By Dr. Rug
Before we get to the top of this year’s list I just wanted to let everyone know that if you played last year, but your name hasn’t appeared anywhere in this three part marathon, that means that you finished somewhere between Mike Allerston (#31 overall) and the Card (#91 overall). If you’d like to know where exactly you ended up, fire me a message and I’ll look you up. For all of you that are new to the league this year (I’m looking at you Bouillon), now you have something to aspire to. If you work hard, practice diligently, say your prayers and eat your vitamins, you too might someday appear on the final page of Dr. Rug’s Player Trade Value Rankings.
(Editor’s note: Dr. Rug would like to apologize to Jonah Keri for stealing his idea from this article as a concept for his column. He wishes Jonah all the best in the future and will endeavour to credit him for any future concepts that he blatantly steals. Jonah’s brilliant work (and Jonah’s alone) was 100% the inspiration behind this column and Dr. Rug appreciates these ingenious ideas that Mr. Keri is consistently able to come up with.)
#10. Mike Auge
The oldest guy in the top 10 has certainly slowed down in recent years as his robotic knees gather more and more rust but he was still able to consistently put the bat on the ball last year. Mike finished 4th in the league in batting average last year trailing only a couple of Hincheys and Carter’s hollow .650 average. With five different guys toeing the rubber for the Cards in their 14 games last season, Mr. Auge was limited in his appearances but still put up his typical gold glove defense from the hill… even if he didn’t always use his glove to knock the ball down.
#9. Rob Andrews (2013 rank: 24)
To understand how great Robbie was when he was in the lineup for HBC last season, you have to take into account his limited playing time. Rob had between 37% and 56% the number of plate appearances of every single guy above him on the list. At the rates he had going, if he’d had as many plate appearances as even the next lowest guy he would have easily vaulted into the top 5 overall. The rest of the league should be breathing a sigh of relief that he’s on the DL for 2017 and not expected back until next summer.
#8. Chad Hinchey (2013 rank: 9)
For years he held down the title of top Hinchey of the fastball world but alas, his time has passed. In fact, he’s fallen all the way down to #3 in the Hinchey Trade Value Rankings. And trust me Chad, you don’t want to know where you are on the Doctor Rug’s Favourite Hincheys Rankings. What’s that? You say you do want to know where you are in the Favourite Hincheys Rankings? Well, here we go…
- Kelli Hinchey
- Brent Hinchey
- Reilly Hinchey (née: MacNeil)
- Devin Hinchey
- Allie Hinchey
- Garrett Hinchey
- Wes Hinchey
- Rob Hinchey
- Maurice Hinchey
- Chad Hinchey
Hey, at least you made the top 10 on both lists!
(Dr. Rug Note: Speaking of making the top 10, it’s also worth noting that Chad is the only player in the league to appear in the top 10 in the Player Trade Value Rankings every year that they’ve been produced. Several players have been there two out of three years, but only Chad has managed to be ranked as one of the ten best every single time.)
#7. Devin Case (2013 rank: 2)
For the first time in a long time the Trappers broke through with a tournament victory in 2016, taking home the Territorial title. They did so on the strength of their young bats and Sudsy’s tireless pitching. It makes sense that good, young hitters, solid fielders, and a steady pitching presence would lead them back to the promise land. And yet, in this day and age it’s hard to attribute credit to an out-of-nowhere performance without at least considering the possibility of the “S” word.
Was it a good work ethic that led the young hitters to all put on 10-20 pounds of muscle and start turning doubles into homeruns?
Was it random luck that they suffered no significant injuries to the top of their lineup?
Was it his daily McDonald’s feed that allowed Suds to pitch all weekend with no signs of fatigue?
And to top it all off, is it mere coincidence that this summer Devin Case gave up his manual labour job to take a cushy desk job in the pharmaceutical industry?
While there are no definitive answers at this time, this situation is eerily similar to the scandal that brought down the 2012 Pirates and led to the demise of that franchise. For everyone’s sake, let’s hope that we don’t have a repeat.
#6. Carson Roche
The lone Slade appearance in the top 15 of the rankings and one of only three Slades’ guys to crack the final two parts of the rankings. Carson was easily the Expos’ Most Valuable Player last year leading the team regulars in average, hits, triples, home runs, RBIs, and slugging percentage and finishing near the top in every other statistical category… including strikeouts. The biggest downfall for Mr. Roche, and the reason he didn’t crack the top 5 is the fact that he had 9 strikeouts in 36 at bats last year (or 1 every 4 at bats for those of you who are mathematically hindered). In fact, if you removed the 9 at bats where he K’d from the record, he would have finished second overall in the rankings. Unfortunately, as I’m sure Matty K. could tell you Carson, you can’t magically erase strikeouts from your record.
