JLB 2011 Midseason Report

By Carlton Davis, GM Falls Church Foxes

 

 

            IÕm sure it comes as little surprise to the League that the two-time defending champion has authored this yearÕs midseason report.  Yes, itÕs true - I have put together another dominant team that is kicking everybodyÕs butt.  I appreciate my closest competitors allowing me to sit atop the standings at this point so I would be the one to expend the necessary energy to write a decent midseason report.  Last yearÕs debacle of a report taught me that it isnÕt fair to the rest of the League for me to screw around the first half of the season thus allowing another GM to attempt to write the report.  Ever since the 66ersÕ 2008 title, the bar has been raised for these reports.  I intend to raise it even further.

 

LetÕs start off this report by taking a look at the 2011 Standings at the midpoint of the 2011 JLB Season:

 

Falls Church Foxes                             101.5

Great Falls Grenades                          95

Reston Roundabouts                          86.5

Clifton Clams                                      80.5

Arlington Arsenal                               78.5

Reston Robots                                                61.5

Centreville 66ers                                 59.5

Herndon Heroes                                  51

Oakton Outlaws                                 49.5

Reston Roosters                                 48

Fairfax Firemen                                   39

Sterling Starfish                                   29.5

 

            Before delving into a more detailed analysis of the first half of the season, a few quick comments are to be made.  First of all, it looks like the rebuild in Sterling is continuing, as the Starfish continue to pace the bottom of the standings for the third year in a row.  The rebuild in Centreville, however, is also in full force, yet it seems to be well ahead of SterlingÕs, with Centreville netting more than double the standings points of Sterling as well as more than double the number of midseason top-50 prospects.  At this rate, it looks like the Sterling Õ09-Õ11 rebuild will be reminiscent of the Firemen Õ01-Õ06 rebuild.  As the League no doubt remembers, that only resulted in two 3rd place finishes for Fairfax, in 2008 and 2010.  For the sake of the Sterling fans, I hope their owner can better navigate the increasingly challenging JLB landscape.

 

Lasken

           

The standings reflect the Clifton Clams are currently in 4th place.  This should come as great surprise and disappointment to Clifton GM Jon Lasken, who made numerous preseason predictions about his team being one of the two best in the League.  Prognosticating, however, is not something with which Lasken has a history of being successful.  In last yearÕs Midseason Report, Lasken wrote that the then-second place Firemen have Ōthe best chance to catch the Clams.Ķ  As we no doubt remember, the Firemen did catch the ClamsÉand they ended up in a dramatic three-way tie for 3rd place.  LaskenÕs criticisms of the Foxes, Grenades, and Roundabouts all proved to be unfounded, as all three teams made solid second half runs.

 

            Earlier this season, Lasken smelled blood in the water and felt he was going for the kill.  ŌThe smack talk will make my victory all the sweeterĶ he wrote to me on March 14.  He ranted against my Ōgolden boyĶ, Drew Storen, letting me know how much he sucked for apparently loosing his closing job.  Correct!  Storen sucks so badly that he has 5 wins, 23 saves, and an ERA of 2.70 to go along with a WHIP of 1.04.  When I informed Jon before the season how much Bobby Abreu sucked, Lasken responded that Abreu was his 5th OF who would therefore never play.  Well, unfortunately for Clifton fans, Abreu has played - to the tune of 138 at bats, a whopping .225 average, 13 runs, and 16 RBI.  Not all is lost, however, as Abreu did have 1 home run on the year for Clifton before he was traded to Fairfax. 

 

            Other predictions from the Clifton GM this year were directed at other teams – presumably those he thought to be his main competition.  ŌLove the Utley injury.  Out indefinately.  There goes JDÕs elite offenseĶ he wrote to me on one occasion.  Well, the Grenades offense might not be elite, but it does have 54 points at the break.  Also, the GrenadesÕ home run count currently resides at an unprecedented 2.428 standard deviations above the mean.  (Thank you, Mr. Steuben!)  I was further informed that Johnny Venters Ōwas awful for his entire career except last yearÉwhen people prepare for him he wonÕt be as good.Ķ  Correct again!  In fact, Venters is so awful that he only has 4 wins, 3 saves, and a 1.50 ERA and 0.98 WHIP.

