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Old 11-26-2019, 11:52 AM   #761
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Thanks again, Paalaemon.

Thinking about this after posting that last long Lon post I realized that part of what I was doing was just making this real to me, letting it soak in. There is a part of me that still is in denial and doesn't want to accept that this is real, that Lon is really gone.

It's funny, I can't quite recall now whether Lon was ever in the Peace Corps, though I'm thinking that was probably the case. I do know that his first taste of world travel came as a member of the youth group, Up with People. This was very rewarding for him in many ways but also a source of quite a bit of embarrassment for him. (His faith journey was certainly a large part of his personal story and for the last several years he strongly identified as a Buddhist.)
And for most of his life, living overseas, he was teaching at various international schools, largely teaching Americans and other English-speaking expats, often the children of diplomats and military staff members. He primarily taught English Literature and my sense was that he tried to help encourage these young people, many likely future leaders, to develop an expansive and empathetic world view.
I believe he was in the Peace Corps for a stint post-undergrad (where we met), and I do have a sense that this was one of his great connections with another mutual friend (and former girlfriend of mine) who served in the Peace Corps in Botswana (breaking up with me through the very slow international mail system, though we remain friends to this day).

Anyway, thanks for your kind words as always and thanks for letting me talk about my friend Lon a bit more.
But now I shall return to our regularly scheduled programming. (One last thing about Lon first. He was not one of my baseball buddies. I don't think he had any interest in the sport whatsoever. Though he was a very good basketball player when I first met him. But he was kind enough that knowing how much I was into OOTP, the last time we spent time together he even asked me a few questions about the hobby, in spite of his complete lack of actual interest.)

It is a snow day here in Denver (IRL) and in the WPK the Denver Brewers are currently playing very well and we have now reached the day of the annual amateur draft. So I'm sitting here drinking tea, watching the snow fall and blow around, and getting ready to conduct the draft.

WPK and Brewers reporting to follow shortly, including draft coverage.
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Old 11-26-2019, 12:51 PM   #762
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Snow days, tea, and OOTP - sounds like a good day to me!
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Old 11-26-2019, 01:59 PM   #763
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1975 WPK Amateur Draft, Round 1 highlights

The 1975 WPK draft is ongoing (just entering round 3) so let's take a look at how round 1 went.

First, let's take a look at the first 5 picks.

The expansion Houston Cavaliers had the honor of having the first overall pick in this their first amateur draft.
And the sense is that they chose wisely when they took 21-year old third baseman Steve Whitehead out of Dallas College. The collegiate third sacker profiles as a well above-average hitter who is a solid defender with a very strong arm. And while he doesn't look like a future leader of the team, he is considered very smart and a hard worker and is not a bad guy for an expansion club to start building a future around. In what looks like a rather weak draft, Whitehead was pretty clearly the best choice at 1-1.
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The other expansion club, the Chicago Fire, was up next and went with a starting pitcher Jack Hettinger out of Stetson University. Again, a pretty solid choice for an expansion organization. There are some questions about Hettinger's personality, which might end up being a bit abrasive, but he has good overall tools with a 4-pitch repertoire that should include a plus fastball along with above average slider and forkball offerings and a change-up that may never develop into a useful pitch. He's a groundball pitcher with good stamina and as a left-hander is great at holding runners at first.
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San Francisco was up next and also chose a collegiate starting pitcher, Jon Harrington out of Aurora College. Harrington doesn't look like a future star but with his 4-pitch repertoire, already advanced movement and decent potential stuff and control, and his propensity to get hitters to pound the ball into the ground, he is a pretty safe pick for a team trying to climb out of the cellar in the MGL.
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The run on starting pitchers continued as Milwaukee picked 6' 6" Curtis Robey out of Dallas Baptist. In spite of his size, Robey is not a power pitcher, topping out in the low 90's but he has a 6-pitch mix that should enhance his potential to have a WPK future, even if none of them are considered elite offerings. He profiles as a durable arm and has good makeup and while his ceiling is likely that of a mid-to-back-end of the rotation guy his floor is thought to be high enough that he is unlikely to fail to make some WPK contribution eventually.
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The fifth pick of the draft went to the Detroit Falcons and they chose starting pitcher Matt Pulver out of Rice University. Pulver has advanced movement that should develop to near elite status. His stuff should be just a bit above average though and he likely will struggle with control issues. His best pitch is a sinker that has potential to be very, very good and he should get a lot of groundball outs. But while his 4-pitch selection includes a splitter that should be pretty good his curveball needs a lot of work and his change-up may never become a useful offering. There are many in the WPK who think the Falcons reached a bit in taking Pulver this high, and not least due to serious questions about his makeup. Some speculate that Pulver will eventually prove to be clubhouse poison.
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Of the 22 players chosen in the first round (not counting supplemental 1st), 10 were starting pitchers, 3 center fielders, 2 each are relief pitchers, third basemen, right fielders, 1 catcher, 1 shortstop, and 1 second baseman was chosen, and no first basemen or left fielders were selected.
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Old 11-26-2019, 02:25 PM   #764
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Brewers top picks in 1975 Draft

Coming off their great 1974 campaign, the Brewers didn't have a pick in this draft until the very end of the first round, the 22nd pick overall.

