By Dr. Rug
Hello YK Fastball fans, how’s everyone doing?
It’s been far too long since I’ve practiced my craft on this lovely site and I apologize for my absence. I’ve recently worked out a promotional deal with Shock Doctor that should put a little extra change in my pocket and give me some more free time to create works of literary genius for your enjoyment. For those of you that haven’t noticed yet, the 2017 season has started up and with the oodles of dollars in our bank account to spruce up Tommy Forrest, it should be our best season in years. We’ve added a couple of new teams in the last two years which means a bunch of new players… unfortunately I’m getting older so that means I’ve all but given up on learning new players’ names which means that most of the new guys won’t be mentioned. If you want a mention, it’s simple, you need to make a name for yourself. Whether that’s hitting 4 home runs in a game or charging the mound when Bruce plunks you, it doesn’t matter. Just do something memorable.
But that’s enough of the preamble; the Wood Bat tournament is less than a month away which means that there are 8 or 10 soon-to-be GMs out there that need the lowdown on all the players in the league. And I’m just the man to give you that lowdown. So without further ado let’s have a look at everyone’s second favourite article, the Player Trade Value Rankings…
Player Trade Value Rankings
I searched through the memory banks of an ancient computer that I have and I’ve broken out the old evaluation algorithm, punched in the numbers, and determined who the best of the best in the YK Fastball League is. Thankfully, despite a little bit of dust, the trusty mathematical processes still worked fine and with a little bit of manipulation (sorry Carter but a .650 batting average based solely on bunt singles is getting some penalty points added on) I’ve come up with this year’s list. The last time I took a shot at this was way back in 2013 so if you were around back then (and if I cared enough about you to include you) I’ll include your previous ranking for comparison. If you’re new to the league, there’s nothing. For those of you who are new to the league and wondering what this is all about, go back and read this, this, this, and this… or if you prefer, here’s an excerpt from the first article that explains what we’re doing:
“the concept for the column is relatively simple: rank all of the players in the league from bottom to top 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”
If you’re still confused, well, thanks for trying to read my article Ray Ray. Since there are so many players to rank, and I don’t want you to waste your entire day reading this article, I’ve broken the rankings down into three separate articles. Today you’ll get to read all about the lower two thirds of the league, next week we’ll move into the top 30, and then the following week we’ll tackle the top 10 players in the league. Now on to the rankings, as always, from worst to first.
(Dr. Rug note: all rankings are based on the stats from the 2016 regular season)
#91. Al Cardinal
Al’s offensive year included four at bats, two strike-outs, and zero times on base. That’s enough to get you last place in my rankings. On the plus side, the Card continues to tear it up on stage at the Range and if we were ranking musicians I’d want to listen to on a Saturday night he’d be at or near the top… a solid 15-20 spots ahead of DJ Cynergii.
#85. Ryan Sheppard (2013 rank: 13)
This is as good a spot as any to mention that these rankings are based solely on the regular season stats that were provided by Jimmy. If we included tournament stats I’m sure Shep would be a tad higher on the list but when you’ve only got one hit and seven plate appearances, there’s not a whole lot to work with (much like Sheppy at the Tree on a Saturday night).
#84. Mike Thompson
I’m including Tall Mike on here because I found it amusing that a guy with a .000 batting average finished ahead of Sheppard in the rankings. Ouch.
#83. Matt Simms (2013 rank: 5)
Rumour has it this one time YK Fastball League Legend retired in the offseason. Let’s hope that was just a ploy to get out of working Chase the Ace because if not, he certainly went out with a whimper instead of a bang. From top 10 to the bottom 10, the fall was quick and the result was ugly. You don’t want to go out like that Matty, come back for one more year.
#78. Mike Desjarlais
If the late-night Monkey Tree gossip is to be believed, Mr. Roady will be hanging up the cleats as well, putting an end to his illustrious career. Everyone please raise a glass to Roady and cheers the highlight of his career… the time he picked off Whitford in the first base coach’s box with a laser from right field. It doesn’t get much better than that.
#72. Mark Whitehead
If you’re looking for the reason that in 2016 Slades didn’t win a title during the year for the first time this millennium, a great place to start is the last three names on this list. Three stalwarts of the Slades glory years have all fallen to the bottom 20 spots in the rankings. I hate to say that the Slades boys are getting old… but yeah, they’re getting old.
#71. Dennis Marchiori (2013 rank: 78)
#70. Steve O’Hara
Seriously Slades, when Marchiori and O’Hara are finishing ahead of three of your regulars it might be time to restock the minor league system. A little injection of youth could go a long way to getting you back to the top. No offense intended Dennis & Steve. Well, maybe a little bit of offense was intended, but it’s all truth based offensiveness.
#67. Chris Cahoon
#63. Chris Kelln
Separately the HBC second base combo appear fairly far down on the list, but if you combine them into the Chris2 platoon as the Cardinals they do become a top 20 player. As the famous saying goes, “Two Chrisses are better than one”. Or something like that.
#56. Steve Robertson
The unstoppable mouth. The non-stop chatterbox. The Wildcard. Nobody in the league is more disliked when you don’t know him and beloved when you do. A solid argument could be made for Steve as the best teammate in the league and he was undoubtedly a key factor in the first Wood Bat Championship.
#51. Mike Broussard
He’s got some of the softest hand in town when he’s dangling around Rhino on the ice, unfortunately for the Rockies, Broussard has yet to demonstrate the same quick hands in the batter’s box. Management should probably have him spending more time in the batting cage and less time working on these nerdy hockey drills.
#65. Mitch Madsen (2013 rank: 36)
#43. Greg Skauge (2013 rank: 25)
#39. Paul Gard (2013 rank: 20)
Reason #2 for the 2016 decline of Slades, their pitchers have dropped a combined 66 spots in the rankings from the 2013 season (and a total of 104 combined spots from 2012). The pitching throughout the league is getting older every season and there aren’t a lot of prospects stepping up to take the reins. Nowhere is this more evident than on Slades’ roster. Hopefully Skauge’s offseason training regime as a part of Jamie Koe’s Brier team pays off…
#33. Mischa Malakoe
AKA The Cardinal Killer. Mischa’s stats say that he only hit 1 HR last year and slugged a middle-of-the-pack 0.667; however, if you were to factor in his plate appearances against Bruce in tournaments he easily hit 5+ Home Runs and slugged over 1.000. This guy absolutely crushed HBC pitching last year and to top it all off, I don’t think Bruce even hit him once. Bruce put up 4.2 HBP per game when he was on the mound but didn’t hit the one guy that had his number. I guess it will be up to this year’s HBC staff to send a message. Heads up in their Mischa.
And on that note, we will wrap up part 1 of our Player Trade Value Rankings, or as it should probably be known, The Fall of Slades. In the coming weeks we’ll take a look at the top 30 players in the league starting next week with numbers 30-11 and then following that up with the top 10. Thanks for checking out the article and feel free throw out your guesses on the forum as to who will make the top 10.
That’s all for now.