Continuing our weekly reports on the teams in the various Dynasty leagues I run this week Division B in the all time any time great teams league
AL Div B
1968 Detroit Tigers
After a slow start the tigers find themselves at the top of the AL B standings with a game and a half over the defending AL champ Indians. Can they keep this winning pace up?
Heroes: Willie Horton is has been a one man wrecking ball with the bat with 8 HR and 22 RBI while playing an errorless left field adding an outfield assist into the mix. Denny McLain has gone 4-0 only allowing a .208 batting avg while leading the league in wins, and being top 5 in 3 other categories. Ray Oyler being perfect in the field at short is no surprise as his reputation for defense is well known but seeing him add a .364 to the mix has been a shocker.
Zeroes: Don Wert isn’t known for his bat so his .170 Avg might be forgivable but combine it with a .925 fielding percentage with as many errors as his net two teammates combined, now that’s a worry. Mickey Lolich & Earl Wilson both with 2-2 record as starters wouldn’t seem like likely candidates for this list but if their ERAs were not 6.84, and 6.17 respectively Detroit’s lead might be a lot bigger.
Wild Card: Detroit’s next three series are against teams with a combined 22-29 it’s s great chance to widen that league.
Coming attractions: The Tigers travel to Yankees Stadium for a 3 game set aginst the 2009 Yanks before heading back home for a 9 game homestand facing 1988 Oakland and the 2013 Redsox who are with striking distance before finishing the stand against the 1970 Orioles.
1954 Cleveland Indians
The defending AL champs are right in the thick of it again, a game and a half out of 1st place and currently holding a wild card spot which isn’t bad for a team that has played 80% of their games on the road to this point but can they turn on the heat on the surging Tigers?
Heroes: With a team ERA under 4 (3.97) it’s hard to name a single pitching hero but Bob Lemon with a 3-0 record and a 2.88 ERA certainly fits the bill, and that .750 batting avg in interleague play and a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage isn’t too shabby either. There are people hitting for a higher avg on the team than Larry Doby but when you are leading the team in both runs scores AND runs batted in along with HR, Slugging and OB+Slugging you are the really doing the job (oh and by the way 1.000 fielding plus two outfield assists and a range factor of 2.62)
Zeroes: It doesn’t look at that good for Billy Glynn as he both leads the team in errors and is sitting below the Mendoza line with a .195 batting avg but he has one thing going for him, at least he’s not Wally Westlake because not only is he batting a mere .184 but unlike Glynn who is hitting .286 with runners in scoring position Westlake is hitting a mere .130 when the big moment comes.
Wild Card: They only have one series against a division opponent in their next 8.
Coming attractions: the Indians bask in the glory of a brief 3 game homestand against 1st place 2015 Kansas City Royals before hitting the road agai to battle the 2005 White Sox and the 1993 Blue Jays.
2013 Boston Redsox
Boston had lost 4 series in a row before taking two of three from their arch rival New York Yankees. Will that be the spark that puts the team back on track?
Heroes: If anyone told you that after 18 games Danial Nava would lead the Red sox with a .389 average .500 OBS a .593 slugging percentage and be the only player on the team with an OPS over 1.000 1.093 while hitting only one HR you wouldn’t believe it. On the other hand John Lackey’s ERA of 2.38 and modest .264 batting avg against in 4 starts, that’s entirely believable.
Zeroes: Jon Lester was expected to be the Redsox ace but he’s so far been more akin to the twenty minuters of WW1 infamy with a 1-2 record an ERA of 6.00 a hitting against avg of .309 along with five homers, one every 5 1/3 innings. Meanwhile Mike Napoli is not only devoid of HR with only 5 RBI in 16 games but with runners in scoring position is hitting an anemic .222, .125 if there are two outs.
Wild card: Boston has only seen a left handed starter once every six games, which is a good thing because they have yet to win a game against a lefty but at 4-2 they have the best record in the American league in one run games.
