Dr. Rug’s Historic Player Trade Value Rankings: The Top 10

4 02 2019

By Dr. Rug

We made it! This is part 5 of a 5-part series. Read part 1part 2, part 3, and part 4 here!

Today’s the day folks; the day we finally reveal the numero uno of YK Fastball. First, how about that thrilling Super Bowl game yesterday? I’m not sure what was more impressive, the offensive firepower, the non-stop excitement, or the incredible half-time performance. But I must say, the highlight of the entire show was the postgame kiss. A love for the ages was on full display for the world to see; it touched my heart and brought a tear to my eye. This right here is the GOAT:

Before we dive into the top ten list it’s worth noting that 6 of the top 11 players in these rankings played on the 2011 & 2012 Pirates team.  One of YK Fastball’s greatest “What-Ifs” is what if the Traitorous Thiel had never sabotaged the Pirates teams?  Would they have dominated the last half decade of YK Fastball or were they doomed to fall apart with or without Thiel’s treachery?  I guess we’ll never know.

Before you scroll down and find out who the best of the best are, quiz yourself and see if you can guess the top ten…
 
 
 
 
 

Go ahead, I’ll wait…
 
 
 
 
 

Ready to go?

Here’s the top 10 (complete with what I can only assume would be their Tinder profile pics if they were single):

10. Chad Hinchey

DJ Cynergii’s alter ego is the first of three Hincheys in the top 10. He leads the Hinchey brothers in home runs with 12 (to Devin’s 10 and Garrett’s 8) but trails his brothers in pretty much every other category. His numbers were still good enough to crack the top 10, though so that’s saying something.

Chad is also the only player in the league to make the top 10 of Dr. Rug’s rankings every year running.  He finished 8th in 2012, 9th in 2013, 8th in 2017, and 10th here.  Excellent consistency!

9. Devin Hinchey

Hinchey brother #2 slots just ahead of Chad in the rankings thanks in large part to the extra 30 plate appearances that he’s had. Dev leads the Hinchey family in doubles but is behind at least one of his brothers in every other category except strikeouts.

This brings us to the random Hinchey fact of the day. Over the course of the 7 years all three Hinchey brothers have struck out exactly 14 times (for the record, papa Brent has only K’d 5 times). Devin is definitely the most improved of the brothers (as his rise from #37 in 2012 to #1 in 2017 will attest to) but the success in recent years isn’t enough to offset the slow start. Give it another decade or so and I’d put my money on Devin being the #1 Hinchey in Dr. Rug’s rankings.

(Dr. Rug Note: Since I had him as the odds-on favourite in the previous column to be #1 in 2025, this probably is a little redundant… oh well, redundancy is bound to happen in a 5 part article written over the course of 8 months.)

8. Jon Whitford

I have to admit, if you’d asked me to guess the top 10 names before running the numbers through the Dr. Rug Algorithm (patent pending), I probably would have gotten 9 out of 10 correct. The one I would have missed would have been Jon (with Nichols or Mueller being the player I included that was incorrect). However, Jon was top 6 in PA, Hits, HRs, Runs, RBIs, and average. Numbers like that will definitely get you into the top 10 of the rankings.

(Dr. Rug Note: After the first part of the rankings were released I received an email from Jon detailing out his complete 2018 stats along with the cryptic message “Mediocre is the Orioles new jersey colour”. I’m not sure what to make of any of it but I appreciate the email Jon.)

(Dr. Rug Note on the Note: If anything, mediocre has always been the Orioles forte, it’s nothing new.)

7. Ryan Strain

My how the mighty have fallen.  Well he hasn’t really fallen that far but when I penned the first PTV column back in 2012, Rhino was battling for a triple crown title (either winning it that year or falling just short in batting average depending on your minimum at-bats threshold) and a contender for the #1 spot. Now, a few years later he’s fallen to the point where he needs Devin Theriault to vouch for him just to get a try-out for a spot on a team.

Over the 7 years, Rhino leads the league in two stats. The first is category is most plate appearances without being hit by a pitch. It must be those nimble feet of his!

The second is strikeout rate. Of any player to appear in the rankings that has at least 50 PAs, Ryan has struck out at the lowest rate, putting up a mere 6 Ks over 274 plate appearances.  For the record, here’s the top 5 in lowest K percentages in the league:

Brad Mueller – 3.1%

Curtis Gibeau – 2.7%

Ryan Nichols – 2.6%

Matt Simms – 2.5%

Ryan Strain – 2.2%

(Dr. Rug Note: I personally finished just outside the top 5 at #6 with a 3.8% rate and I blame this 100% on Steve Thomas. I had a 1.3% strikeout rate in the first 6 years of stats and then went and K’d 5 times in 2017 to raise my rate to 3.8%. F*ck you Steve!!)

6. Brian Couvrette

I look at this top ten list and wish I had taken the time to interview Rhino specifically so I could ask him his thoughts on Couvrette being slightly ahead of him in the rankings. Ryan, if you’re reading this, please fire me an email to dr_rug@hotmail.com and respond to this ranking.  

That being said, the Vette does deserve being ranked where he is (keeping in mind that external factors like “clubhouse presence,” “likability,” and “social media presence” are not taken into account). He ranks in the top 6 in the league in hits, doubles, triples, home runs, runs, RBIs, stolen bases, and placing his hits exactly where he wants. I really hate to say it but that’s a very impressive resume.

(Dr. Rug Note: I’d like to take a minute out of the countdown to throw a little appreciation out to all of the fastball wives out there that take care of the kids while dad is at the ball field playing. On behalf of the YK Fastball league, thank you for all that you do to make our league possible. In particular, since we’re at this point in the countdown, I’d like to recognize what a saint Hawna is for not only raising three boys, but for also taking care of the Vette each and every day, all year round. Dealing with him for 2 hours per night, 2 nights per week, 3 months of the year is too much for me; I’m not sure how you manage to do it 24/7/365.)

5. Kevin Vallillee

Get ready for a barrage of weird/incredible stats that I found when compiling Ishii’s numbers for these rankings:

  • It’s not that it’s a surprise that he led the league in walks given his approach at the plate, but he put up 82 walks total; the next closest was Andy Williams at 44. Kevin walked in over 21% of his plate appearances. That’s ridiculous.
  • As mentioned earlier, Kevin was top ten in the league in total strikeouts. I still find that difficult to believe.
  • All total, he had 120 plate appearances where he didn’t put the ball in play (walked, hit by pitch, or struck out), only 64 people in these rankings even had that many total plate appearances.
  • Kevin scored almost twice as many runs as he drove in (176 to 94), this is indication of either his excellent baserunning skills or the ineptitude of the bottom of the Slades order. I’ll let you decide which one.
  • Thanks in large part to his walk total, Kevin was on base 244 times, or 31 times more than anyone else in the league. That means that on average he made it on base more than twice per game over the seven year period.
  • The walk total also led to Kevin having 29 more runs scored than he had total base hits. The only other person in the top 50 with more runs scored than base hits was Primetime (+10).  

These crazy stats have me wishing we tracked pitches seen, you have to think that Kevin’s total would be at least twice as high as the second place guy… maybe even three times?

4. Garrett Hinchey

Finally. After all these years and all these rankings Garrett has an opportunity to call himself the top Hinchey!!

As much as this is a ranking of offensive performance, let’s take a minute to appreciate the immense strides that Garrett has made in his pitching over the last 7 years. Here’s an excerpt from my 2012 PTV rankings, where Garrett finished 20th:

Ok, so maybe not everyone in this category is a ‘top of the rotation’ chucker… At times this year Garrett has actually shown some control on the mound, unfortunately it hasn’t been consistent enough to consider him an elite pitcher.

Contrast that review with Garrett taking the mound for every important HBC game last year and leading them to two titles. He may have still finished with a higher ERA and WHIP than the other two HBC aces (i.e. Auge and Nichols) but he is undoubtedly the most improved pitcher of the last decade in the league.  

