By Dr. Rug
Hello folks and welcome back to Dr. Rug’s YK Fastball world!!
As we enter August and the stretch drive begins, now is the time when teams are looking to shore up any weaknesses that they may have. The trade deadline is fast approaching so it’s decision time for GMs around the league, do I sell or do I buy??? With that in mind, this week I’m stealing a page (or another page is probably more accurate) from the Bill Simmons “My Favourite Columns” book and presenting to you, Dr. Rug’s First Annual YK Fastball League Trade Value Rankings. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the work of the Sports Guy, the concept for the column is relatively simple: rank all of the players in the league from top to bottom based on who you’d rather have on your team given all of the factors (current skills, potential, age, clubhouse presence, which bats they own, commitment to the team, etc.). The basic premise is that if a player is ranked 28th overall, their team’s GM would probably trade them straight up for the players ranked 1-27 but would not trade them for any player ranked 29 and lower. For the sake of my sanity and your time, I’m not going to list all of the players in the league, but just know that I did rate everyone according to an algorithm that I created for this purpose. Pretty straight forward and simple, so let’s get to it…
And let’s let the debates over my rankings begin…
Category 1: “5 new balls and a batting helmet? I will give that offer some serious consideration…”
#93. Steve O’Hara. Someone had to bring up the last spot on the rankings and no offence to Steve but when you’re old enough to have played with Abner Doubleday and you’re coming off knee surgery you aren’t exactly a coveted trade chip. Steve may bring a lot to the coaching table but as a player it’s safe to say that his best years are but a speck in the rear view mirror.
#86. Andy Tereposky. My how the mighty have fallen… a few years back Andy would have been a mainstay in the top 10 but his lack of appearances this year and rumours of his impending retirement have knocked his value way down. He is a risky proposition to say the least, and not one that many owners would be willing to give up any regulars for.
#83. The rights to Dave Colbourne. Davey C. has moved back to the rock but Slades is still holding strong to his rights in the hopes that he might decide he doesn’t fit in with the Newfies and can no longer understand their strange accents and so makes the move back up north. The chances are slim but his rights still have a little bit of value to them.
Category 2: “We’ve lost a couple guys to injury, I guess we could plug him in to fill the hole until we get healthy…”
#78. Dennis Marchiori. His defense has improved somewhat in recent years but unfortunately his batting average has not (1 for 9 on the season). His base coaching skills provide a little value as he falls somewhere between Carl Bulger and Damien Healy on the Butterfield scale.
#76. Al Cardinal. Here we find the answer to that age old question, “How valuable is a guy who can pitch every game but gives my team little chance to win any of them?” Al might be a little higher on the list if his hitting skills didn’t turn Carter Stirling into a viable pinch-hitting option.
#70. Taylor Clarke. He has yet to accomplish much at the plate in his short career but this young prospect has age on his side and has the right genes to become a stud in this league in the next decade.
Category 3: “His ceiling is a viable starter and #8 or #9 hitter in a middle of the pack team; you don’t want much back in return, right?”
#63. Curtis Gibeau. He still has amazing speed but he still hasn’t learned how to use it on the basepaths as demonstrated by his 0 steals on the season. His defense is excellent on bloopers and shallow flies but remains hit and miss on grounders (not ideal for a second baseman). His attire is top-notch, second to none (love the untied cleats as well as the game you played in shorts), unfortunately, he takes no pride in his field maintenance skills.
#60. Mark “50 Shades” Whitehead. He’s getting old.
#55. Keegan Shea. Sure he’s among the league leaders with his .650 batting average but what else does he bring to the table? He’s got no power, no speed, no defence, and no discernable potential to improve in any of these areas. He’s the Freddy Sanchez of the YK Fastball league.
#53. Rob Johnson. He would have been even lower on the list but I’d be willing to trade for him only because it would mean he would never ump our games. That in itself is reason enough to have him on your squad.
#50. Mike “The Artist Formerly Known as Rally Killer” Desjarlais. Aka Roady. He’s batting .467 with 3 home runs and 15 RBIs this season. If this were the majors there’s no question he’d have started serving his 50 games suspension about a month and a half ago.
Category 4: “He hasn’t actually put it together yet but he’s got great practice skills and I like his potential…”
#45. Terry Rowe
#44. James Farrell
#43. Jared MacNeil. All three of these prospects have the capability to look like all-stars one game and then turn around and look like D division slo-pitch players the next. An example from a couple of Jared’s games this season:
Game 1: 2/3 with a triple, a walk, 2 RBIs, 2 Stolen bases and 2 runs scored.
Game 2: 0/3 with 2 strikeouts.