And they took 18-year old Justin Horner out of Rider University. Horner is fairly undeveloped at this point but profiles as a very good hitter with potential to be among the best power hitters in the league. His outfield defense is decent but as a slow 6'1" slugger he might eventually find himself being moved to first base where he should be more than adequate. Horner is known for his great intelligence and this could help him make the best of his good, but not spectacular, skills.
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The Brewers second round pick is very similar to their first round choice as they went with 21-year old right fielder Billy Ferguson out of Dallas College. Ferguson is a slightly more advanced version of Horner with poorer defense and even less foot speed. Ferguson could end up a great hitter searching for a defensive position. Even slightly taller than Horner, the 6'2" Ferguson almost surely will need to switch to first base, or at least left field, in order for his bat to keep him in a lineup. But the Brewer scouting staff sees him as profiling as an elite bat so he will be given every chance to develop.
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In other second round news, the feeling among WPK insiders is that the Houston Cavaliers are off to a very good start in their first amateur draft as they chose Houston native Morgan Esker with their second round pick. Esker is a starting pitcher out of El Paso College but the feeling is that he will eventually settle into the Houston bullpen. He has two pitches that are already quite advanced- a fastball and sinker combination- and exhibits very good control for a young pitcher. While his stuff and movement only project as being a bit above average, the side-arming groundballer should be a solid middle reliever and should develop rather quickly through the Cavalier farm system. Granted, the Brewers scouting staff is less high on him than the OSA, but even if his ceiling is rather limited, the home-town kid could be helping solidify the Houston bullpen rather soon. This might not have been a great choice for a more established club, but for an expansion club needing some more quality arms sooner rather than later, this seems like a pretty smart pick.
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Old 11-26-2019, 03:46 PM   #765
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Denver Brewers, 1975 Draft, Rounds 3-5.

With their 3rd round pick the Brewers chose their first pitcher, collegiate (Old Dominion) starter Christian Marston. Marston profiles as a durable pitcher with a 4-pitch repertoire, his best potential offering being a curveball that is expected to be well above average eventually, while his current most developed pitches are his cutter and slider. He's not a hard thrower but does have good well rounded skills, great intelligence, and good stamina. He's only 18 years old and the Brewers are hoping that his makeup and durability give him the chance to make the most of, if not exceed, his current potential.
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In the 4th round the Brewers took switch-hitting 18-year old center fielder Matt Merrill out of St. Mary's College of California. Merrill projects to be a very fine big league hitter in time. He has a strong arm in the outfield but probably lacks the raw speed or range to stick in center. He also possesses enough defensive skill in the infield for a possible switch to third base. There are some questions about his makeup but the scouting staff felt his offensive skills were strong enough for the team to take a chance on him.
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The Brewers think they might have made the steal of the draft in the 5th round when they identified that 21-year old Jim Atwell out of New York College, who most teams were looking at as a first baseman, actually profiles much better as a pitcher. As a ground ball pitcher who reaches velocities in the high 90's and even touches 100 regularly and a sinker that is already big league ready, the thought is that if he can develop his third pitch, a mediocre splitter, enough to complement his potentially very fine curveball, Atwell could reach the Brewers rotation before long. And at the least, he should prove to be a competent bullpen arm. Making him even more attractive is that he projects as highly durable. Control could be an issue and he may never develop a deep enough arsenal to reach his full potential as a starter but the belief is that his character is strong and shouldn't hold back his development. Only time will tell, but the Brewers are hopeful that they pulled off a major heist with this pick.
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Old 11-28-2019, 02:00 PM   #766
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Thanksgiving Wishes

Happy Thanksgiving Bird and all! I hope that everyone has a safe, joyous and non stressful time with family and/or friends. My wife and I are thinking of you at this time Bird and I am thankful to have met you and for being able to play a small part in the history of, and help you with the evolution of the WPK! Thank you everyone else for playing this incredible game that we partake in and for joining in on Bird's wonderful work that is the WPK.

Take care everyone and have a GREAT holiday weekend!

Palaaemon
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Old 11-28-2019, 02:43 PM   #767
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Palaaemon View Post
Happy Thanksgiving Bird and all! I hope that everyone has a safe, joyous and non stressful time with family and/or friends. My wife and I are thinking of you at this time Bird and I am thankful to have met you and for being able to play a small part in the history of, and help you with the evolution of the WPK! Thank you everyone else for playing this incredible game that we partake in and for joining in on Bird's wonderful work that is the WPK.

Take care everyone and have a GREAT holiday weekend!

