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Lake Trout, Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout – finally Mike Trout!

April 28, 2012

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With the decision by Los Angeles Angles Manager Mike Scioscia to put Mike Trout on the field – we thought it would only be appropriate to toss some of our own trout on the baseball field.  If it works with squid and catfish at some National Hockey League ice rinks, it’ll be good enough for us as well.

Lake Trout, Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout and Mike Trout on the field!

Our hats off, rods up and fish on the field salute to Mike Scioscia for his decision!

The Los Malos Muchachos will start Mike Trout immediately in our line up.  We think this is the spark the Angles will need to get it going and close the gap on the Rangers.

We encourage Angels Nation to empty their ice chests and get behind the Angles and celebrate the arrival of Mike Trout to The Show!

Nice job Mike Scioscia!

Early season trades proposed in Fantasy League

April 22, 2012

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We wrote here a few weeks ago about the fireworks that started during spring training in the Singapore Grapefruit League.  The trade between the Los Malos Muchachos and the K-Braves really upset the psyche of the Cleveland Steamers manager who threatened to trade their star slugger Albert Pujols for “a RP and beer”.

We saw at least one team from Canada show some interest in the beer trade – and offered Bard and two Molsons for Albert.  But so far we can’t tell if there is any real interest in the League in the former Cardinal first baseman.  We suspect the team which can hold on to their beer and RP the longest may end up before all is said and done getting the better of any deal that involves Albert Pujols.

Firemans #4 Blonde Ale - A Favorite of the Los Malos Muchachos when they visit Austin, Texas.

At this stage, a six-pack of PBR or even a pint of cold Firemans #4 Blonde Ale may be way too much to offer for Albert.  Phat Albert is struggling in these early weeks for the Los Angeles Angles and the Cleveland Steamers.

“The Machine” is proving so far to be a little less automatic and a little more human.  Albert is finding that adjusting to the off-field distractions in LA (and Cleveland) can be a little more more challenging than those in St. Louis.

Example:  Albert carried a .328 career batting average with him when he moved to Los Angeles, and appears to have lost fifty points somewhere along Route 66.  He is hitting .276 through Friday, with no home runs and only 4 RBIs.  More concerning to us is his drop in on base percentage (OBP) which is currently 100 points below is career average of .420.

We believe that as the news on the pitching staffs of teams out West begins to fade – the injuries/struggles of the San Francisco Giants for example – that we will begin to see the offensive struggles of the Los Angeles Angels and Cleveland Steamers exposed and covered more closely.

We are not predicting that the popular late 1970s’ television series “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids” be dubbed the “Phat Albert and the Steamer Kids” just yet.  But we do are seeing early signs to look for fair and balanced off-the-field comparisons.

As the Angeles cross-town rivals the Los Angeles Dodgers and their inter-divisional rivals Texas Rangers continue to display their offensive dominance – and the Cleveland Steamers search for more cold beer trades – we believe that we will begin to see greater interest in comedic comparisons of the Angles and Steamers than to any comparisons to Marvel comic book super heroes.

Boys of Summer League ’12 – Truly an International Flavor this Season

As much as we hated to see Craig Kimbrel depart for the K-Braves – we are still trying to fill the hole lost in saves – we are happy to see Robinson Cano back on the Los Malos Muchachos roster after a five-year absence.

Robby Cano will find stiff competition over at second base this season on the Toros Rojos roster in the form of Ian Kinsler.  And we will continue to find ways to keep the San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic native and future Hall of Famer on the field and batting clean-up for us as he does with the Nueva York Yankees.

We don’t have the same issue that the K-Braves do with players from Nueva York.  We believe the K-Braves criticism of Nueva York players has more to do with ball players in the Yankees dugout than a knock against all teams hailing from New York.  If we are correct, we find this particularly interesting as it is the New York Mets who compete in the same league with the Atlanta Braves each year.

