League Updates Uncategorized

Johnson & Johnson & Johnson & … Johnson & Johnson… Oh, & Johnson

Congratulations to our new EFL Champions, the Flint Hill Tornadoes, led by Jamie… umm… Jamie… 

What’s his last name again?  

Relax.  I’m not that senile, at the moment.  I know full well what his last name is.   I know it like Wiley Coyote knows the impact of a fall from a desert cliff.  I know it like Charlie Brown knows the feel of going suddenly airborne when Lucy snatches away the football.  I know it like Ryan knows finishing behind the old man in the EFL.  

It is unmistakable. The hammer with Jamie’s last name on it has fallen on EFL pates now for five out of the last six years.  The list of EFL champions for the last six years:

                        2015: Johnson

                        2016: Johnson

                       2017:  Weinert

                       2018: Johnson

                       2019: Johnson

                       2020: Johnson


To be fair, the first names have changed, albeit slowly:  John, John, Mark, Mark, Mark, Jamie.   And I am genuinely happy for Jamie that this Thanksgiving, when the Johnsons assemble for their holiday feast, Jamie will get to rejoin the grown-ups table, now that he is no longer the family embarrassment for not having an EFL championship. 

We non-Johnsons will all be celebrating with you, Jamie.  

And if John or Mark make cutting remarks about having your name on the EFL trophy only once, don’t pay any attention.  You’ll get your second one soon enough. 

By “soon enough” I mean “about 2030. After the rest of us have all had a chance.”  

Because, frankly, even though I like all the Johnsons in our league, plus a few others, I (like many, I suspect) find it a bit galling that our league has turned into the Johnson v. Johnson contest, with  the rest of us being the red-shirted Star Trek crewmen of the show. 

Yes, I know, Star Trek is merely science fiction, whereas the EFL is fantasy.  But my point still holds. 

Especially THIS year where the guy in second place is named…   Johnson. 

Thank God for the Pears, because otherwise the rocky Johnson crust on our planetary mantle would be three layers thick! There’d be no hope of any non-Johnson ever breaking through. 


But enough of my carping.  This is supposed to be a celebration!!   So let’s celebrate the end of the most unique baseball season any of us has ever seen, even Tom.  May it go down through the ages as one-of-a-kind, never to be repeated.  And we were there!  And we survived!!

We should all get t-shirts, at least.  Even if they have to be red, Star Trek style.


EFL Standings for 2020
Flint Hill Tornadoes 34 26 .563 300.6 280.0
Kaline Drive 31 29 .517 2.8 255.9 243.3
Peshastin Pears 31 29 .515 2.9 307.2 295.2
Haviland Dragons 31 29 .509 3.2 277.1 268.3
Bellingham Cascades 29 31 .475 5.3 307.9 335.9
Cottage Cheese 27 33 .458 6.3 300.2 327.7
Canberra Kangaroos 27 33 .443 7.2 291.4 326.1
D.C. Balk 26 34 .440 7.4 272.2 307.1
Old Detroit Wolverines 24 36 .401 9.7 268.2 330.6
Pittsburgh Alleghenys 22 38 .363 12 272.4 360.2
Portland Rosebuds 18 42 .306 15.4 271.7 407.9
Flint Hill:  W, 7 – 2.
AVG: 0.250 OBP: 0.323 SLG: 0.500 OPS: 0.823 PA: 31
ERA: 4.29 WHIP: 0.952 IP: 6.3
This wasn’t one of our most cliff-hangery finishes ever.  Back in 2015 the Dragons  beat the Alleghenys by 0.9 games, with the Wolverines in third place at 2.8 games behind.  Haviland then repeated as champions in 2016 by a whisker-width 0.7 games, the closest finish in EFL history, over the Wolverines.
But it still was one of the most dramatic, because the lead changed hands as recently as September 19.  The Drive were in first place for the longest this season.  Their trend was downward already in late August, and they fell  out of first in mid-September, but they bounced back, and were in first place when play started on the 18th.
Also, the Dragons and the Pears took turns inserting themselves  into the race.  The Dragons even took over the lead on September 13 (by 0 games) and  14 (by 0.3 games) , I think for the first time all season. 