Palaaemon
Your kind words are very much appreciated. I hope you and your wife (and any other loved one's you might be with today) are having a wonderful Thanksgiving.
I give thanks always for the good people in my life.
And today I am spending Thanksgiving also giving thanks for OOTP (though not so much for the Brewers bullpen) as other than drinking tea, eating a bit (though not traditional T-giving fare) and listening to music, OOTP is pretty much all I'm doing today.
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Old 11-28-2019, 02:53 PM   #768
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Brewers swap prospects with Milwaukee

On draft day, the Brewers announced a deal that was finalized to send long-time Brewer outfield prospect Roberto Perez to the Milwaukee Cadets for 24-year old first base prospect, Alfredo Elizondo.
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Neither player is a top prospect but both have some skills that make it likely that they will play at least small roles in the WPK before too long.
Perez was stuck behind far too many better outfielders in the Brewers system but is an excellent defensive outfielder who also possesses great speed and skill on the base paths.
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Elizondo, on the other hand, is a hitter without a position. He is a marginal first baseman at best but if the Brewer scouting staff is correct, already has the kind of advanced hitting skills that could make him a valuable bat off the bench in the WPK right now. With the Brewers likely in the midst of a tight race to retain the MGL pennant this season, depending upon how Elizondo hits it is conceivable, even though he currently is assigned to the AA Nashville squad, that he could get a September call-up to the big league club just for a chance to come up with a few key pinch-hit knocks during the pennant race stretch drive.
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Old 11-28-2019, 03:17 PM   #769
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Hard, Hua sent to Detroit for pair of prospects

It has been pretty common knowledge for awhile that the Denver Brewers were looking to deal veteran left-handed pitcher Hector Hard away soon but it came as a bit of a surprise when they ended up packaging him with veteran left-handed reliever Liann-wei Hua in a deal for two minor league prospects from the Detroit Falcons organization.
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Hard, who the Brewers acquired mid-season 1974, was a valuable member of the rotation down the stretch last season but has struggled with injuries this season (now profiles as Fragile) and has been languishing in the bullpen with very little activity. At age 31 he really didn't figure in the Brewers long-term pitching staff plans. And Hua, who has been one of the best relievers in the Brewers 'pen for most of the last six seasons, is having a horrible 1975, is eligible for free agency at the end of the season, and the Brewers scouting staff sees slippage in his skills at age 29.

Trading these two veteran lefty's to one of the Brewers main contenders for the MGL pennant this year, the Detroit Falcons, and indeed when the Falcons were in town and with a game to play still in the three game series, was a controversial move. And the fact that the Brewers got back in the deal two players who likely won't have an impact this season made it even more questionable. (Rumor has it that the Seattle Alligators offered veteran star shortstop Mike Silveira for Hard and Hua, and many believe that with Chad Brown continuing the scuffle at the plate, the fine hitting and fielding Silveira, whose current contract runs through the 1978 season would have been just the player to give the Brewers the definitive edge in the race this year. But in the end the team went a different direction, for reasons not fully explained.)
In young second baseman Brett Taranto the Brewer do get a possible replacement for Jonathan Koch, whose very poor 1975 performance has continued. Taranto is about as hard working as a prospect comes and profiles as a well above-average big league hitter with pretty good pop for his position. He likely wont' walk much and his defense is pretty average. But the feeling now is that at least he offers the club another option short-term should Koch continue to falter.
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The other young infielder the Brewers got in the deal, 25-year old Emile Brunelleschi, is an excellent defensive player with plus speed who is capable of playing pretty much any infield position and even a little left-field in pinch. He does not have much of a hit tool but is capable of drawing his fair share of walks. His ceiling is likely that of a utility infielder.
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With the two youngsters being assigned to AAA Chester and AA Nashville respectively, the Brewers recall Ben Flynn and Mike Lizarraga to the big league club to join the beleaguered bullpen.
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Old 11-28-2019, 08:18 PM   #770
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Week 8, June 1-7, 1975

Brewers record: 4-2 (week), 32-18, 1st place, MGL (season).

The week started wonderfully well and ended very poorly.

June 1-3, at Brooklyn: 4-3, 7-0, 5-1.

The Brewers marched into Brooklyn's Heritage Field and dispatched of their primary foe rather handily.
In game 1, Harry Lyerly continued his solid return to form season, allowing just 2 runs on 4 hits over 7 innings pitched, striking out 6 while walking 3. He improves to 3-2 with a 2.57 ERA. Tim Shore wasn't great in the 9th, giving up a run to allow the Aces to get within one, but then shut it down to get his 2nd save. And Chad Brown (.252/.287/.311), who has been starting to hit a bit better lately, was 2 for 3 in the game, driving in 2 runs on his 1st HR of the season.
Erik Sloan (4-1, 2.66) was masterful in the middle game, getting the complete game 3-hit shutout. It was a well-balanced offensive attack but special note should be made of Josh Schaeffer (.344/.438/.616) who went 2 for 5 with 2 runs scored and 2 RBI- his 2 hits being his 2nd triple of the season and team-leading 8th HR.
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Another solid start from Matt Helm (4-1, 2.11) in the final game. Helm worked 6 innings, giving up 1 run on 5 hits (though he did walk 6 batters.) Jordan Stephens got his 1st save of the season. And youngster Jorge Gonzalez (.324/.342/.380) led the way offensively with a 2 for 4, 3 RBI performance and hit his 1st big league homer.

