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Fantasy Baseball 2011: Carlos Pena, Elvis Andrus and More Start/Sit Advice

Historically, baseball is not a sport one would call “friendly” to first-year athletes. The most talented of prospects commonly struggle in “the Show” during their initial go-around.

Yet 2010 proved this sentiment was not a statute, as a multitude of newcomers snagged the spotlight across the league. Buster Posey and Neftali Feliz served integral roles on their respective teams’ run to the World Series. Jason Heyward earned an All-Star nod for his first-half performance. Jaime Garcia was fourth in the NL with a 2.70 ERA and Starlin Castro batted .300 in 125 games for the Cubs.

But an assessment over the last decade illustrates that last season was an irregularity, as many greenhorns fail to sustain success in their rookie campaigns. Despite this evidence, an affinity for adolescent ballplayers remains a universal affection among fantasy users. There are several arguments to explain: a prospect hails from one’s alma mater or plays for the hometown team; a raised profile of an athlete thanks to an ungodly amount of attention while in the amateur ranks or unrealistic expectations of a draftee to fill the void of a departed player.

Or the explanation for this attraction could be as elementary as this: anyone can win with David Price; it takes a certain amount of cojones to pull it off with Jeremy Hellickson.

Whatever the reason, don’t fall head over heels for Major League neophytes. Baseball tends to promote an excessive amount of hyperbole regarding a prospect’s projection, much of which fails to come to fulfillment.

Remember when Matt Wieters was forecasted to be Johnny BenchMike Piazza and Joe Mauer all rolled into one? He’s just 24, but the early returns on the Baltimore catcher have been middling. How about Alex Gordon? The 2006 Minor League Player of the Year has yet to make waves in the majors. I feel like this is the fourth straight year Ricky Nolasco and his 4.43 career ERA are predicted to take over the NL.

It’s a pleasant surprise if Freddie Freeman or Michael Pineda submit superb starting seasons; just make sure not to include any rookies in your fantasy foundation. They might provide great theater on the field, but potential and growing pains do not equate to recognition in rotisserie.


Start ‘Em

C: A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox. A common concern with the catcher position is platooning. Despite his age (34), Pierzynski will be behind the plate the majority of the time for Chicago in 2011. While not necessarily a power hitter, Pierzynski will hit for average (career .284 AVG) and will be the beneficiary of some extra RBI and runs thanks to a loaded lineup. An upcoming series against Kansas City should prove opportunistic for the White Sox catcher.

1B: Carlos Pena, Cubs. A move to the Senior Circuit won’t revive the Chicago first baseman’s putrid batting average (.224 over his last three seasons). However, an anemic NL Central pitching corps coupled with Wrigley Field should translate to solid slugging numbers for Pena, who averaged 36 dingers and 102 RBI in his four-year stint in Tampa. Pena also possesses a higher than expected on-base percentage (career .351 OBP) for someone who was under the Mendozza Line in 2010. Although he’s dealing with a jammed-thumb, an upcoming slate against Arizona, Milwaukee and Houston should provide a platform for Pena to jump-start his 2011 season.

Howie KendrickKendrick’s long-awaited breakout will come in 2011.

2B: Howie Kendrick, Angels. Highly touted for his hitting in the minors, Kendrick has yet to submit an awe-inspiring year in Anaheim. But after completing his first full season in the majors, 2011 may be the year Kendrick’s forecasted fame comes to fruition. The second baseman is off to a smoking start, collecting seven hits, including three home runs, in the Angels’ four-game series against Kansas City. With only 10 bombs in 158 games last season, this power surge is not expected to continue; however, batting in the two spot should garner Kendrick owners a fair amount of runs.

SS: Elvis Andrus, Rangers. Just 22-years-old, Andrus is one of baseball’s rising stars, proving his merit in the 2010 playoffs hitting .294 with eight runs and eight stolen bases in 16 games. While his power is nonexistent (a meager six jacks in 1,225 plate appearances), batting second in arguably the best lineup in baseball should correlate to multiple run and RBI opportunities for Andrus.

3B: Placido Polanco, Phillies. Health is a major concern for the Philadelphia third baseman, who underwent elbow surgery during the offseason. Yet Polanco has yet to show any signs of stress, hitting .417 to start the season. While he’ll get the occasional game off to preserve his condition, Polanco is one of the most consistent hitters at his position and should take advantage of a downtrodden New York pitching staff this week.

OF: Coco Crisp, A’s. Those in need of stolen bases should look no further than Crisp, who swiped 32 bags in 2010 in just 75 games. Finally healthy after a few injured-plagued seasons, Crisp could be an unexpected source for average and run support.

SP: James Shields, Rays. After an atrocious 2010 campaign, Shields is ready to prove last year was an aberration after surrendering just two runs while striking out seven in 7.1 innings of work in his season debut. Although the Rays’ lack of offense could diminish Shields’ win total, the right-hander will be a consistent factor in facilitating strikeouts and relatively low WHIP and ERA figures. (Although as much as I like a bounce-back year from Shields, I refuse to refer to the Tampa Bay pitcher as, “Big Game James.” A 2-3 record with a 3.68 ERA and 1.36 WHIP doesn’t earn you the same handle as NBA Hall of Famer James Worthy.)

RP: Joel Hanrahan, Pirates. Granted, starting Pittsburgh’s closer might not sound appealing, but Hanrahan has already collected three saves in the early going with five strikeouts and a 0.90 WHIP. Hanrahan is forecasted to be the fireman for the rest of the Pirates season, meaning those still searching for relief should inquire on Hanrahan’s availability.


Sit ’em:

C: Ryan HaniganRamon Hernandez, Reds. The two combined for three bombs, seven ribbies and a .750 average in Cincinnati’s sweep of Milwaukee. Both had stellar seasons at the plate (Hanigan: .300 AVG/.405 OBP/40 RBI, Hernandez: .297 AVG/.364 OBP/48 RBI) in 2010, but unless owning both backstops, neither is a viable fantasy option due to lack of individual at-bats.

1B: Justin Morneau, Twins. The former MVP is showing no residual effects from a concussion that kept the first basemen on the sidelines for the second half of 2010. Yet Morneau, who sported a stat line of .345 AVG/ .437 OBP/ .618 SLG in 2010 prior to his injury, might be better served on your fantasy bench until the Twins first baseman proves he’s become acclimated to playing on a regular basis.

2B: Kelly Johnson, Diamondbacks. The second baseman found new life in the desert, having a career season with 26 home runs, 71 RBI and 93 runs. Yet Johnson struck out 148 times in 2010, an absurd number for a hitter in the two spot, and already has two K’s through three games in 2011. To his credit, Johnson has historically demonstrated an ability to get on base (career .269 hitter with an OBP of .352), but his next highest home run total was 16 long balls in 2007. Johnson may duplicate the power numbers from last season, but remain skeptical until the Diamondback verifies 2010 wasn’t an anomaly.

SS: Jose Reyes, Mets. This isn’t so much a condemnation on sitting Reyes; rather, this is a reminder to temper expectations on the shortstop’s stat lines. Those pining for Reyes to return to his 110 R/60 SB/70 RBI prime are delusional. However, Reyes can still hit for average (.282 in 563 at-bats in 2010) and will still contribute 25-30 stolen bases, making him a good, although not great, fantasy start.

3B: Michael Young, Rangers. Texas is still deciphering ways to shoehorn Young into the everyday lineup, as offseason acquirement Adrian Beltre is slated to start at third. Young illustrated in 2010 that he still has adequate power, blasting 22 shots into the outfield seats, but his average dropped nearly 40 points and had a career high in strikeouts. Monitor Young’s situation carefully, as rotating spots could have a mental effect on Young’s performance at the plate.

OF: Adam Jones, Orioles. He’s only 25, but Jones had a stagnant 2010 after giving glimpses of greatness in 2009. He boosted his average from .277 to .284 but saw a dip in his OBP, falling from .335 to .325. Jones did display some extra power in spring training, but don’t expect a titanic leap for Jones in 2011.

SP: Max Scherzer, Tigers. Scherzer got lit-up in spring training like Ricky Vaughn in Major League II, finishing with a 10.38 ERA. His first start of the season did not alleviate Detroit’s concern, allowing six runs off of four homers in five innings. Scherzer finished 2010 with a respectable 3.50 ERA and 1.25 WHIP, but keep the Tiger hurler on the bench until he strings together a few quality starts.

RP: Jonathan Broxton, Dodgers. “The Big Ox” has struggled out of the gate, yielding two round-trippers in three appearances. The homers did not cost Los Angeles the games, and Broxton appears to have the backing of manager Don Mattingly. But with Broxton’s 2010 woes still in the minds of many a Dodger fan, rest assured Big #51 has a short leash.

Group Hug

Ben FranciscoFrancisco is off to a sizzling start.


Waiver Wire Watch: Ben Francisco, Phillies. The departure of Jayson Werth and injury to prospect Domonic Brown has opened the door in right field for Francisco. The former UCLA Bruin took advantage of his new starting role by batting .462 with four RBI in Philly’s opening series against Houston. Owned in just 19 percent of fantasy leagues, Francisco should benefit from batting sixth in the Philly lineup, presenting numerous chances to accumulate ribbies.


Rookie Review: Zach Britton, Orioles. In his first major league start, Britton kept the Tampa Bay batters at bay, allowing just a run while striking out six over six innings as the Orioles defeated the Rays 5-1. In 20 innings of spring training work, Britton held a 1.35 ERA with 13 strikeouts. Named a top ten prospect by Baseball America in 2010, Britton is expected to compete for a rotation spot when fellow young gun Brian Matusz returns from injury.


