2008 Mid-Season Report
by Dan Hausman
GM, Reston Roundabouts
The 2008 season has proven to be one of the most competitive thus far, as the all-star break comes with the top 8 teams all within 20 standing points. The 5.5 standing points that separate the top four spots show that the competition for ŇThe JoeÓ is extremely tight. It has been interesting to see teams decide where they fall on the cycle of competition and the decisions that they have made regarding playing for the present and playing for the future. Understanding oneŐs own team and where it fits in the larger context of the league has become an extremely important skill in the JLB as the ability to booster oneŐs team with saved money and high draft picks has made rebuilding a more viable decision with a quicker turnaround. This has shown itself to be true through the ascension of the Firemen, Foxes, and Roosters as contenders this season. Not to say that traditionally valued league skills such as player evaluation, trading, and free talent pickups have not had an impact on this 2008 season. Many all-stars that have been invaluable to their team performances have been acquired with the use of these skills. Five traditional powerhouses are gearing up for a run at the title again. The Grenades, Roundabouts, and Starfish would all love to add another flag while the 66ers and Heroes would solidify their position as top-notch franchises with a JLB championship. The decisions made by the Arsenal, Outlaws, Robots, and Clams will not only affect their fortunes in future seasons but will also affect the 2008 race down to the very last day.
It is my privilege to present to the league your 2008 JLB All-Star team.
Roster: (Starters in Bold, *=DL)
C- Geovany Soto, Roundabouts: 37/16/55/0/.283
Soto was signed as a mid-season FA in 2007. He has provided plenty of production in the first-half of his first full JLB season and will likely break the Roundabout team record for HRŐs for a C.
1B – Adrian Gonzalez, Roosters: 56/22/71/0/.276
GonzalezŐs sophomore season as a Rooster has shown ample improvement in power thus far. Gonzalez will likely remain in the core of the Rooster lineup through 2012.
1B – Jorge Cantu, Clams: 39/12/37/2.261
Cantu was forced out of two organizations before landing with the Clams. He has responded by showing why he once received a arbitration buyout and has given some reason for Clams fans to cheer.
2B – Ian Kinsler, Foxes: 81/14/56/22/.331
Kinsler was acquired in a 3 way-deal in 2006 that signaled the beginning of the youth movement for the Foxes. The 30/30 threat has established himself as a big part of the Foxes rise to contention.
2B – Dan Uggla, Heroes: 58/23/59/4/.286
Uggla was thought to be a little pricey going into his 3rd arb. year but the Heroes obviously made the right decision. Uggla has done the heavy lifting for the Heroes offense and will surley receive a two year deal this off-season.
3B - Chipper Jones, Roundabouts: 56/18/50/2/.373
Jones was re-signed in 2008 by the Roundabouts for $9.45 million in a heated bidding war with the 66ers. Although expensive, Jones has exceeded expectations to play as the top 3rd basemen in JLB.
3B – Mark Reynolds, Robots: 49/16/48/5/.248
The 2007 4th round MLD pick is crushing the ball in his 1st JLB season. If he can up his contact rate he will surely be a middle order force for the Robots.
SS – Hanley Ramirez, Starfish: 80/23/45/23/.311
Ramirez is establishing himself as ŇtheÓ dynamic power/speed combination in JLB and is only 24 years old. Acquired from the Clams in mid 2006, Ramirez should remain an MVP candidate for many seasons to come.
OF – Lance Berkman, 66ers: 79/22/73/15/.348
Berkman is in the second year of his transitional contract with the 66ers, a franchise he has done so much for. He is all-world right now, exceeding expectations in every JLB category. LetŐs see if the 66ers will pony up for his services when he tests the market as a 34 year old.
OF – Nate McLouth, Foxes: 62/13/50/11/.279
This overachiever is in his 3rd season with the Foxes. He has just taken over a starting outfield job this season and looks like he will continue to overachieve for years to come.