On the offensive side of things, it’s really no surprise at all that Garrett leads the league in average (minimum 35 PA) and triples. A .613 average over 300+ plate appearances is incredible and his 27 triples are the result of him being able to absolutely crush the ball to the opposite field (and the right fielders’ collective lack of understanding of this ability).

Congratulations Garrett on finally ascending to the top of the Hinchey hill, it is well deserved!

3. Devin Case

My balls still cringe every time I write about Case in a fastball article.  

Devin is likely your best bet of the player to be in the top ten on this list for the longest time. His skills have developed as expected and he’s turned into a perennial MVP candidate. I remember the 2012 ranking when I wrote that “a smart GM would trade for him right now” and proceeded to offer Jared for Devin straight up… how I wish now that I’d sweetened that offer a little and included Blewett or someone that would have made the deal happen.

(Dr. Rug Note: Who am I kidding, as sweet as he is, adding Blewett wouldn’t have sweetened the deal enough to get Case.)

Case leads the league in no categories but is near the top in every category. He’s a little like Vette in that regard, except that you’d much rather have him on your team.

2. Kirk Sangris

Kirk’s case for the top spot in the rankings ends up just short in large part due to missed games. He has appeared in at least 20 less games and has at least 50 less PAs than everyone else in the top ten. However, he almost makes up for this lack of games played with his powerful bat. He’s second in total home runs, and first in both slugging percentage and OPS with an incredible 1.854 OPS (123 points higher than Mueller in second place). The skill was there to give him a shot at the top, unfortunately the longevity was not.

Which brings us to the top dog in the rankings.

1. Andy Williams

Honestly, this wasn’t even a close race. Andy led the league in hits, double, home runs, and finished second in slugging percentage and OPS. The difference in the final numbers from Dr. Rug’s algorithm between Andy and Kirk was about the same as the difference between Kirk and Devin Hinchey (9th place). Well done Andy, well done.

Now let’s see if you can keep it up once you’re married and start making little mini-Ginas that will be running around everywhere, chasing your ever-growing pack of labradoodles, and making you late for everything.  Good luck!

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Dr. Rug’s Historic Player Trade Value Rankings: 25-11

1 02 2019

By Dr. Rug

This is part 4 of a 5-part series. Read part 1part 2, and part 3 here!

Happy Friday everyone!!  As we close out this week, a mere 25 names remain in the countdown as we inch closer and closer to crowning the best of the best.  Who will be number one? Who will walk away with the glory and eternal adulation that goes along with being Dr. Rug’s best? Only time will tell, so let’s not waste any more with another long-winded intro and instead get right into the countdown.

25. Rob Andrews – Injuries have limited Robbie’s overall numbers, but when he’s playing, he’s one of the best in the league. His name also marks the first of ten players in the top 25 that are currently playing for (or have most recently played for) the Home Building Centre Cardinals, the most out of any team in the league and a reason why they’ve been at or near the top of the standings since they debuted.  

24. Mitch Madsen – With fatherhood now upon him the immediate future of Mitch’s career, is littered with questions that will define his legacy. Will he retire to focus on fatherhood? Will he get in shape now that he’s got a family depending on him? Will he chase his lifelong dream of opening a poutinery in Burger Bob’s shack? So many unknowns that will ultimately shape how we remember this legend.

23. Marcus Watt – Designated running skills aside, Marcus brought all-around talent to the plate in his brief time in the league. One of just nine players in the rankings with a slash line* of at least .500/.500/.950, he consistently raked for the Cardinals. Like many of the HBC firefighters, his time in the league was short-lived, but he certainly made the most of it when given the opportunity.

(Dr. Rug Note: For those of you not familiar with baseball stats, the slash line consists of a player’s batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage.  And yes, this is something that would have been useful to include in part 1 of the rankings, but better late than never, right?)

22. Lorne Gerwing – Perhaps the most vital member of any team is the guy that knows where to find the late-night, post-game feed. Lorne is that guy. We are all familiar with his delectable Lorney specials from Bruno’s but he’s come through in the clutch with several other options over the years as well. Whether it be providing buckets of chicken in the gardens (I think Chuck may have had a hand in that one as well), loads of wings at the campsite, or tracking down the elusive purse burgers on the beaches of Hay River… if you need a little something to give you the energy to make it through tournament weekend, Lorne is your man.  

Oh, and he’s pretty good at ball too.

21. Brandon MacNeil

Primetime.  

The one and only.  

Brandon had the lowest batting average of anyone in the top 25 and the third lowest of anyone in the top 50. This isn’t a good thing but I bring it up because the fact that he was able to slot in at #21 despite his below average average illustrates how many other skills he brought to the table. Second in steals, third in walks, top ten in triples, Primetime was your prototypical, old-school, lead-off hitter. And he was one of the best to ever do it.

(Dr. Rug Note: The third in walks is particularly impressive considering he had roughly half the number of at bats of most of the top players on this list.)

20. Mike Auge – With Mr. Auge appearing ever so slightly ahead of Primetime in the rankings, and with us discussing lead-off hitting, this presents the perfect opportunity to link to this article detailing the storied history between these two YK Fastball legends.

(Dr. Rug Update: In the end, this modern day love story had a happy ending as our hero and his princess ended up running off to a tropical island, getting married, and living happily ever after… it’s the greatest love story since The Princess Bride.)

19. Darin Strain

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18. Mike Dove – If I can figure out a way to factor singing skills into the algorithm for the next iteration I can guarantee you two people will rise up the rankings. Number one is obviously the Card, whose Gold Range sets are legendary. Number two is this guy. Dover is a karaoke god. If you’ve never heard him belt out a drunken version of Don’t Stop Believin’ then you’ve never heard that song how it was meant to be sung.

17. Bruce Waugh – Typically when talking fastball excellence and Bruce we’d discuss the legendary batting philosophy of Mr. Waugh (Bruce see ball, Bruce hit ball) and his incredible power numbers. However, I’m going to change the focus to the most incredible stat I found. Bruce had 6 of the 7 seasons with zero steals and then he had 2015, when he led the league in stolen bases. Of the top 25 people in the rankings, Bruce has as many, or more, career steals than half of them thanks solely to that one season.  Next thing you’ll be trying to tell me is that Bruce played gold glove defense too.

(Dr. Rug Note: Tied for second in SBs in 2015 were Ryan Nichols and Darin Strain.  What the heck was happening in 2015???)

16. Fraser Oliver – Fraser has the honour of being the league leader in hit-by-pitches.  Due in large part to the fact that he’s never played on Bruce’s teams. Fraser is also tied for sixth on the home run leaders list with 13 of them and is tenth overall in both RBIs and runs scored.  It’s a well-rounded resume that slots him into the top 16.

15. Joey Borkovic – I know that these ratings are based on offense alone, but I’m going to take this space to laud Borko for his otherworldly defensive skills. He has made the two best defensive plays that I have ever seen on the fastball field. Second place on that list was his full speed, jumping snag and flip over the outfield fence into the beer gardens catch that he made at Tommy Forrest.  

First place is the even more unbelievable, back to the plate, scale the centerfield fence, juggling back-flip, bare handed finish that he made in Hay River. I know that even that description sounds impossible but I swear it happened. I saw it with my own eyes.  It was insane.

14. Andy Stewart – Andy was the last original holdover from the Slades Dynasty of the early part of this millennium. There was a time when Andy, Matty, Rhino, Bruce, Darin were carved in stone at the top of the Slades lineup card and the Slades name was thus carved into many a trophy.  As this tweet from mid-2018 clearly indicates, those days are long gone…

image3

A new age has dawned…

And how did the Expos respond to this drastic roster turnover?  Of course they made their first tournament final in over three years (since the 2015 O-Down) and came within one out of taking home the league championship.  

The future is bright in Slades-ville, but before we put the old guard out to pasture, let’s take one final opportunity to recognize the greatness of that early 2000s squad.  And it always started with Andy at the top, leading things off.