But the Tornadoes blew them all away with arguably the greatest September in EFL history.  On the morning of September 1, they were 16 – 20, 5.3 games out in 7th place.  But  they had dominated the trade deadline wires, and the rest of the league watched them with alarm. 
By the time of our next update September 3 — only two days later — the Tornados were already up to 4th place, just 4.2 games back, having won two in a row.  
Three days later they reached a real .500 mark, dropping the Cascades into 4th place.  The T’s were just 3.2 games back. The Cascades took 3rd place back for a day, but by the 9th Flint Hill buried the entire Cascade mountain range.  Flint Hill was just 2.4 games back, in third place behind the Drive and the Dragons. 
By the 12th, their deficit was down to 1.3 games, although the Drive and Dragons were still ahead of them. 
Then came September 13th. With only two weeks left in  the season, Haviland led Kaline by 0.0 games, and the Tornados by 0.2.  
The next day, Kaline had fallen into 3rd  place.  The Tornados were in second, still 0.2 games out. 
The story would be pretty dramatic if Flint Hill just kept rising from there.  But Flint “Hill” is in Kansas, so we shouldn’t expect the moon when it comes to rapid elevation gain.   Instead, the T’s took their most serious setback of the month during the games of Sept 14.  Kaline leapt from third back into first, and the Tornados found themselves 0.5 games back, in third place. 
The next day they slipped again, to 0.9 games back. 
 But the next day, September 16, Flint Hill renewed its assault on first, scrambling over the fast-falling Dragons into second place, and then on to first during the next day’s games. 
That would demonstrate a lot of pluck if fantasy teams had internal culture.  They don’t. But it also demonstrates a lot of fun and satisfaction for Jamie. 
And even though we are so well-supplied with Johnsons, each individual member of the species matters to us.  So we are happy to celebrate with you. 
Kaline:  W, 7 – 4.
AVG: 0.262 OBP: 0.380 SLG: 0.500 OPS: 0.880 PA: 50
ERA: 2.73 WHIP: 1.515 IP: 3.3
And hasn’t it been apparent since early August that a Johnson was likely to win?  Almost the entire month, the Drive flew high above the rest of us.  Only at the end of the month did the engine begin to misfire a little. 
September was, on the whole, not kind to Kaline.  The Drive only managed an 11- 15 record on the month — one of 5 EFL teams to be credited with a record rounding off to 11-15. 

Nevertheless,  Kaline was in first place for the most games of the season, by far — they were even in first place for the most games in September. 
And they did not go quietly.  A last-weekend surge pushed the Drive back into second place, boosted on Sunday by Mitch Moreland’s 2 for 3 with a double and a walk.  Kris Bryant, in his final day as a Drive rookie, blasted a home run.
Congratulations, Tom — a great season with a nice little kick at the end!
Peshastin:  W, 2 – 1.
AVG: 0.176 OBP: 0.282 SLG: 0.206 OPS: 0.488 PA: 39
ERA: 2.31 WHIP: 1.197 IP: 11.7
The Pears took a week to get started, then raced off on the path blazed by the Tornados toward the top.  Peshastin ended up with the second-best September record (15 – 9, compared to FH’s 17-7).  They went into the final weekend only 1.8 games back, in second place.  But they couldn’t put together an historic final weekend, and had to settle for third.

Going into the season, third might have been faintly disappointing, for a Pear team many believed had championship quality.  However, coming in the last two weeks from well back in the pack to pose a shocking threat to a confident Tornado management — that was an inspiring run. 
Peshastin has no 2020 rookies ending their seasons now.  They are likely going to miss Ryan Mountcastle, who went out with a 2 for 5 bang. But the upside is this: Peshastin retains most of its still-developing young talent, and could be a favorite for 2021. 
Haviland:  W, 7 – 5.
AVG: 0.273 OBP: 0.298 SLG: 0.455 OPS: 0.753 PA: 57
ERA: 5.29 WHIP: 1.765 IP: 1.7
Had you asked me in late August which team posed the biggest threat to the high-flying Drive, I’d have pointed to the only winged team in the league: the Dragons. They were steadily advancing on Kaline, and looked close to unstoppable.  

But Dragon management let the Tornados out wheel-and-deal them at the trade deadline, and things gradually slipped out of Haviland’s control, despite a brief hold on first place in mid-September.  Touted debutant Luis Robert did awake from his slumpy slumbers on Sunday, going 3 for 5 to supplement Harrison Bader’s homer and triple in 3 AB to gain the win and leave a good taste in Dragon mouths as they return to their winter devastation grounds. 
In a poignant note, Carlos Correa ended his Dragon rookie career Sunday, going out with a blast:  2 for 2 with a homer.  The only other 2020 rookie Dragon of note, pitcher Vince Velasquez, did not play. 
Bellingham:  W, 7 – 5.
AVG: 0.313 OBP: 0.389 SLG: 0.500 OPS: 0.889 PA: 36
ERA: 3.21 WHIP: 1.250 IP: 5.6
The Cascades had a strong season, figuring in the pennant race in September before final fade.  Had they played all month like they did Sunday, things might have turned out much better.  Marcell  Ozuna hit a not-unexpected homer while Billy Hamilton hit a much more unexpected one to lead the offense in his last game as a Cascade (for now).  Six pitchers combined to cover 5.7 innings, allowing only 2 earned runs. 
Bellingham hasn’t been in the league for long enough to have any 2020 rookies, but in addition to Hamilton they are losing popular veterans like Justin Turner and Hunter Pence (Pence actually retired last week). And possibly less-popular veteran Gio Gonzalez and his $12,000,000 per year contract. 
Even with the late September sag, however, the Cascades won the Votaw Family Trophy by a full game over the Cheese. 
Cottage:  “L”, 1 – (-2) 
AVG: 0.250 OBP: 0.341 SLG: 0.250 OPS: 0.591 PA: 41
ERA: 2.25 WHIP: 0.583 IP: 12.0
The Cheese are the first team we’ve covered today to not get an official win.  But they did outscore their opponents pretty clearly, so we know it was a win in reality.  Brady Singer is the main hero for this upbeat finish, tossing 7 innings with 1 earned run.  

