Browsing the blog archives for December, 2007.

The 2006 Season Awards

League Review

Another year, another victory for the Daly City Montis. After breezing through the first and second playoff rounds, the shaky Pentax Shake Reducers proved to be no match at all, being swept 4-0 after two miraculous 4-3 series wins.

And now, onto the post-season report!

The Pitcher of the Year, UL: Nathan Yan, Daly City SP
For the fourth year in the row, Yan not only has another championship under his belt, but has also garnered his fourth straight Pitcher of the Year award. While he blew away the league last year with some astonishing numbers, Yan blew away even himself with his spectacular 2006 campaign. He pitched an astounding 284 innings in only 32 starts – only 4 inning short of the maximum 288 innings for 32 starts. Yan’s ERA at 0.79 and WHIP at 0.47 were in line with last year’s (needless to say, both led the league by a fair margin). But his biggest achievement of all this year may have been his complete evolution into the perfect strikeout machine. Like Zerg on Tarsonis, Yan simply devoured opposing hitters, not only reaching but shattering the 500-K mark he joked about at the beginning of the year. Yan finished the year with 568K’s, for an even 18 K’s per 9 innings. Over the course of the year, Yan reached the 20-K mark in a game 9 times, including perhaps the best game of his career: an 11 inning complete game shutout, allowing just ONE hit, and striking out 25 batters (21 batters by the 9th inning). For that game he earned a staggering game score of 119.

Among the runner-ups, Apple pitcher Kyle Katarn stayed strong, almost directly replicating his 2005 stats, garnering him the #2 pitcher award. The big surprises were Microsoft’s Kernel Tyranus and Daly City’s Zhao, who had reversals of fortune – Tyranus, a solid pitcher in 2005, exploded this season, lowering his ERA form 3.29 to 2.08, while throwing 27 quality starts (90%). Unfortunately Tyranus’ season took a premature end with a September injury, or he may have easily broken the 30 QS mark or the 25-win mark. Zhao meanwhile, the #2 from 2005, nearly dropped off the map, with a slow start that left him at 8-7, 3.56 ERA at the end of July. Zhao turned it on in the final two months, however, and ended up a respectable 14-7 with a 3.03 ERA, although far off the mark of 2005’s amazing 23-4, 1.74 ERA run. Samantha Chin, in her breakout sophomore season, rounded out the top 5.

The other runner-ups:

Name Team Record Starts QS/CG/SHO Innings K ERA CERA WHIP K/9
Nathan Yan Daly City 30-1 32 31/26/12 284 568 0.78 0.06 0.47 18.0
Kyle Katarn Apple 21-11 36 29/14/3 299 298 2.41 2.02 0.98 9.0
Kernel Tyranus Microsoft 22-5 30 27/3/0 226 193 2.03 2.08 1.03 7.7
Terrence Zhao Daly City 14-7 30 21/9/2 205 236 3.03 2.40 1.16 10.4
Samantha Chin Daly City 19-4 29 24/2/2 202 2/3 199 3.20 2.61 1.07 8.8

The Batter of the Year, UL: Derek Lew, Daly City 1B
Another HUGE surprise for the UL Batter of the Year award, as another Daly City hitter unexpectedly takes home the trophy. While Wong stunned everyone by winning the award over Asia’s Alex Quiros in 2005, Lew’s win comes out of nearly nowhere. Lew rebounded greatly from his disastrous 2005 season, and put up a solid season, with a .304-.338-.593 line, and a career high in SLG. Lew also set career highs in the RBI department, with 164, as well, which led the league. Perhaps that was enough to win it for Lew, who faced stiff competition elsewhere in the league – 9 players, including teammate Rudy Puzon, had higher OPS and higher total Runs Created, and Lew wasn’t even in the top 15 for Runs Created per 27 outs. Perhaps no one had a more heartbreaking season than Apple’s Ben Kenobi, who put up amazing numbers – he in fact bested Lew in .AVG-.OBP-.SLG, and dominated the league in RC/27 – and lost for lack of RBI’s, and endured a season pursuing and holding the SB lead that was eventually lost to Cristian Ortiz in the final two months, and ultimately failed to make the playoffs, despite having arguably the better end-of-year team than the Microsoft Longhorns.

Name Team AB 2B HR RBI Runs Walks SB AVG OBP SLG RC RC/27
Derek Lew Daly City 688 77 30 164 116 34 13 .304 .338 .593 130 6.72
Ben Kenobi Apple 633 58 18 88 143 69 72 .370 .434 .607 179.5 11.01
Jango Fett Microsoft 616 53 21 96 125 88 30 .347 .429 .565 160.7 9.77
Mathew Glenn Mozilla 614 35 38 124 130 85 13 .319 .401 .575 147.2 8.89
Alex Quiros Asia 550 46 41 110 108 67 3 .293 .377 .611 129.5 8.68

The Rookie of the Year, UL: Benjamin Trepanier, Asia RF
There would be no trifecta again this year, as Asia’s rookie RF, the #1 pick in the 2006 draft, stormed to an amazing season, hitting .310-.437-.492, leading the league in OBP and walks, and placing 3rd in RC/27. Punctuating an almost-there year for Daly City’s star rookie Whitney Esguerra, she ended in 2nd place despite a dazzling rookie season in which she ranked 5th in the league in ERA, 5th in opponent’s OBP, 7th in WHIP, 8th in CERA, 4th in K’s, and 2nd in K’s per 9 innings, yet emerged with a 13-11 record due to poor run support (9th worst) from the highest-scoring offense in the league.