13. Rick Morrison – When you have 19 steals and the next closest guy has 9, you get a little bit of a bump up the rankings. It doesn’t hurt that Rick also had 6 home runs and batted over .440… but the 19 SBs really did help him. Remove stolen bases from the equation and he’d fall out of the top 30.

12. Ryan Nichols – Nichols might have found himself in the top ten on this list if he hadn’t at some point in his past decided to enter into a lifelong blood feud with Glen. 

First off, let me say that I appreciate all of our umpires that come out and deal with the constant idiocy in the YK Fastball League, and I know it’s a difficult job, particularly calling balls & strikes. Secondly, let me say that I know that Glen’s strike zone can occasionally wander regardless of who the batter is.

But, even with those acknowledgements factored in, Glen’s zone when Nichols is at the plate seems to be at least 6 inches larger in every direction than it does the rest of the game. I’m not sure if this goes back to the infamous occasion when Nichols was tossed but then Bruce overruled the umps or if there is something else at play here. Either way, it definitely hurt Ryan’s quest to make the top ten.

But, on the bright side, your fashion game is top ten material Nichols!!

image2

Now that’s class.

11. Brad Mueller – Mueller has a mere 127 plate appearances to his name in the stats; that’s by far the fewest of any player in the top 25 and less than 50% of everyone in the top 10 except Kirk (Spoiler alert: Kirk, the guy that finished 1st and 2nd in previous rankings, is in the top 10 here).  If you doubled Mueller’s numbers (which would still leave him 8th out of the top 10 in PA), he’d vault all the way up to second place on the rankings. Unfortunately for Brad, you have to show up and actually play the games to get credit for your skills.  So here you are, just outside the top 10.

And with that, part 4 is in the books and there are only ten names left on the list.  We’ll get to those ten next time but before I leave you for the day, here’s a quick look ahead to Dr. Rug’s early, early odds for the favourites to be at the top of the 2019 – 2025 Top 200 list…

Mischa Malakoe – 25:1

Fraser Oliver – 18:1

Jaden Beck – 12:1

Devin Case – 5:1

Devin Hinchey – 3:1

Enjoy your weekend, indulge in all your favourite foods and beverages on Super Bowl Sunday, and tune back in Monday when the top dog is finally revealed.  

Go Rams!!!

 





Dr. Rug’s Historic Player Trade Value Rankings: 50-26

30 01 2019

By Dr. Rug

This is part 3 of a 5-part series. Read part 1 and part 2 here!

My final comment from day #1 of the rankings about Jaden being a better hockey player than Broussard has got me thinking… if the teams of the YK Fastball league took to the ice for a hockey tournament, who would be the team to beat?  

It’s an interesting debate and there would be some really solid teams. I’m not quite as knowledgeable about the YK Hockey league as I am about fastball, but I do know there is a whole lot of talent kicking around the diamond. I’m not sure how the Thunder team would stack up (other than Josh Brown grinding in the corners), but teams like the Blue Jays and the Trappers would be able to put together decent squads with the likes of Gibeau, Fraser Oliver and Joel Ashby leading the way. The Orioles would have Devin Hinchey and Thrill as their top two but might not have the depth to compete with the best squads.

To me, with my admittedly limited knowledge, this would be a three horse race. First up you’ve got the Rockies, their top 5 would likely be Broussard, Herb, Byron, Paul, and Kirk… that’s a lot of scoring. The next contender would be the Slades Expos with old-school legends Andy Stewart and Rhino leading the way, and speedsters Borko, Carson, Kugler and Laborde lighting it up. Finally, you’ve got the HBC Cardinals who would put out a top line featuring Robbie and Lorne on the point; Mueller, Nichols, and Cahoon up front; and Jaden backstopping it all between the pipes (not to mention Darin’s veteran leadership in the penalty box on the bench).  I’m sure I’ve missed a few standout players in there but regardless, it would be quite the battle.  

Who takes the title?

Anyway, that’s enough about hockey, let’s continue the long slow climb to the top with Part 3 of the rankings.  These are the players that are good enough to deserve an everyday spot in the lineup but not good enough to build a franchise around.

I will take this time to note that if you haven’t seen your name yet, and you don’t see your name in the next 50, that means you fell outside of the top 100.  I’d be happy to share your exact spot in the rankings if you want to know it, feel free to email me at dr_rug@hotmail.com.

50. Damien Healy – Healy manages to sneak into the top 50.  How? I’m not sure but here he is.

(Dr. Rug Note: Healy, what was it we agreed upon for payment?  1 flat for top 100, 2 flats for top 50?)

49. Ian Farrer – The man with the most mispronounced name in the history of the league makes it into the top 50.  Pretty impressive considering he only has 3 seasons of stats to his name.

48. Steve Thomas – When I said above “not good enough to build a franchise around” I was obviously referring to batting skills only, not overall game.  As Steve has demonstrated the last couple of seasons, you can easily build a title contender around his right arm and a bunch of scrubs.

47. Glen Tingmiak – Tinger is the first of twelve players to appear in these rankings that have ever finished in the top 5 overall of Dr. Rug’s PTV rankings.  That is quite a prestigious honour and something that should appear on the resume of each and every one of those twelve individuals.

(Dr. Rug Note: The rankings have come out three previous times, there are three players that appeared in the top five on two occasions but nobody made it all three times.  In fact, only one player has appeared in the top 10 on all three occasions and that guy never made the top 5.

Spoiler alert: Once again in these rankings he made the top 10 but not the top 5.)

46. Andy Penton – The stats tell me that Andy has a home run.  I don’t recall when or where this alleged home run happened but it’s in the books so it must be true.  

45. Brad Waugh – One of the few names in this range that is on his way up the rankings as opposed to heading downward.  Brad has a ways to go to catch his dad but give him a few more years of consistent production and I’m confident he’ll overtake Bruce pretty easily.

44. Sean Fowler – The answer to the trivia question from the last part, who led the league in batting in 2012, is none other than Mr. Fowler. His .760 batting average that year is the third best single season average, trailing Mueller’s .786 from 2015 and Matty K.’s untouchable .842 from 2017.  

43. Paul Gard – Surprisingly low on the list and on the stat sheet.  I’m not sure if Paul saved his best work over the 7 years for tournament play or if Jimmy just Jimmy’d him on the stat sheet but I’ve only got Paul down for 6 doubles and 6 home runs over 7 years of stats.  That doesn’t seem right.

42. Matt Simms – As old age has caught up with him, Matt’s turned into the typical crusty old Toronto fan on social media. Needless to say, if you don’t already follow @F_T_Smasher on twitter you should, it’s entertaining!!

41. Chris Kelln – Here’s hoping that Chris can return from one of the most gruesome injuries of 2018.  This x-ray still makes me squirm.

Yikes.

40. Greg Skauge – The recent outrage over JK showing up drunk at a curling event brought back memories of running into Skauge at the Brier when he was the 5th for team NT. We ran into him up in the concourse mid-game where he was buying 50/50 tickets for the team and proceeded to chug the rest of my drink.  Best 5th ever!

39. Sean Couvrette – This is a situation where you think to yourself, “Sure Brian has better numbers… and sure he’s been playing longer… and sure he’s still living in Yellowknife… but honestly I think I’d take Sean over him for my team every chance I got.”

(Dr. Rug Sidenote: I say that, but of course they were both on HBC and when the league instituted the One Couvrette per Team rule we chose to keep Brian over Sean.)

38. Joel Ashby – Joel may be the most unexpected player to ever make it into the top ten of the previous PTV rankings.  He came in at #5 in 2017, just behind Ryan Nichols and ahead of Carson Roche… I take that back, Carson Roche might be the most unexpected player to ever make the top ten.  

37. Ryan Heslep – Hessie is another guy that is surprisingly lower on this list than I expected.  I think this is due in large part to the lack of tournament stats being factored in as well as Ryan’s preference for fishing over fastball.  Hard to fault a guy for that.

