2013 JLB Mid-Season Report

By Dan Hausman, G.M. Reston Roundabouts

Since 2008, the last time I was fortunate enough to write a league report, many new owners and players have joined JLB and became a part of the illustrious history of, in my arrogant opinion, the best fantasy baseball league in the entire world. I finally have the platform to personally welcome Joe, Ricky, Jay, Mick, Brennan, Courtney, and Chris Davis to JLB. This 2013 mid-season report comes out a time of unparalleled calm in JLB. All of the current ownership groups are excited to be active participants in JLB, rules lawyering is becoming less and less necessary as the Constitution becomes settled, the coffers of the league treasury are overflowing, and the Roundabouts are finally back at the top of the standings.

First Half Recap

LetÕs start off the first-half recap by taking a look at the 2013 mid-season standings.

1.

Reston Roundabouts

11

10

11

4

12

12

10

11

11

12

104

2.

Alexandria Alleycats

7

12

9

11

11

10

5

6

7

9

87

3.

Clifton Clams

12

11

12

12

10

7.5

8

5

4

3

84.5

4.

Great Falls Grenades

10

6

5

6

6

11

9

7

10

8

78

5.

Centreville 66ers

9

8.5

7

8

3

5

7

8

9

7

71.5

5.

Herndon Heroes

5

8.5

8

1

7

3

11

10

8

10

71.5

7.

Arlington Arsenal

6

7

10

10

5

9

6

4

5

5

67

7.

Sterling Starfish

2

4.5

2

3

1

7.5

12

12

12

11

67

9.

Manassas Manatees

8

4.5

6

7

8

5

3

2

3

4

50.5

10.

Fairfax Firemen

3

3

4

9

2

5

4

9

2

6

47

11.

Springfield Spacemen

4

1.5

1

5

9

1

1.5

1

6

2

32

12.

Falls Church Foxes

1

1.5

3

2

4

2

1.5

3

1

1

20

 

Going into the 2013 season, eight teams were looking to contend for the four money spots. The prohibitive favorites were the defending champ Grenades, the shrewdly piloted 66ers, and the fan favorite Roundabouts. The Clams, Alleycats, Heroes, Arsenal, and Starfish all had rosters that could make noise and claim victory if luck was on their side. The Manatees, Firemen, Spacemen, and Foxes were all playing for the future.

At the all-star break, the Roundabouts sit atop the league with a commanding lead, the Alleycats and Clams jostle for second, the Grenades have a firm grasp on fourth, and the 66ers, Heroes, Arsenal, and Starfish remain in striking distance of the money. DonÕt be surprised when the final standings differ from where they currently sit.

It is not often that you see a team in first place by so much at the all-star break. It is even rarer for that team to have been able to overcome significant injuries along the way. The Roundabouts have excelled despite losing their starting SS, best SP, and top two OFs to injury. The teamÕs success can be attributed to the emergence of young stars, such as Paul Goldschmidt, Matt Moore, and Allen Craig, and the roster flexibility that afforded moves to correct outfield and depth issues before they became problems. The Roundabouts priority is to extend their lead and take home the 2013 title while the secondary goal is to improve the roster for 2014.

The Alleycats find themselves in an unfamiliar position, having never placed in the money. The team looks very capable of staying towards the top of the standings. The offense has its share of stars, led by Kipnis and CarGo^1, and is deep throughout while the pitching has enough manpower to stay as a mid tier JLB unit. Some may have thought that a lengthy rebuild was in order for the Alleycats before competiveness, but ownership is proving that prudently exploring the FA and trade markets can accelerate timelines.

Chris Davis, Homer Bailey, Starlin Castro, who is next? The Clams are in the midst of an incredibly unorthodox selling pattern while they duke it out for a money spot. While it is true that they have a historic offense led by Miguel Cabrera, perhaps the second best hitter in JLB history, it is yet to be seen if that offense can carry a below average pitching staff to a money spot. ManagementÕs supreme confidence in the teamÕs ability will surely be put to the test as the season progresses. Whatever the outcome for the Clams, one of the leagueÕs most fascinating franchises will surely make people scratch their heads along the way.