We suspect the K-Braves absolute refusal to have any Yankee players on his roster has more to do with the outcome of the 1996 and 1999 World Series with the Yankees than anything.  The pass K-Braves gives to Mets players may also have more to do with the satisfaction he enjoys living vicariously through Chipper Jones.  Chipper has owned the New York Mets and the Mets have offered little competition to the Atlanta Braves in recent years.

Norman Rockwell, Choosing Up 1951
We have a feeling that Norman Rockwell would be inspired by the competitive nature of today's fantasy baseball managers.

The Los Malso Muchachos ball club loves our Nueva York Amigos – especially the Yankees.  And we still love our Atlanta Bravos.

Moving away from Atlanta several years ago, we still enjoy following with keen interest all the descriptions, pictures, stories and tweets from the Atlanta Braves fans and writers.

The following links are especially fun to follow:  Lauren T over on twitter at @BravesLove; @DaleMurphy3 ; and Dave O’Brian on twitter at @ajcbraves.  We are happy to see Dale launch the twitter feed to celebrate and remember the 1982 Atlanta Braves (@1982Braves) who began the season with a record with still stands:  13-0 to start the baseball season.  Bravo Dale!

If you are a Braves fan be sure to add these sites to your bookmarks.  Our beloved Bravos will always hold a very special place in our heart.

We will gladly open a spots on our roster spot if we can – to Yankees, Braves, Cubs and yea even an Indian.  The Toros Rojos Nation is big.  If we are overlooking a player you like – let us know.  We have enjoyed getting to know new players, and learning from managers on other teams.  We find this one of the more compelling aspects of the fantasy play – getting to know players on other big league teams.

Over @UpperDeckViews (on twitter here) the Los Malos Muchachos ball club will continue to scout and evaluate talent on all teams, and we will pursue players who have the ability we think to fit into our overall “Operating Framework” – our playbook or “Guiding Principles” that we sometimes refer internally as “Bola de Guillermo”.  As Joe Maddon recently tweeted here, we too find we get an edge on our competition when our club takes steps to build the esprit de corps among the Toros Rojos players.

We find the camaraderie among the 2012 Los Malos Muchachos roster to be especially high this season.  The Toros Rojos team is competing as it has for the past several seasons in the very competitive Muchachos del verano Yahoo! Liga de béisbol – the Boys of Summer Yahoo! Baseball League.

The Rojos squad enters this season as a favorite again to complete against the equipos de Canadá (Canadian Teams).  Not the favorite guys – but one of the favorites.  We are still reeling from the Hockey head to head season and playoffs.  Nothing compares to Stanley Cup playoffs, but our League comes very close each year.  G-Glo killed us this season, and the UFS R Us and Mighty Montrealers teams came on strong as they always seem to do.

We are happy to get away from the ice without too many bruises and happily take a seat on the Toros Rojos bench.

Good Luck to you Boys - on your Fantasy Baseball season!

We look forward to competing one again in baseball with our Amigos from Canada.

We enjoyed the Molson trade offer from the UFA R Us team, and always enjoy the fierce competition The Mighty Montrealers, Free Newfoundland, Expos4Ever, G-Glo, I Said No Salt and The Kid offer each year.

We especially love the references to the Montreal Expos that reminded us of the Toros Rojos approach to baseball.

Each season, we get a kick out seeing the teams from the Estados Unidos take their swings at the Los Malos Muchachos.  The Dallas Dawgs, Day Baseballers, Sounds and K-Braves understand very well what tough competition can do to bring out our best efforts.  These are also some of the nicest guys in the League.

Competition among SEC college football teams is special and unique among “amateur” sports teams today.   The friendly battles among the Georgia Bulldogs, Auburn Tigers and Tennessee Vols brings an interesting flavor to our Leagues each year.  We are still waiting to see what brand of baseball teams from Thailand and Singapore can bring to the League.

We welcome a two new teams this season to the League.  The Cleveland Steamers – managed from Singapore – bring a firely brand of ball we like to see and have worked their way up from 14th place to 7th in just three short weeks.  The Singapore Thai-gers are new as well to the League this season – and appear to be agreeable to trading places with the Steamers.  The Thai-gers are moving down the list from the upper tier and currently sit squarely in 11th place – just 1/2 point ahead of I Said No Salt.