(Choosing sailing lessons over fastball on the other hand…)

36. Scott Blacklock – Played half a season, put up amazing numbers (.600/.750/1.100), and led the Rockies to their only championship in franchise history. That’s a nice little resume for only playing a month in the league.

35. Matt Whiteford – Matt had some actual baseball skills that transferred across nicely to the fastball field.  One of the smoothest swings in the league he definitely had the ball player look perfected.

Damn, Daniel

Speaking of sweet swings…

34. Jared Ooms – He came, he saw, he crushed.  

33. Mike Reddy – Obligatory note that this is the good Mike Reddy, not the “I came home drunk and my TV got stolen” Mike Reddy. I feel sorry for Mike, always being compared to the other Reddy… on the bright side though, he always comes out of that comparison looking spectacular.  

32. Ryan Theil – I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect Theil to be this high on the list.  His numbers back it up though. A 1.235 OPS is an impressive number and is easily good enough to get him into the top 50.  If he hadn’t single-handedly caused the downfall of the Pirates franchise he may have ended up with even better numbers!

31. Kyle Kugler – #2 on 2014’s illustrious list of the top rec athletes in Yellowknife, Kugler is only lacking playing time from his stats or he’d be a lot higher on the list.  That’s a common refrain for some of these one-hit wonders, but consistency and longevity are the difference between a top 15 ranking and a 31st place finish.

30. Matt Kennedy – In 2014, Matt led the league in strikeouts… three years later he batted .842.  That’s quite the impressive turnaround.

Here’s looking at you, kid.

(Dr. Rug sidenote: Seriously, I think Matty K. putting up an .842 batting average is the most miraculous stat in the entire stat book.  Eight-Forty-Two!!! That’s completely ridiculous.)

29. Jared MacNeil – And thus answers the question of “which MacNeil brother will be higher in the rankings?”  Sorry J-Rod, I’d still take you over Primetime every chance I had but the numbers say he’s better.

28. Devon Theriault – If he had a couple more seasons in the books, Devon would no doubt be a top 20 player in the rankings.  His numbers are excellent but with just over 100 PAs to his name, he’s lacking the total numbers to crack that prestigious list. 

27. Torrey McLaren – Proving without a doubt that chin straps improve hitting skills. Torrey is the highest ranked player without a single home run to his name. He’s also one of only two people in the top 40 without a strikeout (the next name on the list being the other). In one season of stats, Torrey put up a .818 on base percentage, the highest of anyone on the entire list with the exception of…

26. Les Elchuk – Showed up.  Played two games. Led the league in batting average, OBP, and slugging over the 7 year period.  If only he’d hit this well at Masters…

(Dr. Rug Note: For the rest of the top 25, any time I talk about a player having the best numbers, they exclude the insane .857/.857/1.429 slash line that Elchuk put up in his brief appearance in YK.  I debated putting the threshold at 8 PAs but I thought it was worthwhile leaving it where it was and emphasizing just how impressive Les’s two games were.)

Since we’re ending off today with the best player on the list to never play more than one season, here’s a quick review of the top five players that have one season or less in the books…

  1. Brad Hamilton
  2. Steve Thomas
  3. Scott Blacklock
  4. Torrey McLaren
  5. Les Elchuk

That’ll do it for today’s list! Tune in next time as we begin our journey into the hallowed air of the top 25.





Dr. Rug’s Historic Player Trade Value Rankings: 100-51

29 01 2019

By Dr. Rug

This is part 2 of a 5-part series. Read part 1 here!

Hopefully you folks enjoyed the first portion of the rankings and are excited for more. Before we get started today a little break down of the format for you. Part 1 took a look at random players in the 200 – 101 range of the rankings, today we’ll take a look at everyone from 100 – 51, part 3 will cover numbers 50 – 26, part 4 numbers 25 – 11, and part 5 will look at the top 10.  

Yes, this is a 5 part series on the best of the best from YK Fastball league; I might be insane for undertaking this. All in all we’re looking at about 10,000 words on you fastball idiots.

(Confession time:  Despite what I said in my initial intro, I actually started working on these rankings back at the beginning of the 2018 season so they’ve been in the works for about 8 months now.  Hopefully I actually get them finished and published before the 2019 season rolls around.)

As we head into the upper half of the rankings, let’s take a look at players 100 – 51 on the list.  These guys either put up fantastic stats over a short period of time or played most of the seasons in order to pile up some bigger cumulative numbers.  There are a lot of well-known names in today’s section as well as some impressive one-hit wonders. We’ll cover them all with a brief comment on everyone.

100. Chris Cahoon – Unfortunately Chris had his break-out season in 2018 when we decided to stop keeping stats. At least you’re in the top 100 Chris, you’ve got that going for you.

99. Tyler Blewett – It was all downhill when he left the watchful eye and calm leadership of Mr. Darin Strain. The moment he chose to leave the Diamondbacks to join the Orioles was the moment any flicker of hope of greatness was extinguished.

98. Rob Foote – Perhaps 2019 is the summer we coax Rob out of retirement and back onto the mound?

97. Phil Careen – Phil’s slash line of .400/.464/.580 is right on the average of the entire league. Congrats on being average Phil!

96. Paul Rivard – A solid showing for only having two and a half years under his belt.  Paul should continue to rise up the rankings as he hones his batting skills.

95. Jenn Lukas – If there were bonus points in the algorithm, I’d bump Jenn up about 50 spots for all the work that she puts in with the next generation of fastball players in YK.  Your efforts are appreciated!!

94. Alex Brockman – Let’s take a look at some of Brockman’s career highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qukxwQ6-kVg

93. Byron Kotokak – Byron is the lowest ranked player with at least 1 in every category included in the rankings.  I’m not sure if that’s something to be proud of but it is something.

92. Mischa Malakoe – I’m surprised the Mischa is this low on the list.  I think it’s a combination of a few factors:

  • 2018 stats not being included,
  • The high number of strikeouts that he has,
  • All of Mischa’s stats seemingly coming against the Cardinals, thus skewing my impression of his actual ability.

91. Chris Aitken – Remember when the Slo-Pokes were a team? Good times. Not as good is trying to come up with something to write for all of their players that make their way into the top 100.

90. Joe Tkachuk – Who knew that this legend had 7 games played in our stats?  Or that he hit .500 over that brief stint? Nicely done!

89. TJ Loeppky – Unfortunately after undergoing knee surgery this winter, TJ won’t be back on the field this summer and will instead have to focus on the continuation of his beer gardens excellence.  

88. Jason Jonasson – The 50 to 100 range is officially the one-hit wonders range of the countdown. So many players in this point in the countdown who appeared briefly, had a few shining moments, and then disappeared from the league just as quickly, never to be remembered again… except in random Dr. Rug countdowns.  Congrats JJ.

87. James McKay – It’s also the range that you’ll find current legends like Jimmy.

86. Roy Hawkins – Apparently Roy had 4 dingers in 40 at bats in the 2012 season for the Red Sox (aka Trappers).  Who knew? He also led the league in strikeouts that season with 15.

85. Devon Bouillon – The answer to my question from #133 is, “Yes.  Yes, there is.”

We don’t like to talk about this.

84. Barry Bessette – Another oldtimer cracking the top 100 of the list.  It’s nice to see Barry showing up just ahead of Devon on the list.

83. Keith Robertson – 11 walks and just 3 strikeouts in his career (36 plate appearances), that’s a pretty solid ratio.

82. Brent Hinchey – The first Hinchey to appear on the list. We won’t be getting to the other three until quite a bit further down in the list.

81. Roadie – Every time I think of Roadie and fastball I always remember his epic throw that picked off Jon Whitford when he was coaching first base.  That’s got to be a top 10 YK Fastball highlight (or lowlight depending on your perspective) of this century.

80. Russ Robertson – I’m not entirely sure where these numbers came from but I’m just as surprised as you are to find out that Rusty had a OPS over 1.000 and is higher on the list than other Cardinals legends like Jaden and Cahoon.

