the league's abundance of A- and B-grade pitchers. (The league voted to discontinue the 35-65 rule for 2018 ... Bummer!)

Two-thirds of the way through the 2017 season the Loggers stood at 57-57, with some hope of making the playoffs. However, P-Town went 6-12 versus their arch rivals the Gamblers and never fully recovered.

Onward to 2018!


Click here to see the full 2017 P-Town Loggers stats. 


Monday, December 19, 2016

Bouton, "Ball Four" Inspire 1969 Seattle Pilots APBA Replay

Took the opportunity this past summer to re-read "Ball Four," Jim Bouton's classic tell-all baseball book focusing primarily on his exploits with the 1969 Seattle Pilots.

I have to admit a morbid curiosity for the one-year wonders of that Seattle squad, who would go on to ditch the Emerald City and become my favorite team -- the Milwaukee Brewers -- the next season.

Throughout the book, Bouton complains about his lack of playing time, both as a starter and reliever, despite his growing proficiency in tossing the knuckleball and what little toll it took on his ancient arm.

So that got me to thinking ... What if the Pilots had listened to Bouton and used him more often on the mound? Would it have significantly improved the outcome for a team that finished last in the new AL West Division with a record of 64-98? Spoiler alert: The answer is ... no.

Through the magic of the APBA Baseball Game, I took it upon myself to answer that age-old question posed by Bouton, who is convinced he could have made a difference had he been given the chance.

Before embarking on this expedition, let me note that this would be my first one-team season replay using a losing team. Like many other APBA replay enthusiasts out there, I don't see any fun in the prospects of replaying a season for a team that wasn't finding any joy in real life. Previously, I relished replaying winning seasons for the 2008 Brewers as well as the 1969 Cubs.

In addition to eliminating any limits on using Bouton, I wondered what would have happened had the Pilots not traded rookie of the year Lou Piniella to the Royals before the start of the season. So, Piniella became the Pilots left fielder and away we went ...   

One of the great things about APBA's reprinted 1969 card set is that it includes every player who took the mound or batted at least once, making it possible for me to use the actual lineups of the Pilots' opponents. With few exceptions, including Bouton's added starts, I used the Pilots' actual pitching rotation, then managed the rest of the squad as I saw fit. I limited all other players to 110 percent of their actual at-bats and innings pitched. I also worked in the team's other transactions, so there was somewhat of a revolving door in the personnel I could use throughout the season.

So, how did it turn out? First of all, it was a joy playing this team, partly because it was such an interesting collection of players, from base-stealing maven Tommy Harper and Tommy Davis to Mr. Versatility Diego Segui, who was equally good as a starter or ace reliever. Besides, 1969 was a great year for the AL, with the seemingly unbeatable Baltimore Orioles and the heavy-hitting Minnesota Twins, making it just plain cool to replay.

Predictably, I didn't fare much better than ill-fated Pilots manager Joe Schultz. I guided them to a 68-94 record, which just goes to show that expanding the role of your knuckleballer and adding one potent bat in the three hole does not a contender make. Nice try, however.

Bouton (rated a DX starter and a C* reliever) got 9 more starts and 62 more innings for the Pilots, which resulted in a 6-8 record, better than his 2-1 in actuality. He matched his save total: 1. (Note: Toward the end of August, I granted Bouton's trade to the Astros, bringing to the Pilots Dooley Womack, who piled up some decent stats in 27 games out of the bullpen.)

Piniella also exceeded expectations. Sweet Lou batted .306/.352/.437 in 142 games, scoring 71 runs and leading the team in runs batted in with 89. He hit 30 doubles, along with 10 triples and 7 home runs.

What this team lacked in power, it more than made up with speed, swiping 194 bases, compared to only 122 homers. The speed brigade was led by Harper, who stole 95 bases, which helped him score a team-high 105 runs. First baseman Don Mincher lead the team in home runs with 26.

Overall, the team batting average (.242), slugging percentage (.354), ERA (4.33) and other stats pretty closely matched the real-life Seattle stats for the year, just another testimonial to the accuracy of the APBA game.

In addition to Segui, who went 8-10 with 5 saves; Bob Locker lead the team with an 11-6 record and 8 saves. Gene Brabender was the hard-luck hurler, going 4-14 in 29 starts and 192 innings.

Despite the disappointing, yet predictable, win-loss record, this was still among my most satisfying APBA projects. It reinforced the fun that can be had when you tweak reality by playing "what if ..."

I think Jim Bouton would be OK with the outcome.


Note: Click here for the complete replay stats.

Note II: Here's a great link to a new post by baseball historian John Thorn, "Jim Bouton: An Improvisational Life."

