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Friday, December 2, 2011

NL Playoff Picture

With only a quarter of the season left, the playoff picture is coming into focus. As of today, the NL playoffs would look like this:

1. Memphis - NL South Champ and overall #1 seed
2. Chicago - NL East Champ and overall #2 seed
3. Helena - NL West Champ and overall #3 seed
4. Detroit - NL North Champ and overall #4 seed
5. New York - Wild Card #1 and #5 seed
6. Los Angeles - Wild Card #2 and #6 seed

The top two seeds will most likely be Memphis and Chicago, with Helena having a chance at a first round bye if they get hot. Memphis is the only division leader that has a commanding lead. New York can slip in to a #1 or #2 seed if they can catch Chicago, with the runner-up likely locked in to the #1 Wild Card spot. Only 11 games are between first and last in the West, with LA the only real threat to Helena's title run.

So, the two best races are for the #2 Wild Card and the NL North championship.


NL North Analysis

The Standings
1. Detroit (61-64)
2. Cleveland (60-65)
3. Kansas City (57-68)

The Contenders

Detroit
mtorab has 1 divsion title and 1 world series win in his 21 seasons in 1530 Homer. His Tigers were the off-season champs and looked primed for a run at a World Series title. A mid-season trade of Benji Neill likely ended those dreams, but a division title is still within grasp. MVP favorite (and a very tired) Cristobal Mantalban leads the offense while Gustavo Melo is the best of the SP's. They will need better production out of Benji Pulido if they are to make any noise in the playoffs.

Cleveland
davidlove has dominated the North, winning 9 out of 16 division championships. A trade of 8x all-star Louis Spence signaled a rebuilding effort, but the offensive efforts of Quinn Portugal and the pitching of Ken Howington have kept them just 1 game out of the division lead.

Kansas City
So the two teams that KC is chasing have both dealt their stars mid-season. Does anyone want to win this division? Enter mwelker and his, until now, perennial doormat Crusaders. mwelker has his detracters (that will happen with 5 consecutive seasons of losing 100 games or more), but he has a plan and has shown improvement in 3 consecutive seasons. He looks primed to take over for davidlove at the top of the North. The Crusaders are led by the offense of David Wanatabe and the pitching of, well, nobody. His entire staff in underperforming, and will need to step it up if mwelker has any chance of reeling in Cleveland and Detroit.

Remaining Schedule
Detroit - 11 games vs teams w/ winning record. 3 vs KC, 3 vs CLE
Cleveland - 13 games vs teams w/ winning record. 3 vs DET, 3 vs KC
Kansas City - 18 games vs teams w/ winning record. 3 vs DET, 3 vs CLE

Prediction
It's hard to pick teams that have both traded away their best player. But KC has shown no momentum and has the most difficult remaining schedule. I'll take the experience of davidlove and Cleveland, but only because DET's Mantalban is wearing down.

Wild Card #2 Analysis

The Standings

1. Los Angeles (66-59)
2. Louisville (66-59)
3. Houston (64-61)

The Contenders

Los Angeles
Is the tytabs era over? He has won 6 of the last 8 division titles, but is having his worst year in 10 seasons and trails by 4 games in his division. The Hollywoods are led by silky smooth mustachioed Rube Swann and newly re-signed Orval Gonzales. Luis Morales is the key to LA holding off the challengers.

Louisville
batgecko is finally seeing his work pay off after 5 disappointing seasons. Will the WIS gods ever stop punishing him with injuries? Welington Chavez leads a potent offense while Julio Lopez is the most productive on a very good staff. The expected returns of Antonio Graves and Jeff Woods will bolster their chances.

Houston
pmuehlenkamp has.......nevermind, look it up for yourself. If you care enough to be reading this you know that he is the most successful owner in 1530 (all due respect, nhollan). The Hangovers are led by the smooth sounds of The Goose and the pitching of future HOF'r Dave Darr. Geraldo Mendez must pick it up if they are to keep from missing the playoffs for the 2nd time in franchise history.

Remaining Schedules
Los Angeles - 14 games vs teams w/ winning record, 4 vs Houston
Louisville - 14 games vs teams w/ winning record, 4 vs Houston
Houston - 16 games vs teams w/ winning record, 4 vs LA, 4 vs LOU

Prediction
LA and HOU are seasoned vets with beefy resumes, and the newcomer from the Lou will be boosted by the return of some solid players off of the DL. LA appears to be the most rested of the three and Houston has the most difficult remaining schedule. My bet is LA, but I wouldn't be surprised if LOU sneaks in.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

AL Playoff Picture

With only a quarter of the season left, the playoff picture is coming into focus. As of today, the AL playoffs would look like this:

1. Cincinnati Redlegs (#1 Seed and AL North Champ)
2. Durham Tar Heels (#2 Seed and AL East Champ)
3. Jacksonville TIMUCUAN'S (#3 Seed and AL South Champ)
4. Salem Aggies (#4 Seed and AL West Champ)
5. Philadelphia Bacharach Giants (#5 Seed and Wild Card #1)
6. Montreal Garde Imperiale (#6 Seed and Wild Card #2)

Cincinnati has all but locked up the overall #1 seed. Durham leads Jacksonville by 4 games for the #2 seed and Philly by 6.5 games in the East. Jacksonville has an 11 game (insurmountable?) lead in the South. Salem is in the most tenuous position of the AL division leaders as they lead St. Louis by 3.5 and Fresno by 6 in the West. Philly has a commanding 8.5 game lead for the Wild Card #1 spot and would seem a lock for the playoffs.