 

Even as late as mid-April Lasken was trashing my then-60 point squad while his squad, temporarily, had over 100 points in the standings.  Well, the time has come.  Jon, tonight your dinner is on me buddy.

 

The Roosters Franchise

 

In more troubling news, the League was hit just before the All-Star Break with the possibility that one of its original owners might be leaving the fold.  Dan Fleeter, owner of the Reston Roosters since 2001, announced that he has found new ownership for his flailing franchise.  The Roosters are the only franchise in the history of JLB never to have finished in the money.

 

While the news was met with both sadness of FleeterÕs departure and excitement for new, and hopefully very active, ownership, the conversation quickly turned to who the new owners might be.  Though Fleeter had lined up two new co-owners for the Roosters, the League quickly pushed back, feeling that it needed to properly vet and formally approve the new ownership.  Additionally, never before has a JLB franchise changed ownership during the middle of the season.  Given the tight nature of this yearÕs chase for The Joe, the new ownership could throw an unexpected and unfair wrench into the pennant chase – especially since a couple of owners had advanced notice of this change in ownership and were able to plan accordingly.  Several owners have spoken out vocally against allowing the Roosters to make any trades before this yearÕs deadline just for this reason. 

 

New ownership is expected to be installed in Reston within a couple of months at the latest.  The team will likely move to a new location and be renamed.  I for one am greatly looking forward to these new developments.  Regardless of what happens with the Roosters, however, several things promise to be true:  Fleeter will be missed, the Roosters will be a more active franchise moving forward, and several other very active franchises will continue to meander along with little direction of where they are headed.

 

First Half Recap

 

            The 2011 JLB season has been an interesting one so far.  Entering the year, nine teams had hopes of finishing in the money.  One of them had a couple of devastating injuries before the season even began, thus essentially rendering them moot before the first game was even played.  Another team impatiently decided to accelerate their rebuild and prey on what they thought was a weak field.  One team had a strong squad but had zero margin for error, and this came back to bite them.  A fourth team incorrectly thought their team was stronger than it was.  Three teams were content with rebuilding or meandering.

           

This leaves five teams currently in the running for the four money spots.  In the end, one of these teams will be left behind.  Thankfully for the Foxes, Grenades, and Roundabouts, their positions in the first three money spots look fairly secure.  This leaves an intense battle for the fourth money spot between the Clams and Arsenal in a fascinatingly intriguing matchup.  It is doubtful the English language allows those two words to be put back to back, but given the implications of this 4th place spot, those two words are quite appropriate. 

 

As you might recall, before the 2010 season the Clams and Arsenal owners bet each other $1,000 over which franchise would win more money in JLB during the course of the next four seasons.  After an easy victory turned into an epic collapse for the Clams in 2010, the Arsenal now find themselves on the cusp of tying things up with a $240, 4th place finish in 2011.  Both teams have few assets remaining to make a run for future years, so it is likely that the 2011 season will be the deciding one for who wins this bet.  Be sure to pay close attention to this 4th place battle as the season progresses.

 

The Falls Church offense has been plagued with injuries this year, as expected key contributors Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau have amounted to basically a complete zero so far.  Falls Church swung a trade for Mark Teixeira to shore up its 1B play, and Mauer is finally healthy.  Look for the FoxesÕ offense to rebound in the second half.  Its pitching has been solid all year long, though several of its closers have imploded, keeping its ratios relatively low.

 

Great Falls is setting a historic offensive pace.  Despite key injuries to nearly everybody in its Opening Day lineup – Brian McCann is the only major offensive contributor who has not missed at least a weekÕs worth of games – Great Falls is leading the way in runs and homers and is just behind in RBI and average.  The depth of the offense on the Great Falls squad is second to none, and the Grenades are making a serious run for 56 offensive points by the end of the season.  The pitching hasnÕt been too shabby either, despite the injuries and ineffectiveness of the back end of its bullpen.  The Grenades have traded for studbag starter Jered Weaver, and are looking at a very, very strong second half of the season from a revamped and rejuvenated pitching staff.

