Monday, February 23, 2015

Season 17 Wrap Up - Little Rock is your Champion!

Little Rock
Little Rock Urban Achievers (AL)
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Little Rock takes the Season 17 title!

In the final regular season power rankings, we noted for #9 Little Rock "Numbers are pretty good, so could make waves in playoffs".  Well, they ended up doing a lot more than that, as they took the whole thing!  They swept their way through Toronto in the Play In Round, and then also took three straight from #1 New Britain in the LCS.  After a grueling 7-game LCS vs. Seattle, they beat the #1 NL seed Buffalo in five games.  Everything came together for Little Rock in the playoffs with the offense click (.809 team OPS) and solid pitching (3.52 team ERA).  Congrats to frae and Little Rock on their first Kenny Powers title!

The individual awards were handed out, let's see who took home the hardware!

American League - Sherman Dunston, San Francisco - .343 AVG 56 HR 148 RBI
Dunston had another amazing season for San Francisco to bring home his 2nd straight MVP trophy.  He led the league in Batting Average, OBP, Slugging and OPS and was 2nd in Home Runs and RBI.  Needless to say, he was a runaway winner.  It will be interesting to see how many more MVP's he can rack up, given that he is just 25 years old.  He also won his 2nd Silver Slugger award this season.  Interestingly enough, he has never made the All-Star team!

National League - J.C. Ganzel, Honolulu - .324 AVG 54 HR 154 RBI
Quite interestingly, both MVP's go to players from teams who didn't make the playoffs.  It was too hard to deny Ganzel though, the NL leader in Home Runs, RBI, Hits and Runs, of his 3rd MVP in 4 seasons and 2nd straight.  The 29 year-old slugger made his 5th All-Star appearance and won his 5th Silver Slugger this season as well.

American League -  Valerio Baez, New Britain - 24-7 2.54 ERA 174 K
In by far the closest race of any of the awards, Baez edged out Matty Posada by two votes for the AL Cy Young trophy.  This is the 25 year-old's 2nd win in three seasons, in which he led the league in Wins, Innings Pitched, Quality Starts, and Shutouts, and his 3rd All-Star team.  Baez should be a stud for seasons to come, and could challenge the record of 4 Cy Youngs.

National League - Justin Jordan, Tucson - 21-3 2.15 ERA 205 K
The only first-time winner of a major award this season, Jordan took home the NL Cy Young by a landslide.  Jordan led the NL in Wins, and his ERA and strikeout totals were amongst the best in the league as well.  He also made his 3rd All-Star team this season.  At age 28, Jordan certainly is capable of becoming a repeat winner himself, as are all the other major award winners this season.

American League -  Elmer Miller, Atlanta - .282 AVG 41 HR 83 RBI
It was quite the rookie campaign for Miller, the 21 year-old Atlanta slugger who was the #5 pick in the Season 14 draft.  You don't see too many rookies top the 40 home run mark.  Miller has outstanding power and excellent splits that should keep him a relevant slugger for seasons to come.  He also made the All-Star team in his impressive rookie campaign.

National League - Tim Blair, Syracuse - 9-7 2.44 ERA 168 K
Blair, a 24 year-old hurler who was the top pick in the Season 15 draft, also was tops in the NL Rookie of the Year voting.  His impressive ERA as a rookie speaks to his talent.  He has elite control and splits, nice velocity, and a strong pitch selection, other he lacks a truly dominant pitch.  That's nitpicking though, Blair certainly should be in the mix for future Cy Young awards, he is truly an elite arm.

American League -  Orlando Ortiz, Seattle - 49 SV, 4.66 ERA (1st win)
National League - Markus Nelson, Tampa Bay - 45 SV, 1.79 ERA (1st win)

That's a wrap on Season 17 - congrats again to frae.  See you next season!

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