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!

Dr. Rug’s 2017 Player Trade Value Rankings (Part 3)

29 06 2017

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…

  1. Kelli Hinchey
  2. Brent Hinchey
  3. Reilly Hinchey (née: MacNeil)
  4. Devin Hinchey
  5. Allie Hinchey
  6. Garrett Hinchey
  7. Wes Hinchey
  8. Rob Hinchey
  9. Maurice Hinchey
  10. 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.
Too bad.

#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 dr_rug@hotmail.com… 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.

Dr. Rug’s 2017 Player Trade Value Rankings (Part 2)

14 06 2017

By Dr. Rug

Before we get to this week’s peek into the trade value rankings I’d like to take a minute to invite all of my fantastic readers to sign up for the Wood Bat tournament that’s coming up July 7th and 8th (with the draft being held on the night of the 6th). This tournament is open to anyone that wants to play, not just players in the league. So if you’ve been thinking to yourself any of these thoughts…

“Hey, I’m at least as good of an athlete as Mitch Madsen”, or

“Al Cardinal’s been doing this for 50 years, it can’t be that hard”, or even

“I’m better than my both my brothers at everything in life, if Primetime and J-Rod can play this sport, so can I”

Now’s the time to do something about it!! Send an email to mauge@yellowknife.ca with your name and a request to play in the Wood Bat tournament and you’ll be added to the draft list. Spaces are limited though so sign up now.

(YK Fastball players, you are also invited to sign up for the tourney too. It’s a fun tournament and the draft party should be a great time once again.)

With that out of the way, let’s get to the rankings. Last week you got a chance to check in on the chumps of the league as we covered some of the guys ranked #31 – #91, this week we’ll move on to some guys that actually make a positive difference when they’re on the field as we head into the top 30 in the league.

#30. Jon Whitford (2013 rank: 6)

A common trend for a lot of the guys that suffered drastic falls in the rankings was a lack of games played. Jon had a .700 OBP last year but with just 4 games played and 10 plate appearances, he didn’t have the volume needed to remain in the top ten. It didn’t help that he had 0 extra base hits and only 3 RBIs but his main issue was a lack of games.

#29. Andy Williams (2013 rank: 1)

However, there were also some players that fell drastically in the rankings because their numbers took a nosedive. From 2013 to 2016 Andy’s numbers were basically cut in half with his batting average falling by 0.308 and his slugging percentage by 0.778. That is how you drop from first overall to barely making the top 30. If Monday’s hitting display was any indication, this year looks like it’s going to be closer to 2013 than 2016.

#28. Ryan Strain (2013 rank: 4)

Returning to our theme from last week, Rhino is yet another of the Slades regulars who saw a sharp decline in his numbers. He was a top 5 player in both the 2012 and 2013 rankings but has fallen off in recent years. Perhaps age is finally catching up with him or perhaps it’s the pressure that goes along with trying to carry the once potent Slades offense all by himself… Nope. It’s definitely the age catching up with him.

#27. Bruce Waugh (2013 rank: 30)

I debated giving Bruce a few bonus points and sliding him further up the ranks solely for the fear factor that he instills in opposing batters thanks to once again leading the league in hit batters. He has to be the YK Fastball League career leader in batters hit, right? I mean he’s been leading the league year in and year out by a wide margin for the past decade at least. So yeah, I debated giving him a few bonus points but then I remembered, as Bruce himself likes to point out, it’s just a little ball. It’s not like it can hurt you. And with that, you’ll remain at 27 Bruce.

#26. Raymond Risk

I have to admit, I’m pretty happy right now that Bruce is thousands of miles away… otherwise I would fear for my safety after having Ray higher on the list than Bruce. However, the numbers don’t lie and my rankings are all based on the numbers.

In actual fact, in this case the numbers might be stretching the truth a little bit. All of the guys behind him in today’s rankings had better numbers than Ray across most of the major statistical categories. Unfortunately for them, Ray led the league in stolen bases last year with 3 which gave him the boost he needed to surpass them. If we start tracking Caught Stealing numbers this year, it would help my algorithm and allow me to penalize guys that run for no reason other than to rack up their SB numbers… but as it stands, we don’t have CS numbers so Ray Ray gets himself a nice little boost, propping himself up to almost making the top 25. Congrats Ray.

***Let’s pause for a moment to reflect on the fact that the league leader had three steals last year. Three. I realize that this is one of those stats that Jimmy often overlooks (understatement), but still, three is sad. In fact, only Ray and Sam Bedard had more than one steal on the year last year. Looking further into this and it appears that the league leader in 2015 also only had three steals. And that person was none other than Bruce Waugh!!! If only he’d done that last year too, he wouldn’t be stuck behind Ray Ray in the rankings.***

(Cut to Rick Morrison reaching for his phone right now, trying to figure out which team is going to give him his comeback opportunity.)