 

The Reston Roundabouts seem to have a firm grasp on third place in the standings thanks to an absolutely historic pitching staff.  To date, the Roundabouts have one pitcher on their staff with an ERA over 3.00.  Never in the history of JLB has a staff even finished with an ERA below 3.00, and the Roundabouts are on pace to absolutely shatter the ERA and WHIP records for a season.  Midseason trades for sluggers Prince Fielder and Jose Bautista have also put the once-barren Roundabouts lineup on the map.  Expect them to rise up in the offensive standings during the second half of the year, and make a possible play for 1st place in the standings with Great Falls and Falls Church.  This is, without question, something that nobody saw coming at the beginning of the year.

 

The fourth place Clifton Clams have gone all-in, shoring up their offense with Hanley Ramirez and Michael Young in exchange for CliftonÕs top prospect and any decent draft pick for the next several years.  The ClamsÕ pitching staff has been disappointing, however, and could ultimately end up costing Clifton fourth place.  Ubaldo Jimenez has severely regressed and Max Scherzer, aside from his 10 wins, has contributed little.  Daniel Hudson and Shaun Marcum have put up decent numbers, but without an elite pitcher on staff to help bring these numbers down, the Clifton pitchers are bound for mediocrity.  A nice in-season pickup of step 1 closer Fernando Salas has brought some stability to the back end of the Clifton bullpen.

 

The Arlington Arsenal are desperately trying to fight for fourth place amid a season of booms or busts.  Matt Kemp is legitimately competing for the unprecedented Quadruple Crown (Jake Peavy narrowly missed the 2007 pitching Quadruple Crown, falling short by 1 win) as he is amongst the league leaders in homers, RBI, stolen bases, and batting average. The Arsenal have traded for the hot-hitting Robinson Cano and pitching ace Dan Haren, and Jacoby Ellsbury is enjoying his finest season yet.  However, Adam Dunn and Jayson Werth have been extremely disappointing, Brian Roberts has been injured, and Alex Rodriguez is on the shelf until August.  The Arlington bullpen, however, has been lights out, led by youngsters Craig Kimbrel and Chris Perez.  Jair Jurrjens is having a dominant season as the Arsenal ace, leading all of JLB in ERA at the break.

 

The Reston Robots are currently in sixth place, well back of the competition for the money.  The Robots enter the break with 61.5 points, and after a strong start to the year from the pitching staff, a Josh Johnson injury set them back.  Carl Crawford has also been injured, and the Robots inexplicably gave 2B Chone Figgins 197 at bats, for which he hit .188 with a whopping 16 runs and 10 RBI.  I know this GM has tried hard to trade for assets from the Robots, offering high-upside prospects, draft picks, and young JLB players in return, only to get rebuffed from the RobotsÕ GM, who mistakenly still thinks he can compete this year and is waiting until the trade deadline to sell his expiring assets.  (Newsflash to the Robots: the trade market is already all dried up.)

 

The eighth place Herndon Heroes have fallen into the same trap, failing to accurately survey the JLB landscape and thinking that they, too, might sneak into the money.  As such, the Heroes are now trying to trade their remaining expiring assets, but are only going to get pennies on the dollar.  I know this owner is annoyed, having pushed hard to trade for some Heroes earlier in the year, offering full value, only to get rebuffed by a falsely optimistic GM.  Now, those assets are getting auctioned off for peanuts, likely to my competitors.  I know I am going to be bitter if I lose this year due to the incompetence of competing GMs, thatÕs for sure.  However, my love for the HeroesÕ GM runs deep and will always be true.  My previous words were not words spoken out of resentment or hatred, but rather words spoken out of deep respect and passion.

 

A surprising team this year has been the 66ers, who find themselves in seventh place at the Break.  Though a rebuilding year for the Sixers, its pitching staff has been lights out and its young hitters have made outstanding progress.  Might this Sixers team go the way of the Õ08 Foxes, climbing halfway in the standings before winning it all the following year?  Team owner Debdeep Maji has done an outstanding job of rebuilding.  I wouldnÕt bet against him.