79. Josh Brown – Josh Brown is essentially the Sub-Arctic fastball team compressed down into a single individual.  

78. Mardie Graham – Is it just me or does anyone else feel like Mardie’s game hasn’t changed whatsoever in 20 years? He’s essentially the exact same player he’s always been, with the same repertoire and skills. How many more years of this can we expect Mardie?

77. Keegan Shea – Did you know that Keegan Shea finished 6th in the batting race in 2012, the final year of the Pirates? I’m willing to bet that without looking it up, there’s not a single one of you that can guess the league leader that season.  

76. John White – I thought John would be higher on this list… it was probably the mandatory “Trappers Penalty” that dropped him down to #76.  

75. Mike Allerston – I think if we combined Shannon’s stats from the wood bat tourney the Allerston couple might make a run at the top 50.  

74. Brandon Coates – One of the key pieces of the Optimum Crush Rockies historic 2016 title run.  How glad are we as a league that the Rockies won their title in 2016 instead of 2015 so we’re not stuck with Jerrie’s Delivery Rockies on the championship trophy?

73. Geno Holick – A full 73 spots higher than Braden on the list. I’m not sure if I’m more impressed for Geno or embarrassed for Braden?

72. Spencer Rivers – We have exactly two Spencers that have played in the league, what are the odds that they’d wind up back to back in the rankings?

(yes, we’re at that point in the rankings where I have no idea what to write about half of the guys on the list so I’m making up random inane commentary)

71. Spencer Lyman – With multiple knee surgeries now under his belt, I would highly recommend a move away from the diamond towards the third base coaching box.  

70. Dave Colbourne – His skill in the field was surpassed only by the incomprehensibility of his accent.  Davey C. was probably the most consistent defensive player in the league during his playing time and his 1.352 OPS shows that he was no slouch at the plate either.  His ranking suffers due to the fact that he only has one season of stats in the books, but that one season was good enough to make the top 70.

69. Curtis Gibeau – Of everyone that has at least one full season of stats in the books, Gibeau is in the top 5 overall in lowest strikeout rate.  He struck out only 4 times in 146 plate appearances. The other four names in that top 5 finished 42nd, 12th, 11th, and 7th in the rankings.  That’s some pretty good company.  

68. Scott Thomson – No words necessary for this guy, the cleats say it all.

WHAT ARE THOOOOSE

67. Carter Stirling – There are three people in the top 100 that have a higher on base percentage than they do slugging percentage.  Carl Bulger with his zero extra base hits. Rob Johnson. And Carter Stirling. This is not a surprise.

66. Ron Chiasson – Another slo-pitch legend who made the jump to the league as part of the upstart, Slo-Pokes franchise. Hopefully this minor league pipeline continues to feed players into the league even without the Slo-Pokes squad.

65. Steve Fosty – Who the heck was Steve Fosty?  

64. Devin Penney – Is there any team that Devin hasn’t suited up for in the YK Fastball league?  This guy gets around more than Matt Simms did in highschool.

63. Derrick Sangris – Fun question for everyone out there, how would you rank the families in the league?  Obviously the Hincheys are taking home the top spot but after that you’ve got the Couvrettes, MacNeils, Sangris (Sangrises?  Sangri?), Strains, and Waughs all battling it out for second place.

(Dr. Rug Note: If I run the numbers through my algorithm (which was designed for individuals, not combined stats) the rankings come out as follows:

 

  • Hincheys
  • Strains
  • Couvrettes
  • Sangrises
  • MacNeils
  • Waughs

 

But the gap between 2nd and 4th is minuscule… the gap between 4th and 6th, not so small.)

62. Carl Bulger – Would you have ever guessed that Carl was third overall in batting average?  Sure it was only over 13 at bats, but still, a .615 average is legendary!

61. Brandon Voudrach – In 14 at bats in his career, Brandon had 7 hits, only one of which was a single.  Giving him an incredible 1.143 slugging percentage, good for third overall, and good enough to slot him in at the 61st spot in the rankings.

T-59. Rob Johnson – Surprisingly this was the only tie in the entire rankings. @Rj2bagger and @RCSheppy. Makes sense, they’re essentially the same player.

T-59. Ryan Sheppard – Sheppy has a little more power, Rob has a little higher on base percentage… both are overrated on defense and about a year away from fastball retirement.  As I said, essentially the same player.

(Dr. Rug Sidenote: Who is going to be more offended by me calling them the same player, Sheppy or Rob?)

58. James Pugsley – Surprisingly, Pugsley has 5 stolen bases in his 18 games played which (according to Jimmy) is good enough for 8th place overall.  Perhaps nothing is more indicative of Jimmy’s inability to record stolen bases than the fact that over a 7 year span, only one player has double digits in steals, Ricky Morrison with 19.  

57. Brad Hamilton – Reaching way back to 2011 for this guy’s stats.  Over 8 games that season, Brad hit an impressive .591 to lead the 3-13-3 Red Sox squad.  

56. Todd Moran – Obligatory mention that catching skills and clubhouse presence do not factor into the rankings or Todd would undoubtedly be much higher on the list.

55. Jordan Griffin – Of all the players in the top 99 with at least 20 at bats there are only three that have zero triples.  Not surprisingly the first two are Bruce Waugh and Paul Gard… the third one is Mr. Griffin. That’s some speedy company you’re in with there Jordan. However, his power was right there with those other two legends as well; with 6 home runs in 53 plate appearances, Jordan’s rate of a home run every 8.83 plate appearances was the best in the league.

Top 5 All-Time in Home Run Rate

  1. Brad Mueller – one dinger every 12.70 plate appearances
  2. Jared Ooms – one every 10.29 PA
  3. Andy Williams – one every 10.03 PA
  4. Kirk Sangris – one every 9.14 PA
  5. Jordan Griffin – one every 8.83 PA

54. Matt Mossman – One of the most underrated players in the league.  If I was starting a team from scratch, Mossman would be one of the guys I’d try and sign.  It helps that he doesn’t seem to age at all as the years go by.

53. Carson Roche – It’s amazing to me that second in total strikeouts wasn’t someone like Matty K, Tyler Blewett, or Dennis Marchiori… it was Carson Roche.  Hey, at least you finished in the top 5 in something, right Carson? Maybe if you had the next guy on the list priming up the pitchers like he primes up the ladies for you at the Racquet Club, you’d be a little higher in the rankings…

(Dr. Rug Note: Even more amazing than Carson finishing #2 in total strikeouts is the fact that Kevin Vallillee finished in the top 10 in K’s.  Yes, it likely has something to do with him having the most plate appearances of any player, but still, incredible.)

52. Mark Whitehead – Falling just outside the top 50 in the rankings, Mark “50 Shades of Grey” Whitehead will always have claim to one of the best nicknames in YK Fastball history courtesy of the Dirty Mitts.

51. Aaron Plotner – Since fully embracing the “biking in the summer, boarding in the winter, working as little as possible” lifestyle, Plotner’s fastball skills have really blossomed. If only we all could subscribe to such a lifestyle, just imagine how outstanding the level of play would be.

The secret to a successful fastball career.

And I shall leave you with that beautiful dream lifestyle for today… be sure to tune in next time as we crack into the top 50!!!





Dr. Rug’s Historic Player Trade Value Rankings: 200-101

28 01 2019

By Dr. Rug

Good afternoon to all my fans out there in this great world,

I hope you’re all surviving this harsh winter of ours and that you’re able to see the light at the end of the tunnel… aka the 2019 fastball season.  I know it can be a struggle to get through the long, cold, dark months without fastball, so to help you alleviate some of that pain, Dr. Rug is here today to distract you from the meaninglessness of winter.  

My goal during these never-ending winter months was to break out the 2018 PTV rankings… unfortunately, as a group we are apparently 1,000 times worse than Jimmy at doing stats so there are no stats from the 2018 season.

Pathetic. And definitely something we need to remedy for 2019.