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Timber! Loggers Chop Down Competition in First Season in Sunrise Baseball Association

Update: The Loggers finished the 2016 season strong, compiling a 98-64 record, good for second in the Western Division of the Sunrise Baseball Association. Ultimately, the Loggers fell in six games to the Lions in the SBA World Series.

Except for falling a couple games short of a championship, the Loggers couldn't have performed much better in their inaugural season in the SBA.

Click here to check out the Loggers' final stats.



Led by Nolan Arenado, Lucas Duda and Gerrit Cole, the P-Town Loggers have rebounded from a slow start to challenge for the playoffs in their first season in the Sunrise Baseball Association.

As the league approaches the midway point of the 2016 season, the Loggers stand at 42-30, good enough for second place in the SBA's six-team Western Division.

Sunrise is a 12-team APBA Baseball Game league that's been around for more than two decades. This year, members are spread across the United States, with most of the managers on the East Coast. (This is my first year in the league, along with my brother, Phillip Priewe, who is managing the Carson City Gamblers.)

The league uses the advanced version of APBA's basic game, with some modifications. Pitchers bat, and players are limited to their actual number of games, starts or relief innings. Games are played in person or via telephone or Skype. Teams play a 162-game season.

After 72 games, the Loggers are led by third baseman Nolan Arenado (.269/.294/.638), who's belted 25 home runs, driving in 53 and scoring 40. He's also stroked 28 doubles.

At first base, Lucas Duda supplanted Adrian Gonzalez early in the season, sparking a series of Loggers victories. Duda (.229/.327/.559) has 13 home runs, 33 RBI and 26 runs scored in the cleanup spot.

The Loggers' lineup is comprised of:

C- Travis d'Arnaud (.229/.284/.534) 11 HR's, 28 RBI
1B - Lucas Duda (.229/.327/.559) 13 HR's, 33 RBI
2B - Matt Duffy (.259/.305/.427) 22 runs, 18 RBI
SS - Brandon Crawford (.215/.300/.411) 29 runs, 23 RBI
3B - Nolan Arenado (.269/.294/.638) 25 HR's, 53 RBI
LF - Andre Ethier (.225/.299/.360) 26 runs, 17 RBI
CF - Gregor Blanco (.238/.303/.308) 27 runs, 11 stolen bases
RE - Starling Marte (.213/.269/.333) 21 runs, 14 stolen bases

Also logging playing time have been outfielder Trayce Thompson, Gonzalez, second baseman Dustin Pedroia and catcher Steve Clevenger. (Click to view complete Loggers stats.)

On the pitching side, a trio of starters have anchored the Loggers rotation: Gerrit Cole (8-6, 2.64), Collin McHugh (7-3, 3.91) and Edinson Volquez (7-5, 3.71). Out of the bullpen, Hector Rondon has 15 saves, and is backed by Mark Lowe (4-1, 0.92) and Tyler Clippard (3-1, 3.45).

The staff has combined for 19 complete games -- 10 by Cole -- and four shutouts. It has a combined ERA of 3.10.

In a league dominated by A and B pitchers, batting averages are well below average. The Loggers are hitting .217 as a team, with a .278 OBA and slugging percentage of .396. They have smacked 80 home runs.

It's been fun so far. Most of the guys in the league have multiple SBA seasons to their credit, and all of them simply enjoy playing the game, regardless of the score. I'm looking forward to the rest of the season!

-- 66 --

Monday, January 18, 2016

All-time Great Cheeseheads Roll to 108 Wins!

Led by hall-of-famers Al Simmons and Burleigh Grimes, a squad of ballplayers born in Wisconsin showed they could go toe-to-toe with any APBA foe.

This group of cheeseheads racked up 108 wins against competition that included a slew of World Series champions, division winners and other assorted all-time great ballclubs scattered among my APBA Baseball Game card collection.

In putting together this 25-man crew, the main criteria was that each member must have been born in Wisconsin. And I found plenty of talent to fill the roster, including a bevy of hall-of-fame players, namely Simmons and Grimes, along with fellow pitchers Kid Nichols and Addie Joss. The rest of the lineup boasted plenty of all-stars.

At the end of the 162-game season, the Wisconsin greats compiled a 108-54 record. Simmons led the way, batting .335 with 40 home runs and 148 RBI; "Happy" Felsch of the infamous Black Sox hit .320, scoring 100 runs and driving in 96; Fred Merkle lead the team in runs with 117 and stolen bases with 59.

On the mound, Grimes led the squad with a 23-8 record. He pitched 273 innings in 34 starts, striking out 233. As for the rest of the hall-of-fame trio, Nichols went 18-7, leading the team in strikeouts with 241 in 285 innings and 36 starts; Joss put up a 19-11 record, setting down 224 batters in 262 innings over 35 starts.