The Grenades have to be disappointed with their first-half performance. But, I wouldnÕt be surprised if they were disappointed even if they were writing this report. The Grenades have done a fantastic job of plugging holes that have come from underperformance and injury to remain in a money spot. But, despite all of the roster moves and trades, beyond the acquisition of Jean Segura, all you can really say is that the Grenades are staying afloat. Management is going to have to continue to make lemonades out of lemons as the stars in Great Falls are looking like mere mortals.

Patience can be a virtue. It can also be the opposite of a virtue. For the 66ers, it is looking like the latter. The 66ers began the season without much good depth, and have thus far paid the price when they have looked to address poor performance and injuries inwardly. The team has undeniable talent and management has begun to tap into trade markets to help overcome the teamÕs deficiencies. Look for the 66ers to add to their pitching staff and start climbing the standings in the second half.

The Heroes are another team on the rise. Imagine where they would be with a full half of Stanton, Hanley, and Chris Davis! You may not have to imagine over the second half as all three stars look primed for big things in Herndon. However, for the starsÕ contributions to make a difference for the Heroes they will have to aggressively upgrade their lineup holes and see continued success from a pitching staff that is a bit unproven.

April began with the Starfish taking a commanding lead on the backs of one of the most dominating collection of pitchers JLB has ever seen and Justin Upton. Since May, they dropped around 30 standings points and have been passed by six teams. All hope is not lost for the floundering Starfish (Floundering in the sense that they are playing people on the DL!). The squad still boasts an incredible pitching staff and a few good offensive players. Merely bringing the offense to a level of adequacy will vault the Starfish back into contention for the money. We will see if management is truly committed to a rebuild or is going to half-ass it.

Who knows what the Arsenal are doing? IÕm sure Arsenal management doesnÕt even know. The team is kind of stuck. They donÕt have much in the minors, donÕt have cash, and have some very large contracts on the books. It is very difficult for an inflexible roster to overcome superstars like Kemp becoming pumpkins. The team must win before their large contracts become albatrosses. Inaction is killing them.

Manassas has seen some positive developments so far this season. They were able to acquire Starlin Castro on a deal that would have been lauded pre-season, have seen a bounceback from Hosmer and the emergence of Minor, and still have Trout. However, the Manatees have a ways to go and will not be helped with off-season indulgences in the likes of Adam Dunn and Ryan Zimmerman. It will be interesting to see whether the Manatees flip anyone they actually like before the trading deadline.

The future looks undeniably bright in Fairfax. Stars such as Manny Machado and Matt Harvey are proving their value at the JLB level and the Firemen were able to acquire a young OF stud in Dom Brown during the season. The Firemen have surely learned from their last rebuild and are looking to supplement their homegrown cast with free agent studs. Although still a ways from true contention, it looks like the plan is coming together nicely.

What an awful roster to inherit. I have, however, been awfully impressed with the vision and negotiating ability that Spacemen management has displayed. Everyone has some idea how to dump expiring assets for cash. The true test will come once the Spacemen have to turn their cash pile and minor league assets into a competitive franchise.

The Foxes are where they want to be, right in Urias and Rondon territory. The Foxes did a masterful job of extracting value at the start of their rebuild and things are going exceedingly well on the farm. However, with the way that guys like Tulo, CarGo^1, and Mauer have been producing it is hard to say that the Foxes couldnÕt have done it for one more year. Regardless, we will surely see the Foxes move their way back up these standings soon.

2013 JLB All-Star Team

It is my honor to present to you the 2013 JLB All-Star team!

Catcher:

*Yadier Molina, Manatees - 37, 6, 44, 3, .338

            An unexpected late career surge has gotten Yadier to the all-star game in back to back    years.

 

First Base:

*Chris Davis, Heroes – 70, 37, 93, 0, .315

            Welcome back Barry.

 

Second Base: 

*Jason Kipnis, Alleycats – 50, 13, 52, 18, .320

            First he overtook Rickie Weeks, then he overtook everyone else that plays second in        JLB, next the world?

Howie Kendrick, Foxes – 39, 10, 39, 6, .314

            Solid all around numbers gets him the Foxes nod.

 

Third Base:

* Miguel Cabrera, Clams – 73, 30, 95, 3, .365

            The numbers are unfathomable.

Matt Carpenter, Heroes – 48, 6, 36, 1, .331

            An on-base machine at the top of the Heroes lineup.

 

Shortstop:

*Jean Segura, Grenades – 39, 7, 23, 19, .323

            What is with team controlled all-stars being acquired for next to nothing?