With no 2018 PTV rankings able to be created, I dawdled away the hours, clicking about on www.ykfastball.ca, reliving the glory of the season, when inspiration hit me.  Our stats actually go back quite a ways these days; we’ve got 7 full seasons worth of YK Fastball stats to dig through. Instead of just looking at 2018, it was time to look at the entire picture. Who is the best of the best since the dawn of time… or at least since 2011, when we started tracking stats on the website?

I bring to you today Dr. Rug’s Historic Player Trade Value Rankings!!

If you’re new to the league, or the website, or the internet itself, you might want to go back and check out the previous versions of the PTV Rankings from 2012 (1 & 2), 2013 (1 & 2), and 2017 (1, 2 & 3) (or if you just want to kill a few hours of your work day, this is a very convenient method of accomplishing that).

This time around, we’re changing up the rules and scoring slightly in order to accommodate the fact that we’re looking at almost a decade of play as opposed to a moment in time. This version of the PTV rankings is looking at it from this perspective: If you had a Delorean and could get it up to 88 MPH but the time travel clock was stuck on 2011, who would you pick up on your fastball squad to give yourself the best possible chance to win over the next decade? A pretty simple concept.

Another change that we’re making to these rankings is that we’re going 100% offensive here.  I realize that moneyball age is being fully embraced in the MLB these days but unfortunately Jimmy’s stats don’t allow me to track fWAR, UZR, or wRC.  And considering that there are only 15 unearned runs total on the pitching stat page for 2017 (I scorekept a Thunder/Slades game in 2018 with more unearned runs than that), trying to integrate pitching numbers into the algorithms was a little too untrustworthy.

Which brings me to another point that I like to remind everyone of every year… these are Jimmy’s stats.  I can only use the numbers I have; I am in no way responsible for the accuracy of those numbers.

And, one final disclaimer, these are regular season only numbers from 2011 to 2017, the tourney stats have not been included (maybe next year if the league will hire me an intern) and the 2018 stats were a hodgepodge of nothingness so they are not included either.

I eliminated anyone with fewer than 5 total at bats so essentially you had to play at least 2 games to make the list, and that left me with a nice round 200 players to choose from.

(Dr. Rug Note: Allow me to sidetrack for a minute to discuss the players with fewer than 5 ABs. There were 32 names total ranging from Rick Moses at the top of the list to Ryan Bell at the bottom.  Some notable stat names and stat lines from the list include:

Rick Moses – 1/1 with a triple, a walk, 2 runs scored and 3 RBIs

Andrew Hunter – Infamously 1/1 in his career

Steve Vallillee – 3/4 with 2 RBIs, 2 runs, and a stolen base

Joel Campbell – 1/3 with 3 RBIs and a K

Jared Moshenko – 0/4 with 3 Ks

Dave Hurley – 0/3 with a run scored

Drew Williams – 0/3 with 3 Ks

In total, they had 83 at bats and put up a line of .352/.523/.497 and combined they would have slotted in around the 100 mark in the rankings. Right about average. Not too shabby.)

So with that entire preamble out of the way, let’s dive right into the mix and look at some of the highlights (?) from the lower half of the rankings.  For the most part, these are players that only played a season or two in the league. While some may have had a moment or two of glory, they just don’t have the overall numbers to help with long term championship aspirations.

200: Taylor Clarke – Someone had to finish last and unfortunately the only stats I’ve got for Taylor are 0/7 with 1 walk.  

197. Cynthia Duffy – The first of 5 women to make the list, Dr. Rug is hoping that the recent rise in female participation at the wood bat tournaments will lead to more ladies joining the ranks of the YK Fastball league. Reilly, I’m looking at you for starters. You know you’re more talented than both of your brothers and (SPOILER ALERT) they each managed to make the top 50 of this list.

195. Harley Lang – You have to respect Harley’s dedication to the game. Despite having a higher K% than OPS, Harley continues to show up game after game and have a great time at the field. My favourite Harley stat is that he has more triples than Jordan Griffin, Tyler Blewett, Chris Cahoon, Jaden Beck, Fletcher Stevens, and Matt Mossman combined. He may swing and miss a lot, but when he connects he’s lowering the head and going for third.

187. Matt Craig – Stick to basketball, Matt… actually, your basketball stats might not be that much better. Stick to coaching, Matt.

(Dr. Rug Note:  I’m joking, of course, we encourage all players to come out and enjoy this great game of fastball, even if they do struggle at first.)

185. Mike Aumond – Mike is the highest rated player on the list with zero hits. He managed 3 walks in 6 plate appearances to soar to the top of that list. Great eye Aumond!

183. Steve Versteeg – Thankfully, after a brief stint with HBC, it appears that Versteeg has chosen to focus on his golf game.

181. Al Cardinal – A clear indication that pitching, longevity, and guitar skills have not been factored into the rankings this time around.

180. Corey Bond – I’m including Corey on the list in the hopes that it convinces his brother to throw on the spikes and join the league in 2019. Mark, you can definitely finish higher than 180th overall and win the Bond family bragging rights.

172. Kaeler Pagonis – Kaeler’s ranking suffers from the fact that no stats were available for the 2018 season as well as a mandatory point deduction for almost getting kicked off a Disney cruise. Please don’t hurt Mickey Mouse.

169. Adrian Lizotte – The sight of Boomer on the list brings back memories of the Pirates glory years.  Good times for everyone involved… until the break-up. Some scars will never heal.

167. Ashley Brauweiler – Hopefully Weather Meteorology Girl is enjoying the east coast lifestyle and finds a fastball team to join out on the Rock. Be sure to keep an eye out for her next time you’re hitting up George Street.

159. Chris Greencorn – You’ll always have that inaugural wood bat tournament, Chris.

153. Dennis Marchiori – The stats tell me that Dennis has two home runs… can someone on the Trappers please confirm for me if this is in fact true? Or are these error-filled, Jimmy-special, in-the-park home runs that are listed?

If these are legitimate home runs, that’s as many as both Brandon and Jared MacNeil have hit in the same time frame. I no longer know what to believe.

152. Darcy Moshenko – I miss hitting against Darcy.

146. Braden Holick – I included Braden here for the sole purpose of comparison to Geno’s ranking which will come up later. It’s got to be embarrassing to be this much lower than Geno.

144. Terry Rowe – Speaking of families, Terry slots in as the highest rated Rowe on our list, a full 52 spots ahead of Curtis.  Well done Terry.

141. Jim Karhut – Question for debate: is Karhut a better ball player or a better base coach?

133. Ray Risk – Since I’m asking questions, here’s another: is there a player in the league with a larger difference between their view of the world and reality than Ray Ray?

129. Darren Walsh – One of the few players who would appear on this list for 2011 – 2017 as well as 1981 – 1987.  

123. Steve O’Hara – Rumour has it that Steve is contemplating coming out of retirement next year in an attempt to move up into the top 100.

122. Danny Graham – Number 122 on Dr. Rug’s Player Rankings list, Number 1 on Dr. Rug’s Beer Gardens Legends list.

(Dr. Rug Note: some other notables on that top 10 list include Mike Dove, Kelsey Gill, Burger Bob, and Lorne Gerwing. Every beer gardens needs a few Lorney specials from Bruno’s.)

120 – 115. This is the range where you apparently fall into if you’re a solid defensive outfielder with a barely average bat and above average speed.  Between 115 and 120 in the rankings we have Pete Sheldon, Matt Walker, Aaron Laborde, Herb Mathisen, and Fletcher Stevens.

113. Steve Robertson – He may have put up rather pedestrian numbers over his time in the league, but the fire that Wildcard brings to the game (and to the beaches of Hay River) is unmatched.

108. Mike Broussard – Pretty good considering he’s only playing the game as a distraction during the hockey offseason and as an excuse to hit up the beer gardens.

107. Jaden Beck – Whether it’s on the ice or on the field, Jaden’s always just a little bit better than Broussard.

This is part 1 of a 5 part series! Check back in tomorrow to see who slots in from 100-51 on Dr. Rug’s list.