           

The Oakton Outlaws have had nothing short of a disappointing year, mainly at no fault to the GM.  Coming into the year, I felt the Outlaws would be a strong contender for The Joe.  However, a preseason injury to staff ace Adam Wainwright took the wind out of the OutlawsÕ sails, and the rest of its pitching staff has collapsed.  The Outlaws offense is right where we thought it would be –near the league leaders in home runs and RBI, and near the bottom in stolen bases.  Hopefully theyÕll be able to accumulate some additional assets during the second half of the year so he can start wheeling and dealing this offseason in anticipation of gearing up for a run in 2012.

 

The Reston Roosters have performed their usual mid-season floundering.  The organization has a ton of talent but canÕt quite seem to put it all together.  The Roosters have spent the first half of the season, however, active behind the scenes in courting new ownership, and the fruits of that labor will likely pay off quite soon.

 

The Fairfax Firemen have had nothing less than a disappointing season.  Several players performed extremely well in the early going, but disappointing seasons from Hanley Ramirez and others helped the Firemen find themselves out of a stiff competition for the money spots.  Smartly, the Firemen decided to hold a firesale, auctioning off much of its top talent in an effort to begin rebuilding.  Good luck to the Firemen during this grueling process.  May your draft picks be plentiful and your prospects be human toolsheds.

 

The Sterling Starfish find themselves in a familiar spot at the bottom of the standings.  The Starfish are continuing their rebuild, and this year they seem to be right on track to obtain the top draft picks for the 2012 drafts.

 

How will the rest of season play out?  Expect three teams over 90 points for the first time since 2006.  Expect at least two teams over 95 points.  Expect a very tight race for 4th place.  After that, everything else is anybodyÕs guess.

 

JLB All-Bust Team

 

Before presenting to you the 2011 JLB All-Star Team, let me first present you with the JLB 2011 First Half All-Bust Team.

 

Catcher

Joe Mauer, Foxes, and Buster Posey, Heroes – Ranked the top two fantasy catchers before the season, Mauer and Posey were inarguably the two most disappointing in the first half of the season.  Mauer, playing in Falls Church for the first time since his debut, has battled injuries and has zero homers with a putrid .247 average.  Posey broke his ankle and twisted around his whole leg on a scary play at the plate and is out for the season.  Until that point, however, he only had 4 home runs.  The big breakout that was expected from him never arrived.  Maybe next year.

 

First Base

Justin Morneau, FiremenMorneau has not recovered from his concussion last July.  Falls Church had hopes that he would become even half the man he was at this time last season, but 4 homers, 16 runs and RBI, and a .223 average in a poorly-managed 193 at bats cemented MorneauÕs ticket out of Falls Church.  Since he is out until August from neck surgery, donÕt expect Morneau to ever again become the strong hitter he used to be.

 

Second Base

Dan Uggla, Heroes – While UgglaÕs power remains strong, hitting 15 homers in the first half, his counting stats are low (39 runs and 32 RBI), and his batting average is even lower (.188).  This poor season from an expected top offensive contributor is partly to blame for a lost season for the Herndon franchise.

 

Third Base

David Wright, Heroes, and Ryan Zimmerman, Grenades – The poor season by David Wright is indicative of the poor 2011 season as a whole by Herndon.  Though Wright has been injured, he has only hit 6 homers with a .226 average.  Ryan Zimmerman has not been missed at all by the Great Falls franchise.  Though great things were expected of Zimm coming into the season, injuries have plagued him, too, and he has hit only 4 home runs to go along with a .254 average.  Perhaps a healthy Zimmerman will help Great Falls maintain its offensive dominance in the second half of the season.

 

Shortstop

Hanley Ramirez, Clams – Plagued with injuries, Hanley hit only 4 homers to go along with a .210 average for a collapsing Fairfax team in the early goings this season.  A late-June trade to the competitive Clifton franchise has got his juices flowing a little bit, as he has already hit 4 more homers to go along with a .338 average in limited time.  Perhaps a money spot to play for will continue to motivate Hanley during the seasonÕs second half.