Trade Talk: The worst thing a fantasy manager can do at this juncture of the season is make a panic trade. Allow for three or four weeks of play before instigating a move. If one was trying to actively pursue a swap, parlay a fast start by a rookie or a closer into getting more bang for your buck. However, make sure to keep your corps draft picks intact.


Big League Chew Player of the Week: Nelson Cruz, Rangers. His four home runs in four games have the Rangers out to a 4-0 start and almost make you forget Cruz batted .200 in the World Series with five strikeouts. Almost.


Spit Your Tobacco At: Albert Pujols, Cardinals. Not a good start for someone who’s trying to command a $300 million contract. Pujols is hit-less in three of St. Louis’ four games and is rocking a measly .176 OBP, correlating to the Cardinals’ 1-3 record.

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WhatIfSports World Series Preview: Texas Rangers Win First Title

Using our MLB simulation engine we “played” the Texas Rangers versus San Francisco Giants 2010 World Series Best-of-Seven series 1001 times.

In the table below you will find each teams’ chances of advancing to the World Series and how often they win in 4, 5, 6 or 7 games. As you can see, the most likely scenario is the Rangers beating the Giants in six games 19-percent of the time.

2010 World Series – 1001 Series Simulations
Matchup Win% 4-Games% 5-Games% 6-Games% 7-Games%
Texas 61 9 18 19 16
San Francisco 39 4 8 13 14

Below the Rangers and Giants’ team previews are game-by-game summaries and related box scores of our simulation’s predicted results.

San Francisco Giants Preview – Ryan Fowler

No matter the sport, rooting for the little guy is amplified come playoff time. Cody Ross

It’s why the Cinderella stories during March Madness are so compelling and why, in more cases than not, unbiased fans pull for David over Goliath when it comes time to chose sides.

Rudy Ruetigger does not become a Hollywood classic if said defensive end stands 6-foot-6-inches and tips the scales at 260 pounds.

As if writing their own script this October, it’s ironic that, of all teams, the San Francisco Giants would play the role of the little guy in the 2010 World Series. Not to mention, one of the smallest guys on the team, Cody Ross (5-10, 194 lbs), would earn NLCS MVP honors against Philadelphia.

Philadelphia pitchers cringed when Ross, who we featured in our NLCS preview piece, would step to the plate. The right fielder, who hit .286 with a homer and three ribbies in the NLDS, straight up mashed his way to the MVP. He batted .350, cranked three homers (two in Game 1 vs Halladay) and drove in five runs. He slugged .950 versus the Phillies “Big 3,” oh, and Joe Blanton. Ross is to the Giants fan base what Thomas the Tank Engine is to toddlers.

Brian Wilson

In this year of the pitcher, we must turn our attention to the Giants rotation, a nucleus of precision with an occasional dash of friction. (see: Sanchez Game 6 vs PHI). San Francisco’s 1-2-3-4 punch of Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez and closer Brian Wilson all owned ERAs lower than 3.44 in the regular season. The Giants team ERA of 3.36 was the lowest in Major League Baseball since 2003 (Dodgers, 3.16). This remarkable stat includes Barry Zito‘s underachieving—when compared to his teammates—season at 9-14 and an ERA of 4.15. That stat line must be one of the reasons why Bruce Bochey removed Zito from the post-season roster and added Madison Bumgarner. All Bummy did, at 21-years-old, was become the youngest player in franchise history to record a playoff win.

No question, the Giants will rely heavily on their starting rotation to get them deep into games as they try to avoid crooked numbers from appearing on the scoreboard. Let’s face it, although Cody Ross is trying to match Reggie Jackson at-bat for at-bat, to think it can continue at the same rate is a bit naive. San Fran’s batting average was 15th in the big leagues during the regular season at .257 and it’s no surprise it’s dropped in the post-season to .231. However, the Rangers, and their .276 regular season team batting average, have somehow managed to ratchet up the offense this October, hitting .281 in the post-season with 17 home runs.

The Giants have hit six long balls in these playoffs. Four have come off the bat of the little guy Cody Ross.

Not bad for a guy five-foot-nothin, a hundred-and-nothin.

Texas Rangers Preview – Joel Beall

Cliff Lee

The battle cry of, “Nobody believed in us!” has become belittled in our sporting society, undoubtedly because every championship team states this mantra at some juncture in their title run. While most accept this motto as truth, the reality is many championship teams are projected for glory before the onset of the season. However, this sentiment can not be said for the Rangers, as few genuinely suspected Texas would find themselves four games away from the franchise’s first World Series title (well, except for the WhatIfSports MLB simulation engine, which correctly predicted the Rangers in six.)

And with good reason. The Rangers finished 43-42 the last three months of the season despite acquiring the services of starting pitcher Cliff Lee. Josh Hamilton, the team’s offensive catalyst, had succumbed to injuries in September, leading many to speculate on the slugger’s status for the postseason. Power hitter Vlad Guerrero appeared to tire during the second half of the season, as his average, home run, and RBI totals dipped considerably after June. Even Lee, the most coveted ace in the American League, had lost his aura of invincibility as the Texan posted a pedestrian 4.68 ERA in August and September. So one could understand why many pundits of America’s pastime predicted the Rays over the Rangers in the American League Divisional Series.

Josh Hamilton

A three-games-to-two series triumph over Tampa should have quieted the critics, yet the Rangers performance was anything but convincing. Cliff Lee had regained his lights-out form, going 16 innings surrendering just two runs, and Nelson Cruz and Ian Kinsler belted three bombs for Texas. But the Rangers had blown a 2-0 series lead at home. Hamilton had not looked sharp at the plate, and the bullpen had been battered in back-to-back games. Surely this Texas team would meet its demise against the $207 million, 95-win Yankees.

Unfortunately, no one delivered this message to the Rangers clubhouse, as Texas took care of business in six games to send the franchise to its first World Series appearance in its 50-year existence. Hamilton awoke from his ALDS slumber, as the slugger hit .350 with four homers on his way to garnering series MVP honors. Lee continued his postseason pitching brilliance in Game 3, throwing eight innings of two-hit ball. Yet the real hero of the Rangers starting staff was Colby Lewis, who earned the W in Game 2 and pitched a masterpiece in the series-clinching Game 6. For the ALCS, Lewis yielded three runs in 13.2 innings of work, with 13 strikeouts to just nine hits.

Has Texas finally turned the Doubting Thomases into Arlington apostles? Not quite, as the San Fran starting rotation of Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Madison Bumgarner is fearsome enough to make the most ardent believer question their faith. But with Lee, Hamilton, Kinsler, Cruz and company, the Rangers have a fighting chance against the Giants.

And that’s something every Texas fan can believe in.

Game 1 World Series
Teams R H E WIS Interactive
Rangers 6 11 1 Simulate Game
Giants 5 7 0 Boxscore
WP: Alexi Ogando LP: Brian Wilson SV: Neftali Feliz
Player of the Game: Josh Hamilton – 4-5, 3 RBIs

When asked what he thought about heading to the World Series, Giants closer Brian Wilson said “it sounds epic” after clinching the NL pennant.

World Series Top BA
Player BA in World Series (Avg.)
Hamilton .344
Cruz .311
Guerrero .304


The Rangers Big 3 torch San Fran pitching

His first appearance in a World Series was anything but.

Although not a save situation and the game tied, Wilson came on in the 9th to try and give his team a shot in the bottom half of the inning.

After he got Michael Young to fly out to left, Josh Hamilton, also appearing in his first World Series, stepped to the plate.

And Hamilton’s success story continued to add more chapters on this night. The Rangers big bopper slammed a solo homer to right field to give Texas the lead for good.

Neftali Feliz closed the game for the Rangers in the 9th and just like that Texas broke serve in this best of seven series and won 6-5.

Freddy Sanchez, Buster Posey and Juan Uribe all homered for the Giants in the loss.

Game 2 World Series
Teams R H E WIS Interactive
Rangers 0 4 0 Simulate Game
Giants 5 8 0 Boxscore
WP: Matt Cain LP: C.J. Wilson
Player of the Game: Matt Cain – CG, 4 H, 0 R and 8 Ks

Matt Cain

Through the first two rounds of the 2010 MLB playoffs, Matt Cain has yet to surrender an earned run.

He kept this streak intact in Game 2 with a complete game, four hit shutout where Giants’ fans saw him whiff eight Rangers hitters.

The story wasn’t so sweet for C.J. Wilson who got punished in 6 2/3 innings of work. He allowed five earned runs on eight hits and walked four.

San Francisco put this game away in the 7th inning with three runs on four hits.

The World Series, tied at a game apiece, heads to Texas for three straight.

Game 3 World Series
Teams R H E WIS Interactive
Giants 4 10 1 Boxscore
Rangers 11 11 0 Simulate Game
WP: Colby Lewis LP: Jonathan Sanchez
Player of the Game: Vlad Guerrero – 3-5, 3 RBIs, 2 R

It may be the year of the pitcher, but the two starters in Game 3 took most of the night off.

World Series Top ERAs
Player ERA in World Series (Avg.)
C.J. Wilson 3.91
Lee 4.28
Cain 4.31


ERAs are predicted to soar in World Series

Texas erupted for eleven runs on eleven hits and abused San Francisco starter Jonathan Sanchez for seven earned runs before he departed after four innings of work.

Michael Young, Vlad Guerrero and Josh Hamilton all took the Giants pitching staff deep in the game.

Colby Lewis was far from spectacular, but with the offense on full tilt, he didn’t have to be to win his third straight start.