OF- Grady Sizemore, Grenades: 60/23/54/22/.273
The young Grenade superstar has improved his power game dramatically in his 25 year old season. Luckily for the rest of JLB, his arbitration contract with the Grenades runs out after 2011.
OF – Pat Burrell, Starfish: 49/23/57/0/.275
Burrell was signed for 2 years at $1.7 million this off-season as one of the last moves by Boomerang G.M. Josh Bertman. Burrell played extremely well for the Arsenal before being dealt to the Starfish in a deal for an emerging young starter.
UTIL – Milton Bradley, Roundabouts: 52/19/53/4/.317
Bradley was signed in 2008 by the Roundabouts for 1.1 million. He has been very efficient, collecting his counting stats in only 221 ABŐs.
SP – Duchscherer, Heroes: 7/0/50/1.94/.90
Duchscherer was acquired for Youkilis in a pre-season trade. He has responded to a move out from the pen with outstanding rate stats. If he can stay healthy under this large workload he could win the CY.
SP – Halladay, Starfish: 11/0/121/2.71/1.00
Long time Starfish ace has proven that he still has a lot left in the tank. Halladay has regained a strong K rate to go with his outstanding rate stats.
SP - Haren, Outlaws: 7/0/105/2.78/.94
Acquired in a huge deal with the Starfish, Haren has established himself as an ace. He should be fronting the Outlaws rotation through 2011.
SP - Santana, Robots: 11/0/122/3.34/1.12
Santana has been maddening to Robots fans during his firast two JLB season. He has always flashed potential, but it seems like he had found consistency this year. The results show this clearly.
SP – Sheets, Roundabouts: 10/0/108/2.85/1.11
Sheets came over to the Roundabouts for Chris Ray in a deal with the Firemen. The injury woes that led to his availability in the trade market have not slowed him much in his dominant 1st half performance at the top of the Roundabouts rotation.
SP – Saunders, Roosters: 10/0/53/3.45/1.17
A product of the Roosters player development system Saunders has excelled in his first season as a JLB starter. Saunders has won a large number of games by keeping men off base.
SP - Marcum*, Grenades: 3/0/66/2.65/1.04
Marcum was signed mid-season 2007 by the Grenades and was a bargain before succumbing to shoulder problems this year. He will have a replacement on this roster.
SP – Dempster, Arsenal: 7/0/88/3.31/1.21
Dempster was signed to a 1 year 700k deal this off-season. He will likely see a raise next season if he continues to carve during the second half of the season.
SP – Harden, Roundabouts: 5/0/102/2.19/1.17
Harden has moved through the Robot system on the arbitration track. He was dealt to the Roundabouts after his first run of health since mid-2005 for draft picks. Harden makes the All-Star team as a replacement for Marcum.
RP – Rauch, Starfish: 3/17/43/2.91/1.01
Rauch was re-signed by the Starfish for $1.08 million. He has excelled in save situations once the Starfish unexpectedly moved him into that role early in the season.
RP – Wood, Firemen: 4/24/55/3.02/1.01
Wood has been traveling a lot this year. He started with the Clams, was dealt to the Outlaws early in the season for $ and a pick, and was just recently moved to the Firemen for a couple of prospects. All he has done is pitch well in his new bullpen role.
RP – Soria, Firemen: 1/25/46/1.47/.72
Soria was signed off waivers by the Firemen in the beginning of the 2007 season. No looking back now, the 24 year old is a top reliever with a starterŐs arsenal.
RP – Rivera, Firemen: 4/23/50/1.06/.64
Rivera entered his first year of a 2 year $8.8 million deal with a lot of expectations. LetŐs just say he is not disappointing and may even be on his way to the best season of his illustrious JLB career.
SS - Ramirez
CF - Sizemore
3B - Jones
RF - Berkman
DH – Bradley
1B – Gonzalez
2B – Kinsler
C - Soto
LF – McLouth