Since we’re taking a break from the rankings for a minute, a trivia question for you my dear readers…

Who wore it better?

The correct answer to this trivia question will be revealed at the end of the column. And now, back to our regularly scheduled countdown.

#25. Sean Couvrette

Have the Couvrettes officially surpassed the Strains as the second best brother combination in YK Fastball? Judging by the rankings this year, the answer to that question is a resounding yes! Somewhere Bill is hanging his head in shame.

#24. Todd “Dad” Moran

He’s a legend whether he’s behind the plate, working the crowd at Chase the Ace, or with the ladies on the D floor at the Range. Todd brings a well-rounded game to all aspects of life. He may not have as much pop in his bat as some of the sluggers in the league but Todd is one of the most consistent hitters on the O’s and has, without a doubt, the most consistent temperament on the team. Emotion may be useful at times, but there are a few players on the O’s squad that take that a little too far (perhaps one of the reasons they’re 0 for forever in finals?), thankfully, Todd is not one of them.

#23. Mike Dove (2013 rank: 32)

Another of the most consistent players in the League, Dover again slots into the rankings in his typical 20-30 range. In the last 5 years, Dove’s average batting average has been .494, this year he hit .480. The guy does what he does year in and year out. Crushes the ball about 50% of the time, and whiffs on change-ups the other 50% of the time.

#22. Carter Stirling

Carter was #2 in batting average, #3 in on base percentage, #16 in slugging percentage, #50 in RBIs and tied for #60 in extra base hits with 1. Those numbers are extraordinary. Second overall in the league in batting average and tied for 60th in extra base hits. And it’s not like it was because of a lack of plate appearances, the average player in the rankings had 23 PAs last season, Carter had 27. In fact, Josh Brown appeared in only one game, had three at bats, and still finished the year with more extra base hits than Carter. I guess that’s what your numbers look like when you can bunt for a base hit any time you want but have “limited” other skills with the bat.

#21. Brad Waugh

Perhaps this is the real reason that Bruce decided to leave town this offseason. Brad has finally surpassed him on the fastball field. Interesting factoids for you guys:

  • Bruce led the league in most hit batters in 2016
  • Brad led the league in most times hit by pitch in 2016

I wonder if these two facts are in any way related?

#20. Brent Hinchey

The first of the Hinchey clan and the only one of the crew to appear in part 2 of the rankings. To see where the boys show up, you’re going to have to wait until next week. But with the fourth best Hinchey showing up at #20 in the rankings, it’s safe to say that the Hincheys are the top family in town. If you have any doubts about that, just ask them. Any one of them will be happy to go on for hours about how great all of their family members are.

#19. Brad Mueller

Since joining the Cardinals at the start of 2014, Mueller has 53 regular season at bats with the team. He’s hit 15 singles, 12 doubles, 1 triple and 8 home runs in those ABs. That’s equates to a .679 batting average, .717 on base percentage, and a 1.396 slugging percentage (with 27 runs scored and 37 RBIs). Those numbers are ridiculously good and would easily have Mueller in the #1 spot if he put them up over the course of one season. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, he’s also averaged only 5 games played per season over those three years and has yet to appear in a game in 2017. Tracey, any chance you can let him out to play this weekend?

#18. Brian Couvrette (2013 rank: 17)

After debuting at #9 in the rankings in 2012, the Vette is continuing his downward trend as he falls to number 18. The reason for the fall from the top 10 is his declining power numbers. Last season, for the first time ever, Brian didn’t hit a single home run. Unfortunately for his teammates this did absolutely nothing to stop him telling them all about every play he did make after each and every game. This year he’s already made his way back into the HR column on the stat sheet with a shot that (according to him) he chose to perfectly place at that exact spot 3.5 feet over the fence in left field. A great decision Vette! Of course he then had to congratulate himself so he gave himself an ovation, clapping his hands the entire way around the bases. Classic.

#17. Lorne Gerwing

Lorne is the third of eight entries for the Home Building Centre Cardinals in the top 20 of this year’s rankings. That’s easily the most of any team and probably the reason why the Cards finished first in the league standings and were the only team to finish in the top three in each one of the standings last year. On top of that, Lorne is the only player in the league with a pizza named after him. For those of you that haven’t tasted it, you need to try the Lorne Special from Bruno’s. Pizza doesn’t get much better than that (it might be partially due to the fact that I’m always at least 10 beer deep when I have a Lorne Special but nonetheless, they are always delicious).