Texas wins 11-4 to take a 2-1 series lead.

Game 4 World Series
Teams R H E WIS Interactive
Giants 3 7 0 Boxscore
Rangers 2 9 1 Simulate Game
WP: Madison Bumgarner LP: Tommy Hunter SV: Brian Wilson
Player of the Game: Juan Uribe – 3-Run HR

Juan Uribe

Sometimes all it takes is one hit to change the complexion of a MLB playoff game.

Juan Uribe, for the second time, provided that hit for his team.

With two on in the 7th inning, the nominated designated hitter for American League home games took Tommy Hunter deep and just like that the Giants led 3-1.

Mitch Moreland would provide a brief rally in the bottom half of the inning with a solo shot of his own, but the comeback ended there.

Brian Wilson bounced back to save Game 4 after his Game 1 let-down.

The ping-pong match between these two continues with a Giants 3-2 win in Game 4.

Game 5 World Series
Teams R H E WIS Interactive
Giants 0 3 0 Boxscore
Rangers 4 9 0 Simulate Game
WP: Cliff Lee LP: Tim Lincecum
Player of the Game: Cliff Lee – CG, 3 H, 0 R and 8 Ks

Two pitchers. Two complete games. One winner. That was the Texas Rangers.

World Series Boppers
Player HRs in World Series (Avg.)
Burrell 1.3
Hamilton 1.2
Cruz 1.2


A Giant, not a Ranger, has best chance at HR

Tim Lincecum and Cliff Lee provided the entertainment for nine innings, while three Rangers home runs proved to be enough offense on this night.

Lincecum got touched up by Ian Kinsler, Michael Young and Nelson Cruz in three consecutive innings to hand Texas a 4-nothing lead.

Lee only allowed the three Giants to reach base all night. The three-hit, no walk-out shutout was exactly what the Rangers were hoping for when they traded for him this past summer.

Now Lee and the Rangers are one win away from a World Series title.

Game 6 World Series
Teams R H E WIS Interactive
Rangers 9 17 1 Simulate Game
Giants 5 9 0 Boxscore
WP: C.J. Wilson LP: Matt Cain SV: Neftali Feliz
Player of the Game: Elvis Andrus – 4-5, 2 RBIs

Elvis Andrus

Aubrey Huff had a chance to be the hero, but ended up the zero.

The Giants slugger had a chance to tie the game with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th, but struck out swinging.

Pop some ginger ale Texas, your Rangers just won the 2010 World Series.

The very foundation of what brought the San Francisco Giants to the World Series let them down in Game 6.

The Rangers pounded out 17 hits against Cain, Romo and Lopez to clinch their first World Series in franchise history. The hit parade forced nine runs to cross the plate for Texas. Elvis Andrus was named Player of the Game with his 4-5 performance in the lead off spot with two ribbies and a run scored.

The Giants rallied to within one run in the bottom of the 7th inning with a five-run outburst to close the gap, but the Rangers answered with two more runs in the 8th and one in the 9th for insurance.

The 2010 World Series belongs to the Texas Rangers.

Create your own World Series Dream Team from

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2010 NLCS Preview and Prediction: Phillies Win NLCS in Six-Game Stunner

We all know, and will be reminded again throughout the NLCS, about the greatness of Roy Halladay and the precision of Roy Oswalt.

Experts and baseball analysts will pound it into your head how prominent the Phillies 1-2-3 punch is on the mound. My two-year-old nephew knows they are good.

The dynamic duo acquired in highly publicized trades before and during the season have allowed Ruben Amaro Jr. to enjoy his Monet moment. He, after all, helped create these October masterpieces.

As for San Francisco’s late-season transaction, their guy was an afterthought. He was page-two news on a front page bursting with big names and blockbuster deals that transpired during baseball’s 2010 season.

This wasn’t Cliff Lee to Seattle or Texas. Brian Cashman doesn’t bother with guys making under $5 million. A team wouldn’t sacrifice a prospect to gain his services in return. He’s not going to throw a no-hitter this October nor steal Derek Jeter‘s postseason moniker anytime soon.

Maybe you know his name, maybe you don’t.

Cody Ross was placed on waivers by the Florida Marlins in late August. A couple days later he was claimed by the Giants whose reported intention was to blockade divisional foe San Diego from adding him rather than bolster their own lineup. San Fran, at the time, really didn’t have a place for him in the outfield.

Ross was simply a pawn in the playoff chase chess game out West.


Story continues below

NLCS 1001 Simulations of Best-of-Seven Series
Matchup Win% 4-Games% 5-Games% 6-Games% 7-Games%
San Francisco 33 2 8 10 13
Philadelphia 66 12 17 21 16

Using our MLB simulation engine we “played” the NLCS Best-of-seven series 1,001 times.

In the table above you will find each team’s chances of advancing to the World Series and how often they win in four, five, six or seven games. As you can see, the most likely scenario is the Phillies beating the Giants in six games 21 percent of the time.

You can view the box scores and summaries of Philadelphia’s six-game series win below.


This is nothing new for the well-traveled fifth-year veteran who has traded his Dodgers blues for Cincinnati red and Florida fish all in the same season.

But where it started, is where I started, back in 2003 with the Toledo Mud Hens. Cody played while I interned. Ross was a major part of the Tigers’ Triple-A offense that season.

He banged out 135 hits, 20 home runs, 61 ribbies and hit .287 for Toledo earning him a September call-up where he played in six games for the Tigs.

The Mud Hens fanbase truly embraced Cody in ’03. He even reached the pinnacle of having the franchise create and promote his bobblehead.

That’s respect.

“Cody Ross quickly became a fan favorite during his time in Toledo,” public relations director and Mud Hens broadcaster Jason Griffin said. “It was evident very early that he was destined to be a quality major leaguer. It is fun to watch him do well in the playoffs.”

We fast-forward seven years, past the trades for players to be named and get over the Giants’ chess match with the Padres and focus on what Ross has meant to this San Fran team five games into the postseason.

Batting eighth in Game 1 of the NLDS, he reached base twice and collected one of only five Giants hits. It proved to be a big one because his single to left drove in the only run of the game.

Then in Game 4, when Derek Lowe once again looked unhittable, Ross provided the offensive punch his team needed. Trailing 1-0 in the sixth, the guy hitting before the pitcher smacked a solo shot to left to tie the game at 1-1.

Ross wasn’t done.

An inning later, after the Giants rallied to tie the game at 3-3, Ross delivered again with a single scoring the go-ahead and eventual game-winning run.

Talk about your pawn stars.

It should be noted the Marlins were interested in keeping Ross, but the front office was engrossed in promoting outfielder Cameron Maybin to get him some playing time when the rosters expanded.

So, in a way, Ross has Maybin to thank for his opportunity this October.

And, in a weird twist, Ross and Maybin both have the Tigers to thank for drafting them.

It’s transactional irony worthy of the front page.


Below is a game-by-game summary and related box score of our simulation’s predicted results.

Game 1 NLCS
Teams R H E WIS Interactive
Giants 5 13 1 Box Score
Phillies 3 10 0 Simulate Game
WP: Tim Lincecum LP: Roy Halladay
Player of the Game: Tim Lincecum: 8 IP, 10 H, 3 ER, 7 K
NLCS Boppers
Player HRs in NLCS (Avg.)
Burrell 1.3
Howard 1.1
Werth 1.0


Tim Lincecum has been known to do it with his arm, but with his stick?

In 246 career at-bats, “The Freak” has never hit a home run for the Giants. That was until he went deep in Game 1’s simulation of the NLCS. The chances of a Lincecum long-ball are so rare I won’t waste your time with all the zeroes following the decimal.

To make the feat even greater, the Giants’ No. 1 starter hit the homer in the top of the eighth inning to give his team a 5-3 lead. Some good wood to match his lights-out effort on the mound, allowing three ERs in eight innings.

Roy Halladay lasted seven innings allowing four earn runs on 11 hits. It was a far cry from his dominant performance against the Reds in the NLDS.

The Giants break serve and take Game 1 of the NLCS winning 5-3.


Game 2 NLCS
Teams R H E WIS Interactive
Giants 3 6 0 Box Score
Phillies 2 7 0 Simulate Game
WP: Matt Cain LP: Cole Hamels
Player of the Game: Matt Cain: 9 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 9 K


We knew the pitching matchups in this series would be worth the price of admission.

Okay, maybe not. But we were hip to the fact that hitters would play second fiddle to the hurlers.

Matt Cain would go the distance, while Cole Hamels’ five walks would come back to haunt him in Game 2.

Juan Uribe‘s ground-rule double in the sixth tacked on an insurance run the Giants would need in the ninth.

Cain, cruising to that point, allowed Ryan Howard to take him deep. The solo shot cut the San Fran lead to one, but MC finished what he started and got pinch-hitter Mike Sweeney to fly out and end it.

The Giants take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series as both teams head to the West Coast.

Game 3 NLCS
Teams R H E WIS Interactive
Phillies 5 12 0 Simulate Game
Giants 1 4 0 Box Score
WP: Roy Oswalt LP: Jonathan Sanchez
Player of the Game: Roy Oswalt: 8 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 12 K
Player BA in NLCS (Avg.)
Polanco .299
Ruiz .298
Werth .295


The Phillies found themselves in one of those must-win situations.

Roy Oswalt answered the call. Boy, I’m sure Charlie Manuel is stoked (as stoked as Manuel can get) that Ruben Amaro Jr. pulled the trigger with the Astros to bring the stud pitcher to Philly.

Oswalt went eight strong, striking out 12, while only allowing one Giants runner to cross home.