It may not be as exciting as winning the championship, but the Cheese did manage to occupy the pivot point in the standings, 6th out of 11.  We all revolve around the Cheese.
The Cheese are mourning the end of their rookie contract with Corey Seager, who went out with an 0 for 4 whimper.  They may hold a joint quiet celebration with the Cascades over release from burdensome failed pitching contracts. Cottage may be losing a pitcher (Danny Duffy) but they are gaining a sum ($15,750,000). 
Canberra: W, 4 – (-3) 
AVG: 0.189 OBP: 0.250 SLG: 0.486 OPS: 0.736 PA: 40
ERA: 0.75 WHIP: 0.667 IP: 12.0
Three homers (A Diaz, M Dubon, and Vladdy) salvaged an otherwise dismal day at the plate, and gave the Kangaroo pitchers more than enough to work with.  Rich Hill started with 5.7 ip, 1 er, and six relievers added 6.3 more without any earned runs.  

This season represents a long-awaited first for the Kangaroos: the first time they have beaten the Wolverines in the league’s 18-year history.  We both know it was only luck that kept this from happening in several previous seasons.  But now it finally has. So, now that the first 18-year epoch is over, Ryan, are you ready for another one?  I am. Even if I don’t win as many. 
Jamie winning his first title is story #1 this year, but Kaline almost pulling it off, and the Kangaroos getting a rather too-large monkey off their backs, are stories  # 2 and #3, not necessarily in that order.
Original Kangaroo rookie draftee Michael Conforto ended his rookie career Sunday on the bench.  Well-traveled  relief pitcher stud Raisel Iglesias (former Pear, former Wolverine) capped his 2020 rookie career with 1.3 ip, 0 er. 
DC: “L”, 9 – 5. 
AVG: 0.286 OBP: 0.359 SLG: 0.686 OPS: 1.045 PA: 39
ERA: 2.05 WHIP: 2.045 IP: 4.4
Pete Alonso cracked two homers and Adalberto Mondesi (I forgot he was still in our league!) hit another to lead a massive Balkan attack, while 5 pitchers combined to keep their opponents from doing the same.  The Balk have established they a fully competitive franchise in this league.  
DC is losing 10 pitchers this offseason, but only one hitter, the veteran Cameron Maybin.  This should clarify their path toward improvement in 2021.  The Balk had no 2020 rookies, being too new in the league for that.  But they will miss 2020 debutant Ian Anderson who pitched 26.3 innings of 2.05 ERA. 

Old Detroit:  L, 1 – 2. 
AVG: 0.140 OBP: 0.229 SLG: 0.209 OPS: 0.438 PA: 48
ERA: 0.84 WHIP: 0.748 IP: 10.7
After surging for most of the first half of the month, the Wolverines collapsed, especially in their offense.  Their final day was all too typical of the 2020 Wolverines.  Doing the same next year would be intolerable.  I’m already not tolerating it. But what can I do about it?  

Well, one thing is obvious: say a sad but not reluctant goodbye to first-round pick Kyle Schwarber, who had a well-below replacement .130, .272, .234 line in September, capped by his 0 for 3 Sunday.  His fellow 2016 draftee Austin Hedges may have already gone home:  Hedges went 1 for 12 for the month. 
Alas, we also say a sad, but probably inevitable, goodbye to Trea Turner, who inspired our mad crusade to win the month with his monster surge at the end of August.  The last 4 days of August he hit 15 for 20, or .750, .750, 1.000.  For September he went .282, .348, .515 — not bad, but not enough to carry the team.
We didn’t win September.  We came in fourth.  But we did play .500 ball for the month (12-12) and lifted the season winning percentage over .400 (just barely: .401).  I don’t know if that quite establishes the W’s as a competitive franchise, but it gives us a few straws to grasp at this winter.
Pittsburgh: W, 2 – (-4) 
AVG: 0.148 OBP: 0.281 SLG: 0.259 OPS: 0.541 PA: 32
ERA: 1.97 WHIP: 0.984 IP: 18.3
Frankie Montas, in his final game as an EFL rookie, frustrated the Mariners by pitching 6 innings without an earned run (2 unearned runs scored). Tarik Skubal, in his final game as an EFL debutant, allowed 2 runs in 5 innings.  

