League Updates Uncategorized

Sic Semper Eletismus?

The question mark in the title conveys two doubts:  whether I’ve got my Latin wrong (highly likely), and whether I’ve read the tea leaves correctly.  

For most of May we have described our league as being divided into two tiers.  We became aware of this (were “conscientized”, as the sociologists like to put it) when the Drive first began to migrate from the grounded tier to the elite one.  We used the word “tier” to avoid (or maybe disguise) the classist implications, to steer as far away as possible from caste, and/or to stifle the development of class consciousness, etc. 

But now the old order (by “old” I mean several weeks) may be breaking up.  Are the oppressed are trying to rise up against their oppressors? 

I learned (assuming wikis are reliable) this morning that the word “elite” comes from the same Latin roots as the word “elect.” Elites, then, are elected!  But I doubt EFL elites try to justify their position by saying they got more votes than, say, the Cheese.   The Roman elites, like most down through history, liked to tell themselves they were elected by God (or the gods).  And maybe the EFL elites do, too?

The elite tier in our league might justify their positions as earned, as a reflection of merit rather than oppression.  Their case is undermined by the first place team’s cluelessness.  Read on to see what I mean.


EFL Standings for 2021
Old Detroit Wolverines 38 15 .720 316.6 197.1
Peshastin Pears 37 16 .694 1.4 248.6 165.2
Haviland Dragons 37 17 .677 2.1 256.8 178.7
Kaline Drive 36 18 .662 2.9 270.6 192.0
D.C. Balk 30 15 .676 3.8 234.0 162.3
Flint Hill Tornadoes 33 20 .630 4.8 240.8 187.2
Canberra Kangaroos 26 19 .571 8.5 244.2 214.3
Cottage Cheese 28 24 .542 9.5 288.4 275.5
Pittsburgh Alleghenys 26 25 .505 11.4 248.2 244.3
Portland Rosebuds 25 28 .476 13 260.9 273.8
Bellingham Cascades 23 28 .449 14.3 204.8 229.6
Old Detroit:  W, 13 – 4.   (51 PA, .372, . 471, .721;  no pitching)  All last season I just could not understand how my beautiful team could be so bad.  This year I still do not understand what is happening.  Evidence:
1.) I felt almost as good about my ninth-place team last year after the draft as I did this year about a team that is currently edging its way toward a big lead over very strong competition.  
2.) Last year, my team seemed to OPS about .500 on an average day,  with a good day (say, an OPS over .750) coming once a week.  This year my team keeps OPSing over .900.  This is the second time in three days it has scored 13 runs.
3.) I benched Josh Bell 100% on May 10.  He’s OPSed .891 since then. 
4.) I stuck J.P. Crawford 100% at OH because I didn’t have anyone else to play there (clearly NOT Josh Bell!). It should have been a disaster. It was a disaster for the first week. But since then Crawford has OPSed .729, including a run of 0 for 15 last night (according to the Texas Rangers announcers) when he homered in the 7th inning to help the M’s win, 3 – 2.   Not a disaster at all, except by comparison with Josh Bell.  