San Francisco’s Jonathan Sanchez got roughed up in Game 3 serving up five earned runs in his eight innings on the hill.

Chase Utley was the main dude at the plate for the Phillies going 3-5 with two RBI.

Philadelphia has life in the NLCS winning Game 3, 5-1.


Game 4 NLCS
Teams R H E WIS Interactive
Phillies 6 11 0 Simulate Game
Giants 0 6 1 Box Score
WP: Roy Halladay LP: Madison Bumgarner
Player of the Game: Roy Halladay: 8 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 10 K


The Giants elected to start the rookie in Game 4 against Roy Halladay. Now, they may be regretting it.

Bumgarner couldn’t get out of the fifth inning before he allowed six runs on nine hits.

That’s all Roy Halladay would need to bounce back from a rough outing in Game 1. Though he did allow five hits, the Phillies ace did not give up a run in his eight innings of work.

Jose Contreras came on in the ninth to seal up the 6-0 victory.

Jimmy Rollins provided the offense with his 2-4, three RBI and HR effort at the dish.

The Phillies break back to even the series at two all heading into Game 5.


Game 5 NLCS
Teams R H E WIS Interactive
Phillies 7 15 0 Simulate Game
Giants 2 10 0 Box Score
WP: Cole Hamels LP: Tim Lincecum
Player of the Game: Cole Hamels: 8 IP, 9 H, 2 ER, 5 K
Player ERA in NLCS (Avg.)
Oswalt 2.80
Halladay 3.41
Lincecum 4.20


Except for a turbulent bottom of the third, Cole Hamels was a San Francisco treat to watch.

The Phillies took a commanding 3-2 series lead behind the southpaw’s eight innings of work. Although he did allow nine hits on the evening, Hamels controlled the bleeding by holding the Giants to two runs.

Tim Lincecum and the Giants fell behind 4-0 in the first and could never recover. Sergio Romo allowed three more runs in relief to hand the away team a 7-2 win.

The Phillies now return to Philly up 3-2 and in prime position to close out the NLCS in front of a home crowd.


Game 6 NLCS
Teams R H E WIS Interactive
Giants 3 6 0 Box Score
Phillies 4 8 1 Simulate Game
WP: Brad Lidge LP: Brian Wilson
Player of the Game: Placido Polanco: GW RBI in bottom of ninth


The guy with the best batting average in the series picked the right time to collect his first hit of the night.

Placido Polanco’s bottom-of-the-ninth single to right off Giants closer Brian Wilson sent Carlos Ruiz home as the Phillies win the NLCS in dramatic fashion.

The Phillies head to the World Series with a 4-3 win over the Giants.

Moments prior to Polanco’s game-winner, Giants manager Bruce Bochy was ejected from the game for arguing a ball four call to Shane Victorino. The walk sent Ruiz to third.

The Giants did own a 3-2 lead in the eighth, but Jimmy Rollins connected off of reliever Ramon Ramirez sending a single to right and knocking in Chase Utley to tie the game.

Brad Lidge, seeing his first action of the series, struck out the side in the top of the ninth before the drama unfolded in the ninth.

The 2010 Philadelphia Phillies are headed to the World Series with a 4-2 series win over the San Francisco Giants.

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ALCS Preview: Texas Rangers Rally To Beat New York Yankees in Six Games

One has 27 World Series titles under its belt. The other has one postseason series victory in its 50 years of existence, which coincidentally came on Tuesday night.

One has Monument Park, honoring legends baring the names of Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, and Mantle. The other has a Hall of Fame/hospitality room featuring “greats” like Rusty Greer, Tom Grieve, and Ruben Sierra.

And, like all things in life, there’s the issue of fiscal inventory. One’s payroll for their starting infield trumps the other’s entire roster. One stadium was built for $191 million; the other sprang for $1.5 billion. One pays Alex Rodriguez‘s salary. The other still owes Alex Rodriguez’s salary.

The New York Yankees and Texas Rangers appear to be on the opposite ends of the baseball spectrum regardless of the matter at hand. So it’s apropos that these two franchises find themselves at odds again, with the American League Championship Series serving as the venue for their dispute.

Despite these differences, the teams do share some similarities. Both powered their way into the postseason with parallel equations: explosive offensive assaults backed by prosaic pitching. New York led the American League in runs, RBI, and OBP, and came in second in OPS and third in the home run department.

By comparison, Texas ranks in the top five in runs, hits, home runs, RBI, OBP, and OPS. And as previously mentioned, each roster’s arsenal of arms were satisfactory, as the Rangers posted a team ERA of 3.93 compared to the Yankee’s figure of 4.06. Additionally, each team boasts an MVP candidate: second baseman Robinson Cano hit .319 with 29 bombs, 109 RBI, and 103 runs for the Yanks, while center fielder Josh Hamilton led the AL in average (.359), slugging (.633), and OPS (1.044).

Yet the contrasting culture between the clubs is conspicuous. The Yankees will be vying for their 41st World Series voyage; this will be the Rangers inaugural ALCS appearance. The Yankees provoke an array of emotions from fans; outside of Dallas and opposing AL West cities, most baseball admirers are apathetic towards Texas.

So who wins the battle between these polar opponents? The WhatIfSports baseball engine simulated the series 1,001 times to crown the 2010 American League champion. The results indicated the series will go six games, with the Texas Rangers coming out on top 63.7 percent of the time.


NLCS 1001 Simulations of Best of 7 Series
Matchup Win% 4-Games% 5-Games% 6-Games% 7-Games%
New York 36 2 9 13 12
Texas 64 12 15 21 18

Below is a game-by-game summary and related box score of our simulation’s predicted results.

Although the Yanks are defending world champions and the prohibitive favorite to win the pennant, the series begins in Arlington on Friday night, as Texas won the AL West while New York had to settle for the Wild Card. New York, thanks to a sweep of Minnesota in the Divisional Series, has the luxury of sending ace and 21-game winner CC Sabathia to the mound for Game 1.

Sabathia, one of the game’s preeminent pitchers the last three seasons, has been relatively pedestrian in the playoffs, with a career mark of 6-4 in 11 games with a 4.41 ERA and 1.49 WHIP. Historically, the 2007 Cy Young winner hasn’t fared much better in Texas, where Sabathia has a 4.71 ERA and 1.60 WHIP in 36.1 innings.

Game 1 ALCS
Teams R H E WIS Interactive
Yankees 10 12 0 Boxscore
Rangers 0 7 0 Simulate Game
WP: CC Sabathia LP: C.J. Wilson
Player of the Game: Marcus Thames – 2-5, 2 HRs
ALCS Boppers
Player HRs in ALCS (Avg.)
Hamilton 1.3
Cruz 1.2
Rodriguez 1.1

Conversely, while the Rangers employ the services of Cliff Lee (who in seven career postseason starts is 6-0 with a 1.44 ERA and 0.78 WHIP), Texas turns to 29-year-old C.J. Wilson to take the mound, as Lee is unavailable until Game 3. Wilson is coming off a stellar performance in Game 2 of the ALDS, going 6.1 shutout innings and striking out seven in the process.

However, a knock on Wilson has been his control, as he led the AL in walks with 93. This is problematic, as New York is notorious for their plate discipline. Sure enough, the free passes come to haunt Wilson in our simulation of Game 1.

After walking two and plunking Mark Teixeira, A-Rod hits a bases-clearing double in the fifth on the way to a 10-0 Yankee route. Wilson surrendered 4 runs in 4.2 innings of work, and Darren O’Day is touched up for five runs in relief. Sabathia exercises his playoff demons by throwing eight innings of shutout baseball, and Marcus Thames ignited the offense with two home runs.

Game 2 ALCS
Teams R H E WIS Interactive
Yankees 5 9 0 Boxscore
Rangers 4 7 0 Simulate Game
WP: Kerry Wood LP: Neftali Feliz SV: Mariano Rivera
Player of the Game: Jorge Posada – GW RBI

The Rangers suddenly find themselves in a 2-0 hole after falling to New York 5-4 in extra innings. The star in Game 2 was Jorge Posada, who drew a walk to bring in the go-ahead run off closer Neftali Feliz in the 10th. Other offensive notables for the Yanks were Robinson Cano, who belted a solo shot in the sixth, and Rodriguez, who drove in his fourth run of the series.

Andy Pettitte, no stranger to the posteason, had a so-so outing, giving up four runs in seven innings. Kerry Wood excelled in relief, pitching two innings without surrendering a baserunner to get the W, and the great Mariano Rivera closed the door in the 10th for the save.

For the Rangers, Colby Lewis had similar issues as Pettitte, allowing four runs in 5.2 innings. Josh Hamilton paced the Texas offense with a two-run bomb in the third.

Game 3 ALCS
Teams R H E WIS Interactive
Rangers 8 9 0 Simulate Game
Yankees 1 7 1 Boxscore
WP: Cliff Lee LP: Phil Hughes
Player of the Game: Vlad Guerrero – 3-5, 4 RBIs
Player BA in ALCS (Avg.)
Hamilton .330
Cruz .316
Guerrero .307

After scoring just four runs in hitter friendly Arlington, the Rangers come back with a vengeance in Game 3, scoring two in the fifth and four in the 6th to take down the Yanks 8-1. Vladimir Guerrero led the power surge with four ribbies, and Michael Young crossed the plate three times for the Rangers.

Cliff Lee adds to his postseason portfolio with an eight-inning, one-run gem that featured seven strikeouts and just two walks. Phil Hughes had a rough outing as Texas teed off for seven runs in six innings off the New York pitcher.