Combining 20 starts and 25 relief appearances, Dick Bosman went 19-5, with a 2.10 ERA. Also anchoring the bullpen were Bob Wickman (17 saves) and Pat Neshek, who tallied 8 wins and 8 saves in 48 games.

The staff compiled a 2.95 team ERA in its 108 victories, which included 20 shutouts (6 by Joss!) and 66 complete games.  Nichols, Grimes and Joss each went the distance 19 times.

At the plate, the team batted .264, with a .322 on-base percentage and .452 slugging percentage. They went yard 177 times (Simmons, 40; Ken Keltner, 32; and Andy Pafko, 31). They had almost as many triples (96) as stolen bases (100)! They outscored their opponents 867 to 511.

Like most of my projects, batting averages were down overall (Simmons batted .381 and Kuenn hit .353 in real life those years!). Most of this was due to the higher level of competition and the plethora of A starters and relievers. I also have a tendency to use too many B relievers, even in mop-up duty, when that assignment more often fell to C's and D's.

This project comes on the heels of a season with the all-time great Seattle Mariners, who went 128-34. Unlike that squad, which primarily matched up against the M's 2014 regular season schedule, this bunch took on more top-notch opponents, along with squads from APBA's Baseball All-Time Set 2.

Those Mariners got the better of the cheeseheads, winning three of four games; the '69 World Series Mets and Orioles each won two of three. Against a variety of Cubs teams, including the '69 crew and the 2008 unit, the Wisconsinites went 7-9.

They had better luck versus other NL Central Division foes, including sweeping the World Series-winning '79 Pirates. They went 5-1 against the Big Red Machine of '75 and '76. Nichols tossed a no-hitter against the '75 Reds.

The team was assembled from the listings on Baseball Reference and the APBA cards in my collection, especially players from BATS. Merkle came from some generous folks on the APBA Facebook page, who were kind enough to post his 1911 card. Cards for Andy Pafko, Brad Radke and Wickman were created using Steve's APBA Card Computer. Thanks, man.

Here was the primary starting lineup:

1. Happy Felsch ('20) CF -- .320/.358/.529 (100 runs, 96 RBI, 37 doubles, 17 triples, 15 HRs)
2. Fred Merkle ('11) 1B -- .294/.339/465 (117 runs, 16 triples, 59 SBs)
3. Harvey Kuenn ('59) SS -- .299/.350/.460 (91 runs, 87 RBI, 48 doubles)
4. Al Simmons ('30) LF -- .335/.377/.686 (148 RBI, 43 doubles, 16 triples, 40 HRs)
5. Andy Pafko ('50) RF -- .218/.308/.465 (94 RBI, 31 HRs)
6. Ken Keltner ('48) 3B -- .222/.328/.454 (85 runs, 88 RBI, 32 HRs)
7. Damian Miller ('02) C -- .188/.258/.366 (10 HRs, 36 RBI) and Don Pavletich ('69) C -- .263/.343/.500 (10 HRs, 41 RBI)
8. Jim Gantner ('83) 2B -- .236/.285/.344 (66 runs, 61 RBI)

A strong bench included the likes of Joe Randa ('99), Tom Poquette ('76), Tony Kubek ('57) and my personal favorite, Milwaukee's own Bob Uecker ('65).

For all the stats, click here.

-- 66 --

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Junior, King Felix and the Big Unit Lead M's to Big Finish

Give Felix Hernandez some run support and he can win a few games -- 27 to be exact!

And let Ken Griffey Jr. play a 162-game schedule in his prime and he can set a new single-season home run record -- 74!

Back him with the Mariners' all-time best lineup and Randy Johnson can post a new career high in wins with 25!

Led by Hernandez, Griffey and Johnson, the all-time Mariners compiled a 128-34 record against the team's 2014 schedule, with a few more interleague games thrown into the mix. The initial motivation behind this "what if" APBA baseball game replay project was to see how many games King Felix could win if he was backed by the best Mariners team ever. He didn't disappoint.

King Felix ('14) piled up a 27-2 record with a 1.64 ERA and 276 K's in 31 starts. He completed 12 games, including 9 shutouts. It helps to have a great defense behind you as well.

Griffey ('94) was the squad's offensive MVP, compiling a .291/.364/.747 slash line to go with his 74 home runs, 139 runs and 155 RBI, showing what might have been during the strike-shortened 1994 season.

Johnson ('95) combined with Hernandez to provide a potent 1-2 pitching punch -- posting a 25-3 record with an ERA of 2.41 and 271 strikeouts in 32 starts. He completed 6 games, with 4 shutouts.