Name Team AB 2B HR RBI Runs Walks SB AVG OBP SLG RC RC/27
Benjamin Trepanier Asia 555 27 10 90 85 115 18 .310 .437 .492 141.6 9.32
Clifford Alfano Caribbean 536 27 18 68 80 65 13 .282 .363 .455 95.6 6.14
Name Team Record Starts QS/CG/SHO Innings K ERA CERA WHIP K/9
Whitney Esguerra Daly City 13-11 30 23/6/2 214 256 3.15 3.01 1.12 10.8

The Pitcher of the Year, SWL: Willard Weiler, Tokyo SP
Willard Weiler, last year’s #2, vaults into the spotlight as he claims this year’s Pitcher of the Year award, in a tight race of subpar performances. Weiler pitched worse than he did last year, but his star didn’t fade nearly as much as the lights-out Ramage.Weiler was #2 in the league in CERA, and led in wins, but otherwise was right in the middle of the pack with many other star pitchers. The year has been especially tough for Canon pitcher Justin Ramage, who dropped off heavily from last year’s performance but came back roaring in the playoffs, yet fell short of another World Series trip.

Name Team Record Starts QS/CG/SHO Innings K ERA CERA WHIP K/9
Willard Weiler Tokyo 20-11 36 23/8/2 259 2/3 224 3.43 3.38 1.15 7.8
Gerald Freeman Venice 17-13 36 23/10/3 278 2/3 290 3.68 2.71 1.08 9.4
Justin Ramage Canon 18-10 35 24/1/0 231 1/3 240 3.46 3.59 1.27 7.7
Augusto Figueroa Pentax 17-13 34 17/12/2 256 2/3 173 4.10 3.69 1.26 6.1
Pedro Basaldua Sony 12-7 30 20/2/0 198 86 3.59 3.85 1.33 3.9

The Batter of the Year, SWL: Gates Skywalker, Canon LF
Talk about a year for hitting. Once again, Skywalker of Canon and Richard Eager of the Nikon resumed their rivalry. It’s readily apparent by now that Skywalker simply outclasses any other hitter in the league – his OPS+ is a staggering 173, and perhaps the only better player in baseball is Daly City’s Nathan Yan, whose 596 ERA+ blows even that away. It’s readily apparent, however, that Nikon is fast becoming an offensive force in the baseball world – Eager and last year’s rookie of the year, Brandon Wroten, were 2-3 in Runs Created, SLG, Isolated Power, Total Bases, HR, among a host of other hitting categories. Late-season injuries cost a few players, most notably Canon’s Francis Cote and Las Vegas’ Hector Valdivieso, who both missed the last month of the season with injuries.

Name Team AB 2B HR RBI Runs Walks SB AVG OBP SLG RC RC/27
Gates Skywalker Canon 532 47 79 182 146 90 0 .350 .441 .891 202.7 14.71
Richard Eager Nikon 613 35 45 125 143 94 25 .357 .448 .667 195.6 11.89
Brandon Wroten Nikon 625 57 50 155 117 73 1 .307 .377 .638 152.2 8.99
Hector Valdivieso Las Vegas 497 54 29 96 92 76 10 .338 .425 .626 139.5 10.70
Francis Cote Canon 502 25 35 105 105 78 0 .313 .413 .584 126.3 9.42

The Rookie of the Year, UL: Michael Hooser, Las Vegas SP
It was a shallow field this year for rookies in the SWL. Only 8 rookies in all even qualified in terms of innings or plate appearances, and five of them were relievers. Las Vegas’ Michael Hooser ended up taking the crown, by being the least abominable with a 4.91 ERA in 199 2/3 innings, with 1.44 WHIP, although Paris pitchers Juan Perez and Andrew Wilcox were probably closer to “above average” than Hooser was, or will ever be, although all pitchers had a shaky WHIP in the 1.4 range. Nikon’s Brian Batchelder and Paris’ Robert Rodriguz put up a decent half-seasons, but after this there was really no one else even above average.

Name Team AB 2B HR RBI Runs Walks SB AVG OBP SLG RC RC/27
Brian Batchelder Nikon 344 25 5 50 53 20 13 .299 .346 .422 54.8 5.78
Robert Rodriguz Paris 222 13 10 35 29 18 3 .279 .331 .500 36 5.79
Name Team Record Starts QS/CG/SHO Innings K ERA CERA WHIP K/9
Michael Hooser Las Vegas 11-13 33 16/1/0 199 2/3 96 4.91 5.02 1.44 4.3
Juan Perez Paris 12-6 27 16/0/0 152 1/3 111 3.66 4.20 1.46 6.6
Andrew Wilcox Paris 4-3 0 0/0/0 84 42 3.64 4.08 1.49 4.5
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The 2006 Season Review

Team Review

Another year, another championship, and another year of impending doom for the Daly City Montis. The championship this year, as in the past, was handily won, in a clean 4-0 sweep of the Pentax Shake Reducers. Daly City had another sweep of the postseason awards, with Yan winning his fourth-straight Pitcher of the Year, and Derek Lew winning his first Batter of the Year, and rookie Whitney Esguerra narrowly missing by placing 2nd in the Rookie of the Year balloting.