Game 4 ALCS
Teams R H E WIS Interactive
Rangers 8 16 0 Simulate Game
Yankees 5 10 0 Boxscore
WP: Tommy Hunter LP: A.J. Burnett
Player of the Game: Josh Hamilton – 4-5, 2 RBI

Heading into October, a chief concern for Yankee fans was the condition of A.J. Burnett, who posted a 6.14 ERA in September. Burnett did not alleviate any apprehension, as the hurler yielded five runs on 11 hits in an 8-5 Rangers victory.

Hamilton added two more RBI to bring his total to six for the series, and Young and David Murphy added solo homers for Texas.

Although it wasn’t pretty, Tommy Hunter went 6.2 innings, giving up four runs to get the W, and Feliz atoned for his blown save by getting Teixeira to line-out in the ninth.

Game 5 ALCS
Teams R H E WIS Interactive
Rangers 4 6 0 Simulate Game
Yankees 1 5 1 Boxscore
WP: C.J. Wilson LP: CC Sabathia SV: Darren O’Day
Player of the Game: C.J. Wilson – 7IP, 1 ER, 9 Ks
Player ERA in ALCS (Avg.)
Lee 4.06
Wilson 4.12
Lewis 4.45

In a rematch of Game 1 starters, Wilson comes out on top by confining New York to one run in seven innings, as a 4-1 Rangers win puts Texas one game away from popping the bubbly (ginger ale). Vlad hit his first jack of the series (giving him six RBI in five games) and rookie Mitch Moreland added a two-run shot to account for the Texas output.

Sabathia went eight innings for the Yanks, but the Bronx Bombers could not muster any offensive fireworks save for a Derek Jeter solo bomb in the fifth. The 2-3-4 hitters have been absymal for New York, as Swisher is .235, Teixeira comes in at .222, and Rodriguez cabooses it batting .111.

Game 6 ALCS
Teams R H E WIS Interactive
Yankees 4 7 0 Boxscore
Rangers 9 16 2 Simulate Game
WP: Colby Lewis LP: Andy Pettitte
Player of the Game: Colby Lewis – 6 2/3, 2 ER, 7 Ks

After 50 years filled with ineptitude and failure, the Texas Rangers are headed to the World Series after thrashing New York 9-4 in Arlington.

The Rangers knocked Pettitte for four runs in the third and never looked backed. Hamilton and Guerrero each knocked in two runs, bringing both of their RBI accumulation to eight as they share MVP honors.

Lewis made it through 6.2 innings with just two runs, and Feliz capped off the coronation with his second save of the series. Pettitte never adjusted after the third, and exited with six runs on 11 hits in six innings.

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A Youth Movement in Major League Baseball

Months before Stephen Strasburg‘s name (and elbow) was mentioned in the same sentence as Tommy John, the hype surrounding him and the anticipation of his arrival into Major League Baseball rivaled fans consumption of Fernandomania in the 1980s.

Strasburg set the bar so high for the 2010 rookie class that most casual fans missed out on a handful of first-year talent making their mark prior to K-Burg’s grand entrance in June.

In the National League, you had the amazing start for Cincinnati Reds pitcher Mike Leake, Atlanta’s Jason Heyward made the All-Star team and Buster Posey helped lead the Giants to the playoffs. In the American League, Detroit’s Austin Jackson made possibly the catch of the year and the Rangers’ Neftali Feliz was lights out in the closer’s role.

Thanks to’s MLB Dream Teams feature we were able to create a 2010 All-Rookies team, based on the statistical output and notoriety of the players, to face a collection of Rookies of the Year. We drafted ROY award winners over the past 15 years to construct a full roster.


2010 Rookies Roster
Player Position Stats
1 Austin Jackson CF .293 avg, 103 R, 10 3B, 27 SB
2 Jason Heyward RF .272 avg, .393 OBP, 18 HR, 72 RBI
3 Buster Posey C .305 avg, .505 SLG 18 HR, 67 RBI
4 Gaby Sanchez 1B .273 avg, 19 HR, 85 RBI, 37 2B
5 Pedro Alvarez 3B .256 avg, 16 HR, 64 RBI, 119 K
6 Brennan Boesch LF .256 avg, 14 HR, 67 RBI
7 Neil Walker 2B .296 avg, 12 HR, 66 RBI
8 Ian Desmond SS .269 avg, 10 HR, 65 RBI, 17 SB
Starting Pitcher Position Stats
9 Stephen Strasburg SP 5-3, 2.91 ERA, 92 K
1B Ike Davis, 3B Danny Valencia, OF Mike Stanton, SS Alcides Escobar, OF Tyler Colvin
Wade Davis, Jaime Garcia, Daniel Hudson, Jonny Venters, Hisinori Takahashi, Neftali Feliz, Madison Bumgarner, Mike Leake, John Axford, Drew Storen, Alfredo Simon

Past Rookies of the Year Roster
Player Position Stats
1 Ichiro Suzuki LF .350 avg, 56 SB, 127 R
2 Carlos Beltran CF .293 avg, 22 HR, 108 RBI
3 Ryan Howard 1B .288 avg, 26 HR, 63 RBI
4 Albert Pujols RF .329 avg, 37 HR, 130 RBI
5 Ryan Braun 3B .324 avg, 34 HR, 97 RBI
6 Geovanny Soto C .285 avg, 23 HR, 86 RBI
7 Hanley Ramirez SS .292 avg, 51 SB, 119 R
8 Dustin Pedroia 2B .317 avg, 39 2B, 86 R
Starting Pitcher Position Stats
9 Hideo Nomo SP 13-6, 2.54 ERA, 236 K
LF Jason Bay, SS Angel Berroa, LF Chris Coghlan, SS Rafael Furcal, LF Ben Grieve, 3B Evan Longoria
Kerry Wood, Dontrelle Willis, Justin Verlander, Jason Jennings, Andrew Bailey, Scott Williamson, Gregg Olson, Huston Street, Todd Worrell, Kazuhiro Sasaki


Using our MLB simulation engine, we welcome the spirit of the playoffs and created a best-of-seven series to determine which team would win, the 2010 All-Rookies or past Rookies of the Year.


Game 1: Rookie Game
Teams R H E WIS Interactive
2010 All-Rookies 1 7 1 Box Score
Rookies of the Year 6 10 0 Simulate Game
WP: Hideo Nomo; LP: Stephen Strasburg
Player of the Game: Hideo Nomo: 8 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 15 K


Stephen Strasburg had no issues with the Pittsburgh Pirates in his major league debut. He quickly learned in Game 1, this series wasn’t going to be a walk in the park.

The kid with a rocket for an arm only lasted 2.2 innings giving up three runs before they pulled the plug on him. Hanley Ramirez hit a two-run bomb in the second inning to push the Rookies of the Year up early. Baltimore’s Alfredo Simon would inherit one of Strasburg’s runners and allowed him to score to put the Rookies in a 3-0 hole.

Strasburg had a 1.35 K/IP in 2010, the highest in majors for rookie pitchers. Hideo Nomo was not impressed. The former Dodger ROY handcuffed the All-Rookies, going eight innings, allowing one run on six hits and struck out 15.

Ichiro and Dustin Pedroia each had an RBI in the fourth inning and an Albert Pujols RBI single in the seventh added insurance the ROY would not need.

The All-Rookies’ lone run came in the seventh inning off the bat of Neil Walker, who hit 12 dingers for the Pirates in 2010, a solo shot on this night.


Game 2: Rookie Game
Teams R H E WIS Interactive
2010 All-Rookies 3 7 0 Box Score
Rookies of the Year 5 11 0 Simulate Game
WP: Andrew Bailey; LP: Wade Davis; SV: Kazuhro Sasaki
Player of the Game: Hanley Ramirez: 3-4, HR, 2 RBI

It didn’t take long for the scoreboard to light up in Game 2 as current teammates squared off in the first.

Detroit’s Brennan Boesch cracked a two-out, two-run single to give the All-Rookies an early lead against current Tiger Justin Verlander.

Verlander lasted only five innings.

The ROY would cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the first when Albert Pujols followed up Ryan Howard’s triple with a double, driving in the Phillies’ franchise player.

With the ROY trailing 3-1 in the third, Howard would lead the offensive charge again. A solo dinger in the inning would cut the All-Rookies’ lead to one and then a fielder’s choice in the fifth would tie the game up at 3-3.

Hanley Ramirez continued to swing a hot bat and gave the ROY the lead for good with his second home run in as many games.

AL Rookie of the Year from 2009, Andrew Bailey, pitched a hitless 2.1 innings and got the win. Former Mariners closer, Kaz Sasaki got the save.


Game 3: Rookie Game
Teams R H E WIS Interactive
Rookies of the Year 5 11 0 Box Score
2010 All-Rookies 9 14 2 Simulate Game
WP: Jaime Garcia; LP: Jason Jennings
Player of the Game: Buster Posey: 3-4, HR, 3B, 3 RBI


Down 2-0 in the series, the Rookies made some lineup changes to help wake up their offense. Alcides Escobar replaced Ian Desmond at SS and batted eighth. Brennan Boesch was bumped up to fifth in the lineup, and Danny Valencia started at 3B replacing Pedro Alvarez.

These changes paid off as the 2010 All-Rookies got their first win of the series, breaking out for nine runs on 14 hits. The Rookies also received a much-needed solid seven innings on the mound from Cardinals pitcher Jaime Garcia.

The Rookies found their power in this game hitting three homeruns—Buster Posey, Brennan Boesch and Neil Walker (his second of the series) all went deep.