 

Outfield

Carl Crawford, Robots – Expected to be one of the top outfielders coming into the year, Crawford has been plagued by injuries.  Though he has hit 5 homers, he only has 6 stolen bases and a .240 average, both thoroughly disappointing.  Crawford might not perform much better in the second half of the season as the Robots are well out of contention and Crawford is signed through 2013.  The only thing he has to play for is a potential trade out of Reston.

 

Colby Rasmus, GrenadesRasmus entered the year with great expectations.  Almost the centerpiece of an offseason trade for Clayton Kershaw, Rasmus has failed to live up to expectations in his second arb year, hitting only 5 homers with 4 stolen bases and a .245 average. Many questions remain as to whether Rasmus will ever develop anywhere near his full potential.

 

Shin-Soo Choo, Outlaws – A solid five category studbag entering the year, Choo was performing poorly across the board before he was lost to left-thumb surgery in late June.  Choo was on pace for easily his worst season since 2008.  Hopefully he will make a healthy recovery and help Oakton gain some valuable standings points during September.

 

Util

Adam Dunn, Arsenal – What do you do when youÕre making $7.9 million for a team competing for the money?  If youÕre Adam Dunn, you hit 7 home runs and bat .170 in the first half of the season.  I donÕt know if Dunn gained any additional weight this past offseason, but he sure does suck right now.

 

Starting Pitcher

Francisco Liriano, Firemen – After a strong 2010, great things were expected of Liriano in 2011.  There were even hints of him returning to his pre-TJ 2006 form.  However, a 5.07 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, and only 3 wins so far have quickly put those whispers to rest.  Now that Fairfax is out of the race, there is no telling how much further Liriano might fall.

 

John Lackey and Javier Vazquez, Arsenal – Lackey and his $7 million salary have only pitched 27 innings this year, to the tune of a 6.00 ERA and 1.63 WHIP.  Vazquez has been even worse, pitching 14.1 innings with a 6.28 ERA and 1.74 WHIP.  With the addition of Dan Haren to the Arsenal staff, expect these former stars never to see the mound again for Arlington in 2011.

 

Ubaldo Jimenez, Clams – Last year at the break, Jimenez had 15 wins.  This year?  Only 3, not to mention a declining strikeout rate and poor ratios.  Not quite what the Clams were expecting when they dubbed him their Opening Day starter this year.

 

Brandon Webb, Robots – While it might be unfair to put Webb on the All-Bust team, he has pitched 0 innings this year and is eating up $13.5 million worth of payroll for the Robots ($20.25 million when you factor in luxury tax).  My unsuccessful attempts to clear the Robots of this payroll in a blockbuster trade have been met with resistance, leading to many hours of frustration.  Perhaps this is the offseason that Robots management finally understands that with Webb on the team, they will never finish anywhere close to the money.

 

Relief Pitcher

David Aardsma, Robots – Though Aardsma is only earning $4.5 million this year, ($6.75 million due to the cap!) offseason hip surgery has limited him to 0 innings pitched for the Robots and not a single thing to contribute to the squad - other than eating up additional payroll.

 

Frank Francisco, Foxes – While Francisco has earned 10 saves for the Foxes, he gives his owner a heart attack every time he pitches.  Additionally, his ratios have been intolerable, with a 6.33 ERA to go along with a 1.88 WHIP.  Those numbers are embarrassing for a closer signed to a multi-year contract. 

 

JLB All-Star Team

 

            And with that, I now present to you the 2011 JLB All-Stars, as voted on by the GMs around the League:

 

Catcher

Miguel Montero, Roundabouts – Despite persistent trade rumors surrounding him, Miguel Montero has walloped 10 home runs already this year for the Roundabouts while maintaining a solid average and counting stats.  With newly added protection in the lineup, expect Montero to double this number in the second half of the season.

 

First Base

Paul Konerko, HeroesKonerko is having a monster season for Herndon, outperforming other 1B who are being paid two to three times as much.  Konerko has already belted 21 home runs, and has a steller .321 batting average.  An anchor in the middle of the Herndon lineup, KonerkoÕs numbers will only improve during the second half of the season as David Wright and others return from injury for Herndon.