Dr. Rug’s 2018 YK Fastball All-Stars

27 08 2018

By Dr. Rug

Congratulations to the Home Building Centre team on their league championship and thanks to all the teams and players in the league for another fantastic season of YK Fastball.  As the boys from Slades contemplate what could have been an epic underdog victory, and the Cardinals recover from their victory celebration, Dr. Rug is here to take a quick look back at the best of the best from the past year.  To help you struggle through your first Monday of the offseason, here is one man’s take on the 2018 all-stars.

(Dr. Rug’s note: Some positions are stacked so worthy candidates missed out on the list (i.e. Nichols at SS), some players missed out because they had too much versatility to be able to slot them in at just one position (i.e. Andy Williams playing everywhere on the diamond), and some players just don’t need their heads getting any bigger (i.e. Vette))

1B – Brad Waugh

Brad is carrying on the family tradition of crushing baseballs all summer long. He had another fantastic season for the Rockies with both his bat and his glove. Much like his father, there are still improvements to be made on the mound, but when he’s in the batter’s box, Brad is one of the best there is in YK Fastball.  

2nd Team All Star – Tracy

The best glove on the field for the Thunder and the most reliable player as well. Tracy joins the long list of ladies that continually prove that the YK Fastball league isn’t just for the guys (Jenn, Weather Girl, the Gard sisters, etc.).

 

2B – Chris Cahoon

When Chris Kelln went on the DL one game into the season, fans everywhere wondered if the other half of the Cards’ Chris combo would be able to hold down two bag for the team all by himself. Cahoon did not disappoint. He played gold glove defense all season long and raked at the plate. His clutch two out, two strike, two run liner in the championship game put an end to Slades’ Cinderella dreams and was the biggest hit of the year for the Cardinals. He was also able to pass off the No-Show crown to Jaden Beck sometime late Friday night on the Gold Range dancefloor which made Cahoon’s weekend an even bigger success.

2nd Team All Star – Josh Brown

The offensive leader of the Thunder, Josh is the one bat in their lineup that you have to worry about every time he’s up.  

 

3B – Kaeler Pagonis

With another year under his belt, Kaeler is proving that he is one of the stars of the future in the YK Fastball league. His defense at the hot corner was spectacular and as his bat continues to improve he’s looking like he’ll follow in the footsteps of Devin Case and Jonny White as the next homegrown star to come out of the Trappers minor league system.  

2nd Team All Star – Ian Farrer

Solid glove, solid bat, solid player. Ian is an underappreciated staple of the Rockies squad and a reason they continue to improve.  His only weakness is the beer gardens bleachers.

 

SS – Kevin Vallillee

The sun rises in the east, the sky is blue, and Ishii is Ishii. He plays gold glove defense, leads the league in pitches seen (and fouled off), and hits liners to every field. The inevitability of it all is really quite tiresome. As the new generation of Slades players begin to find their groove and learn the ins and outs of fastball, Kevin is the backbone of a Slades team that saw unprecedented turnover this year. Despite the numerous new faces, the veteran presence of players like Vallillee and Borko made for a smooth transition and carried the Expos to the championship game.

2nd Team All Star – Devin Case

For personal health and safety reasons, I’m glad that Case was away for this year’s end of season tournament. The Trappers were likely a little less enthused about his absence.

 

LF – Aaron LaBorde

One of the nicest guys in the league is also turning into one of the best players in the league. Bordey continued his development at the plate this season and by year’s end was one of the offensive leaders for the Slades squad. Add in his rock solid D in left and his cannon of an arm and he has the potential to be their MVP for years to come.

2nd Team All Star – Aaron Plotner

Slim Plot continues to show the world that the Keto diet can work.  

 

CF – ChaDevin Hinchey

The Hinchey bros were once again the scariest power threat in the most powerful lineup in the league. They both annihilated the ball on a regular basis and whichever one was tasked with patrolling center made sure that anything that could be caught, was caught. The two-headed Hinchey beast is a nightmare inducing animal to any pitcher that has the misfortune of having to face them.

2nd Team All Star – Andy Penton

Where other centerfielders amaze with their closing speed and immense effort, Andy just shakes his head and positions himself in the perfect spot to make every play with minimal effort.

 

RF – Fletcher Stevens

Carrying on the illustrious tradition of all-star right fielders for the Slades Expos, Fletch is a slight upgrade in the speed department over long time cornerstone Mike Desjarlais. And similarly to Roadie, Fletcher brings it with both stellar defense and a consistent bat.

2nd Team All Star – Carter Stirling

It may be the hollowest .600 batting average in the history of organized sports but it is still a .600 batting average.

 

C – Mike Hugall

A rookie of the year candidate, Mike was exactly what the Cardinals needed behind the plate as the years continue to take their toll on grizzled veteran, Darin Strain. While Cahoon may have thrown out more potential base stealers at 2B during his brief catching cameo this year, that was due to the trepidation that runners felt when Huggy showed off his gun. He didn’t have a chance to throw anyone out because everyone was too scared to run. If they keep picking up players like Hugall, the Cardinals transition from a team of firefighters to a team of journalists will be seamless and they’ll remain atop the YK Fastball world.

2nd Team All Star – Steve Robertson

The louder half of the Steve Squared™ combo continued to provide expert guidance for the Jays from behind the plate and atop the batting order.

 

P – Steve Thomas

The unquestioned top pitcher in the league, Steve once again was the reason the Jays were a contender this season. His improved bat this year helped the Jays offense find their groove for most of the season but, of course, it was his pitching that made them a title contender. His ferocity on the mound is matched only by his disdain for players who bunt (see: Couvrette, Brian).

2nd Team All Star – Garrett Hinchey

The MVP of the year-end tourney for the Cardinals, Hinchey was a workhorse this season and was finally able to end up on the winning end of a duel with Steve when it mattered most.

 

There you have it fans, my choices for the 2018 All-Star squad.  You may disagree with some of the selections and I always welcome feedback at dr_rug@hotmail.com… even if your opinion is wrong.  

And with that, we say farewell to another glorious (if somewhat wet) season of YK Fastball.  Thanks again to all the players, fans, groupies, and even the umps for making this league as great as it is.  I’ll see you all again next year (or maybe in a tavern at some point during the offseason).

Dr. Rug





Hollywood, meet the YK Fastball League

24 08 2017

by Dr. Rug

 

Hello to all the great Yellowknife Fastball fans out there,

The end of the fastball year is upon us and with it one last chance at glory this weekend. I know you’re all struggling to get through this work week and make it to championship weekend so in order to help you survive, the good Dr. Rug is here to provide a little entertainment.

We all know that one of the best parts of living in Yellowknife is the glorious summers that we have with never-ending daylight and beautiful days as far as the eye can see. However, every once in a while the skies will open up and unleash a torrential downpour. When this happens, the only thing to do is turn off the smart phone and curl up on the most comfortable couch in the world for a movie marathon. And what better theme for a movie marathon than baseball movies!

At this point you’re probably thinking to yourself, Dr. Rug is still drunk from last weekend, what the heck does any of this have to do with the fastball league??? Well, I’m getting there. Slowly to be sure, but eventually it will all make sense. You see, this past weekend I did just this thing, curling up on the couch for a baseball movie marathon, and about 14 hours in (shortly after Roy Hobbs sent one into the lights and just before we find out Bruce Pearson has Hodgkin’s disease) I realized that the teams in the YK Fastball League offer a whole lot of similarities to some of our favourite baseball movie teams.

After a little more research, and another couple tubs of popcorn, I have come up with the Hollywood equivalent for every team in the League. In other words, which movie baseball team has the most in common with each of our fastball teams.

Tamarack Thunder

As I watched the lovable punks of the Sandlot struggling to overcome hardships (on and off the field) but triumphing in the end, one team came to mind: the Tamarack Thunder.

You’ve got a bunch of misfits coming together over their love of the sport in an attempt to have a little fun and maybe take down a Beast in the process. Looking a little further, you’ve got Francis Thrasher playing the role of Scotty Smalls… not the best player in the world at the beginning but by the end of the film he’s improved more than anyone else in town. Byron Kotokak as Kenny DeNunez… the stylish pitcher who may give up his fair share of hits but is still the best the team has to offer.