Posey’s HR came in the first inning and was part of a 3-4, three RBI performance for the Giants catcher. Austin Jackson added three hits for the Rookies.

Former ROY, Jason Jennings, got rocked allowing six ERs on seven hits in 2.1 IP.

This was a much-needed win for the 2010 All-Rooks who now trail 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.


Game 4: Rookie Game
Teams R H E WIS Interactive
Rookies of the Year 3 9 3 Box Score
2010 All-Rookies 4 6 1 Simulate Game
WP: John Axford; LP: Kazuhiro Sasaki
Player of the Game: Austin Jackson: Game-winning walk-off two-RBI single


Mike Leake faced Kerry Wood in this pivotal Game 4. The connection between these two is they both debuted with Dusty Baker as their manager. Baker has had to answer a lot of questions about pitch counts throughout his career and perhaps hurt Wood’s arm due to overuse in Chicago. He was very cautious with Mike Leake in 2010 keeping his innings and pitches under strict watch.

Leake would not get any help in the second thanks to an Alcides Escobar throwing error allowing the ROY to take the early lead.

The Rookies would come back in the third when Jason Heyward crushed a Kerry Wood fastball to center field allowing Austin Jackson and Alcides Escobar to score giving the 2010 All-Rookies a 2-1 lead.

That lead quickly vanished with a solo homerun by the ROY’s Ryan Braun who made up for his two errors in this game.

Later, in the sixth inning, with Ryan Braun on second base, Kerry Wood helped out his own cause with a single to left allowing Braun to score to give them a 3-2 lead.

Leake ended up throwing 90 pitches through 5.1 in this game only allowing two earned runs.

The game would remain 3-2 until the ninth inning. Kaz Sasaki came in for the save. Boesch and Valencia went down swinging for two quick outs as the Rookies of the Year seemed poised to take a 3-1 series lead. However, Sasaki would walk Neil Walker and Escobar followed up with a bloop single that advanced the tying run to third base. Pedro Alvarez came in to pinch hit for the pitcher and drew a walk.

Huston Street would come in to replace Sasaki with two outs and the bases loaded.

It was Austin Jackson’s turn to play hero as he hit a line-drive single into center. Walker scored easily from third. Escobar was waved around from second, Ichiro’s throw was not in time and the 2010 All-Rookies walk off to victory and even the series at 2-2.


Game 5: Rookie Game
Teams R H E WIS Interactive
Rookies of the Year 10 12 1 Box Score
2010 All-Rookies 7 14 1 Simulate Game
WP: Todd Worrell; LP:Alfredo Simon; SV: Kazuhiro Sasaki (2)
Player of the Game: Albert Pujols: 2-3, HR, 4 RBI


After losing two straight, the Rookies of the Year bounced back in a big way scoring 10 runs on 12 hits. Madison Bumgarner started for the 2010 Rookies and was rocked as was Hisinori Takahashi, who took over in the fifth. The two combined for five IP, nine hits and seven runs (six ERs). Not a great performance in a crucial Game 5.

On the other side, the Rookies of the Year’s pitching staff performed just as poorly. Dontrelle Willis started, but could not get out of the fifth inning either. Their bullpen struggled as well. Tim Worrell gave up a three-run bomb to the Marlins’ Gaby Sanchez in the eighth inning. All three runs were charged to reliever Andrew Bailey. Gaby’s homer tied the game at seven.

Orioles closer Alfredo Simon came on in the ninth for the All-Rooks and served up a three-run dinger to the Brewers’ Ryan Braun to hand the ROY a 10-7 lead.

Kaz Sasaki then entered redeeming himself with a lock-down ninth to pick up his second save of the series.

Buster Posey had his second three-hit game of the series going 3-6 with three RBI. In fact, the top four hitters for the 2010 All-Rookies (Jackson, Heyward, Posey and Sanchez) combined to go 10-19 with seven RBI, all of which comes in a losing effort.

The Rookies of the Year lead the series 3-2 heading into Game 6.

Game 6: Rookie Game
Teams R H E WIS Interactive
2010 All-Rookies 2 8 0 Box Score
Rookies of the Year 6 12 1 Simulate Game
WP: Hideo Nomo (2-0); LP: Daniel Hudson (0-2)
Player of the Game: Hideo Nomo: 7 IP, 4 H, ER, 12 K


When it mattered the most, Hideo Nomo delivered for the Rookies of the Year.

The ROY received another phenomenal pitching performance from for the Dodgers ace. Nomo struck out 15 in Game 1 and followed that up with 12 Ks in Game 6.

Stephen Strasburg was a late scratch due to a shoulder injury. Arizona’s Daniel Hudson struggled in the spot-start situation. He allowed three runs in three innings of work.

Ryan Howard and Albert Pujols each hit a home run to help out the ROY’s offensive cause.

Nomo’s stuff was too much for the 2010 Rookies to handle. He was Player of the Game for Game 1 and Game 6 and also earns MVP of the series.

The Rookies of the Year win the best-of-seven series 4-2.

Hard to believe all this was accomplished with a talent like Evan Longoria spittin’ seeds on the bench.

Make sure you give this matchup a whirl—just click any of the Simulate Game links located inside the box scores.

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Bobby Cox and the Atlanta Braves: Celebrating a Great Manager’s Career presents Bobby Cox and the Braves. From a World Series title to holding the record for most ejections, Atlanta Braves skipper Bobby Cox has blessed Braves nation with memories to last a lifetime. To celebrate his impending retirement, we have created this 16-team tournament of Bobby’s best Braves ballclubs.

Each best-of-seven series was played out using our “MLB Simulation Engine.” Final win/loss tallies for each series are provided in the main bracket. Below the main bracket is a summary of Bobby and the Braves championship series.

You can simulate any game in the tournament yourself by clicking on the underlined team name in the main bracket. In addition, you can create your own “Atlanta Braves Dream Team” by drafting past and present players. It’s all free!

Bobby Cox‘s career as a major league third basemen lasted two seasons with the New York Yankees. His 29 seasons as manager of the Atlanta Braves will last the test of time.

Much like you and I wake to see the sun in the sky, Braves nation expects to see Bobby in the dugout. His bench is a throne to which he sits and remains humble until an umpire ignites a fire in his belly. His players, sandlot samurais, are happy to do the dirty work on the field. Eric Hinske recently told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that Cox is like a mob boss. People fetch him things whether it be a chair, coffee, or water.

That’s respect.

In turn, and Fox Sports South have partnered up to honor Bobby Cox in his final season with the Atlanta Braves. We have created Bobby and the Braves: A 16-team Tournament featuring some of Cox’s best rosters.

As you can see in the bracket above, we’ve whittled the field down to two. The 1997 Braves versus the 1993 Braves in the championship series is no big surprise. The two ball clubs combined for 205 wins. In both seasons though, neither captured the National League pennant.

The ’93 Braves featured a starting rotation that caused many owners to drool. Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, and Steve Avery won 75 games for the Braves that season. The pitching staff as a whole possessed the lowest ERA in the majors at 3.14. Atlanta also had a little pop to their bat leading the NL in home runs that season with 169 led by David Justice‘s 40 dingers.

Fast forward four seasons to 1997. Gone was Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium as the Braves moved across the street to Turner Field. But constants remained within the organization. Maddux, Smoltz, Glavine, and Denny Neagle anchored the rotation and once again the Braves led the majors in ERA at 3.18.

The other constant was Bobby Cox. The skipper was 52 and 56 years old, respectively, when he led these two teams to 100+ wins and deep into the postseason.

As you may have guessed, this series took seven games to crown a champion. But in the end it came down to, of all things, pitching. So, cliche.


Game 1 Summary

Greg Maddux threw a complete game two-hitter for the 1993 Braves and drove in two runs on a RBI double en route to a rout 9-0. Ron Gant and Jeff Blauser chipped in two ribbies apiece. The 1993 Braves led the series 1-0.

Game 2 Summary

This time it was Tom Glavine for the 1997 Braves handcuffing hitters. The southpaw threw seven scoreless innings while his Atlanta teammates built him a five-run cushion. Michael Tucker provided the offense, beating up John Smoltz and driving in four runs on the night. The 1997 Braves win 5-1.


Game 3 Summary

OK, 1997 Glavine good, but 1993 Glavine bad. Tommy Boy didn’t make it out of the fifth inning of Game 3, allowing six earned runs on eight hits in 4.1 innings pitched. Andruw Jones led the way on offense for the ’97 Braves (4 RBIs) and Denny Neagle did some work on the mound, only giving up three hits in his seven innings of work. The 1997 Braves take a 2-1 series lead, winning 9-1.


Game 4 Summary

It’s a good thing the Braves traded for Kenny Lofton before the 1997 season because they really benefited from his services in Game 4. The speedy leadoff hitter smacked four base hits and drove in two runs. Greg Maddux 1997 matched his Game 1 counterpart by locking down the 1993 Braves for seven innings. He struck out six, walked none, and scattered six hits. Ron Gant crushed his second homer of the series for the 1993 Braves, but in a losing effort. The ’97 Braves need one more win to win the best-of-seven series, winning 6-2. 


Game 5 Summary

In a must-win Game 5, the 1993 Braves dealt with an early deficit, but rallied to send the game into extra innings tied at five. In the top of the 12th, Rafael Belliard smoked a double to the gap in right. Ron Gant scored, but Sid Bream was gunned down at the plate. Clinging to a one-run lead in the bottom half of the 12th, the 1997 Braves moved the tying run into scoring position. Mark Lemke had a chance to be the hero, but ended up a zero. He flew out to end the ball game. The 1993 Braves force a Game 6, winning 6-5 in 12 innings.