Coming Attractions: A quick trip to Oakland to visit the 1988 A’s is followed by a 3 game homestand against the 1970 Orioles before going head to head with Detroit and a chance to close the distance a bit.
2010 Texas Rangers: The Rangers broke a six game losing streak in style with a sweep of the (then) 1st place Washington Senators. Is this the start of better things to come? Or will the team without a manager continue to be rudderless?
Heroes: Vladimir Guerrero‘s reputation as one of the most feared bats in the game has not been affected by the Rangers poor record. His .408 avg and 18 RBI’s talk and opposing pitchers are listening. Even though the starting rotation has been a horror the Texas Bullpen has put up good number with Michael Kirkman leading the way. In six appearances he’s held opponents to a .205 avg while striking out 17 in 11 1/3 innings with a 1.50 ERA and no homers allowed and a win to his credit.
Zeroes: While his play behind the plate has been acceptable Matt Treanor has impressed nobody with his .216 avg and .313 OBP not to mention .200 with runners in scoring position but if you want to talk Zeroes you have to talk the starting rotation with Cliff Lee’s 5.13 ERA and .347 avg (despite a 2-1 record) C.J Wilson’s 16 walks in 28 innings and 5.97 ERA and if that’s not bad enough you have Tommy Hunter who has in 18.2 innings over 4 starts struck out fewer batters (6) than he’s given up homers (7) with a horrible ERA of 7.81.
Wild Card: Rich Harden was recently promoted back to the majors after a short stint down, can he return a semblance of steadiness to a rotation with a damaged reputation?
Coming Attractions: It’s a time away from the division for Texas as they conclude an 18 game road trip with three at the 2015 Royals and 3 more vs the 2005 Chicago White Sox before heading home to welcome the 1993 Blue Jays before facing a division foe again.
1985 St. Louis Cardinals
After a 9-0 start they have returned to earth going 5-7 since. Can that early lead hold up when the month of April is over or will they cool as the weather warms?
Heroes: Tom Herr’s line is deadly .407 avg 3 HR 26 RBI 10 sb with only one caught and an OBP of .484 and an OPS 1.089. Oh and he’s been perfect at 2b in the field with a range factor of 4.59. It’s the kind of performance that makes opposing pitchers crazy. It that wasn’t bad enough for St. Louis’ foes John Tudor is 5-0 with five complete games in six starts with a 1.94 ERA to drive enemy batters absolutely nuts.
Zeroes: It’s hard to find zeroes on a team that’s performed so well but St. Louis’ Catchers sure helped me along. Darrell Porter with a .138 avg in 12 games he wasn’t doing much before his injury and has failed to catch the only person trying to steal against him. Meanwhile while he was out Tom Nieto did the job and while his .209 avg was slightly better than Porter he not only was batted .200 when men were in scoring position but allowed seven of nine people to steal off of him while committing 2 errors.
Wild Card: St Louis has been patient at the plate, their 103 walks are a full 60% ahead of the #2 team and their stolen base total of 61 is 44 greater than the current runner up. That’s likely why they also have the most hits in the league
Coming Attractions: A huge series at Brooklyn against the defending World Series Champion 1955 Dodgers is followed by the 1986 Mets at home and then they travel to Florida for a shot at the 2nd place 1997 Marlins who are itching for revenge. Can the NL Div A do what Div B could not?
1997 Florida Marlins
If the 1985 St. Louis Cardinals did not Exist Florida would have both a winning record and the lead in their division. Instead they are at .500 and if the season ended today would not even snag a wildcard. Can they manage to expand their winning ways to include the Cards?
Heroes: Felix Heredia has stood out in a staff that hasn’t with two saves in as many chances, a 1-0 record more strikeouts than innings pitched and an ERA of 1.86 while in a team full of hitting hitters Moises Alou stands above the rest hitting for avg (.378) power (7 HR) and leading the team in RBI’s Runs scored and Walks.