After a day off, the Brewers returned home to take on the Detroit Falcons. And in game 1 things went more or less to plan. Jorge Gonzalez was again the hitting star, going 3 for 4 with 5 RBI, hitting his 4th double and 1st triple of the season. Sadahige Kawasaki wasn't at his sharpest, giving up 4 runs (though only 1 was earned) on 6 hits in 7 innings pitched, but improves to 6-3 with a 2.24 ERA. RodRod (.357/.405/.493) also shone in this one, going 3 for 4 with 4 RBI and hitting two doubles to get to 11 on the season. On a negative note, Jordan Stephens had to leave the game with an apparent back issue after giving up a pair of hits and recording no outs. (As it turns out, he is having back spasms that will keep him out of action for likely as much as 7 weeks. And he was one of the more reliable relievers in our very unreliable bullpen so far.)
And then the curse of rancid 'pen returned again. The Brewers carried a 5-1 lead into the 9th inning of the second game before three relievers combined to allow 7 runs in the top of the 9th. Tim Shore took the loss, giving up 3 of the runs on 5 hits while also recording all 3 outs in the inning. He now has an ERA with the Brewers of 12.00. Cheol-han Lee was denied a win that should have been his. He gave up just 1 unearned run on 9 hits in his 7 2/3rds innings and his ERA falls to a more respectable 3.80. Cheol-han also hit a big 2-run double in the 4th inning. He was given some assistance in this area by RodRod, who went 2 for 4 in the game, hitting his 12th double.
And more of the same in the rubber match. Although in this case the early 7-4 lead mostly evaporated while starter Erik Sloan was still on the hill. Sloan allowed 6 runs on 8 hits (including 2 HR) in 6 innings pitched and sees his ERA rise to 3.22. But the bullpen then completely gave the farm away, giving up 5 runs over the final 2 innings. Another loss you can't blame RodRod for- he just went 3 for 5 with 2 RBI (although admittedly he did commit his 4th error of the season in this one.) Or John Flores (.394/.437/.755) who was 3 for 6 with a run scored.

Notes from around the league: The Columbus Whalers cooled off a bit this week but still have an impressive 38-13 record and lead the SJL by 7 game over the also cooling Boston Berserkers. The Philadelphia Mud Hens are making a bit of run for the top again, though they are only 7 games over .500, and sit 9 games off the pace in third place.
The Brewers, of course, remain atop the MGL standings, though after getting their lead up to 4 1/2 games over Brooklyn following the sweep of the Aces they now lead Brooklyn by only 2 1/2 games. Detroit follows at 3 back and the L.A. Spinners are now 4 1/2 games back in 4th place.
The Brewers offense is once again the best in the league, as we have a league-leading team batting average of .302 and league-leading OPS of .788 and have outscored our nearest opponent by more than 20 runs. And the starting rotation is doing very well, 2nd in starters ERA and largely responsible for the league-leading team FIP of 3.31, but the bullpen remains atrocious and is the number 1 priority, reportedly, of the front office. Expect more trades to be made to address this need.
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Old 11-30-2019, 12:26 PM   #771
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RodRod to IL

Rodrigo "RodRod" Rodriguez has arguably been the Brewers MVP the past few weeks but yesterday, while applying the tag at third base after a terrific throw from right fielder Josh Schaeffer to eliminate a runner, RodRod was visibly in pain and had to be removed from the game. The diagnosis: a severely sprained wrist which has now landed him on the 10-day IL. It is hoped he might be recovered by the time his IL stint ends but it is possible it might take close to 2 weeks for him to be ready to play again.

In his absence the Brewers promote 25-year old infielder B.J. Drew from AAA Chester. Drew is an excellent defender with good skills on the base paths in spite of possessing only average foot speed. His bat skills are sub-par but he will draw the occasional walk. He is more a replacement for Oscar Vargas then a direct replacement for RodRod but he at least gives the infield some flexibility while they wait for RodRod's return.
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With the loss of one of the most potent left-handed bats in the lineup (one of the most potent bats, period, really) the thought is that this might shorten Joe McPhillips rehab stint at AAA Chester. McPhillips started slow in his rehab assignment but has had two very fine games in a row and is likely ready to return soon. Jorge Gonzalez would then need to return to the minors. While Gonzalez has done a fine job in McPhillips absence, he has been a bit colder of late at the plate, but overall it has to be said that his first big league audition was a rousing success.
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Old 11-30-2019, 01:07 PM   #772
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Nick Meskill's scouting discoveries