5.)  James McCann was my worst hitter through May 19 when I cut his playing time to 33%. Since then he’s OPSed .944.  He had Baseball Reference’s best game in MLB yesterday, going 4 for 5 with double and a homer (daily OPS: 2.800).
6.)  Austin Riley, a chronic low-grade disappointment for his entire career through the end of April, is OPSing 1.050 for the month of May, 7th highest in the league, just in front of Vladdy Jr.  
The list, already too long for an update about the league, could go on.  It does not prove anything about the Wolverines, except their volatility in comparison to established performance levels, and ownership’s cluelessness.   
Peshastin:  W, 7 – 1. (35 PA, .290. 371, .581;  15 ip, 3 er, 1.80 ERA)  The Pears kept up with the Wolverines’ blistering pace, leaping over the stumbling Dragons into second place.  Only Willie Calhoun didn’t reach base safely, conveniently for the Pears ownership as Mariners fans. Yoan Moncada led the offense, going 3 for 5 with a homer and two walks. Mitch Haniger also contributed a homer to the M’s narrow win.  
“Only” 7 runs would not cut it against another Wolverine 13-run day, so the P’s added 15 outstanding innings of pitching, led by starters Freddy Peralta (7 ip, 1 er) and Trevor Rogers (6 ip, 2 er). 
Haviland:  “W”, 6 – 8. (46 PA, .214, .283, .333;  3.3 ip, 3 er, 8.18 ERA).  Nelson Cruz drove in MLB’s 2,000,000th run with a double, Jake Cronenworth went 2 for 4 with a double and 2 walks,  and Maikel Franco went 2 for 6 with a homer to provide the offensive highlights of the day in Haviland. Among the pitchers, Jose Alvarez provided the offensive highlight: 2 earned runs in 1.3 innings pitched.   The Dragons lost an entire game’s ground to the Wolverines, and an entire rung in the standings to the Pears.
Kaline:  W, 11 – 3.  (50 PA, .391, .440, .500 — Happy Edgar Martinez Day!;  13.7 IP, 4 er, 2.63 ERA).  The Drive slightly outhit the Pears, and got slightly out-pitched by them.  Of the 12 men Kaline sent to the plate, 10 got hits, 8 got multiple hits, and Wilmer Flores and Hunter Renfroe got 3 hits. Jonathan Schoop was the highest rated Drive on Baseball Reference (tucking in between #8 Albert Pujols and #10 Francisco Lindor) for his 2 for 3 with a homer and a hbp. 
As for pitching, JT Brubaker laid a great foundation with his 6 scoreless innings. John Means stumbled a bit with his 3 er in 5 innings, but the bullpen picked him up, covering 2.7 innings with 1 earned runs allowed. These strong efforts helped the Drive essentially keep pace with the Wolverines and the Pears. 
DC: “L”, 7 – 5.   (27 PA, .333, .407, .542 — and Happy Edgar Martinez Day to you, too!;  6 ip 4 er, 6.00 ERA).  Adalberto Mondesi continued the theme of middle infielders leading team offenses by going 2 for 4 with a home run. The legendary Myles Straw accrued a single and a double in 4 plate appearances, an effort matched by Ryan M (McMahon, not Mock) over 6 plate appearances.
It was more of a struggle over in Balkan pitching territory. Ian Anderson surrendered an earned run per inning. Two relievers tacked on scoreless innings which were enough to get a real win, but not quite enough for the database’s rigid digital judge, who still saw it as a loss. 
Flint Hill:  L, 7 – 10.  (33 PA, .214, .333, .357; 12 ip, 10 er, 7.50 ERA) Yu Darvish uncharacteristically struggled (4 er in 5 ip) and Julio Urias turned in the worst start of the day according to Baseball Reference, allowing 6 earned runs in his 5 innings.   Deolis Guerra and Tanner Scott combined to add two scoreless innings, but the result was still 12 indelible replacement-level innings. 
On the offensive side, shrewd allocations helped the Tornados score almost 7 runs despite a mediocre slash line.  This is because Clint Frazier and Keston Hiura are allocated at 0% at the moment, erasing their combined 0 for 6 performance.   The rest of the Tornado lineup went .273, .385, .455, helping to limit the T’s slide in the standings to 1.2 games.  For the first time since the Drive made the crossing from the grounded tier, the 6th place team in the league is closer to the 7th place team than it is to the 1st place team.
None of this is irreversible (except those 12 innings). It may just be the convection in the elite tier is looser and and more spread-out.  Tornados should not be alarmed.  They are themselves convections, coming in a broad range of widths, from the elegant tightly-wound tendrils of doom to the mile-wide monsters of mayhem.                                                                                                  
Canberra:  “W”, 2 – 2. (34 PA, .167, .206, .233;  6.3 ip, 1 er , 1.43 ERA).  The Kangaroos had a 2020-Wolverine style day.  The Cannie offense, which should spend its days offending against opponents, mostly offended Canberra fans yesterday, mustering just two doubles and a walk apiece by the same two hitters (Mitch Garver and Alex Bregman) to go with three other singles.  Jake Odorizzi, on the other hand, had a very nice day (5.3 ip, 1 er) to produce a virtual tie on the day. 