Game 6 Summary

If the 1993 Atlanta Braves truly wanted to win the Bobby and the Braves tournament, they had a funny way of proving it. In their second win or go home elimination game, the ’93 Braves fell behind 4-0 though five innings. But they did not panic and rallied back in the top of the seventh, behind a three-run burst, all with two outs in the inning.

Once again these two ball clubs would need extra innings to decide a winner. Tied at four in the top of the 10th, and again with two outs, the 1993 Braves come up clutch. Otis Nixon hit a single back up the box and into center plating Bill Pecota.

Then with the bases loaded, Ron Gant was hit by a pitch. The 1997 Braves needed two runs in the bottom of the 10th to further the game, trailing 6-4, but their bats fell silent. The 1993 Braves were one win away from the improbable. The series was all square at three games apiece.


Game 7 Summary

>>Game 7 Boxscore

Two harmless solo home runs in the first two innings of an epic pitching duel ended up being the difference in Game 7. Jeff Blauser‘s first inning dinger barely cleared the wall and David Justice hit a long ball to center the following inning for the 1993 Braves.

Denny Neagle did all he could to keep his 1997 Braves in the ball game. Besides the two home runs, he only rendered two more hits in his seven innings of work.

Tom Glavine just happened to be in the zone on this night. He pitched 8.2 innings of scoreless baseball, making way for Mike Stanton to close the door on the game and complete an incredible comeback in the best-of-seven series.

The 1993 Braves win Game 7, 2-0.

The 1993 Atlanta Braves rally back to win the title and Bobby Cox exits baseball’s grand stage the way he should: a winner.

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The Heavy Lifting: Yankees Back on Top of MLB Power Rankings utilizes its award-winning baseball simulation engine to present the most comprehensive and unbiased ranking possible of all 30 teams in baseball each Monday during the regular season. To come up with the rankings—using only their statistical performance to date this season—each team is simulated against every other team 100 times (50 at home and 50 away) so that all five pitchers in the current rotation start ten times at each location.

(Note: If a pitcher who was in the rotation was recently put on the DL, he will not be included in the simulations.)

Teams Ranked by Winning Percentage
(everyone plays everyone 100 times)

  Team Change Win Pct RS/G RA/G
1. New York Yankees +3 60.9 5.2 4.0
2. Texas Rangers 58.6 4.6 3.7
3. Minnesota Twins 57.5 4.8 3.9
4. Tampa Bay Rays +1 56.9 4.6 3.9
5. St. Louis Cardinals +3 56.8 4.4 3.7
6. Cincinnati Reds -5 56.8 5.1 4.4
7. Colorado Rockies 55.7 4.6 4.0
8. Atlanta Braves +3 55.0 4.6 4.0
9. Philadelphia Phillies -3 54.5 4.4 3.9
10. Boston Red Sox +2 54.1 4.8 4.3
  Team Change Win Pct RS/G RA/G
11. Los Angeles Dodgers +2 53.5 4.3 3.9
12. Detroit Tigers +2 52.9 4.6 4.2
13. Toronto Blue Jays -3 52.9 4.4 4.1
14. Chicago White Sox +2 51.9 4.4 4.2
15. San Francisco Giants 51.0 4.4 4.3
16. San Diego Padres -7 50.8 4.1 4.0
17. Florida Marlins +1 50.5 4.2 4.2
18. Oakland Athletics +2 48.5 3.8 3.9
19. New York Mets 48.5 4.2 4.3
20. Milwaukee Brewers +2 48.4 4.8 5.0
  Team Change Win Pct RS/G RA/G
21. Los Angeles Angels -4 47.8 4.2 4.5
22. Chicago Cubs +2 46.5 4.5 5.0
23. Kansas City Royals 46.5 4.3 4.7
24. Washington Nationals -3 44.1 4.2 4.7
25. Seattle Mariners +1 43.5 3.4 4.0
26. Arizona Diamondbacks +1 43.3 4.4 5.2
27. Cleveland Indians -2 42.8 3.8 4.6
28. Baltimore Orioles +1 40.2 3.9 5.0
29. Houston Astros -1 39.3 3.6 4.6
30. Pittsburgh Pirates 30.2 3.6 5.7

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Fantasy Baseball’s Home Stretch


With baseball’s trading deadline in the rearview mirror, it’s time for fantasy owners to move on to more pressing matters; mainly, to focus on their own league’s cut-off date for trades and transaction.

Commonly, fantasy deadlines are situated somewhere in the second or third week of August. (Although if your league bares any resemblance to mine, the REAL trade deadline has triggered an abundance of swaps in the past week.)

Keeping this in mind, here are several trade tidbits to help you out into your foray in fantasy commerce.


Don’t Deal Just To Deal

Many owners get the itch to renovate their roster. Yet the most prevailing problem in fantasy trades is that exchanges are executed strictly on the premise of the owner’s penchant for action.

I assume this same sentiment is at the core of all gambling addictions. While a trade can liven up your league, bare in mind the excitement is fleeting. The last thing you want is buyer’s remorse, so appraise and assess each proposal with care.


Shoot for the (Underperforming) Stars

If a high pick has not achieved his predicted potential by August, the consensus seems to indicate that it’s time to part ways with your selection.

I can personally echo this approach, as four months of frustration can cause you to despise the mere existence of a team member.

As an opportunistic owner, you want to cash in on this resentment. Numerous fantasy participants judge a player’s worth on their seasonal stats. In reality, you want to dive deeper and examine the month-by-month numbers of an athlete.

For example, Mark Teixeira has performed admirably this season, but his 2010 output has not validated his top-10 projection. But after discounting the Yankee first basemen’s abysmal April, we find that Teixeira is one of the best five hitters in baseball over the past three months. It’s this type of analysis that can help you get a superstar for less than 80 cents on the dollar.


Let Statistical Standings Dictate Deals

This rule alludes to the “trade just for the hell of it” theory. The goal of your dealings should be to boost your standings in a statistical department, most notably when there is a negative discrepancy between yourself and the rest of the league. If you are near the top in home runs, don’t be afraid to sacrifice some of your power to obtain a better average.



Less Is More

If you have built up substantial depth on your squad, consider turning three of your “good” assets into two all-stars. This theory tends to favor hitting, especially when your trade partner is struggling to fill a certain position. This also allows you the opportunity to take a risk on the waiver wire to complete your empty roster spot.


Monitor League Maximums

Some leagues have inning or game limits implemented to ensure a competitive balance. If this rule applies, monitor your accumulated totals. Trade away players whose positions are projected to reach this limit in favor of spots where the estimated figure is far from the ceiling.

In a related note, half of my league just came to this realization of an imposed inning/game max, correlating to a flurry of fire sales that would make the 1998 Florida Marlins proud.

And finally…


Stay Away from Yankees

Unless you actually live in New York, it’s unacceptable to side with one in pinstripes. Granted, this eliminates some of the better players in fantasy, but having a Yankee on your roster is a portal for bad karma, so avoid this transgression as much as possible.


Start ’em

Francisco Liriano , Minnesota Twins. Liriano has been lights-out his past four starts.

Since getting knocked around in Detroit on July 9th, Liriano has pitched 28.2 innings, giving up just two runs while striking out 33. On the year, the lefty is 10-7 with a 3.18 ERA, and is second in the AL in strikeouts.


Sit ’em

Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers. The Milwaukee first baseman asserted persistent trade rumors wouldn’t affect his play; his stats seem to contradict this claim. Fielder is 2-for-his-last-22 at the plate, with zero homers and no RBI.


Fantasy Flashback

1911 Joe Jackson . Unfortunately, Jackson’s current legacy is tied to the Black Sox Scandal, which led to being portrayed by Ray Liotta in Field of Dreams.

It’s debatable of which offense is worse.

Jackson’s career deserves higher praise for his contributions on the field. And in 1911, he put up one of the finest hitting displays in baseball history. “Shoeless Joe” finished with a .408 batting average to go along with a league-leading .468 OBP, 41 SBs, and 126 Rs.


Waiver Wire Watch

Drew Storen, Washington Nationals. After Matt Capps was shipped to the Twins, the Nationals announced a closer-by-committee configuration would be employed. However, for those looking to add some possible saves, Storen is the safe pickup. Through 33 innings in 2010, Storen has 28 Ks and a 2.45 ERA.


Rookie Review

Chris Johnson, Astros. Since being recalled to the Majors in June, Johnson is batting .364 with four HRs and 19 RBI. Johnson just had a 14-game hit streak snapped at the hands of the Brewers on August 1st.


This Week in Jonathon Broxton

Broxton’s been in somewhat of a rut, blowing a save against rival San Francisco on July 31st.

Personally, I think Broxton has been pedestrian on purpose, lulling his opponents into thinking he’s human. This delusional hope will only aid the Ox and the Dodgers on their home stretch for a playoff bid. Trust me, Big 51 will return to his “kickin’-ass-and-takin’-names” form within the next week.


Trade Talk

This has been alluded to in previous fantasy fever articles, but if you’re employing the services of one of the multitude of talented rookies, sell when the price is high.

Foreseeing an injury is impossible, but with his impending innings-limit on the horizon, how many Strasburg owners are smacking their foreheads at turning down multiple trade requests?


Big League Chew Player of the Week

Dexter Fowler , Colorado Rockies. Although Fowler has been raking at the plate (in his last four games, Fowler went 10-for-20 with six runs and five RBI), it’s his defense that earns him this week’s distinction.