The Brewers front office received word today that head scout Nick Meskill had spotted a potential future first baseman during his scouting travels in the Dominican Republic. Now it's always very hard to project what might happen with these generally quite young and undeveloped young men, but this 16-year old, Israel Calderon, stands out for already having raw power with the potential for above average HR production in the bigs and overall hit tool potential that could lead to a solid WPK career someday. Admittedly, he is slow afoot and will likely only develop adequate defensive skills at first, but he is one of the more intriguing international scouting discoveries we've seen in awhile.
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Up to now the two most successful players the Brewers found this way are current Oklahoma City back-up outfielder and team captain Jordan Gallardo, who was an All-Star for the Diamond Kings in 1973, and Brewers current top prospect Jorge Gonzalez. The Brewers bullpen also currently features another scouting discovery, Antonio Nieves, who was signed out of Mexico in 1968.
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But none of them profiled with as much potential talent as young Mr. Calderon does at age 16. Only time will tell whether he develops into a future Brewer and even possibly a star in the WPK.
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Old 11-30-2019, 02:28 PM   #773
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Harris hurls 3-hit shutout against Mud Hens

Jake Harris, the Columbus Whalers' 36-year old ace and future Hall-of-Famer is showing no signs of slowing down. Yesterday he tossed a complete game 3-hit shutout against the Philadelphia Mud Hens to improve to 6-2 with a 2.32 ERA on the season and is off the kind of start that would indicate that he might be in the running for his 4th Pitcher of the Year award.
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Old 12-01-2019, 03:13 PM   #774
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Week 9, June 8-14, 1975

Brewers record: 4-3 (week), 36-21, 1st place, MGL (season).

June 8-10, at Los Angeles: 2-3, 1-6, 14-7.

The Brewers headed to L.A. for 3 games and just barely escaped without getting swept. In the first game Steve Green (5-2, 3.71) once again pitched well, giving up just 2 runs on 6 hits in 7 innings, but didn't get the run support he needed and suffered the loss. Zacarias Martell (.371/.435/.569) did his part though as he went 2 for 3 with 2 runs scored and hit his 4th HR of the season. (The young starting catcher is having a terrific sophomore season thus far and is currently 2nd in the All-Star voting at his position in the MGL.) This is also the game where the Brewers lost the services of RodRod for a little while.
In the second game, Harry Lyerly (3-3, 2.93) suffered the loss, giving up 6 runs (4 earned) on 7 hits in 6 1/3rd innings. Ryan Rodgers (.308/.495/.338) was 2 for 4 in the loss.
The Spinners fans sensed a sweep in game 3 as the home-town club scored 7 runs in the first two innings and held a 7-3 advantage going into the 7th inning. With the powerful 1-2 punch in the bullpen of Shouta Hori and Yu-Bao Tong surely the Brewers wouldn't be staging a come back, especially on the road in the good hitter's park that Avalon Park is. Not so fast, said the Brewers. They scored twice in the 7th to make things interesting and then nine times in the 8th to put the game away. Joe McPhillips (.312/.361/.571) made his presence felt in his first game back from the IL and a short rehab stint in AAA, as he went 4 for 6 in this one, scoring 3 runs and driving in 3 more and hitting his 4th HR of the season. Sadahige Kawasaki (6-3, 2.91) was taken off the hook by his offense, as he allowed 7 runs on 11 hits in just 5 innings pitched. Two young relievers just recalled from AAA, Ben Flynn and Mike Lizarraga, combined to keep the Spinners scoreless over the final 4 innings. Special note should also be paid to Joe Willemse (.286/.301/.374), getting more playing time in the absence of RodRod. Willemse chipped in with a 4 for 6 day of his own with 3 RBI.

June 11-13, at Oklahoma City: 7-4, 6-1, 2-3.

The Brewers headed to Oklahoma City next to take on the Diamond Kings. In the first game, the offense stayed hot and Matt Helm (5-1, 2.17) tossed another nice start, giving up 2 runs on 5 hits over 7 1/3rd innings. Josh Schaeffer (.340/.429/.597) only collected one hit in this one, but it was a big one, a 3-run HR in the 8th inning, his 9th long ball of the '75 season.
Game 2 saw a solid start from staff ace Cheol-han Lee (7-2, 3.58). Lee worked 7 innings, giving up 1 run on just 1 hit (though also 5 walks). Ben Flynn, pitching well since returning from AAA lately, worked the final 2 innings to get his 2nd save of the season. Josh Schaeffer (.345/.434/.615) was 2 for 4 and hit HR #10, which easily leads the team.
The final game of the series saw a fine pitching duel between Erik Sloan (4-1, 3.16) and Chris Steele in which neither was awarded a decision. The game went into extras tied at 2-2, and in the bottom of the 10th, Tim Shore (0-2, 12.46, since joining Brewers) gave up the walk-off HR off the bat of Jared Stephens.