But amid another year of success, the 2007 season dawns upon fair Verona Daly City, and the shadows of free agency loom. When the original roster signed in 2003, all of the contracts were for four years, at $1 a year – through the 2006 season. Now the remaining 8 of those 4-year players – Terrence Zhao, Nathan Yan, Josiah Leong, Derek Lew, Cristian Ortiz, Jonathan Chee, Angel Poon, and Joanna Maung – are bound for free agency, unless the team can resign them. On the free market, however, each of those players could command 7-figure, if not 8-figure, multi-year salaries. Despite the team’s prodigious growth, their stadium situation, the 5,000 seat Panorama Park, has hindered them since their inception, and their net profit from 2006 was a mere $4.3 million, and their cash reserves leftover from 2006 were a mere $340,000. On top of this, each of the other players currently on roster enter into their arbitration years, and could also figure to command exorbitant sums, most notably stars Samantha Chin, Whitney Esguerra, Henry Nghe, and Rudy Puzon. The outcome doesn’t seem to have a clear resolution now, but it appears that if Daly City wants to retain their players, their era of small-town baseball may be over.

But 2007 is 2007. Without further ado, the 2006 recap:

Tina “Experimental Error” Quach, Catcher: Finally emerging from under the shadows of long-time catcher Sam Lau, Quach got her first chance at a starting role this season. Having done incredibly well the past two seasons in a part-time role (accumulating about a half-season’s worth of plate appearances in 2003 and 2004), Quach projected as a light-hitting, good OBP catcher, with decent defense behind the plate but a poor arm overall. Quach pretty much lived up to just that, going .286-.363-.380, which was off from her half-season numbers, but still fit into her player profile and was above-average on the Daly City team. Behind the plate, Tina’s runners thrown out percentage was a mere 30.8%, a far cry from the 50% numbers Lau used to achieve annually, but still good enough to rank 7th out of 16 teams. Overall, about what was to be expected from Quach, if not a little disappointing on the development of hitting. Perhaps with another year adapted to the rigors of a full season, Quach will pick up with the .300-.380-430 numbers she showed in a part-time role.

149 553 158 27 2 7 66 84 41 67 4 12 0 210 79.8 5.16 .286 .363 .380 .743

Marco Paz, Backup Catcher: Paz secured his place in history with undoubtedly the worst season by a Daly City hitter, ever. Rushed to the majors as a backup catcher after Lau’s retirement to AA, Paz, who put up a decent .250-.317-.515 in AA, and only .167-.163-.310 in AAA, never quite got the ball rolling, hitting .139-.160-.228 in 106 plate appearances, for a cumulative .388 OPS and 0.98 RC/27, by far the lowest in the league of any player with as many plate appearances as Paz did. Nonetheless, Paz was excellent behind the plate, committing no errors in 173 defensive innings and throwing out 4 of 7 would-be baserunners, and showed some signs of life once he got to the postseason, hitting .316-.350-.474.

28 101 14 3 0 2 17 9 20 3 0 0 0 23 3.3 0.98 .139 .160 .228 .388

Derek Lew, First Baseman: Talk about a comeback season for D.L. Lew. After a poor 2006 campaign marred by injury, Lew came back bashing in 2006, returning to his career average AVG and OBP numbers, and setting a new career record for SLG. No one on the team was more consistent than Lew, either, as he hit an .850 OPS every month except September, and ravaged pitchers with the best run production in the league, driving in 164 RBIs (a career high, and league lead), on the strength of a career-high 77 doubles (league record), career-high 16 triples, and 408 total bases (UL lead). Lew even won the Batter of the Month award for his monstrous August performance, where he hit .398-.419-.771 with 9 HR and a staggering 39 RBIs. To top off this year’s comeback story, Lew won (highly contentiously) the 2006 Batter of the Year award, maintaining Daly City’s 4-year stranglehold on the trophy.

162 688 209 77 16 30 164 116 11 34 7 13 3 408 130 6.72 .304 .338 .593 .931

Rudy Puzon, Designated Hitter: Although Lew may have the defense and the flashier 2B, HR, and RBI numbers, when it comes down to it pure production, no one, not even Lew, helped drive in more runs than Puzon did. He was 1st in AVG and OBP, and 3rdin SLG, and led the team with a .950 OPS and 8.72 RC/27. Far from a sophomore slump, Puzon improved in just about every single hitting category, and this year formed part of Daly City’s 3-4-5 core, batting in the 3rd position and scoring 129 runs (6th in the league). After only two years in the league, Puzon has solidified himself as one of the game’s best, and perhaps the best run-producer in the Daly City lineup.

159 642 210 40 10 26 128 129 97 87 5 16 3 348 147.2 8.72 .327 .408 .542 .950

Cristan Ortiz, Second Baseman: It was a whirlwind year for Ortiz, coming off of his first full-time breakin to the majors, and trying to live up to a .284-.342-.460 season in which he hit 23 homers and stole 58 bases, exceeding what his talent ratings indicated. Ortiz quietly put up a .279-.349-.435 line in 2006 – slightly worse AVG, slightly better OBP, and a prodigious power dropoff. However, Ortiz became one of only three players on the team, and a select few elite in the league, to drive in 100 RBIs and score 100 Runs, with 104 RBIs and 128 Runs on the season. The story of the year, however, was Ortiz’s season-long race against Apple’s Ben Kenobi in an attempt for the Stolen Base title, and eventually, Aubrey Cubilo’s year-old SB record of 77. Ortiz trailed Kenobi for much of the season, and at the end of August had accumulated 53 steals – on pace for a career-high and possibly even the record, but still lagging behind Ben Kenobi’s 59 at the time. From then on, however, Ortiz put on the afterburners, and helped along with a .356 OBP in August and .377 OBP in September, swiped 38 more bags (19 in each month), leaving Ben Kenobi’s 13 combined steals in the dust. Ortiz finished with 91 steals to Kenobi’s 72, obliterating Cubilo’s record and setting a mark that no one but himself stands to approach anytime soon.