The Los Malos Muchachos will honor Braniff Airlines this season. The team especially liked the Miami connection.

¡Viven de largo los malos muchachos!

Here is the full roster of the Los Malos Muchachos Toros Rojos squad – as they complete in the Boys of Summer Yahoo! League.

Shown below are the Red Bulls line-up as they were penciled in the batting order for games on Saturday, April 21.  How many of the players on the Los Malos Muchchos will make the All-Star team in Kansas City this year?  We can see four, and perhaps two to three more with an outside chance.

Toros Rojos Batting Order:  Ian Kinsler DH, Carlos Beltran LF, Carlos Santana C, Robinson Cano 2B, Paul Konerko 1B, David Freese 3B, Andrew McCutchen CF, Jason Heyward RF and Mike Aviles SS

Bench:  Erick Aybar SS, Mike Trout OF, Michael Morse IB/OF

It wil be interesting to see how this line-up stays in place.  Carlos Betran will be a critical part of the team.  We are sure the other teams overlooked that Carlos would be re-united with another former Astro Lance Berkman – forming two-thirds of the “Killer B’s”.  Still, both are running on older legs now, so we will just have to see how they hold up.

Starting Pitchers:  Brandon Beachy SP, Derek Holland SP, Johnny Cueto SP, Barry Zito SP.  Jeff Samardzija was cut last night in favor of Bartolo Colon

Relief Pitchers:  Mariano Rivera, Jordan Walden, Jonny Venters, Juan Cruz and Brad Lidge

We like the Red Bull hitters we have when we broke Spring Training (Yahoo! Dealt all except Cano, Aviles, Trout and Morse) and we feel we can stand in there all season with most teams across all five offensive categories:  R, HR, RBI, SB and Avg.   We hated to see a few players depart to other teams in the League, but as mentioned – we still have some holes to fill in our pitching staff as you will likely agree.

Drop us a note on any comments you have regarding the Toros Rojos squad.  Please continue to critically review and analyze our team’s roster vs. that of the Cleveland Steamers.  Leave your comments and opinions here.

Now boarding, the Bandaged Beard at a gate near you

April 21, 2012

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The early news this year – other than the fast start of the Texas Rangers (11-2) Los Angeles Dodgers (11-3), Washington National (11-4) – seems to be centered again on the injuries, and slow starts to pitchers.  Closers in particular are beginning to gain attention with their sore arms and elbows.

Tom Verducci wrote a very interesting piece this week over at Sports Illustrated that put forth the notion that it may be time to re-think today’s modern bullpen.  Brian Wilson, closer for the SanFrancisco Giants – DL  and done, had his second Tommy John surgery this week.  Joakim Soria Kansas City Royals closer – DL and done after his second elbow surgery.  And the list of injured relief pitchers goes on.

Of the top 21 relief pitchers specializing in closing games out for their teams – this means in modern baseball that they usually are called to get just three outs in a ballgame – nearly 20% find themselves on the DL.  Other than Brian, Drew Storen, Andrew Bailey and Kyle Farnsworth all find themselves presently on the disabled list.

To make matters worse, of the top 20 specialist pitchers touted to be some of the best players in league – saving games for their teams and earning fantasy managers critical points in their leagues – currently only 5 closers are ranked in the top 150 ballplayers according to a recent check on Yahoo!  Before the season started, 13 relief pitchers placed in the top 150 ranked players.  This dramatic change has managers of all leagues scratching their heads.  What is going on with today’s modern reliever?

Just a few short weeks ago we were all full of hope.  Baseball teams, fans and fantasy managers were optimistic they had the closer they wanted to charge our of the bullpen.  Premiere closers were being quickly snatched up by fantasy teams early in drafts – ignoring  the advise of experts who advised not to pay for closers – and media firms were rather enjoying  seeing the branding possibilities.

On Virgin America airlines, you can "Fly the Beard" even though batters are not longer "Fearing the Beard".