June 14, versus San Francisco: 8-3.

The Brewers end the week by coming back home and start the home stand with 3 games against the San Francisco Velocity. Game 1 is a tight 3-2 game going into the 7th inning but then the Denver offense plates 5 runs in the bottom of the 7th to take a lead they would not relinquish. Joe McPhillips (.314/.385/.581) was once again Player of the Game, going 2 for 3 with 3 runs scored, 2 RBI, hitting his 5th HR. Jonathan Koch (.226/.271/.288), off to a horrible start this season, did hit his 2nd HR of 1975 in this game- a Grand Slam!- but also committed his 6th error. Another good start for Steve Green (6-2, 3.67), who 3 runs on 6 hits over 8 innings pitched.

Notes from around the league: The Columbus Whalers are hot again, having won 6 straight, and with an impressive 44-14 record, they lead the SJL by 8 games over the Boston Berserkers (36-22.) Reigning SJL champs, Jacksonville, are in 3rd place, 11 1/2 games out (32-25.)
The Brewers lead the MGL by just a game and a half over Brooklyn (35-23) and now have a 4 game lead over Detroit and Baltimore (each at 32-25.) Andrew Kennedy continues to lead all of the WPK in batting average at .400 and Josh Schaeffer leads the MGL in OPS at 1.016.
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Old 12-01-2019, 03:19 PM   #775
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Erbakan has hit streak end at 21 games

Bobby Erbakan got off to a slow start this season and still isn't on pace to have the kind of tremendous campaign he had in 1974, but he has been warming up of late, as evidenced by his just ended 21-game hitting streak.
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Old 12-02-2019, 12:10 PM   #776
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Erbakan update (mostly for Palaaemon)

Following Bobby Erbakan's 21-game hitting streak, he cooled off a bit. Don't get me wrong, he is putting up numbers that many WPK players would still envy, but is not on pace to have the kind of MVP-candidate season he had in 1974.

One thing Bobby has always been good at is taking one for the team. He generally racks up a good number of HBP per season. And generally this has been a positive thing. But yesterday, not so much. He took a blow to the hand and will be out for up to 5 weeks.

With Erbakan on the IL now the team promoted young slugger Sepi Koller from AAA Chester. Koller is having another terrific season at the plate and is an adequate defender, even if not anywhere near Erbakan's caliber. He is a left-handed hitter which leaves the Brewers lineup even more susceptible to strong left-handed pitching, but likely Andrew Kennedy will play first on days when the Brewers are facing a left-handed starter (Kennedy is also a left-handed batter, but hits same-handers pretty well- I mean he just hits everyone very well), and this will give right-handed extra-base machine John Flores more playing time in left field.

The amazing thing about this team so far in 1975 is that they continue to lead the league in runs scored and batting average (.301) as well as many other offensive categories, in spite of having their three best hitters from 1974- Joe McPhillips, Ryan Rodgers, and now Bobby Erbakan- out for significant stretches of the season (of course, we don't know yet how they will survive Erbakan's absence, but they weathered the losses of McPhillips and Rodgers quite well). A look at the offensive leader boards in the MGL shows very few Brewers, with the exception of Andrew Kennedy still having the top batting average (and showing up in a few other categories) and Josh Schaeffer being 2nd in OPS, SLG, and in the mix in a few other categories.

This is a testament to the depth the Brewers boast. Getting a career year from right fielder Schaeffer has certainly helped. But the team has also received wonderful contributions from 5th outfielder John Flores, utility infielder Joe Willemse, rookie center fielder Jorge Gonzalez before he was sent back to AAA to make room for McPhillips return, and the two catchers- Zacarias Martell and Kirk Patnode- have been real over-achievers this season, both as expected great defenders but also producing much more offensive value than could have been expected. (Edit: and somehow I forgot all about RodRod when typing this earlier. Having returned from the IL he has picked right back up where he left off, as one of the best hitters on the club.)

And this is also with Jonathan Koch continuing to have a below replacement level season, and while Chad Brown has been hitting a bit better lately he is pretty much at replacement level overall.

The Brewers are holding onto first place, though they trail the Brooklyn Aces a bit in terms of run differential so some of this is due to the Aces under-performing a bit so far. But the Brewers starting pitching has been quite strong and the bullpen is showing signs of turning things around (Ben Flynn has been quite good lately, Jaden Francis is looking like he might be returning to form, and lefties Jeremy Walker and Eric Marino have mostly been pitching better the last week or two also. Of course, Jordan Stephens is another Brewer on the IL and won't be back for about a month.)

But now we have a new test and it remains to be seen if the team can hold onto first with Erbakan out for more than a month.
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Old 12-03-2019, 12:39 AM   #777
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Week 10, June 15-21, 1975

Brewers record: 5-2 (week), 41-23, 1st place, MGL (season.)

