My IBWAA Post-Season Awards Ballot

National League

Most Valuable Player

1. Kris Bryant (CHC)

Bryant outclassed the rest of the NL competition regardless of the Cubs posting the best record in baseball. The 24-year-old will become the second straight Las Vegas native to place his MVP hardware on the mantle next to his Rookie of the Year award.

2. Freddie Freeman (ATL)
3. Daniel Murphy (WAS)
4. Nolan Arenado (COL)
5. Paul Goldschmidt (ARZ)
6. Anthony Rizzo (CHC)
7. Corey Seager (LAD)
8. Max Scherzer (WAS)
9. Joey Votto (CIN)
10. Jon Lester (CHC)

Cy Young

1. Max Scherzer (WAS)

Forget the 20 win-season, Scherzer earned this award with the lowest WHIP and most strikeouts among starters across the Major Leagues. The right-hander also finished in the top five in FIP, RE24, and WPA as the anchor in the Nationals’ rotation.

2. Jon Lester (CHC)
3. Clayton Kershaw (LAD)
4. Johnny Cueto (SFG)
5. Kyle Hendricks (CHC)

Rookie of the Year

1. Corey Seager (LAD)

This selection is the “lock” of the awards season. As great as Turner was in his 73 games with the Nationals, Seager was a stud for the Dodgers all season. His 6.1 offensive WAR was second to only Bryant in the National League.

2. Trea Turner (WAS)
3. Kenta Maeda (LAD)

Manager of the Year

1. Joe Maddon (CHC)

Usually this award goes to the manager of the team who outperformed their expectations. I hate that. I’m not saying it doesn’t have a place in the consideration, just that it is one factor in many that should. The Cubs are a young team with high hopes and a lot could have gone wrong. It didn’t. Maddon deserves credit for guiding the best team in baseball.

2. Dave Roberts (LAD)
3. Dusty Baker (WAS)

Reliever of the Year

1. Mark Melancon (PIT/WAS)

Melancon led  all NL relievers with a 3.4 win probability on his way to 47 saves between the Pirates and Nationals. Without a truly dominant season by any National League reliever, Melancon rose to the top of the heap for me.

2. Tyler Thornburg (MIL)
3. Kenley Jansen (LAD)

American League

Most Valuable Player

1. Mike Trout (ANA)

Congratulation to Trout for his fifth straight MVP Award! Hold on…someone is handing me something…he’s only won once and is doubtful again this year because the Angels stink. His team is terrible. So what? Did he have the best season among all American League players? Yep. Then he’s the MVP…hands down.

2. Mookie Betts (BOS)
3. Jose Altuve (HOU)
4. David Ortiz (BOS)
5. Josh Donaldson (TOR)
6. Manny Machado (BAL)
7. Carlos Correa (HOU)
8. Edwin Encarnacion (TOR)
9. Brian Dozier (MIN)
10. Adrian Beltre (TEX)

Cy Young

1. Corey Kluber (CLE)

Kluber appears to be poised to nab his second Cy Young Award in the last three years with yet another outstanding season. Kluber led the league in ERA+ and FIP justifying his selection as the top hurler taking into account the ballpark effects and without the defense behind him.

2. Zach Britton (BAL)
3. Masahiro Tanaka (NYY)
4. Rick Porcello (BOS)
5. Justin Verlander (DET)

Rookie of the Year

1. Michael Fulmer (DET)

Sanchez made this race much closer than it should be for a guy who played only 53 games this season but I still gave the nod to Fulmer. Detroit gave the right-hander a ton of run support (5.37 per game), but Fulmer didn’t succeed because of that as his 3.06 ERA and .231 OBA show.

2. Gary Sanchez (NYY)
3. Tyler Naquin (CLE)

Manager of the Year

1. Jeff Banister (TEX)

Despite winning the AL West last season, few pundits selected the Rangers to repeat, let alone qualify for the postseason. Banister is the steady hand at the helm who deserves to take home his second straight award.

2. Terry Francona (CLE)
3. Buck Showalter (BAL)

Reliever of the Year

1. Zach Britton (BAL)

Yes, the closer role is overrated. But Britton still posted one of the best seasons by a reliever. Britton gave up only four earned runs all season and his 0.54 ERA is the best ever among pitchers with at least 50 innings pitched.

2. Andrew Miller (NYY/CLE)
3. Chris Devenski (HOU)

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The Island Chronicles Podcast, May 23rd edition

Perry Mattern and Mick Reinhard join the voice of the Harrisburg Senators, Terry Byrom, to discuss the role of minor league roving instructors and player response to criticism on broadcasts.

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The Island Chronicles podcast, Episode 6 (April 29)


Terry Byrom, voice of the Senators, and myself are back for the April 29th episode of the Island Chronicles podcast.

We discuss the Senators’ season thus far and then we branch off into advanced statistics and scouting.

We would love to get feedback from you so let us know what you like, what you don’t, and topics you want to hear us discuss in the future.

And one more thing…if you like it, please help us spread the word and share it with everyone.


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Vlad goes into Senators Bobblehead HoF

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Senators stifled in home opener

Check out the game story here

Leftover quotes

Matt LeCroy on John Simms’ crucial walk to Rhys Hoskins in the fateful fifth inning

“I think he gave that guy a little too much credit. 3-2 breaking ball. He didn’t seem to be taking too comfortable of swings off him.”

LeCroy on Bryan Harper

“We’re trying to lengthen him out a little bit. He’s been good. He’s throwing the ball over and getting ahead.”

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Harrisburg Senators unveil 2016 Opening Day roster

Wilmer Difo will bring his speed and aggressive approach at the plate back to Harrisburg in 2016.

Wilmer Difo will bring his speed and aggressive approach at the plate back to Harrisburg in 2016.