162 662 185 21 8 22 104 128 90 65 8 91 14 288 110.5 5.83 .279 .349 .435 .784

Henry “Mr.” Nghe, Shorstop: Where’s the magic gone for last year’s rookie of the year? Hitting from the #5 spot – the cleaning up the cleanup spot – Nghe had a phenomenal year behind the plate – yet missed all expectations. While nobody expected him to go .362-.408-.545 like he did his rookie year, and many skeptic figured he’d do much worse, Nghe put up a very respectable .305 AVG and .386 OBP… yet fell flat with a .429 SLG. Nghe played great throughout most of the season, consistently hitting for a good average and getting on base, yet never managed to find the pop he had in 2005 – aside from very good months at the beginning (.336-.430-.536 in April) and the end (.375-.449-.558 in September), Nghe hovered in the .280-.360-.370 range all season.Nonetheless, Nghe was good on the field and on the basepaths, going 34 for 41, 83%, against last year’s 19 for 28, 68%, and the flashes of his rookie brilliance he showed in April and September.

162 632 193 43 4 9 94 95 91 78 7 34 7 271 110.6 6.40 .305 .386 .429 .814

Joanna Maung, Saung-gah-basewoman: After 3 years in the shadow of Joey Wong, Maung finally got her chance starting a full season at 3B. Long a pinch hitter and bit-role player (averaging 160 AB’s per year), Maung was perhaps the least experienced of the four year players. How did she do? Well, the worst that could have been expected – a .281-.351-.379 line that was far below her career numbers, and a scarily declining rate of walks and increase in strikeouts. Given the transition into full-time starter, most of this was to be expected, and Maung can only look to improve upon her numbers in 2007.

147 544 153 21 1 10 65 85 85 55 5 8 0 206 75.4 5.04 .281 .351 .379 .730

Jonathan “The Cheet” Chee, Leftfielder: After one heck of a comeback campaign in 2005, it was perhaps Chee’s turn to fall flat once again. Jonathan played extremely well in the first half, especially with a huge .347-.436-.545 month in May, but began showing a rapid decline in skills – his 1st half/2nd half splits were .318-.416-.449/.204-.360-.282. Nonetheless, Chee still led the league in hit-by-pitches – 46 to Jabba Desilijic-Ture’s 30 and Francis Chen’s 26, and demonstrated an improved batting eye – his OBP-AVG (OBP minus AVG) difference was .099 in the first half, and a staggering .156 in the second half. Chee performed well in the playoffs, with a .327-.469-.490 line, and maintained his ~1.4 SLG/AVG ratio in the second half, so it seems only a matter of making good contact with the ball again. Whether Chee can still catch up to major league pitching, however, is a big question indeed heading into 2007.

140 551 146 16 2 13 73 104 81 66 46 19 0 205 90.4 5.84 .265 .386 .372 .758

Tiffany Ho, Centerfielder: From bit-role player to full-fledged starter, perhaps no one made a big a leap as Tiffany Ho did this year, diving head-first into the most demanding defensive position in baseball – centerfield. After a fairly ordinary rookie season, most weren’t expecting much from the light-hitting native rightfielder. Nonetheless, Ho made improvements at the plate, going .290-.323-.382, along with solid, though not gold glove caliber defense. Tiffany, however, became a whole new player in the postseason, becoming one of the unlikely spark plugs of the Daly City engine by going .431-.477-.569 in the postseason, leading the team in both AVG and OBP. Ho’s base-running was quite a concern this year, though, as she set a career high of 22 steals… in 37 attempts (that’s a 59.5% success rate).

145 587 170 27 12 1 66 81 79 27 4 22 15 224 75.1 4.45 .290 .323 .382 .705

Francis Chen, Rightfielder: Another year of the Francis Chen experiment, and another round of… well, it’s hard to tell these days. Chen got the chance to play nearly the whole season this year, starting 128 games and accumulating 546 plate appearances. He went .212-.336-.480, setting a career high for OBP, and improved upon his AVG and SLG from the previous year, yet still remained highly unsatisfactory, with only average OBP and SLG numbers to go with his typically abysmal AVG. Yet as always, Chen showed glimmers of hope, with a few months of good OBP and SLG (his September .256-.369-.610 is a particular standout) – just not quite consistently good enough and not improving fast enough for fans and management. Chen did improve on his base-stealing, however, swiping 26 bags in 30 attempts – good for #3 on the team and extraordinary considering Chen’s low OBP.

130 452 96 20 4 31 87 86 120 61 26 26 4 217 79.2 5.66 .212 .336 .480 .816

Jason Liu, Rightfielder: Once with a future so bright, hard days have fallen on Jason Liu. Poised to finally inherit the RF starting position, the spot once again returned to the fan-favorite Francis Chen, leaving the powerful Liu, a career .311-.390-.643 in two seasons, on the bench. Perhaps the lack of opportunities got to him this year, as Liu declined once again, and was hampered by a very slow first four months when he couldn’t seem to find a groove anywhere – his April numbers of .171-.189-.429 in 35 at bats set the tone for the rest of the year. Liu showed signs of returning to life at the end of the year however, when he batted .314-.386-.665 in August-September