Byron Buxton, in his final day as an EFL Rookie, didn’t play. Stephen Piscotty, in his final day as an EFL Rookie, probably wished he hadn’t played: 0 for 4 with three strikeouts. 
The Alleghenys almost undid themselves by indulging in a win on the last day of the season.  They finished with the same record (on the surface) as the Texas Rangers. But by having a winning percentage just 0.004 worse than the Rangers, the A’s secured their position at #3 in next year’s rookie draft.
Portland: L, 0 – 0.
AVG: 0.147 OBP: 0.216 SLG: 0.147 OPS: 0.363 PA: 37
ERA: 2.60 WHIP: 1.250 IP: 10.4
The Rosebuds slunk out of the season with a 0 – 0 loss. It’s legit: the 0 on defense was bigger than the 0 on offense.   Portland assured itself of the very first pick in the draft by losing just enough so the Pirates’ bigger loss didn’t leave them with a worse record. 

The Rosebuds denuded themselves of 2020 Rookies, apparently, in their successful 2018 and 2019 pennant drives.  Maybe they have a soft place in their prickly hearts (or so the Wolverines perceive them after their runaway wins in 2018 and 2019) for Myles Straw, but .185, .185, .222 final month, capped off by an 0 for 2 Sunday, probably makes parting sweeter and less of a sorrow.  
Combined MLB + EFL Standings for 2020
AL East
Tampa Bay Rays 40 20 .667
Flint Hill Tornadoes 34 26 .563 6.2
New York Yankees 33 27 .550 7
Toronto Blue Jays 32 28 .533 8
Baltimore Orioles 25 35 .417 15
Old Detroit Wolverines 24 36 .401 15.9
Boston Red Sox 24 36 .400 16
NL East
Atlanta Braves 35 25 .583
Miami Marlins 31 29 .517 4
Philadelphia Phillies 28 32 .467 7
Canberra Kangaroos 27 33 .443 8.4
D.C. Balk 26 34 .440 8.6
Washington Nationals 26 34 .433 9
New York Mets 26 34 .433 9
AL Central
Minnesota Twins 36 24 .600
Chicago White Sox 35 25 .583 1
Cleveland Indians 35 25 .583 1
Bellingham Cascades 29 31 .475 7.5
Kansas City Royals 26 34 .433 10
Detroit Tigers 23 35 .397 12
Pittsburgh Alleghenys 22 38 .363 14.2
NL Central
Chicago Cubs 34 26 .567
St. Louis Cardinals 30 28 .517 3
Cincinnati Reds 31 29 .517 3
Milwaukee Brewers 29 31 .483 5
Cottage Cheese 27 33 .458 6.5
Pittsburgh Pirates 19 41 .317 15
AL West
Oakland A’s 36 24 .600
Kaline Drive 31 29 .517 5
Haviland Dragons 31 29 .509 5.4
Houston Astros 29 31 .483 7
Seattle Mariners 27 33 .450 9
Los Angeles Angels 26 34 .433 10
Texas Rangers 22 38 .367 14
NL West
Los Angeles Dodgers 43 17 .717
San Diego Padres 37 23 .617 6
Peshastin Pears 31 29 .515 12.1
San Francisco Giants 29 31 .483 14
Colorado Rockies 26 34 .433 17
Arizona Diamondbacks 25 35 .417 18
Portland Rosebuds 18 42 .306 24.7



  • Thanks, Ron. That’s nice tribute for a win in a shortened season. Who knows if it would have lasted an entire 162 games, but we don’t have to worry about that since there were only 60. It won’t be long, I’m sure, before I am sending out emails with trade requests, but for now we’ll enjoy the view from the top.

  • I should just let this go, but someone in my coaching staff needs to be held accountable:

    Kyle Schwarber in September: .130, .272, .234 in 92 PA. Sub-replacement.
    Daniel Vogelbach in September: .328, .418, .569 in 67 PA. Edgar Martinez, with more power.

    Lewis Brinson in September: .242, .266, .402 in 64 PA. His best month in OD?
    Jurickson Profar in September: .351, .389, .500 in 79 PA. His best month ever?

    I wonder what these two moves cost me: releasing Vogey and benching Profar.