Everth Cabrera, Clams – 34, 2, 22, 30, .293

            His performance has caused me to triple check what he was doing prior to this season to

            try to discern if there was any way to see the breakout comingÉ. nope.

 

Outfield:

*Carlos Gonzalez, Alleycats – 68, 25, 64, 16, .302

            Did you know that he goes by CarGo^1 now?

* Adam Jones, Arsenal – 67, 19, 67, 9, .296

            He continues his development as an emerging superstar.

* Dom Brown, Firemen – 36, 17, 49, 8, .291

            Traveled ex-top prospect finds a home in Fairfax.

Michael Cuddyer, Spacemen – 42, 15, 52, 6, .327

            These numbers canÕt be healthy for a man who looks as old as he does.

Carlos Gomez, Clams – 51, 14, 45, 21, .298

            8.6 million gets you this guy, Willingham, and Victorino.

 

UTIL:

* Paul Goldschmidt, Roundabouts – 60, 21, 77, 9, .314

            Congratulations Paul!

 

Starting Pitchers:

*Matt Harvey, Firemen – 7, 0, 147, 2.35, .92

            He looks incredibly nasty (Not his face, Mick). Was taken out of high school by the            Boomerangs in 2007 and emerges as the Firemen ace in 2013.

Max Scherzer, Roundabouts – 13, 0, 152, 3.19, .98

            Congratulations Max!

Jordan Zimmerman, 66ers – 11, 0, 91, 2.77, 1.02

            Some say he can still add more K to his game.

Hisashi Iwakuma, Heroes – 8, 0, 111, 2.87, .93

            Everyone has to be kicking themselves for passing on Hisashi during the off-season.

Clay Buchholz, Clams – 8, 0, 77, 1.75, 1.05

            It will be very interesting to see how he comes back from injury.

Bartolo Colon, Alleycats – 8, 0, 47, 2.31, 1.16

            His fastball wouldnÕt dent bread. Bread is really bad for you by the way.

Matt Moore, Roundabouts – 11, 0, 80, 2.26, 1.08

            Congratulations Matt!

 

Relief Pitchers:

Jason Grilli, Starfish – 0, 29, 63, 1.99, .86

            Begins his JLB career at the ripe old age of 35 and is an all-star a year later.

Edward Mujica, Heroes – 2, 26, 29, 2.25, .72

            Waiver claim is establishing himself as a back end force.

Greg Holland, Starfish – 2, 22, 60, 1.80, .91

            Ex-catcher may be expendable in Sterling.

Bobby Parnell, Alleycats – 5, 17, 38, 2.30, .91

            Always had the talent, and is finally finding JLB success

 

 

Lineup:

LF- Carlos Gonzalez

3B – Miguel Cabrera

1B – Chris Davis

DH – Paul Goldschmidt

2B – Jason Kipnis

RF – Dom Brown

CF – Adam Jones

C – Yadier Molina

SS – Jean Segura

 

 

2013 All-Prospect Team

This team is made up of prospects who have made significant strides this season on their way to becoming future JLB All-Stars!

C: Evan Gattis, Clams – Late round pick should be able to produce in JLB.

1B: Matt Adams, Foxes – Small part of the CarGo^1 trade should be able to produce in JLB.

2B: Anthony Rendon, Alleycats – Moved to 2B and production should translate to JLB.

3B: Garin Cecchini, Grenades – Speed has been there, now he is showing a bat as well.

SS: Xander Bogaerts, Foxes – Bat continuing to develop while showing ability to stick at SS.

OF: Yasiel Puig, 66ers – Has shown outstanding power/speed that should translate to JLB.

OF: Byron Buxton, Foxes – Toolshed showing a lot of polish.

OF: Gregory Polanco, Clams – May give Clams first homegrown outfielder in years.

UTIL: George Springer, Starfish – Contact issues, but extreme power speed potential.

P: Shelby Miller, Foxes – Look for tightened up FB command before he explodes in JLB in 2014

P: Jose Fernandez, Manatees – Super young but almost certainly ready for JLB. Nasty man.

P: Robert Stephenson, Foxes – The Kershaw deal was a franchise changer. Elite FB.

P: Noah Syndergaard, Spacemen - I canÕt believe I signed (let me look up his name) over him.

P: Tyler Glasnow, Grenades – Late round steal is absolutely shoving.