June 15-16, versus San Francisco: 7-6, 7-2.
The Brewers complete the 3-game sweep of the Velocity.
To win the second game of the series the Brewers require some late-inning heroics, particularly in the form of John Flores pinch-hit 2-out single to drive in Zacarias Martell from third (Martell himself had driven in Bobby Erbakan with the tying run on a single of his own, advanced to second on the unsuccessful throw to home to try to keep Erbakan from scoring, and went to third on a balk). Flores, in just 131 plate appearances, leads the MGL in WPA at 2.77. At-bats like this are why. It was a tough start for Harry Lyerly (3-3, 3.38), who gave up 5 runs on 12 hits (3 of them HR's) over his 6 innings pitched. But the Brewers offense and a bullpen that is starting to show some life kept him from suffering a loss. Eric Marino (1-1, 4.35) was credited with the win.
In the final game of the series, Joe McPhillips was once again the hero, going 3 for 5 with 2 runs scored and 5 driven in and lacking only a single to hit for the cycle (he hit his 7th double, 2nd triple, and 6th HR.) Sadahige Kawasaki (7-3, 2.81) picked up his 6th complete game and 8th quality start in this one, giving up just 2 run on 8 hits, striking out 6 and walking 1 in going the distance for the win.

June 18-20, at Portland: 4-6(game 1 of double-header), 5-2, (game 2 of DH), 1-5, 8-6.

The Brewers traveled west to Portland for a 4-game set against the Wild Things. In the first game of a Wednesday double-header, they fell behind 4-0 after 1 inning, came-back to tie the game and send it to extra innings, only to see former Brewer Ruben Souffront hit the walk-off HR in the bottom of the 12th. Matt Helm (5-1, 2.85) gave up the 4 runs and then had to leave after recording 2 outs in the 2nd inning with what turned out to be a sore ankle which healed quickly. The Brewers bullpen, particularly Jaden Francis. who pitched a strong 4 1/3rd innings and Ben Flynn, who was nearly flawless for 3 2/3rds, did a terrific job until young Mike Lizarraga gave up the winning walk-off runs.
Denver won the night-cap behind Cheol-han Lee (8-2, 3.39), who gave up just 2 runs (1 earned) on 5 hits over 7 innings. Tim Shore worked the 9th for his 3rd save as a Brewer. Backup catcher Kirk Patnode (.342/.407/.408) was one of the hitting stars as he went 2 for 3 with 2 RBI and hit 2 doubles to get to 5 on the season.
Erik Sloan (4-2, 3.44) took the loss in game 3- allowing 5 runs on 9 hits in 7 innings. Joe McPhillips (.314/.405/.600) was 2 for 4 in the game and hit his 8th double. Ryan Rodgers (.284/.480/.318) isn't getting the hits he usually does but remains an on-base machine as he walked 4 times in this one.
The Brewers outlast the Wild Things in a bit of a slug-fest in the final game to earn a series split. Josh Schaeffer (.314/.405/.564) once again shines, going 1 for 3 with 3 runs scored, 2 walks, and 3 RBI thanks to his one hit being a 3-run shot, his 11th HR of the season. Starter Steve Green (6-2, 3.96) wasn't sharp (6 runs on 11 hits in 6 1/3rd) but the bullpen was, with Eric Marino getting the win to improve to 2-1, 3.97 and Jeremy Walker getting his 3rd save (though his ERA remains an unsightly 7.07.) Chad Brown (.282/.315/.347) had a rare great day at the plate, going 4 for 4 with a run scored and an RBI.

June 21, versus Charlotte: 6-1
Another Sadahige Kawasaki (8-3, 2.64) start. Another quality start and complete game victory. This time he gave up just 1 run on 7 hits, striking out 7 and walking none. (And unlike the game before, when he was pushed a bit and threw 132 pitches, it only took 103 to wrap it up in this one.) Bobby Erbakan (.313/.384/.467) went 2 for 3 with an RBI but had to leave the game after being hit by a pitch in the 8th inning. And Kirk Patnode (.341/.415/.439) was great at the plate again 2 for 4 with 2 runs scored, 2 RBI, and hitting his 1st HR of the season. The strong armed Patnode is pretty great behind the plate also, having thrown out 60% of would-be base-stealers this season.

So earlier in the week the Brewers got this good news about Matt Helm's injury that forced him to leave his latest start early:
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But after the final game of the week they got much less good news about the injury sustained by first baseman Bobby Erbakan:
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Notes from around the league: The Boston Berserkers are gaining a little ground on the Columbus Whalers in the SJL. Columbus is now 46-18 with the Berserkers at 41-23, 5 games behind in second place. The Philadelphia Mud Hens fall to distant third at 11 games back and the reigning SJL champs, Jacksonville, are trying to hang in there at 11 1/2 games off the pace. The Brewers end the week with a 3 game lead over the Brooklyn Aces, are 5 1/2 games ahead of Baltimore and 6 ahead of L.A.
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Old 12-03-2019, 01:20 PM   #778
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The Denver Brewers and Durability/Injury proneness

Given that injuries have been a big part of the Brewers story thus far in the 1975 season, I thought it might be a good time to look at how the players on the team (and some of the key prospects at AAA) stack up in terms of perceived durability/fragility.