Clinging to a slim lead in the ninth, Fowler crashed into the outfield wall in pursuit of an Alfonso Soriano fly ball, maintaining the catch and preserving Colorado’s win over the Cubs. Unfortunately, Fowler’s hustle could direct to a stint on the DL, as the centerfielder is dealing with bruised ribs after the collusion.


Spit Your Tobacco At

Alex Rodriguez , New York Yankees. It’s bad enough that baseball purists have to see another historic number become tainted. The fact that A-Rod is taking this long to accomplish said feat (homerless in the last 43 ABs) is just an extra kick in the groin.

Your “Dumb and Dumber” Quote of the Week

Lloyd: I said, “Do you love me?” and she said, “No, but that’s a really nice ski mask!”

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MLB Power Rankings For July 26th: Cincinnati Reds Still On Top utilizes its award-winning baseball simulation engine to present the most comprehensive and unbiased ranking possible of all 30 teams in baseball each Monday during the regular season.

To come up with the rankings, using only their statistical performance to date this season, each team is simulated against every other team 100 times (50 at home and 50 away) so that all five pitchers in the current rotation start ten times at each location.

(Note: If a pitcher who was in the rotation was recently put on the disabled list, he will not be included in the simulations.)


Teams Ranked by Winning Percentage
(everyone plays everyone 100 times)

  Team Change Win Pct RS/G RA/G
1. Cincinnati Reds 61.9 5.1 3.9
2. Texas Rangers +2 60.1 4.8 3.8
3. Minnesota Twins +4 60.0 4.9 3.9
4. New York Yankees -2 59.6 5.4 4.2
5. Tampa Bay Rays -2 59.6 4.8 3.9
6. Detroit Tigers +2 56.6 4.9 4.2
7. San Francisco Giants -1 55.9 4.5 3.9
8. Colorado Rockies -3 55.7 4.6 4.0
9. Atlanta Braves +4 53.6 4.7 4.3
10. St. Louis Cardinals +5 52.9 4.5 4.2
  Team Change Win Pct RS/G RA/G
11. Boston Red Sox 52.8 5.0 4.5
12. Toronto Blue Jays 52.2 4.4 4.3
13. Chicago Cubs +3 52.1 4.6 4.4
14. Los Angeles Angels +6 51.7 4.5 4.3
15. San Diego Padres +3 50.8 4.0 4.0
16. Philadelphia Phillies -6 50.7 4.6 4.5
17. Oakland Athletics +4 49.7 4.0 4.0
18. Los Angeles Dodgers -9 49.4 4.6 4.6
19. New York Mets -5 49.2 4.5 4.5
20. Chicago White Sox +4 49.2 4.2 4.3
  Team Change Win Pct RS/G RA/G
21. Milwaukee Brewers +1 48.5 5.1 5.3
22. Washington Nationals -5 48.0 4.2 4.4
23. Florida Marlins 47.5 4.2 4.5
24. Kansas City Royals -5 43.9 4.6 5.1
25. Seattle Mariners 42.2 3.4 4.2
26. Arizona Diamondbacks +1 42.1 4.6 5.4
27. Cleveland Indians -1 41.0 4.0 4.9
28. Baltimore Orioles 36.5 3.9 5.4
29. Pittsburgh Pirates 34.6 3.8 5.4
30. Houston Astros 32.2 3.5 5.5

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George Steinbrenner’s Greatest Free Agent Signings

I am dead set against free agency. It can ruin baseball. —George Steinbrenner

Yankees owner George Steinbrenner passed away at the age of 80 this week. When one thinks of “The Boss,” numerous associations come to mind. Managerial firings, suspensions from baseball, illegal campaign contributions and his Seinfeld caricature.

Yet his lasting legacy will undoubtedly be related to free-agent spending.

In his tenure looking after the Bronx Bombers, Steinbrenner disbursed over $1.8 billion on baseball’s best, committed to fielding the best roster only money could buy.

To put that figure in perspective, the nearest team’s expenditures are less than half of that monetary sum. More importantly, it’s hard to argue the results—New York won seven rings under Steinbrenner’s reign.

This got us to thinking: with the copious amounts of cash splashed on free agency, how would Steinbrenner’s free-agent armada fare against the best acquisitions from the rest of the Majors?

This process was executed with the following parameters: 1. Players had to be obtained through free-agency. This means no Derek Jeter , Marino Rivera, or Jorge Posada . 2. Players could be taken from any timeframe after signing with their team. This equates to using Barry Bonds ‘ 2001 season despite being picked up by San Fran in 1993.

If the premise of one team versus the world doesn’t appear just, that’s because it’s probably not and we encourage you to create your own MLB Dream Team Free Agent roster .

Then again, it isn’t fair A-Rod makes more than the entire Florida Marlins . Plus, every Yankee used made an All-Star appearance at some point in their respective career, so let’s not make this a David v. Goliath affair.

Free Agents Simulation
Matchup Win% Avg. RS Avg. RA
All-Time Free Agents 63 7.2 5.8
Boss’ Free Agents 37 5.8 7.2

Using our MLB Simulaton engine , we simulated The Boss’ Free Agents vs an All-Time FA roster 101 times .

Boss’ Free Agents
  Player Position
1 Alfonso Soriano SS
2 Wade Boggs 3B
3 Dave Winfield RF
4 Jason Giambi 1B
5 Reggie Jackson CF
6 Gary Sheffield DH
7 Johnny Damon LF
8 Steve Sax 2B
9 Mike Stanley C
  Starting Pitcher Position
  Catfish Hunter SP

Dave Winfield

In 1980, Steinbrenner signed Dave Winfield to a 10-year, $23 millon contract making him the highest paid player in baseball.

Reggie Jackson

Prior to the 1977 season, Steinbrenner locked down Mr. October himself, for 5 years and $3 million. The Yankees would go on to win the World Series in 1977 and 1978.

Catfish Hunter

Catfish was Major League Baseball’s first multi-million dollar player and first free agent. He inked a deal with the Yankees worth $3.25 million over 5 years.


BENCH: Robin Ventura , Hideki Matsui , Mark Teixeira , Mariano Duncan , Rick Cerone

BULLPEN: Tommy John , C.C. Sabathia , Jimmy Key , Mike Mussina , Phil Niekro , David Wells , Goose Gossage, Mike Stanton , Tom Gordon , AJ Burnett

Hardball Dynasty

All-Time Free Agents
  Player Positions
1 Ichiro Suzuki CF
2 Roberto Alomar 2B
3 Alex Rodriguez SS
4 Barry Bonds LF
5 Andre Dawson DH
6 Jim Thome 1B
7 Larry Walker RF
8 Miguel Tejada 3B
9 Carlton Fisk C
  Starting Pitcher Position
  Greg Maddux SP


In November of 2000, Ichiro started a trend by leaving Japan and joining the Seattle Mariners for the cool price of $13 million over 3 years plus the $14 million charge to negotiate with him.

Barry Bonds

Bonds left the Steel City in 1993 to join the San Francisco Giants for a record free-agent contract of $43.75 million over 6 years.

Greg Maddux

Greg Maddux was highly coveted after leaving Chicago, but elected to sign with the Atlanta Braves for $28 million over 5 seasons in 1993.


BENCH: Manny Ramirez , Vladimir Guerrero , Ivan Rodriguez , Pete Rose

BULLPEN: Nolan Ryan , Randy Johnson , Jack Morris , Bartolo Colon , Tom Glavine , Rollie Fingers , Randy Myers , Francisco Rodriguez , Billy Wagner , Keith Foulke


All-Time Free Agents vs Boss’ Free Agents
Teams R H E WIS Interactive
All-Time Free Agents 8 11 0 Boxscore
Boss’ Free Agents 5 5 0 Simulate Game

Catfish Hunter

Leave it to a guy with an oxymoron for a nickname to help add another to the list.

Although Catfish Hunter did not retrieve jumbo shrimp from the deepest oceans to create one of the tastiest appetizers known to man, he did spark the term “free agency” in the 1970s after escaping Oakland for New York.

Over the next three decades, Yankees’ owner George Steinbrenner then took a barrel of gas and doused “free agency” to the point where even the word “free” is demanding a 5-year contract worth $80 million.

With that said, George would be proud to know those he signed managed to hang with the top free agents of all-time. The Boss’ free agents won 37-percent of their games against the all-time squad consisting of future (and present) Hall of Famers.

Jim Thome

On this day, however, it was the All-Time Free Agent taking Catfish to the fryer early and often.

After a calm first inning, Jim Thome got the hit parade started by blasting a two-run homer to center. The Boss’ squad managed to cut the 2-0 deficit in half in the bottom of the 2nd thanks to a Johnny Damon double that scored Reggie Jackson.

The bottom of the third really knocked the Boss’ Free Agents on their butt. A-Rod drove in Ichiro, Andre Dawson drove in A-Rod and Thome came through again with a base knock scoring Barry Bonds (who walked 4 times during the game). After three innings, the All-Time Free Agents had jumped out to a 5-1 lead. Hunter surrendered 11 hits in six innings of work.

Meanwhile, Greg Maddux continued to mow down every free agent that stepped into the box. The Atlanta Braves’ ace brought the same stuff to the mound that made Bobby Cox grin from ear to ear for seasons in Atlanta. Maddux only allowed one run until the 9th when his pitch count eclipsed 100 pitches.

With one last chance to rally back, trailing 8-1, the Boss’ Free Agents scored four runs to make the final score respectable thanks to a RBI single off the bat of Dave Winfield and a three run bomb from Jason Giambi.

But the Boss’ Free Agents fall a little short, losing 8-5.

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