The ‘Roos lost 0.6 games’ ground to the Wolverines, but gained 0.6 games on the Tornadoes, and are now closer to 4th place than they are to 11th place.  The whole rationale for considering the EFL  a two-tiered league is teetering on the verge of collapse.  Which is what the law of averages would have told us, with its insufferably-justified smugness, had we ever bothered to listen.
Cottage: W, 0 – (-8).   (43 PA, .132, .233, .132;  21.3 whopping innings, 4 measly earned runs, 1.69 devastating ERA.)   The Cheese are playing with us (and, delightfully, with the aforementioned law of averages).  They capture our attention with their tragically weak offense — even Shohei Ohtani only went 2 for 5 with a single stolen base.  But then they try to sneak past us a day with 4 starting pitchers, three of whom pitch nothing but shutout innings.  Even Mitch Keller (5 ip, 0 er) was great this time!  And they win as one can only in the EFL:  by erasing a stunning 8 runs allowed.  
Thus the Cheese, of all the teams in the EFL, gained the most on the Wolverines: 0.3 games.  They also gained 0.9 games on the Kangaroos.  They are also now closer to the Tornados than they are to the Cascades (albeit barely, by 0.1 games).  Further insult to the tidy two-tier system. 
Pittsburgh: W 2, L 0; 8 – 1. (33 IP, .226, .273, .355;  16 ip, 1 er, 0.56 ERA).  The Alleghenys also tried the weak-offense-staggeringly-good-pitching approach, although the effects were muted because the A’s didn’t have a huge backlog of replacement innings to erase.  They compensated by hitting roughly twice as well as the Cheese.  The marvelous Max Muncy, sporting the third-best month-of-May OPS in all of baseball (1.180), carried his team again with a homer and a double in 4 plate appearances — all the extra bases the A’s could muster. 
Frankie Montas struggled, allowing 4 runs in 5.7 innings pitched – but timed them shrewdly to ensure they would all be unearned runs.  Logan Webb also timed one of his two runs allowed to be unearned.  But Nathan Eovaldi did things the upright way: pure shutout for 5.3 innings.  
The Alleghenys were the only team besides the Cheese to gain on the Wolverines (0.1 games).  They also leapt back above the .500 mark.  
Portland:  L, 6 – 8. (40 PA, .219, .325, .438;  20.7 ip, 11 er, 4.78 ERA).   Here’s another team with a massive amount of pitching  — four starters in a single day! — giving it the opportunity to make a big step back toward competitiveness.  Unfortunately for the world’s Rosebud fans, only two of those four starters pitched well. Spencer Turnbull allowed 1 earned run in 5.7 ip, and Mike Foltynewicz gave up 2 in 7 innings.  But John Gray coughed up three earned runs in 3 innings and Matt Harvey spewed 5 earned runs, also in 3 innings, to stamp a disappointing 4.78 ERA on the day’s 20.7 innings. 
Meanwhile, Tyler O’Neill blasted a homer and two doubles (#2 performance on the day, per BR) to lead the Rosebud offense to a good but not great batting line, a fair match for the pitching, and a modest loss.  The Portlies dropped a full game further behind first place in the standings. 
Bellingham:  W 1, L 1; 6 – 6. (38 ip, .242, .286, .333;  11.3 ip, 2 er, 1.59 ERA)  Playing a doubleheader doubled the Cascade’s ability to make a move in the standings — but also doubled the risk of sinking deeper into the cellar.  The Cascades ended up staying right where they started — .449 winning percentage — while the rest of the league boiled.  
Justin Dunn was the most  valuable Cascade pitcher, covering 5.7 ip with 1 earned run allowed, while the other three pitchers ably backed him by combining for another 5.7 innings, also with only 1 earned run.  Tim Anderson earned the team’s most-valuable-hitter accolades by going 2 for 6 with a double, a walk and a stolen base.  Lane Thomas went 1 for 1 with a double, which is also pretty good, but then got himself thrown out at third base like a nincompoop (the classic TOOTBLAN) trying to steal. 
The Cascades lost ground to the Wolverines, but gained 0.2 games on the Rosebuds. 
Combined MLB + EFL Standings for 2021
AL East
Old Detroit Wolverines 38 15 .720
Flint Hill Tornadoes 33 20 .630 4.8
Tampa Bay Rays 33 20 .623 5.2
Boston Red Sox 32 20 .615 5.7
New York Yankees 29 23 .558 8.7
Toronto Blue Jays 26 24 .520 10.7
Baltimore Orioles 17 35 .327 20.7
NL East
D.C. Balk 30 15 .676
Canberra Kangaroos 26 19 .571 4.7
New York Mets 25 20 .556 5.4
Philadelphia Phillies 25 27 .481 8.9
Atlanta Braves 24 26 .480 8.9
Miami Marlins 24 28 .462 9.9
Washington Nationals 21 27 .438 10.9
AL Central
Chicago White Sox 31 20 .608
Cleveland Indians 27 22 .551 3
Pittsburgh Alleghenys 26 25 .505 5.3
Kansas City Royals 24 26 .480 6.5
Bellingham Cascades 23 28 .449 8.1
Minnesota Twins 21 30 .412 10
Detroit Tigers 21 31 .404 10.5
NL Central
St. Louis Cardinals 30 22 .577
Chicago Cubs 29 22 .569 0.5
Cottage Cheese 28 24 .542 1.8
Milwaukee Brewers 27 25 .519 3
Cincinnati Reds 22 28 .440 7
Pittsburgh Pirates 20 31 .392 9.5
AL West
Haviland Dragons 37 17 .677
Kaline Drive 36 18 .662 0.8
Oakland A’s 31 23 .574 5.5
Houston Astros 27 24 .529 8
Seattle Mariners 26 27 .491 10
Los Angeles Angels 23 29 .442 12.5
Texas Rangers 22 32 .407 14.5
NL West
Peshastin Pears 37 16 .694
San Diego Padres 34 19 .642 2.8
San Francisco Giants 32 20 .615 4.3
Los Angeles Dodgers 31 21 .596 5.3
Portland Rosebuds 25 28 .476 11.5
Colorado Rockies 19 34 .358 17.8
Arizona Diamondbacks 18 35 .340 18.8