I'm not going to talk about our head trainer here (partly because I'm not in front of the game right now and don't have access to that information) but suffice it to say that in general he is quite good at his job and likely that is one of the reasons that the team has been very fortunate in terms of injuries the past several seasons.

Let's start with the Brewers players who have the Iron Man reputation.
It is only two: Chad Brown and Andrew Kennedy.
I don't think I even realized until I was looking at this last night, but in his entire career- which is into year 11 at the moment- shortstop Chad Brown has never missed a day due to injury or illness. Nada. Zilch. And he has routinely been near the top on the team in games played and plate appearances per season. Chad might be seeing more games from the bench these days due to a lack of offensive prowess (and even some defensive decline) but never once in his entire career has he been unable to go if called upon.
Andrew Kennedy has also emerged as particularly durable and has only missed a few games in his career thus far due to illness or minor injury.

And these are the Durable players: Cheol-han Lee, Ben Flynn, Jeremy Walker, Kirk Patnode- among the current active roster Brewers. Among players in the minors: Sekien Hamasaki, Brian Murray, John Weaver, Brad McManus, Garrett Farrar, Brent Taranto, Oscar Vargas (on rehab assignment), B.J. Drew, Nick/Nate (I can't remember) Ward, Kevin Flieder.
So among current Brewers are our ace Cheol-han Lee, who not long ago was considered an Iron Man, two young relievers (Flynn and Walker) and our backup catcher. Many of the minor leaguers with this distinction are middle infielders or utility infielders (Farrar, Taranto, Vargas, Drew, Ward, Flieder.) Two of them are probable future Brewer starting pitchers: Hamasaki and Weaver- so that bodes well.

Most of the Brewers, of course, profile as Normal in terms of injury proneness: Starting pitchers- Steve Green, Sadahige Kawasaki, Harry Lyerly, Erik Sloan, relief pitchers- Jaden Francis, Mike Lizarraga, Eric Marino, Antonio Nieves, Tim Shore, catcher- Zacarias Martell, first basemen Sepi Koller and Bobby Erbakan, second basemen- Jonathan Koch and Joe Willemse, third baseman- Rodrigo "RodRod" Rodriguez, and outfielders- John Flores, Joe McPhillips, Ryan Rodgers, and Josh Schaeffer.
In addition prospects David Bennett, Jorge Gonzalez, and Zack Cook all are considered normal in this regard.

Now the interesting bit here is that Ryan Rodgers, who just a few short years ago was an Iron Man, and then suffered his first injury- a freak arm injury sustained while arm wrestling in a Denver dive bar (storyline), has dropped from Durable earlier this year to normal at this point, having already missed time this season due to injury. He is 36 years old, so it was inevitable that his invincibility would evaporate at some point.
There is some concern that youngsters Joe McPhillips and RodRod may be showing some signs of becoming more injury prone as their careers progress.

And the lone Fragile Brewer: Matt Helm.

The Brewers have been lucky that their team captain and valuable southpaw in the starting rotation has mostly experienced only minor injuries in the past several seasons, and many unrelated to his throwing arm.
How long this luck can last is anybody's guess.
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Old 12-03-2019, 09:10 PM   #779
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Brooklyn's Brigatti out until at least August.

The Brooklyn Aces, trying to keep pace with the Denver Brewers in the MGL pennant race, got some tough news a few days ago when they found out that speedy left fielder Jeremy Brigatti will likely need 6 weeks to recover from a bad case of plantar fasciitis.
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Brigatti wasn't off to a great start this season and the Aces are pretty deep in the outfield but he is one of the premiere base stealers in the game, a Gold Glove fielder, and a fine hitter who has been one of the key hitters in the Aces lineup for the last several seasons.
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Old 12-03-2019, 09:19 PM   #780
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Jamison Bash joins 300 HR club!

Veteran third baseman Jamison Bash finished the 1974 season- a season in which he hit 34 HR's and put up 5.5 WAR, his best season since his 1971 MGL MVP season, when he played for the Denver Brewers- just 1 HR shy of 300 for his career.
And certainly nobody thought it would take until late June of the 1975 season for Bash to join the 300 club. But he finally made it yesterday.
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Bash joins Nate Bennett, who has hit 350 HR's, as the only other WPK player in the 300 club. With Bennett still going strong at age 35 and Bash barely playing at age 39, Bash is unlikely to get anywhere near Bennett on the all-time list. But for now at least, Jamison Bash experienced at least one last moment of glory as a WPK player.
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