86 311 81 18 2 22 59 49 77 24 6 6 0 169 52.8 5.94 .260 .325 .543 .868

Nathan Yan, #1 Starter:
It was a career season upon career seasons for Yan, who came in knowing he would dominate once again in 2006, and still blew away everyone’s expectations. His WHIP remained roughly the same at 0.47, but his ERA plummeted to 0.79, his ERC down to 0.06, and most amazingly, his Ks per 9 innings skyrocketed to a blistering 18 K’s per 9 inning. While Yan jokingly referred to going after the 500-K mark, no one imagined he could actually approach it, until he started piling up the strikeouts with monstrous games, including four 19-K games, five 20-K games, four 21-K games. His season was highlighted by two consecutive starts in June-July, where he threw a 21-K no-hitter, and followed it up the next start with an 11-inning, 1-hit, 25-K shutout. He topped 100 K’s in May, July, and September, and ended the season with a staggering 568 strikeouts, obliterating the league record of 469 he set last year. What’s next on the list for Yan – 700? The sports writers will be careful what they predict next year – the limits of Yan’s ability these days is virtually limitless.

G Start W-L QS\CG\SHO Saves B. Saves Holds IP K’s K’s/9 WHIP ERA CERA RS/G
32 32 30-1 31\26\12 0 0 0 284 568 18.0 0.47 0.79 0.06 7.3

Whitney Esguerra, #2 Starter: It was a rough-and-tumble year for the rookie starter, who jumped in the #2 role after an insane 2005 at AAA – there she racked up a staggering 27-0 record in 29 starts, with a 2.01 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, and 341 K’s in 246 innings (that’s 12.5 K/9!). Everyone expected big things, and Esguerra didn’t disappoint – she threw 214 innings in 30 starts, with a 3.15 ERA and 1.12 WHIP, and was second in the league (by a wide margin) with a 10.8 K’s per 9 innings, resulting in 256 strikeouts – 2nd on the team and #5 in the league. Esguerra was plagued, however, by an inability to finish out long games (due mostly to her rather low 72 endurance) and bad luck with offensive support – Daly City scored only 4.3 runs per game for her, abysmally below the team’s average (6.0 runs per game) and ranking 9th-worst in the league – and embarrassing number for baseball’s #1 offense. The result was a team-worst 13 wins and team-worst 11 losses, the latter actually setting a team record for most losses in a season. With hopefully another year of experience, and some endurance training, Esguerra can evolve into a full-fledged ace, though she’s already one of the game’s best (5th best ERA, 8th best CERA, 7th best WHIP).

G Start W-L QS\CG\SHO Saves B. Saves Holds IP K’s K’s/9 WHIP ERA CERA RS/G
30 30 13-11 23\6\2 0 0 0 214 256 10.8 1.12 3.15 3.01 4.3

Terrence Zhao, #3 Starter: After the stunning evolution of Zhao in 2005 (1.74 ERA, 1.74 CERA, 1.01 WHIP, 9.3 K/9), Zhao regressed a bit in 2006, putting up a 14-7 record (far off from last year’s 23-4) and only a 3.03 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in 205 innings in 30 starts. Zhao did improve on K’s per 9 innnings, however, with a 10.4 mark that ranked 3rd in the league, and he was 2nd on the team in complete games with 9. Zhao started off slow, with a combined 2-4, 3.92 ERA, 1.32 WHIP April-May, but ended strongly and had a good playoff run before getting knocked out with a pulled bicep tendon in Round 2.

G Start W-L QS\CG\SHO Saves B. Saves Holds IP K’s K’s/9 WHIP ERA CERA RS/G
30 30 14-7 21\9\2 0 0 0 205 236 10.4 1.16 3.03 2.40 5.9

Samantha Chin, #4 Starter: Daly City could have yet another new ace on its hands. Showing some flair for the daring, a lot of luck, and inconsistency in her rookie season, Chin showed all signs that she was beginning to put things together in her sophomore year. In a Zhao-esque like development, Chin jumped from a 13-1, 4.06 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 3.23 CERA to a 19-4, 3.20 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 2.61 CERA season, and improving her 14/26, 53.8% Quality Start rate to a #2 on the team and #3 in the league 24/29, 82.8% rate. The way she improved this 2nd year, 2007 could be a season of even bigger things to come.

G Start W-L QS\CG\SHO Saves B. Saves Holds IP K’s K’s/9 WHIP ERA CERA RS/G
30 29 19-4 24\2\2 0 0 0 202 2/3 199 8.8 1.07 3.20 2.61 5.9

Sean Wade, #5 Starter: From glory boy to washed-up prodigy, things fell apart for the sophomore starter, who experienced a slump for the ages in 2006. After nearly winning the Rookie of the Year award in 2005, Sean fell way back from his 2005 numbers, putting up a 13-8 record, 4.09 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 3.63 CERA, and for the rookie named Mr. Consistency, a horrendous 54.2% quality start rate. Nobody’s quite sure what’s happened to Wade, who was on and off all season, pitching 3 shutouts to rank #2 on the team, yet throwing SEVEN games in which he gave up 6 runs or more, a truly horrendous number. Have opposing hitters finally figured out Wade’s impossible knuckleball, or has the boy wonder still got a few more tricks up his sleeve? Wade did put up another spectacular postseason run, with 2 wins in 3 games, and a 1.82 ERA and 0.65 WHIP, so there’s hope yet for a 2007 comeback.