Starting Pitchers
Lucas Giolito, RHP
John Simms, RHP
Reynaldo Lopez, RHP
Austen Williams, RHP
Tyler Mapes, RHP

Giolito is obviously the stud of the group, but who knows how long he’ll be in Harrisburg. The other four starters though should be here for the whole season barring injuries. Lopez and his tantalizing fastball will pitch in April for the first time in his professional career.

Relief Pitchers
Gilberto Mendez, RHP
Wander Suero, RHP
Robert Fish, LHP
Dakota Bacus, RHP
Bryan Harper, LHP
J.C. Gutierrez, RHP
Abel De Los Santos, RHP
Nick Lee, LHP

A very veteran group returns to City Island however just like last season, the last three outs may be the toughest to get for this unit. Gutierrez, who saved 24 games in the Major Leagues, may just be the guy that stabilizes the back end of the bullpen.

Spencer Kieboom
Brian Jeroloman

Kieboom will look to go the whole season healthy to return to the form that he showed in 2014 at Hagerstown. The former Clemson catcher will be under the tutelage of another former one in manager Matt LeCroy. Jeroloman will do what he does: show up, work hard every day, and give these young pitchers stability behind the dish.

Shawn Pleffner
Chris Bostick
Wilmer Difo
Adrian Sanchez
Cutter Dykstra
Stephen Perez

Despite Dusty Baker saying he needed to get more reps at second base, Difo will return to Harrisburg to man the shortstop position. Sanchez should be the everyday third baseman after coming off an offensive surge at the end of last year and a monster Winter Leagues and WBC qualifier. Perez and Dykstra are likely the utility players with their ability to play all over the diamond.

Isaac Ballou
Rafael Bautista
Zach Collier
Kevin Keyes

Bautista will bring blazing speed and an ability to put bat to ball in his first taste of Harrisburg after being aggressively promoted following just 52 games at High-A Potomac last season. Keyes makes the most sense for the DH on this roster, but the first 14 games of the season are against National League opponents so he should see some time in the outfield and at first base early.

The Senators’ roster by the numbers

Of the 25 players on the active roster…

17: players that played in Harrisburg last season
25.37: average age
2: 30-year olds (Jeroloman – 30 and Gutierrez – 32)
21: youngest player (Giolito)
3: players with MLB experience (De Los Santos, Difo, Gutierrez)
5’10”: shortest player (Bostick)
6’6”: tallest player (Giolito)
2: first-round draft picks (Giolito and Collier)
17: players drafted/signed originally with the Nationals’ organization
5: players originally acquired via trade (Bacus, Bostick, De Los Santos, Dykstra, and Jeroloman)
8: players born in foreign countries
5: players born in Texas (Keyes, Lee, Mapes, Simms, and Williams)
3: players born in California (Collier, Fish, and Giolito)
3: players born in New York (Bostick, Dykstra, and Jeroloman)
170: most games as a Senator (Keyes)

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2016 Eastern League Preview: Bowie Baysox

Chris Lee (photo courtesy Bert Hindman / Bowie Baysox)

Chris Lee (photo courtesy Bert Hindman / Bowie Baysox)

With the start of the 2016 season right around the corner, we’re previewing the 12 Eastern League teams in reverse order of last season’s record. Complete rosters are still not finalized, so my Players to Watch is pure speculation at this point.

Up next, we have the Bowie Baysox…

2015 record: 79-63

Affiliation: Baltimore Orioles

Coaching Staff
Manager: Gary Kendall
Hitting coach: Howie Clark
Pitching coach: Alan Mills
Field coach: Shawn McGill

Five Players to Watch

C Chance Sisco – No one doubts Sisco’s ability to hit as the backstop is advanced at the plate way beyond his 21 years of age. Sisco has a great approach and excellent feel for the strike zone as evident by his .326 average and .402 on-base percentage in three professional seasons. But the big question is whether he will stick as catcher or not. Sisco threw out only 25% of runners last season, but he also did a fine job handling the pitching staffs at Frederick and Bowie.

LHP Chris Lee – Lee took a big step forward last season after a change of scenery did him wonders being acquired by the Orioles’ organization in May. The southpaw pitched to a 3.07 ERA and allowed only one home run in 21 starts over 114.1 innings. That was good enough for Baltimore to add him to the team’s 40-man roster over the winter.

RHP David Hess – Hess shined in the second half of the season as the righty dominated to a 1.61 ERA in his last 15 starts including two big wins in the playoffs for the Baysox. The 22-year-old pitched out of the bullpen during part of his time at Tennessee Tech and questions abound whether he’s better suited to that role. A real intensity on the mound and a high-effort delivery probably signal a change in Hess’ future, but for now he’ll pitch in the rotation.

OF Josh Hart – Hart has a ton of tools, but has yet to put it all together for the Orioles in three professional seasons despite signing for a $1.45 million bonus after being drafted in the supplemental first round. The center fielder has shown little to no power during games and an even worse patience at the plate.

SS Adrian Marin – Marin is an old school, glove first shortstop in the vein of the 1970s. Forty years later offense is more highly thought of at each position and until he can show he can consistently hit, he will remain scuffling in the minors. If (and that’s a huge if) Marin can find his groove at the plate, expect him to be a fast riser in the system.

2016 Outlook:
The defending Eastern League champions will return the majority of the team that topped the Reading Fightin’ Phils in five games including last season’s batting champ Trey Mancini who will surprisingly begin 2016 in Bowie. The Baysox seem to always be a formidable offensive force with a couple of minor league veterans strengthening their lineup. Last year they were buoyed by a solid starting rotation (like Terry Doyle and Joe Gunkel) and a lights out bullpen (Mychal Givens and Andrew Triggs). Their success in 2016, which I expect but not to last year’s level, will once again fall to their pitching staff.

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