Saturday, May 28, 2016

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

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.)


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Johnson Tosses No-hitter; All-time Mariners Stretch Win Streak to 12

As a big fan of The Big Unit, it was a thrill to have Randy Johnson toss a no-hitter in this APBA baseball game replay of the Mariners 2014 season.

What's that, you say? Johnson retired after the 2009 season ... Correct. However, Johnson is one of my starters as I replay the M's 2014 schedule using the team's all-time greats. So in addition to Johnson on the mound, Ken Griffey Jr. is taking care of centerfield, and Edgar Martinez has the DH duties covered.

As you might expect, playing the Mariners greats has resulted in an above-average number of victories, including 12-straight on the current win streak! As of April 20, 2014, the Mariners stand at 16-2, after a three-game sweep of the Miami Marlins.

Johnson highlighted the series with his no-no in game two, a 5-0 win. In holding the Marlins hitless, Johnson piled up 12 strikeouts, while walking only five batters. He struck out the side in both the fourth and the seventh innings. Giancarlo Stanton went down swinging three times, as did catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia (I just love to say and type that guy's last name ...).

Johnson was aided in the victory by a trio of home runs: a two-run blast by first baseman Alvin Davis in the second; a solo homer by Martinez in the fourth; and another two-run smash by Griffey in the fifth.

The Marlins offense struggled, to say the least. The day before, Jaime Moyer held them to a single hit while striking out 15! Leadoff hitter Christian Yelich fell victim to Moyer by striking out four times.

With a team batting average of .284 and an ERA of 2.77, it's not hard to believe the M's good fortune, so far.

Johnson's no-hitter improved his record to 3-0 with a 1.34 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 33-plus innings. King Felix Hernandez has been equally effective, matching Johnson's 3-0 record with a 1.75 ERA and 39 K's in 36 innings over four starts.

This replay got started when I wondered how many wins might Felix have had last year if given some offense. So I surrounded The King with the best the Mariners could muster, and the results are evident.

Ichiro Suzuki is batting .342 in the leadoff spot, with 11 runs scored and 10 RBI. He's followed by second baseman Robinson Cano (.286, 9 runs, 13 RBI); Griffey (.231, 15 runs, 8 RBI); Martinez (.435, 13 runs, 12 RBI) and third baseman Adrian Beltre (.352, 11 runs, 13 RBI). Beltre leads the team in home runs with six, followed by Griffey with four, and Davis, Cano and Jay Buhner with three apiece.

Hernandez is pitching the same games in the replay that he did in real-life during 2014, including facing the actual lineups of his opponents. For the rest of the games, I've filled in Johnson and the rest of the starters against the lineups/pitchers the Mariners faced last year. I'll be limiting pitchers to actual innings pitched and batters to their actual ABs.

For complete stats, click here.


Friday, July 10, 2015

King Felix Teams Up with Mariners' All-time Greats in 2014 Replay

Photo courtesy of Keith Allison via
Just how many games could King Felix win if the Mariners ever provided him with some offense? We're going to find out ...

I've just embarked on an APBA baseball game replay of the Mariners 2014 schedule ... with some modifications.

The biggest change? Instead of the anemic M's offense that has plagued the franchise for years, Seattle will be fielding its all-time greats.

That's right, after leading off with Ichiro and Robinson Cano, opponents will face the likes of Ken Griffey Jr., Edgar Martinez and Adrian Beltre in the meat of the batting order.

Felix Hernandez (AXYZ) will be joined in the pitching rotation by Randy Johnson (AXYZ), Hisashi Iwakuma (AYZ), Mark Langston (BXY), Jaime Moyer (B) and James Paxton (AXZ). The bullpen's not too shabby, either, with the likes of J.J. Putz (A&CXYZ), Jeff Nelson (AXYZ) and "The Sheriff," Norm Charlton (BXY).

I'm looking forward to a lineup something like this:

1. Ichiro ('04)  RF
2. Robinson Cano ('13) 2B
3. Ken Griffey Jr. ('94) CF
4. Edgar Martinez ('95) DH
5. Adrian Belte ('04) 3B
6. Jay Buhner ('96) or Mike Cameron ('02) LF
7. Alvin Davis ('87), Bruce Bochte ('79), John Olerud ('93) or Tino Martinez ('95) 1B
8. Omar Vizquel ('92) or Craig Reynolds ('78) SS
9. Dan Wilson ('96)

The bench includes the pride of Corvallis, Ore., Harold Reynolds ('87), Raul Ibanez ('06) and Bret Boone ('01).

Notice anyone in particular missing? Let's just say I have a hard time penciling A-Rod into the lineup after his year-long suspension and all the shenanigans that surrounded it ... So Alex Rodriguez will not be involved in this quest ...

The most wins that King Felix has tallied in a season was 19 in 2009. I'm hoping with this supporting cast he can top that. And I'm banking on The Big Unit giving him a run for most wins on the staff.

Update: Eight games into the replay and Felix is 2-0 with a shutout, 1.00 ERA and 18 K's in 18 innings. For all the team stats, click here. 


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Giants Triumph in Great Teams Tourney

Jeff Kent's solo home run in the top of the 10th inning propelled the all-time-great Giants to a 9-8 win over the best-of-the-best St. Louis Cardinals and a 4-2 series win in a GTOP2 APBA tournament.

After 39 games in the double-elimination tourney, the Giants and Cardinals were the last teams standing, having defeated the Yankees, Dodgers, Cubs and A's along the way.Ultimately, the Giants scored 48 runs in the six-game finale.

Despite the prevalence of plenty of A&C and A-grade pitchers, the Great Teams of the Past set is noteworthy for all the hitting! No doubt about it, this is my new favorite set of APBA cards!

More details to come ...