Virgin America as you may have heard, announced that they had painted a beard on one of their jets in honor of closer Brian Wilson.  The beat of the tune as the plane rolls out of the hanger is rather catchy as you can see in this video and the nose of the plane painted like a beard takes us back to the days of Braniff Airline’s colorful planes.  “Fly the beard” Virgin Airlines announced and even a Twitter hashtag – #FlyTheBeard was started.

Let’s hope we don’t see any more bullpens suffer any more injuries this spring.  We have always enjoyed the colorful planes, the blaring stadium music and especially the electronic scoreboard displays when the bullpen down swings open and the fireman / pitcher rushes onto the field and charges up to the top of the mound to take the ball from the manager.  Tom Verducci reminds us that there haven;t always been this brand of pitchers in the game.

Maybe in the not so distant future, iPads will be used to signal the exact optimum time when to get bullpen arms loosened up and ready to enter the game, golf carts ridden by lucky fans will have hashtags #RideTheBeard painted on their tops and sides, and closers will no longer require Tommy John surgery.

Until that time, we will just have to choose our closers carefully and be thankful our team has a healthy closer.  As fans, we can still our time flying the bearded skies – even if the planes have a bandage or two.

Gil Elvgren, Help Wanted 1960

Five Up / Five Down Relief Pitchers – Week 2

Five Up / Low Risk Relief Pitchers 

No. 1:  Craig Kimbrel closer, Atlanta Brave.  Craig has earned 4 saves for the fast staring Braves and has a 1.80 ERA, 2.00 WHIP and has 6 K’s in 5 IP.  The Los MalosMuchachos dealt Craig to the K-Braves for Robinson Cano during Spring Training and we are still feeling the pain from that deal.

Our other Five Up / Low Risk relief pitchers are Jason Motte, Jonathan Papelbon, Rafael Betancourt and Mariano Rivera.

Mariano Rivera closer, New York Yankees earns our last spot on the Five Up / Low Risk relief pitcher list squeezing ahead of Jose Valverde.  While Mariano suffered some early issues to begin the season, his ERA and WHIP are coming down in his recent outings and now stand at 3.37 and 1.31 respectively.  Being the poster boy of low risk and longevity who should definitely have a plane painted in his honor,  Mariano now has 3 saves on the young season and 7 K’s in 5.1 IP.  Perhaps a curving, swirling ball and dotted line along the side of an American Airlines plane leaving JFK would help boost ridership.  He certainly earns our vote for a Twitter hashtag #ThePanamaMarvel!

 Five Down / High Risk Relief Pitchers

No. 1: Heath Bell closer, Miami Marlins.  Heath left his native California where he pitched the last five years in spacious Petco Park in San Diego, for the humidity and heat of Miami, Florida.   Heath (age 34) is suffering early in the year and sports 2 saves in four chances.

The Marlins closer took the loss both times he was called on – presumably without the aid of an iPad – to close a game out.  He earned his second save last Thursday and lowered his ERA from 9.00 to 7.20.  He has a 2.20 WHIP, is giving up hits at a rate of 14.4 per nine innings, and is entering his ninth year in The Show.  He has pitched a total of 487 innings in his career, 167 more than Brian Wilson.

We can’t find any information that Heath has suffered an injury in his career that dates back to his days with the New York Mets in 2004.  But we noticed his strikeouts per nine innings (SO/9) fell to a career low of 7.3 last season, down over 2 points from his career average of 9.2.

Most alarming to us at first glance are Heath Bell’s hits and home runs per nine innings (H/9, HR/9) that are sitting at a whopping 14.4 and 1.8 respectively to date.  We get nervous when we see pitchers change ball parts, and see their stats begin to deviate from norms.

Our other Five Down / High Risk relief pitchers are Carlos Marmol, Joel Hanrahan, Joe Nathan and Jordan Walden.  In Jordan’s case, we put him on the list more for the bad vibes we are getting from the Angles offense which have reduced his chances for save opportunities early in the season than his risk of injury.