#5. Joel Ashby
I knew Joel had been crushing the ball last season but still, I was surprised to find him in the top 5 when the calculations were complete. Even more surprising was the fact that he was tied for the league lead in triples last year. The big man has some deceptive speed. Ignoring the potential influences discussed in Case’s profile, it has been great to witness the progression that Joel has made at the plate since entering the league. The biggest step that Joel has taken in his development is the one that we talked about Carson needing to take. Cutting down the strikeouts. In his first full season in the league in 2014, Joel struck out 10 times in 36 trips to the plate; in 2016 he lowered that to just 1 strikeout in 37 plate appearances. The result? A rise of over 200 points in his batting average and a spot in the illustrious top five of Dr. Rug’s Player Trade Value Rankings.
#4. Ryan Nichols (2013 rank: 7)
As Nichols continues his stolid climb up the YK Fastball Rankings, it may be time to re-examine another of Dr. Rug’s famous rankings and see where he falls in the complete hierarchy of Yellowknife sports. Laserich is on the DL recovering from a back injury eliminating him from contention. As a better hockey and fastball player (Kyle’s strengths), surely Ryan has passed Kugler in the rankings. The only remaining question is, has Nichols overtaken Borko atop the YK Rec Sports World? It’s obviously a topic for another day but something to give some serious thought to.
#3. Garrett Hinchey (2013 rank: 10)
As the saying goes, “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.” After years of toiling behind Chad in these rankings, Garrett finally managed to overcome the famous DJ, unfortunately he still managed to finished behind a younger brother (as you’ll shortly see). When these rankings were originally compiled at the end of the 2016 season, I was going to say that at least Garrett had progressed in his pitching to the point that he could lay claim to the title of Best Hinchey on the Mound… but after Chad’s impressive performance in the O-Down final, he might not even have that title. Well, if nothing else, you’re the top Cardinal on the list Garrett. That has to count for something, right?
#2. Kirk Sangris
Kirk was absent from the 2013 rankings as he wasn’t in YK that summer, but if we look back to 2012 he was the top dog. Although he’s fallen to #2 this year, it’s still very impressive the way he’s been able to dominate the Yellowknife fastball scene for the last half decade. Even more impressive is the fact that Kirk has actually improved his numbers since his #1 campaign in 2012.
2012: .522/.577/1.109, 6 HR, 18 RBI in 46 ABs
2016: .567/.629/1.300, 6 HR, 20 RBI in 30 ABs
A better slash line across the board and similar HR and RBI numbers in significantly less at bats. Very impressive Kirk, unfortunately you’re still falling out of the top spot thanks to Hinchey numero uno.
#1. Devin Hinchey (2013 rank: 40)
And it wasn’t even close. In 2016 Dev led the league in at bats, hits, doubles, triples, runs scored, RBIs, and he finished 2nd in slugging percentage, 3rd in HRs, 3rd in average, 5th in on base percentage, and 3rd in stolen bases (albeit with just 1, but still). Without even considering the improvements he made on the mound, or the gold glove level of defense, or the sick flow, he was still the top player in the league in 2016 by a wide margin.
In fact, the only person who could likely give Dev a run for his money in the battle for the top spot would be the infamous slugger, Nived Coustom, the legendary player who once graced the fields of Hay River, snagging flies and slugging grand slams. Some claim he was nothing but a myth, but this jersey says otherwise…
But until the Coustom brothers make a return to YK Fastball glory, the top spot it yours Dev. Enjoy it!!
One final tidbit for you to consider before I sign off from this year’s rankings…
For as much of a crapshoot as a YK Fastball tournament can be, looking at these rankings shows that maybe last year’s results weren’t the result of luck as much as some teams would have you believe.
Trappers: 3 players in the top 7 = Territorial Champs
HBC: 4 players in the top 10 = O-Down Champs (and best regular season record)
Rockies: 4 player in the top 13 = Year End Champs
O’s & Slades: 1 player each in the 15 = Zero Championships
As much as I hate to brag and say that my algorithms are brilliant, it’s hard to argue with the facts.
As always, if you have any comments, questions, or disagreements with the rankings, I can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org… or if you’re looking for something to do this long weekend, come on down to the Suds Cup at Fritz Thiel and we can debate the rankings in person over a cold beverage.