G Start W-L QS\CG\SHO Saves B. Saves Holds IP K’s K’s/9 WHIP ERA CERA RS/G
24 24 13-8 13\4\3 0 0 0 156 1/3 114 6.6 1.16 4.09 3.63 7.2

Miguel Pardo, #6 Starter: Poor Pardo, forever at the whim of luck. It was another fast start year for Pardo, who began 3-2 with a 3.07 ERA in 44 innings over 6 starts. From there, however, things went downhill for Pardo, and never looked up again – he put up decent 4-ERA months in June and July, but by August Pardo was in full free-fall with an 11.32 ERA in 3 starts, before he was (perhaps mercifully) knocked out for the season after tearing his rotator cuff muscle, also knocking him out for the playoffs.After a 2005 season of such progress and high hopes, 2006 was a disaster for Pardo, who will known enter into an uncertain offseason filled with surgery and the prospect of free agency.

G Start W-L QS\CG\SHO Saves B. Saves Holds IP K’s K’s/9 WHIP ERA CERA RS/G
13 13 6-3 8\2\1 0 0 0 79 2/3 54 6.1 1.36 4.63 4.44 6.5

Alfred Vong, #6 Starter: It was a mixed season of sorts for Vong, who was expected to make significant strides in his second season. Instead, Vong performed abysmally out of the gate – at the end of July, his ERA was a gaudy 5.66 and his WHIP 1.38! With Pardo’s injury, however, Vong got his chance to start again in the #6 role, and from there on out he performed brilliantly. In four starts he was 3-0 with a 2.70 ERA and 0.72 WHIP, lasting at least 7 innings in each start and throwing 2 complete games. Despite 2/3 of a season spent figuring things out, with Vong’s recent development Daly City will be hard-pressed to keep him out of the rotation for much longer.

G Start W-L QS\CG\SHO Saves B. Saves Holds IP K’s K’s/9 WHIP ERA CERA RS/G
20 4 4-1 3\2\0 1 2 0 93 2/3 75 7.2 1.09 4.32 3.36 11.0

Helen Yamamoto, Mopup Reliever: In 2005, Yamamoto set records as the worst pitcher in the history of Daly City baseball. Her 9.35 ERA, 2.54 WHIP, 12.05 CERA, all set records, besting former mopup reliever Katie Clayton. In 2006 Yamamoto was better, but still not quite good enough – she improved her numbers to 6.00 ERA, 1.96 WHIP, and 7.14 CERA, once again worst on the team. Yamamoto did show signs of improvement during the season, however – through the month of June she had put together a spectacular stretch which chiseled her ERA down just under the 3.00 mark. From there, Yamamoto suffered perhaps one of the worst meltdowns in history, putting up ERA marks of 7.36, 11.57, and 11.25 in the following months, before a 1-appearance, 13.51 ERA, 6.00 WHIP performance in the playoffs.

G Start W-L QS\CG\SHO Saves B. Saves Holds IP K’s K’s/9 WHIP ERA CERA RS/G
18 0 0-0 0\0\0 1 0 0 24 16 6.0 1.96 6.00 7.14 0

Zubeda Khan, Middle Reliever:
In a bad year for the bullpen, the downgraded former closer didn’t fare too well, leading off with a horrendous 6.43 ERA, 1.43 WHIP April and ending the season on a sour 6.48 ERA, 1.56 WHIP note. In between, Khan put together one of the best 4-month stretches of any reliever, with a 2.73 ERA and 0.81 WHIP. Despite a fairly inflated 4.00 ERA, Khan led the bullpen in WHIP with a 1.04 mark and CERA at 2.69.

G Start W-L QS\CG\SHO Saves B. Saves Holds IP K’s K’s/9 WHIP ERA CERA RS/G
30 0 6-2 0\0\0 3 3 5 45 35 7.0 1.04 4.00 2.69 0

Angel Poon, Middle Reliever:
For Daly City’s veteran reliever, things seem to have stagnated over the past two years. Once looking up with a 2.88 ERA season in 2004, Poon has faced declining appearances, innings, and ERA numbers ever since. This season she threw only 44 innings, the lowest out of Daly City’s five primary relievers, and was bogged down all season by a slow start in the first two months of the season, where she accumulated a 6.61 ERA. Things fared better for Poon in the middle of the season, where in the 3-month summer stretch from May-August, she put up a 2.00 ERA and 0.72 WHIP. Perhaps she’s still got more left in the tank, but as Daly City’s longest tenured reliever, the first to break the 200-inning career relief innings mark (which she reached this season), the 18-year old reliever may be past her prime and on the decline already.

G Start W-L QS\CG\SHO Saves B. Saves Holds IP K’s K’s/9 WHIP ERA CERA RS/G
24 0 0-0 0\0\0 0 0 0 44 29 5.9 1.11 4.09 3.72 0

Alvina Chu, Setup Reliever:
Though she was the best of any reliever, Chu disappointed this year when she set career lows for ERA (3.63) and WHIP (1.23), and maintaining one of the worst inherited runners scored records on the team, allowing 8 out of 22 (36.4%) to score this season. Nonetheless, Chu seemed to improve in several key areas, notably reducing her blown saves drastically from 7 out of 19 to just 1 out of 9. Once again, Chu also led the league in reliever wins, setting her own career mark with a 10-2 record.