Zeroes: While Devon White and Luis Castillo have both been excellent in the field they are hitting .131 and .183 respectively which is unimpressive to say the least although in fairness to White his eight walks have contributed to nine runs scored. Meanwhile in a team where no starter has more than one win there are many zero candidates but the biggest has to be closer Rob Nen with two blown saves a WHIP of 1.86 and a 6.43 ERA in the most critical moments of a game.
Wild Card: With Al Lieter injured and out for at least two starts can anyone in the rotation step up?
Coming Attractions: It a visit to the NL east with series at Brooklin vs the 1955 Dodgers and the 1986 Mets before coming home to face the 2013 Arizona Diamondbacks before their big rematch with St. Louis. Will they have a permanent manager by then?
1957 Milwaukee Braves
The Braves managed to turn things around after a dismal 1-9 start, but is that turn about permanent or was their defeat by the 2005 astros in their last series a sign of things to come?
Heroes: Nobody will be surprised to see Hank Aaron at the top of this list. With a .351 Avg 5 HR and 12 RBI the advice on how to pitch pitch to him: “Make sure nobody is on when he hits it out” seems awfully accurate. The second non surprise is Warren Spahn whose 3-1 record 2.54 ERA and 28 1/3 innings in five starts have done the trick.
Zeroes: Ernie Johnson certainly has been a workhorse for Milwaukee appearing in 10 of their 18 games. Unfortunately he’s also been a disaster in the bullpen with more than twice as many hits as innings pitch and ERA of 13.50 and a .417 avg against. Many people thought it would be a fight between Frank Torre and Joe Adcock for the starting job at 1st, but Torre’s .111 avg no runs batted in and two hits on the season certainly hasn’t given anyone a reason to leave him in a lineup.
Wildcard: Bill Burton’s injury is going to keep him out of the lineup for at least the next three series forcing Aaron to play center. This means that the Braves will see more of Andy Pafko’s unimpressive bat .171 avg but steady defense (2 assists) or Wes Covington deadly bat .318 avg but lead glove .846 fielding percentage in right.
Coming Attractions: The Braves visit the streets of San Francisco to face the 1962 Giants before coming home for 9 against the 1975 Reds 2013 Arizona and Division rival 2019 Nationals.
2019 Washington Nationals
Washington has lost 10 of their last 12 and are owners of the worst record in the majors, which is kind of what was the case in 2019 before the stormed back to win 1st the Pennant and then the series. Can history repeat itself?
Heroes: There is plenty of blame to go around for Washington’s start but neither Trea Turner nor Juan Soto deserve any of it. Turner has hit .342 stolen 3 bases in 4 tries and hit three HR while scoring almost double the runs of the next leading player who would be Soto who has crushed 5 HR and walked enough to get an OBP of .405
Zeroes: Max Scherzer has been a pleasant surprise at the plate with a .400 avg and a pair of RBI’s but the nats would happily trade that for the pitcher they expected as an ace. With a 1-3 record a .347 avg against and a .887 ERA and fewer strikeouts than runs allowed 19 vs 22 it’s been a dismal start. Meanwhile don’t let the fact that Daniel Hudson owns 2 of Washington’s 5 wins fool you. in 11 appearances his ERA is 11.68 his WHIP is a solid three and he’s managed to blow two saves in as many chances.
Wild Card. Both Gerardo Parra and Anthony Rendon have spent time injured early and Washington has a new manager who took over during their losing streak. Can these three men make the difference for a team that is 1-10 against right handed pitching this season?
Coming Attractions: Home has not been where the heart is for the DC team (2-10) while they’ve played .500 ball on the road, so a trip to Cincinnati to face the 1975 Reds might just be what’s needed, then after a brief stop back home to face the 2013 Diamondbacks it’s back on the road for 3 against the 57 Braves in Milwaukee and 3 against the 2016 Cubs at Wrigley.