And of course, Josh Brown as Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez… if anyone on this Thunder team has the speed to outrun the Beast, the attitude to whip the team into shape, and the skill level to one day play pro ball for the Dodgers, it’s Josh.

Fire Prevention Blue Jays

Q: What do you get when you take a team that’s struggling to climb out of the basement of the league and add the best pitcher you can find?

A: The Chicago Cubs from the movie Rookie of the Year.

Also acceptable: The Fire Prevention Blue Jays.

This was the most obvious of all of the movie team comparisons and really, the Steve Thomas = Henry Rowengartner is the only comparison that you need to justify it. But if we want to extend the similarities further we easily can:

  • Devon Bouillon as Larry Fisher, the devious GM that first convinces Henry to sign with his team and then later on attempts to dupe his star into signing with the Yanks.
  • Steve Robertson as Chet “Rocket” Steadman. Steve may not be a pitcher like the Rocket was but he still fits the role as a veteran mentor that takes the youngster under his wing and teaches him the way of the league.
  • Ray Risk as Heddo. Yes, technically Heddo plays on the opposition in the movie but a role as the arrogant slugger that won’t shut up and ends up striking out with the game on the line in the climax of the movie is a role that was made for Ray Ray.

Home Building Centre Cardinals

  • Hotshot young pitcher with all the talent in the world but control issues and an attitude problem – Garrett Hinchey, check
  • Veteran catcher who is over-the-hill but still has the skill to compete and more importantly has the smarts to teach the pitcher the ins and outs of the game – Darin Strain, check
  • Coach who can calm things down on a trip to the mound and always knows the perfect wedding gift – Rug, check
  • Deeply religious fielder with talent and innocence in equal measures – Andy Penton, check (with Meghan filling the role of Millie)
  • Veteran leader that has yelled the following at his players: “You lollygag around the infield. You lollygag your way down to first. You lollygag in and out of the dugout. You know what that makes you? Lollygaggers!” – Bruce Waugh, check

Yep, the HBC Cardinals are the Durham Bulls. The only question that remains is, if Darin is Crash Davis, and Garrett is Nuke Laloosh, then who is Annie??

Slades Fire Protection Expos

If there was any one comparison that was even more obvious than the Steve Thomas as Rookie of the Year comparison, it is Ryan Strain as Buttermaker (obviously we’re talking about the 1976 version not the 2005 remake). After realizing that, it was just a matter of lining up the rest of the Slades crew with their Bad News Bears equivalents:

  • Amanda Whurlizer – Greg Skauge
    The best pitcher on the team and the player that gives it back to Buttermaker as good as they get it.
  • Tanner Boyle – Damien Healy
    I was going to post a Tanner Boyle quote here to demonstrate the similarities but we’re trying to keep the website family friendly.
  • Kelly Leake – Carson Roche
    The best athlete on the team… has a crush on Skauge.
  • Ahmad Abdul-Rahim – Joey Borkovic
    The light-hitting centerfielder.
  • Timmy Lupus – Peter Sheldon
    The quiet, shy kid that knows how to make a fantastic martini for Buttermaker.
  • Alfred Ogilvie – Ryan Theil
    The nerdy benchwarmer that assists with the coaching duties.
  • Mike Engelberg – Mitch Madsen
    No explanation necessary.

Optimum Crush Rockies

Hmmmmm… a team that was roundly picked to finish dead last in the division but surprised everybody by making a strong second half charge to take home the title. Ladies and gentlemen, the Rockies are YK Fastball equivalent of Major League’s Cleveland Indians!

You’ve got:

  • The Wild Thing pitcher. Ricky Vaughn aka Brad Waugh.
  • The slugger that crushes fastballs but can’t hit a curve. Pedro Cerrano aka Mischa Malakoe
  • The talented pretty boy shortstop who refuses to sacrifice his body for the team. Roger Dorn aka Brandon Coates
  • The speedster who personifies the statement “With your speed, you should be hitting the ball on the ground and legging them out”. Willie Mays Hayes aka Carter Stirling
  • The veteran catcher on his last legs. Jake Taylor aka Mike Allerston.
  • And the greaseball. Eddie Harris aka Donald Morrison.

Racquet Club Trappers

The basic premise of the movie Field of Dreams is that a guy ruins his family’s income producing abilities, chases ex-ballplayers that he doesn’t know across the country, builds a full sized baseball field in his back yard with no one to use it, and has a wife who encourages him to do all of this just because he heard voices in his head???

If Yellowknife was a small town in the mid-western states, there is a 100% chance that this is something that Rob Johnson would do, and you know Tami would support him the entire way without batting an eyelash.

Let’s just hope that even the voices in Rob’s head realize how ridiculous the “mini green monster” idea is.

Rylo Orioles

Last but certainly not least, we have the O’s. There’s one classic baseball movie that has yet to appear in this article and I can think of no team more fitting than the O’s to receive the honour. This movie featured some of the best players, the most lovable characters and one of the most classic lines in baseball movie history, “There’s no crying in baseball.”

That’s right, the Orioles are the Rockford Peaches.

In fact, the similarity between the two teams is uncanny. Let’s break it down on a player by player basis and you tell me if I’m wrong:

First off, we’ve got the crusty old manager that uttered the famous line about not crying. A guy who probably wonders what the heck he’s doing with this crew but is still able to lead them to success and glory. Andy Williams is Jimmy Dugan.

Next, we’ve got the centerfielder with great speed, who has all the skill in the world but would rather play a flashy game (i.e. catching a ball with a hat instead of a glove) and impress the fans than embrace the fundamentals. Also offers to get naked to draw a crowd to the game. Chad Hinchey is “All The Way” Mae Mordabito.

Then, we’ve got the player with all the physical talents but who continually makes the rookie mistakes like missing the cutoff man or throwing home with a two run lead. Also the player whose crying inspired the famous line. Scott Thomson is Evelyn Gardner.

There’s the decent contact hitter with deceptive speed but a distinct lack of power. Solid in the outfield but not extraordinary. And struggles to read. Aaron Plotner is Shirley Baker.

We’ve got the first player off the bench that can fill in where needed when needed. Can come in in relief and get you out of a jam with a good fastball. To top it off, makes a killer spaghetti. Chris Greencorn is Betty Spaghetti Horn.

The utility player that can play many positions, even catcher if needed. Doesn’t like to be yelled at or change their socks at all. Tyler Blewett is Alice “Skeeter” Gaspers.

Then there’s the player that’s one of the best hitters in the league. Can hit for power and average. Doesn’t exactly have the prettiest face in the world but still manages to find someone willing to marry them. Sean Couvrette is Marla Hooch.

There’s the best defensive player on the team with a gold glove and the ability to throw a few innings on the mound when needed. Doesn’t hit for a lot of power but consistently puts the bat on ball and makes things happen. Matt Mossman is Ellen Sue Gotlander.

We’ve got the all-around talented player with the slick glove, power bat and great skills. But whose incessant chattering is enough to drive even the most dedicate fan to commit murder. Jon Whitford is obviously Doris Murphy.

And finally we’ve got the two rivals. One is an old veteran catcher who’s got all the skill needed to be an all-star, the other a youngster trying to prove themselves and get out from the shadow of the first. The young star gets traded half way through the season and leads their new team to a championship. The old veteran intentionally drops the ball on the game winning play at the plate so that the protégé can have the glory and the victory.

Todd Moran and Steve Robertson are Dottie Hinson and Kit Keller.

Heck, even the fact that the Peaches choke in the last inning of the final and finish second is a page straight out of the Orioles playbook. There’s no denying it, the comparison is perfect.

There you have it folks. The YK Fastball league is essentially Hollywood reborn. I hope you enjoyed this season of ball as much as we enjoyed playing it and I invite everyone to come down to the field this weekend for some great action and cold beers!