So really, there are two competitively open - the West Division winner and the Wild Card #2 spot. Accordingly.......


AL West Analysis

The Standings
1. Salem 65-58
2. St. Louis 61-61
3. Fresno 59-64
4. Vancouver Otters 42-80

The Contenders

Salem
The Aggies have finished 3rd of 4th in every one of dubabe's 7 seasons. This year is a new story. Led by Dutch Velarde and Keith Roosevelt on offense and emerging ace Hick Manning, Salem has produced one of the more dramatic turn arounds in 1530 history. They have been in teh Top 10 5 of the 6 weeks and show little sign of wearing down.

St. Louis
2000man had won his division in 11 of his 22 1530 Homer seasons. The Cards are led by Archie Herzner on offense and the quasi-albino Blade Fox on the mound. Future HOF'r Clinton Clifton will need to step up if this team has a chance of catching Salem.

Fresno
joepatrick is the elder statesman in the West with his 15 seasons and consecutive division titles. The Fire are led by emerging star Trenidad Trajano on offense and ace Juan Vincente on the mound. Ivy Latham is having a tremendous season but is only 8-9 on teh year. This team has the talent to go deep into the playoffs, but can they make up ground to get there?

Remaining schedule
Salem - 12 games vs. teams w/ winning record, 3 vs. St. Louis, 3 vs. Fresno
St. Louis - 24 games vs. teams w/ winning record, 3 vs. Salem, 3 vs. Fresno
Fresno - 22 games vs. teams w/ winning record, 3 vs. Salem, 3 vs. St. Louis

Prediction
It is hard to see Salem not winning the division with a lead and a favorable schedule. If Fresno can get out of there funk, they have a real chance at catching them. St. Louis may be there at the end, but they have 11 games remaining vs. Phlly and Durham. Salem should win - and be rewarded with a first round match-up with either Philly or Durham.


Wild Card #2 Analysis

The Standings
1. Montreal 63-59
2. Oklahoma City 63-60
3. New Orleans 62-60
4. St. Louis 61-61
5. Boston 60-63

The Contenders

Montreal
nhollan and his perennial powerhouse are seeking their 17th consecutive playoff appearance. They are led by MVP candidate (winner?) Henry Wise on offense and ace Sammy Iglesias. They must get better production out of Bill Reed if they are going to hold off the challengers.

Oklahoma City
robyoung is attempting to make the playoffs for the first time since season 16. Newcomer Alex Limon leads the offense, while B.C. Vincente leads the pitching staff with his best season yet. Youngster Jesus Bautista must play better

New Orleans
cincy111 is aiming for his first Wild Card in his 9 seasons (he does have 2 division titles). Stump Robinson leads the offense and Fritz Lynch is the ace.

St. Louis
2000man has won his division in 11 of his 22 1530 Homer seasons. The Cards are led by Archie Herzner on offense and the quasi-albino Blade Fox on the mound. Future HOF'r Clinton Clifton will need to step up if this team has a chance of catching Montreal

Boston
cincyreds90 is in danger of missing the playoffs for a second consecutive season after makig 18 straight. Yusmeiro Durazo leads a potent offense while journeyman Billy Barry is the best of a mediocre pitching staff.

Remaining Schedule
Montreal - 17 games vs teams w/ winning record, 3 vs. St Louis, 4 vs OKC, 3 vs New Orleans

Oklahoma City - 17 games vs teams w/ winning record, 6 vs. Boston, 4 vs Montreal, 3 vs St. Louis, 3 vs. New Orleans

New Orleans - 23 games vs. teams w/ winning record, 3 vs Montreal, 3 vs OKC, 4 vs St. Louis

St. Louis - 24 games vs. teams w/ winning record, 3 vs Montreal, 3 vs OKC, 4 vs New Orleans

Boston - 19 games vs teams w/ winning record, 6 vs. OKC

Prediction
It's hard to bet against Montreal. If anyone can catch them, it will either be New Orleans or OKC, with OKC the more likely due to a more favorable remaining schedule. Ultimately, Montreal will win the spot, they are aging and will go all out to keep the streak alive for at least one more year.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Week 6 Rankings

1. Cincinnati Redlegs
2. Durham Tar Heels
3. Jacksonville TIMUACAN'S
4. Philadelphia Bacharach Giants
5. Memphis Blue's
6. Helena Hustle
7. Chicago Black Sox
8. Los Angeles Hollywoods
9. Houston Hangovers
10. Salem Aggies

Dropped
9. St. Louis Cardinals
10. Louisville Bats