G Start W-L QS\CG\SHO Saves B. Saves Holds IP K’s K’s/9 WHIP ERA CERA RS/G
35 0 10-2 0\0\0 1 1 8 52 47 8.1 1.23 3.63 3.35 0

Josiah Leong, Closer: 2006 was a year of big changes and great anticipation for Leong. The inconsistent starter-turned-closer-turned-starter, after a tumultuous 2005 season wracked with nail-biting starts, took to the bullpen once again, where he pitched in an even more nail-biting 2004 season as the team’s closer. Two seasons ago, Leong put up a 3.70 ERA, 1.20 WHIP in 58 1/3 innings while saving 40 games, and the Montis hoped that another two years of experience and maturity would help him gain more consistency, or at least improve upon the mediocre 5 blown saves rookie Zubeda Khan had in 2005. Still, since the inception of the team in 2003, Leong had been hands-down the most inconsistent pitcher on the staff, and mixing that in with high-stakes save situations was treading a fine line between brilliance or disaster. The result was just that – a mix of brilliance and disaster, and perhaps the most mercurial performance by any pitcher, anywhere, to date. A workhorse of the staff, Leong threw 71 innings, by far the most of any reliever this year, and second to Sarah Jimenez’s 90 innings in 2003. Leong even managed career bests in ERA (3.68), WHIP (1.14), and CERA (3.04), not to mention K/9 (12.8). Leong started the year leerily, with a near-disastrous first four appearances in which he earned 1 save, blew three, and won 2 and lost 1 of the games he blew. His ERA was at 8.10, his WHIP at 1.95, and things were looking to go downhill, fast. From there, Leong somehow caught fire, going on an incredible April-July stretch run spanning 35 1/3 innings in which he put together an 0.51 ERA

G Start W-L QS\CG\SHO Saves B. Saves Holds IP K’s K’s/9 WHIP ERA CERA RS/G
52 0 4-4 0\0\0 38 9 0 71 101 12.8 1.14 3.68 3.04 0

And the team awards for the 2006 season…

Team Defensive Player of the Year: Derek Lew
In a bounce-back year from an injury-plagued 2005, first baseman Derek Lew brought nothing short of amazing consistency to first base. Starting all 162 games, Lew led the league in starts and defensive innings. However, it was Lew’s stellar consistency that earned him the award – over 1467 2/3 innings and 1504 total chances, Lew made only 4 errors for a league-leading .997 fielding percentage.

Rookie of the Year: Whitney Esguerra
There weren’t many rookies on the team this year, but rookie #2 starter Whitney Esguerra would be a clear lock in any season. The rookie finished in 2nd place for Rookie of the Year voting, but despite being just 17 years old, ate up innings to the tune of 214 innings over 30 starts. A string of bad luck resulted in a meager 13-11 record that masks a team-worst 4.3 run support per game. Over those 30 starts she threw 6 complete games and 2 shutouts with 23 quality starts, while losing complete game 0-1 decisions twice. With a 3.15 ERA, 3.01 CERA, 1.12 WHIP, and an astounding 10.8 K’s per 9 innings, Esguerra might have the brightest future of any starter to join the team since the inaugural season in 2003.

Comeback Player of the Year: Derek Lew
After a disastrous season in 2005, Lew came back roaring in 2006, reassuming his role as the team’s #1 power hitter. Lew set new career highs in slugging percentage (.593), OPS (.931), stolen bases (13), RBI’s (164), and triples (16), in addition to setting a new league record with 77 doubles in only 688 at bats (that’s a double every 8.94 at bats, shattering his previous best of 10.19).

Breakout Player of the Year: Samantha Chin
Coming off a promising rookie season and strong finish in 2005, big things were expected from Chin, and boy did she deliver – over 29 starts Chin pitched 202 2/3 innings and won 19 games while throwing 199 strikeouts. She averaged a 3.20 ERA (6th), 1.07 WHIP (3rd), and 2.61 CERA (5th) over the season, earning her 5th place Pitcher of the Year voting. Her performance strongly paralleled Terrence Zhao’s 2004 campaign – an average 4 ERA season before breaking out with a ~3 ERA campaign. If that’s the case, opponents in the Galactica Division – and Daly City depth chart – should watch out: Zhao’s very next season was his jaw-dropping 23-4, 245 K, 1.74 ERA runner up Pitcher of the Year season, and Chin has all the same tools to follow in his footsteps.

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The 2006 Playoffs: League Series Review

Game Recaps

Friday, October 22nd – It’s been a rollercoaster ride the last ten days in the baseball world, as the powerhouse teams came together in the final four round.  The DC Montis against the M-Dollar Longhorns, and the Canon IS vs. the Pentax SR.

The bookies won little and lost big this round.  Heavily favored going into the series, the Daly City Montis swept past the #2 seed Microsoft Longhorns, outscoring the team from Seattle 28-13 to take the series in 5 games.  Daly City led off with a 9-0 shutout start by ace Nathan Yan, who pitched a gem of a 2-hitter, while Derek Lew provided the offense with a 4 for 5 game, hitting two solo homers, but dropped the next game behind an average start by Esguerra and a dominant 1-run start by Microsoft starter Eric Holl.

Tragedy struck game 3, as midway into the fifth inning, starter Terrence Zhao pulled a bicep tendon, taking him out of the game.  Alfred Vong finished the rest of the game out, which Daly City won 9-6.  Zhao, however, will be out for 1-2 weeks with the injury, taking him out of the rest of the playoff picture.

Samantha Chin pitched another strong game in Game 4, in which Daly City’s offense took care of the rest by slamming Microsoft ace Sherwood Bertsch for 13 hits and 7 runs.  By Game 5, it was all over, as the reborn Sean Wade took to the mound for another masterful start, throwing a complete game, 2-hit, 1-run gem to shut down the Longhorns 2-1.’Like the Galactic Colossus growing ever stronger with each new planet it consumes, the Montis seem unstoppable on its quest for a 4th straight World Championship. They’ll have a surprising opponent for the final round, however.