#16. Kevin Valillee (2013 rank: 21)

I say it every year but that doesn’t make it any less true, Kevin is the most frustrating batter in the league to have to face. The way he fouls off pitch after pitch after pitch is annoying beyond belief. Once again he led the league in walks last season, taking a free pass ten times to bring his 5 year total to 54 BBs in 263 PAs. Which breaks down to about one walk every five times he comes to the plate. I don’t even need to look at anyone else’s numbers to know that that mark is far and away the best in the league. It’s also the reason Ishii slots in at 16th despite being the only guy in the top 25 with a batting average below .400. When your OBP is 150 points higher than your Average, it makes up for having a down year hitting the ball. Oh, and he’s pretty decent on the defensive side as well.

#15. Fraser Oliver

Fraser may not have had the best averages of our top players in 2016 but he more than made up for it with volume. Despite the shortened season, Fraser still managed to play in 15 games last season (tops in the league) and had the third most plate appearances (behind two other Trappers… I guess when you’ve got that many old guys, the young guys get a lot of playing time).

#14. Jordan Griffin

Griffin is the first newcomer to the league (besides Ray Ray who doesn’t really count) that we’ve seen in the top 30 so far but he certainly won’t be the last. Each of the next four guys on the list weren’t playing in the league the last time the rankings came out, but they all made a name for themselves in 2016. Jordan did his best to replace the power that the Cards lost with the departure of Ooms after the 2015 season, slugging an impressive 1.045 in his first season. He would have easily walked away with the rookie of the year trophy if not for the next man on the list.

#13. Scott Blacklock

Scott rolled into town halfway through the season last year, put up stellar numbers at the plate (0.600/0.750/1.100), and pitched the Rockies to the league title, their first ever tournament win.

No big deal.

He also made it to the #14 spot in the rankings despite having fewer plate appearances than anyone in the top 25 not named Mueller. It’s unfortunate for the Rockies that he’s gone already but they’ll always have their fond memories of the 2016 league championship.

#12. Ian Farrer

The man with the last name that no one can spell (did I get it right?) or pronounce correctly came into his own last season. The reason for his vast improvement was simple; from the 2015 season to the 2016 season Ian cut his strikeouts down from 12 to 4. The result? A 165 point jump in batting average, a 210 point jump in on-base, and a 288 point jump in slugging percentage. That was enough to have him knocking on the door of the top 10 in the league.

#11. Paul Rivard

We started off Part 1 of these rankings talking about the precipitous decline for the Slades regulars, and now we are finishing off Part 2 of the rankings with three straight Rockies making their debuts. That, my friends, goes a long way to explaining why the Rockies finished ahead of (or tied with) Slades in every single list on the 2016 standings page.

And with that, I thank you all for joining me on this journey up the Fastball rankings. As always, if you have any questions or comments about the rankings or about fastball or about life in general, I can always be reached at dr_rug@hotmail.com. Stay tuned next week as we find out who the best of the best are!!

Oh, and the answer to the trivia question is…














Me. I wore it best.

Dr. Rug’s 2017 Player Trade Value Rankings (Part 1)

8 06 2017

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.

Dr. Rug

James McCarthy interviews Rob Johnson before the Phoenix Bats Draft Tournament

11 09 2014
RJ-VB Batt IMG-1-red

Tournament organizers Rob Johnson and Vince Barter: ready for battle.

Before the teams take the field for the first annual Phoenix Bats Draft Tournament, organizer Rob Johnson sat down with NNSL’s James McCarthy to discuss how the idea came about (and more). Read on…

James McCarthy: So, Rob please fill me in on how the idea of this wood bat tournament came about?

Rob Johnson: Well, as you know there have been a few of us fastball players who have been using wood bats on and off for the past few seasons. For me personally it became an interest in bringing back aspects of the game that have gone way to expensive composite bats. These bats serve a purpose but they have allowed players to become reliant on the “pop” of a bat over hitting technique to get on base or send a long ball to deep centre field. A tight inside pitch with a composite or aluminum bat can lead to a ‘bloop’ single but with a wood bat the story is different often leading to a cracked or broken bat. With a wood bat the art of hitting comes to the surface in a hurry.

Getting back to your question, it started with the fact that a few of us introduced wood bats into our league and we have been looking for ways to have other players give them a try. In conversation with one of my teammates Vince Barter he raised the idea of how we might introduce wood bats to the league in a fun way. His thinking was what about a fun all wood bat tournament at the end of the season when players are not concerned about winning games or a league championship? Shortly after he had proposed this idea other members of the league suggested a fun tournament at the end of the regular season where we would have a fantasy draft and ‘mix up’ the league a bit, all in an effort to raise a few dollars for our league. It seemed obvious that we could mix the two ideas and after Vince and I canvased league executives members , team reps and players alike we were in business.

JM: I understand that the Fantasy Draft was held last Friday evening at the Curling Club. Was the turn out what you had hoped for and how many teams should we expect to see at Tommy Forrest this weekend?