The rest of the M's powerful lineup featured:

  • Designated hitter Edgar Martinez ('95) -- .306/.441/.573 with 106 runs, 97 RBI, 56 doubles and 27 home runs.
  • Leadoff man Ichiro Suzuki ('04) -- .326/.354/.425 with 215 hits, 107 runs and 43 stolen bases.
  • Second baseman Robinson Cano ('13) -- .317/.374/.560 with 114 runs, 113 RBI 54 doubles and 28 home runs.
  • Third baseman Adrian Beltre ('04) -- .271/.336/.569 with 42 home runs and 101 RBI.
  • Outfielder Jay Buhner ('96) -- .219/.291/.523 with 37 home runs and 101 RBI.
  • Shortstop Omar Vizquel ('92) -- .296/.331/.372 with 68 runs and 41 stolen bases.
  • First baseman Alvin Davis ('87) -- .274/.352/.524 with 27 home runs and 93 RBI.
  • Catcher Dan Wilson ('96) -- .212/.259/.341 with 13 homers and 68 RBI.
As a team the Mariners batted .274/.339/.493 with 273 home runs. The M's averaged nearly 6 runs per game.

Meanwhile, the pitching staff held opponents to half that, posting a 2.74 ERA. Other starters included Hisashi Iwakuma ('13) at 18-5, Jamie Moyer ('03) at 15-5 and Mark Langston ('87) at 12-2.

The bullpen was led by J.J. Putz ('07) at 5-3 with 32 saves; Jeff Nelson ('95) at 6-5 with 5 saves; and Mike Schooler ('90) at 6-0 with 4 saves. 

For complete season stats, click here

This replay had it all: Lots of offense, great pitching and plenty of clutch hitting and defense. And it showed that even the most powerful teams still have off days from time to time ...

Nevertheless, they had a pair of ridiculous win streaks -- 15 games in April and 19 in a row in July/August.

This was a treat, from start to finish. And makes me wonder "what if" for my next project ...

-- 66 --

Thursday, September 3, 2015

King Felix Dominates with Perfect Game in 2014 Mariners Replay

It was like deja vu all over again ... as Felix Hernandez threw his second perfect game in three years at Safeco Field.

This time, King Felix dominated the Astros in an 11-0 victory on May 23, 2014 during an APBA baseball game replay of the Mariners' 2014 season. (In real life, Hernandez tossed his perfect game Aug. 15, 2012 in a 1-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.)

Against the Astros, Hernandez finished with 15 strikeouts, including shortstop Jonathan Villar for the final out of the game. Catcher Jason Castro and designated hitter Matt Dominquez each struck out in all three at-bats versus The King.

The Mariners' offense was led by third baseman Adrian Beltre, who went 5-for-5 with a double, a home run, three runs scored and five RBI. Ichiro Suzuki added three hits, scoring a pair of runs, hitting two doubles and stealing a base. In all, the Mariners pounded Houston's pitchers for 14 hits.

Compiling double digit hits is practically a given every game for this Mariners lineup, which is comprised of the team's all-time greatest players, from Ken Griffey Jr. in center field to Edgar Martinez at DH. Second baseman Robinson Cano opened the scoring in this game with a two-run home run in the first inning. First baseman Alvin Davis broke the game open in the fifth inning with a two-run double that extended the M's lead to 7-0.

The victory, the team's 11th in a row, moved the Mariners' win-loss record to 41-6 on the season, as they continue to crush their opponents almost every outing. And just a month earlier, Randy Johnson hurled a no-hitter against the Marlins in Miami. So their pitching has been OK, too.

For me, this was the second time I had experienced King Felix tossing a perfect game, though I must say the "actual" game against the Rays was a tad more dramatic! My wife and I had the good fortune to be in Seattle back in August 2012 and just happened to stop by for the afternoon game before heading back to our home in Oregon.

And back in the day in what very well may have been my first MLB game, I witnessed Steve Busby's second no-hitter. I was one of 9,019 fans at old Milwaukee County Stadium on June 19, 1974 who saw Busby and the Royals defeat my beloved Brew Crew 2-0.

As an 11-year-old grade schooler I remember leaving the stadium disappointed that the Brewers had lost ... again. (They went 76-86 that year, though they had the beginnings of their Bambi's Bombers days with the arrival of Robin Yount, Don Money and Gorman Thomas ...)

I recall my dad responding with something like ... "The Brewers may have lost, but you got to see some baseball history tonight ..." (About five years earlier, he had had the good fortune to be at Wrigley Field for Ken Holtzman's first no-hitter, a 3-0 win over the Braves on Aug. 19, 1969.)

The way things are going in this Mariners replay, I have a feeling that Felix just might get that elusive first 20-win season ... Now that would be some history!

(Note: As of this blog post, the Mariners have gone on to build a 69-16 record and Felix stands at 16-0! For the complete stats, click here.)