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Avia S-199 in Israeli Air Force Service

Ladies and gentlemen, your Irrational League champions

I won it this year with 58.5 points, finishing ahead of the flying Cavallaros by 4.5 and 8.5 points, with Frank in third. Since 2004, I’ve won outright twice, tied for first, tied for second, and finished seventh.

Remember my predictions? Let’s see how I did, team-wise first, before the individual players.

I have the team pegged for a .280 average and 265 HRs – probably good for third place. I expect to finish near first in RBIs. I’m below average in steals. I have four starting shortstops, which gives me some trade bait….

This staff will be near the top in wins (about 95), ERA (3.80), and WHIP (1.25). With one Proven Closer, I won’t be last in saves.

My actual team stats:

.2801 batting average (1st)
283 HR (tied 1st)
1021 RBI (1st)
135 SB (4th)
3.979 ERA (2nd)
1.260 WHIP (2nd)
72 wins (9th)
22 saves (8th)

I nailed that batting average, eh? Overall average was down, so mine was good enough to take the category, as were my RBIs, as predicted. I slightly underestimated the homers, thanks to Ryan Ludwick (37!) and pick-ups Russ Branyan and Casey Blake (9 apiece). Yes, you’re always going to have overperformers and underperformers, but these are extreme overperformers that put me up the extra 18 homers.

I finished fourth in steals because the season ended. I was losing ground quickly to the two teams behind me. Two more weeks and I could have landed in sixth.

I pretty much nailed the WHIP and the ERA should naturally follow that, but it’s not a constant. The biggest discrepancy was wins – I was off by 20+. Although I picked up Jamie Moyer in May and traded for Dave Bush soon after, their combined 24 wins (for me, not in life) could compensate for injuries to Chris Young (out three months), John Smoltz (out five months), Orlando Hernandez (out all year), and Pedro Martinez (a mere five wins in 19 starts).

Let’s segue into the pitchers (these are stats accumulated while active for my team, not in real life). The stats in brackets are my preseason predictions.

Dave Bush: 9 W, 3.65 ERA, 1.06 WHIP (acquired in May for Andy LaRoche)
Justin Germano: 0 W, 5.98 ERA, 1.53 WHIP (10 W, 4.05 ERA, 1.25 WHIP)
Derek Lowe: 14 W, 3.24 ERA, 1.13 WHIP (15 W, 3.90 ERA, 1.35 WHIP)
Greg Maddux: 8 W, 4.22 ERA, 1.21 WHIP (15 W, 3.60 ERA, 1.20 WHIP)
Pedro Martinez: 5 W, 5.45 ERA, 1.57 WHIP (a bench player originally, and terrible)
Jamie Moyer: 15 W, 3.66 ERA, 1.27 WHIP (picked up May 1 and compensated for Smoltz, essentially)
John Smoltz: 3 W, 2.57 ERA, 1.18 WHIP (15 W, 3.50 ERA, 1.20 WHIP)
Chris Young: 7 W, 3.96 ERA, 1.29 WHIP (15 W, 3.20 ERA, 1.15 WHIP)
Orlando Hernandez: did not play (10 W, 4.25 ERA, 1.35 WHIP)
Yusmeiro Petit: 0 W, 12.27 ERA, 2.45 WHIP (one bad week, then benched)
Jon Lieber: 2 W, 3.43 ERA, 1.37 WHIP (10 W, 4.75 ERA, 1.35 ERA)
Cla Meredith: 0 W, 4.09 ERA, 1.46 WHIP (5 W, 3.65 ERA, 1.20 WHIP)
Jon Rauch: 18 Sv, 4 W, 4.14 ERA, 1.19 WHIP (5 Sv, 5 W, 3.80 ERA, 1.25 WHIP)
Chris Sampson: 3 W, 2.54 ERA, 0.97 WHIP (picked up July 1)
Manny Corpas: 4 Sv, 2 W, 4.34 ERA, 1.43 WHIP (30 Sv, 5 W, 3.95 ERA, 1.25 WHIP)

I told the room when drafting Germano that I would regret it, and I do. Derek Lowe made up for the crappy pitching but not the wins. Maddux pitched about as well as expected, but couldn’t grab wins in front of a weak San Diego team. Lieber got one start, gave up four homers, and disappeared.

One thing I wrote in April was “Rauch is a wildcard and might become a full-time closer if Chad Cordero is traded or hurt worse than thought. I can dream, can’t I?” That dream came true, but Corpas lost his closer role, and then Rauch went to Arizona to help nail shut the coffin on that team’s playoff hope.

There were simply too many holes to fill, and Cla Meredith not gaining a single win in relief didn’t help. Had Young and Smoltz not been injured for a combined eight months, I could have added 20 missing wins easily – and 92 wins would have finished second.

The hitters?

Ronnie Belliard: 11 HR, 46 RBI, 3 SB, .287 (15 HR, 65 RBI, .280)
Carlos Beltran: 27 HR, 112 RBI, 25 SB, .284 (30 HR, 95 RBI, 20 SB, .275)
Lance Berkman: 29 HR, 106 RBI, 18 SB, .312 (30 HR, 100 RBI, 5 SB, .295)
Casey Blake: 9 HR, 21 RBI, 1 SB, .230 (picked up August 1)
Russ Branyan: 9 HR, 16 RBI, 1 SB, .241 (picked up June 1; I love those Ken Phelps/Rob Deer types)
Mike Cameron: 25 HR, 70 RBI, 17 SB, .243 (20 HR, 60 RBI, 15 SB, .260)
Jorge Cantu: 29 HR, 95 RBI, 6 SB, .277 (15 HR, 60 RBI, .260)
Rafael Furcal: 5 HR, 16 RBI, 8 SB, .357 (10 HR, 60 RBI, 30 SB, .285; hurt for five months)
Gabe Gross: 0 HR, 1 RBI, 2 SB, 0.176 (bench player dropped early)
J.J. Hardy: 24 HR, 74 RBI, 2 SB, .283 (25 HR, 90 RBI, .275)
Scott Hatteberg: 0 HR, 7 RBI, .173 (5 HR, 50 RBI, .290; I wasn’t expecting much, but still…)
Matt Kemp: 18 HR, 76 RBI, 35 SB, .290 (20 HR, 75 RBI, 25 SB, .290)
Ryan Ludwick: 37 HR, 113 RBI, 4 SB, .299 (bench player originally but active all year)
Bengie Molina: 16 HR, 95 RBI, .292 (20 HR, 80 RBI, .290)
Miguel Montero: 5 HR, 18 RBI, .255 (10 HR, 35 RBI, .275)
Wily Mo Pena: 2 HR, 10 RBI, .205 (20 HR, 60 RBI, .270 – blech)
Miguel Tejada: 13 HR, 66 RBI, 7 SB, .283 (20 HR, 85 RBI, .305)
Ty Wigginton: 23 HR, 58 RBI, 4 SB, .285 (25 HR, 80 RBI, .270)
Jack Wilson: 1 HR, 21 RBI, 2 SB, .280 (10 HR, 65 RBI, .280)

Berkman stole 18 bases? His previous career high was nine. That was even more unusual than Ryan Ludwick’s alleged breakout year – Ludwick has always had 30-homer power but not the playing time to show it. Cantu was another pleasant surprise.

Overall, I’m pleased with the accuracy. As noted above, the pleasant surprises compensated for the disappointments.

And for those of you who are bored by my baseball posts, you have six months ball-free, starting… now.

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