RJ: It was a huge success two of the regular season teams actually decided to treat this with some class and arrived wearing suits and ties. One of the teams actually arrived in a limo. Everyone had a blast and it’s events like this that only make our league stronger and closer. Rumour has it that this will become an annual event with players bringing guests to this event it will most likely replace our typical year end party. The interesting thing about the draft and the tournament itself is that it has peaked a lot of interest outside of our league. I have had non-fastball players approach me in person or via email/text. What came out of this interest is that we have a few new players using this tournament as a fun way of getting introduced to the league.

As far as numbers goes we have  a total of 50 players divided among 4 teams. Players were drafted by a pair of co-captains from each team made up of a pitcher and a catcher. I think this is a great turnout and it goes to show how much fastball is alive here in Yellowknife.

JM: Rob, this all sounds great. Ok, so you have the interest and the teams are picked, but where do all the wood bats come from?

RJ: The wood bats are coming from Phoenix Wood Bats out of Ohio. This company has been great to deal with. As a way of promoting wood bats they offer a substantial savings for tournaments like the one we are hosting. We have 16 new wood bats plus two trophy bats and a banner for the tournament. The bats are also engraved. For those that want to learn more about this company, they can check out their website at: https://www.phoenixbats.com/

JM: Rob all of this sounds very interesting and a lot of fun. For those readers out there that might be interested in watching some fastball this weekend and hearing the “crack’ of a wood bat will there be the usual set-up down at the field with food and beverages available?

RJ: For sure. This weekend there will be a full concession run by Dan Hayward who has done a great job all year and the league will be running a beverage garden. We think coffee and hot chocolate will be a big sellers. Also, the tournament schedule and team rosters are posted on our league website at: https://ykfastball.ca/

JM: Rob, I almost forgot. You had mentioned that the idea behind this fun tournament was to also try to raise some funds for the league can you be a bit more specific?

RJ: James as you know over the past few years we have been working hard to make improvements at the diamond and I think everyone can say that it shows. We have been working with the City of Yellowknife as well as the Green Diamond Project Association (GDPA) and local businesses to remove old bleachers, replace tired dug-outs and generally make the diamond a safer and more attractive outdoor community facility. We see proceeds from the tournament to go directly back into these types of initiatives. For us it’s not only about keeping the game alive but making a facility that continues to be more accessible to other user groups. Just to give you an example, a few years ago an idea was pitched out there to have an  outdoor rink on Tommy Forrest during the winter. Well, this has been a huge success and from what we understand the City will be continuing with this initiative again this winter.

JM: Rob, any last thoughts before we bring this interview to a close?

RJ: Yes, I would like to thank the league executive and players alike for supporting this tournament. I would also like to thank our league sponsors who continue to support us year after year. Our current sponsors include: Sub Artic Surveyors, Slades Mechanical, Home Building Centre, Nexum-Carl’s Carpet Cleaning and Alanco.

JM: Rob, thank you for your time and good luck with the tournament.

RJ: No problem and I hope to see you down at the diamond over the weekend.

2014 Phoenix Bats Draft Tournament Results

5 09 2014

First thing’s first: check out our sponsor, Phoenix Bats.

Click here to read an interview between James McCarthy and Rob Johnson on the eve of the tournament.

Click here for photos from the Phoenix Bats Draft Tournament (courtesy of Jennifer Lukas)

Congratulations to Team Rug - the 2014 Phoenix Bats Draft Tournament Champions

Congratulations to Team Rug – the 2014 Phoenix Bats Draft Tournament Champions

Final Standings:

  1. Team Rug
  2. Team Dover
  3. Team Tinger
  4. Team Mossman

Tournament results:

Friday September 12th

6:30      Mossman (6) vs. Dover (7)

Saturday September 13th

10:00    Rug (8) vs. Dover (7)

11:30    Tinger (3) vs. Mossman (2)

1:00      Tinger (1) vs. Rug (0)

2:30      Rug (4) vs. Mossman (1)

4:00      Dover (4) vs. Tinger (1)

6:00      FINAL: Rug (5) vs. Dover (3)

Wood bat - img1-cropped

Team Rosters:

Team Tinger (and Vince)



Andy Penton


Tom White

Chris Greencorn


Chris squared

Keith Barnes

Evan G

Curtis Gibo

Team Mossman (and Kev)

Devin Hinchey

Original Vette



James McKay



Warren V.


Ron D.

Team Dover (and Todd)




Rob J



Devin Madsen



Ian F.

Bandon C.

Team Rug (and Steve)


Jared MacNeil

Matty Boones

Brad Waugh

Mike Allerston

Joel Ashby

Matty Simms

Morgan Gallagher