Originally picked to bomb out in the first round, Pentax, with a bit of luck, eeked into the 2nd round with a 4-3 series win over the Paris Forfeiters, who had blown a 3-1 series lead.  Facing the powerhouse Image Stabilizers, however, few gave them much of a chance.  True to form, the Image Stabilizers cleaned house with the Pentax Shake Reducers the very first game, obliterating them 15-2 behind a solid start by Justin Ramage and explosive by hitting from the 1-9 spots in the batting order.  The IS slipped the next game however – going into the 8th leading 5-4, the bullpen blundered and gave up two runs in the 8th and 9th, off solo shots by RF Simeon Sarvis and CF Steffen Richardson.  Interestingly enough, Gonzalo Bolanos once again pitched for the save.

The very next game, Canon was embarrassed 4-10, behind a near complete game by Augusto Figueroa and a couple of 3-4, 2HR, 4RBI games by CF Steffen Richardson and SS Noe Pessoa.  If Canon ever needed a wake-up call, it was then, and Justin Ramage stepped up to make it, bowling over Pentax with a 4-hit shutout in a scant 106 pitches, while Gates Skywalker brought the hardware with a two-homerun performance.

The surge, however, was momentary, as a Robert Bone implosion the very next game (7 runs and 12 hits in 6 1/3 innings) doomed Canon, no matter what 4-4, 2HR performance Gates could pull out that day.

As in any great back-and-forth matchup, Canon rebounded back to make it 3-3, with a 6-3 win in Game 6.

With the series and a shot for a 2005 World Series rematch on the line, the Image Stabilizers needed to bring it, and who else to have on the mound by ace Justin Ramage, who was almost single-handedly responsible for two of Canon’s three wins, and would surely be MVP of the series if he worked his magic to win 3 out of 4 wins for Canon.  Ramage pitched 7 innings, with 9 K’s and only 2 runs, and Gates Skywalker hit another homer for his SIXTH homerun in four straight games.  What nobody counted on was the game put on by 29-year-old Moises Silva, who in four postseason starts had gone 2-2 with a 7.11 ERA and 1.50 WHIP.  Silva brought the heat with an 8-inning, ONE RUN start, inexplicably besting Ramage and bringing the Shake Reducers to their first  WORLD SERIES!!

Round 2 was a round of what could’ve beens.  Microsoft lost two save-situation games, where the production brought by their slugger Jabba Desilijic Ture could’ve made the difference.  Microsoft’s #1 starter, Kernel Tyranus, and #2, Wilhuff Tarkin, could have also easily made up two or three games.  Similarly on Canon’s end, the team felt the absence of their #2 best hitter Francis Cote in their three save situation losses, as well as the two of their starters.

Canon’s Gates Skywalker, who blew away the league in the regular season with a 182 RBI, 146 Run, .350-.441-.891, 79 homer regular season campaign, and bashed away with a marvelous 27 RBI, 20 Run, 12HR, .467-.561-1.467 postseason (his run production alone outnumbers that of the entire Las Vegas or Pentax teams during their matches).  A free agent this year, Skywalker could very well move on to greener pastures, after two seasons without a ring in Canonland.

Looking forward to the World Series, 2006 seems to be another easy one for the Daly City Montis, who coast into this series outscoring their opponents 63-25 in the postseason (that’s 6.3 runs to 2.5 runs per game), while Pentax has stumbled along into two miraculous underdog 4-3 series wins, scoring 73-76 along the way (that’s 5.2 runs to 5.4 runs per game).  Yes, that’s right, Pentax has actually been outscored in the postseason, despite arriving at the World Series with the Shinto-World League pennant. 

Round 3, World Series: Pentax Shake Reducers vs. Daly City Montis

The Daly City Montis come into this series like they came into the regular season – a so-so offense backed by a lights-out pitching staff.  This description may be more true than ever now, as Daly City has stumbled with poor performances by their top players, and has relied heavily on star performances from their light-hitting batters like Joanna Maung (.429-.489-.595) and Tiffany Ho (.488-.543-.683).

The pitching has been lights out, however.  Daly City’s starting five: 

Nathan Yan: 2-0, 0.50 ERA, 0.44 WHIP, 16.5 K’s per 9
Whitney Esguerra: 1-1, 3.86 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 10.9 K’s per 9
Terrence Zhao (injured, out for playoffs): 1-0, 2.38 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 8.7 K’s per 9
Samantha Chin: 1-0, 2.77 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 8.3 K’s per 9
Sean Wade: 2-0, 1.53 ERA, 0.57 WHIP, 7.1 K’s per 9

The pitching has been so good, the bullpen’s barely been tapped at all, meaning Daly City has a well-rested reserve compared to Pentax.

Pentax’s star hitter Walter Vanish has been ailing so far, with a .236-.300-.382 line in the postseason.  They’ve been buoyed mostly by two very strong performances by RF Simeon Sarvis (.298-.386-.660, 14RBI, 16 Runs) and CF Steffen Richardson (.373-.439-.824, 16RBI, 12 Runs).  The rest of the lineup has been downright abysmal, and right now Pentax is relying on both of those players heavily to come up with some kind of offense.

Their pitching is worse than average, and while they have a clutch workhorse in Augusto Figueroa, who’s thrown 39 innings in 5 games this postseason, his ERA is still a middling 4.62.

Prediction: Daly City, 4-1

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