 

Second Base

Michael Young, Clams – Clamoring for a trade in the offseason, Young finally got his wish as he was shipped from Fairfax to Clifton in a blockbuster deal.  Young has not disappointed this year, hitting .305 for Fairfax and .371 for Clifton.  He has already hit more home runs for Clifton than he did in three times as many at bats for Fairfax.  Look for YoungÕs resurgence to continue for Clifton as the summer months drag on.

 

Third Base

Jose Bautista, Roundabouts – Many thought that GFG GM JD Moss was foolish for keeping Bautista and his step 6 arb salary on his roster this year after what they considered to be a fluke year in 2010.  However, Bautista did everything he could to make Moss look like a genius, as he hit 20 homers (one every 10 at bats) with 49 runs, 41 RBI, and 5 stolen bases filling in for an injured Ryan Zimmerman at 3B.  For good measure, Bautista also hit .330.  Moss smartly traded Bautista at his peak to an offensively depleted Roundabouts squad.  Bautista, however, has maintained his peak performance in Reston, already hitting 10 more home runs (one every 9.5 at bats) to go along with 21 runs, 23 RBI, and a .326 average.  Bautista is currently the #1 ranked hitter in all of JLB.

 

Shortstop

Asdrubal Cabrera, Grenades­ – One of the worst free agent signings this year was Great FallsÕ signing of Derek Jeter.  One of the best signings was Great FallsÕ signing of Asdrubal Cabrera.  Cabrera, signed for a hometown discount of only $540,000, is one the LeagueÕs most surprising players in 2011 and has replaced Jeter as the Great Falls starting shortstop.    In the first half of this season, Cabrera has hit 11 home runs to go along with 9 stolen bases and a solid .279 average.  Had GFG GM JD Moss been quicker to pull the plug on Jeter, these numbers would be even stronger.  Cabrera is very worthy of this All-Star bid.

 

Outfield

Matt Kemp, Arsenal – Following KempÕs offseason breakup with Rihanna, Arsenal co-GM Brian Greenhalgh knew that Kemp was in for a big season.  After spending last year pummeling Rihanna, Greenhalgh knew that Kemp would spend this year pummeling baseballs.  Greenhalgh has been proven right so far as Kemp is currently the #2 ranked hitter in all of JLB.  As mentioned earlier, Kemp is competing for the unprecedented Quadruple Crown, as he has 55 runs and a whopping 67  RBI to go along with 22 homers, 27 stolen bases, and a .313 batting average.

 

Jacoby Ellsbury, Arsenal – KempÕs Arsenal teammate Jacoby Ellsbury is also having a season for the ages.  Ellsbury has only been able to match KempÕs stolen base total of 27 so far, but expect him to surpass his teammate in the seasonÕs second half.  Ellsbury already has 10 homers – his previous career high is 4 – and also has 60 runs to go along with a .324 batting average.  EllsburyÕs lost 2010 season is a thing of the past as he remains a sparkplug atop the Arsenal lineup.

 

Lance Berkman, Roosters – Paired with a hot-hitting Adrian Gonzalez in the middle of the Roosters lineup, Berkman has had an absolute resurgence this year, mashing 20 home runs already and hitting .286.  BerkmanÕs multi-positional versatility has also proven helpful for a fearsome Roosters lineup.

 

Util

Alex Gordon, Foxes – Left for dead after his prospect star had faded badly, Alex Gordon retained the faith of owner Carlton Davis and has rewarded his handsome owner with an 11-homer, .287 average first half.  Gordon has also chipped in 6 stolen bases with solid counting stats while manning multiple positions in Falls Church.  Though Gordon may never obtain the stardom that Davis had once envisioned for him, he has proven himself a useful cog in the Falls Church lineup.