If any of the three are able to put it together consistently they will soar up the charts and threaten the top 20. As it is, they’re all risky propositions because you never know what you’re getting from one game to the next both offensively and defensively. And at this point in their careers, it’s hard to say if they will ever figure it out. Jared gets the slight nod over the other two because he’s already a threat on the base paths with 4 steals this season.
#41. Devon Case. The best glove on the Red Sox infield and he’s starting to get his timing down and figure it out at the plate. By this time next season I expect he’ll be much higher on the list, a smart GM would trade for him right now. In fact, he’s probably already proven that he belongs in the next category on the list…
Category 5: “This kid’s got skills…”
#39. Spencer Rivers
#37. Devin Hinchey
#36. Brandon “BJ” Voudrach. This group is basically a younger, more talented version of the guys listed in category 4. All three players have shown that they have the skills to be middle of the line-up hitters for the next decade plus. BJ just recently got the call up to the big leagues so he has less experience than the other two but he’s already shown that the talent is there. Hitting at a .571 clip through 3 games is impressive. Helping to lead the Red Sox to their first regular season win is even more impressive.
Category 6: “He ain’t gettin’ any better but I like the skills he’s got…”
#31. Danny Graham. When Skank is seeing the ball well he hits it hard every at bat. When he’s not, it’s a quick one, two, three strikes you’re out. His defensive skills have helped elevate him up the list as he calls a great game behind the plate and also has the versatility to play the corner infield positions. His legendary beer garden performances and insider connections at Harley’s certainly don’t hurt his standing either.
#30. Damien Healy. An unequalled chirping ability. Top 5 bunting skills. A calming influence over the team’s franchise player. And the willingness to sit on the bench. This is what Mr. Healy brings to the table. His .611 average this season is definitely an apparition but as long as there are runners on base and all he’s asked to do is bunt them over, he’s either going to get a bunt base hit or a sacrifice… neither of which will hurt his average. He does what he does and he does it well (and he knows it, just ask him). That’s more than you can say for a lot of players in this league.
#29. Tyler Blewett. He’s batting .250 with 3 RBIs, 2 stolen bases, and 13 strikeouts this year… how did he make it this high in the rankings???? There must be something wrong with my algorithm. The fact that he’s willing and able to play any position on the ball field (and play them relatively well) outside of pitcher helps boost his value but that still doesn’t explain why he’s 20 spots ahead of rookie slugger Lorne Gerwing. I’ll be sure to adjust and improve my formulas for next year.
#28. Ryan Sheppard. His ability to single-handedly keep the website forum lively and interesting has helped boost his ranking. His beer garden and club house presence have raised him up a few spots. His ability to pitch the occasional inning or two when you’re in need has inflated his standing. Put it all together and you’ve got a great guy and a good utility player who makes it in at #28 on the list despite his .259 average.
#27. Andy Stewart. One of the best there is from the lead-off spot, he knows when to take pitches and knows when to swing at the first one. Andy still has the bat skills to effectively fill the #1 hole in any team’s line-up. Unfortunately, he’s lost a step or three on the basepaths and in the outfield and he’s not throwing anyone out with that noodle. He still knows all of the hitters’ tendencies and this allows him to make the majority of the plays that he should but anything not hit to him is unlikely to be caught. The fact that he prefers to go on sailing excursions during tournaments and playoff time does absolutely nothing to raise his trade value.
Well fans, there’s a little appetizer to tantalize you, be sure to tune back in as the rest of the list is revealed in the next couple of days to find out who made it into the top 25.
 For all of you basketball fans out there, go back and re-read the beginning of Simmons Trade Value column from this season. I’m not sure which is funnier, the fact that Simmons declared that New York would consider Lin completely untouchable and never trade him or the fact that they let him walk for nothing when they could have easily matched the offer and kept him.
 The basic premise was to assign points based on how far ahead or behind each player was compared to the league average player in several categories (Average, HR, RBIs, Steals, Games Played) and then add in or subtract bonus points for a variety of factors (defensive skills, age, versatility, pitching ability, clubhouse presence, etc.). From this every player had a total “value” and was ranked accordingly from 1-93. Then I went through the list and fine tuned it based on my own personal opinion.
 The following, infinitely slower, players all have more steals than Gibeau on the season: Keegan Shea, Vince Barter, Trevor Bourque, Skank, Tyler Blewett, Ryan Thiel, Ryan Strain… the list goes on and on.
 I know the stats online have him at 1 steal but our official team stats have him down for 4. I’m not sure if Jimmy knows how the DR rule works.
 With that being said, Rob, how about HBC trades you Jared MacNeil for Devon Case straight up trade?
 eg. Crushing twenty straight beer cans with his head.
 There you go, you made the top 30, so I can collect my $40 tonight right?