 

Starting Pitcher

Jair Jurrjens, Arsenal – ­Another Arsenal with a lost 2010 season, Jurrjens has come roaring back in 2010, leading all of JLB with a 1.87 ERA.  JurrjensÕ 1.07 WHIP is also a career low to date, and he already has 12 victories.  A midseason acquisition of Dan Haren by the Arsenal will likely only push Jurrjens to even greater heights in the seasonÕs second half.

 

Cole Hamels, FoxesHamels, with his measly $2 million salary, has taken his game to a whole new level this year, leading all Falls Church starters with a 0.93 WHIP.  HamelsÕ strikeout ratio is solid and he has 9 wins already in the seasonÕs first half.  Look for Hamels to continue his dominance in Falls Church for the rest of the season as the FoxesÕ staff looks to hold off the strong Great Falls pitching.

 

Jordan Zimmermann, 66ers – Zimmermann is having a fantastic JLB rookie season, as he leads all 66ers starters with more than 62 innings pitched with a 2.66 ERA and 1.07 WHIP.  He is also the staff workhorse, logging a team-high 115 innings, and leads the way with 6 victories.  Zimmermann is learning his way around JLB, and with continued development, will likely be one of the top overall pitchers in JLB within a couple of years.

 

Alexi Ogando, Starfish – The subject of an intense bidding war this offseason, Ogando, suspected to be a possible shutdown closer, has instead turned into the ace of the Sterling staff.  This pleasant surprise, only in his first arb year, looks like he will anchor the Starfish staff as the team emerges from rebuilding and into championship mode.  For the season, Ogando already has 7 wins to go along with a 3.06 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP.  As his arm becomes stronger as the season and years progress and he better learns how to pitch in the States, Ogando promises to be among the elite of the JLB pitchers.

 

James Shields, Robots – Seemingly out of nowhere, Shields has put together a dominant season as he has turned into the ace of the Robots staff.  Shields has a 9.8 K/9 ratio with a 2.45 ERA and a sub-1.00 WHIP, all the best numbers of his career.  In his last start before the break, Shields held a stellar Falls Church offense to only an unearned run in a complete game effort.  IÕm not sure what the pitching coach in Reston told young Mr. Shields, but whatever it was, it sure worked.

 

Relief Pitcher

 

Fernando Salas, Clams – Signed as a free agent for only $600,000, Salas has exceeded all possible expectations so far, registering 5 wins, 14 saves, with a 2.67 ERA and 0.86 WHIP.  Salas has provided much needed stability and ratios to the Clifton pitching staff and gives the Clams hope that they might compete with Arlington in saves in a very tight race for fourth place.

 

Drew Storen, Foxes – Demoted from the closerÕs role before the season even began, Storen has come roaring back for Falls Church in his inaugural JLB season.  Storen already has 23 saves and 5 wins for the FoxesÕ elite staff and has provided solid ratios in addition.

 

Joel Hanrahan, Roundabouts – Nobody could have seen this type of season coming from Hanrahan, as he leads the Roundabouts staff, on pace to shatter the single season saves record, with 26 saves.  Hanrahan also has fantastic ratios and has shown no signs of slowing down.

 

Scott Downs, Firemen – Despite having only pitched 24.4 innings so far, Downs is third on the Firemen in victories, with 5.  He has provided solid ratios out of the bullpen for  a depleted Firemen relief corps, and will likely be counted on to log heavy minutes during the second half of the season.

 

Mariano Rivera, Outlaws – Yes, Rivera is earning the highest salary for a relief pitcher in all of JLB.  Yes, Rivera is old.  But yes, Rivera continues to be absolutely dominant and the greatest relief pitcher in the history of JLB.  Rivera has already added 22 saves to his all-time JLB lead this year while maintaining his usual stellar ratios.

 

Your 2011 JLB All-Star Lineup:

 

1.  Jacoby Ellsbury, CF

2.  Michael Young, 2B

3.  Matt Kemp, RF

4.  Jose Bautista, 3B

5.  Paul Konerko, 1B

6.  Lance Berkman, LF

7.  Asdrubal Cabrera, SS

8.  Alex Gordon, DH

9.  Miguel Montero, C

 

SP – Cole Hamels

 

Good luck to all the teams in the second half of the 2011 JLB Season.