All-Time Hitting Leaders

As a follow-up to my previous post, here is a post on the career hitting leaders in the 17 seasons of RBA so far. I’m continuing to work on updating this site to be the source of RBA information, so please keep checking in as it comes along.

Also, I hope to have some season leaders soon as well.

When it comes to counting stats, our all-time hitting leaders pretty much boil down to two guys:

Miguel Cabrera – Cabrera is the all-time leader in hits (1711), doubles (339), runs scored (853) and batting average (.320). He is also second in games (1387), at-bats (5351), home runs (308), RBI (990), walks (586), and strikeouts (1122). Basically every category features Cabrera in either 1st or 2nd place.

Albert Pujols – And in most of those categories in which Cabrera is 2nd, Pujols is 1st. For that matter, in most of the categories in which Cabrera is 1st, Pujols is 2nd. Pujols leads in games (1417), at-bats (5521), home runs (312), and RBI (1002). He is 2nd in hits (1630), doubles (319), and runs scored (833).

Rate Stats – Our old friend Barry Bonds leads (and will probably always lead) in career OBP and SLG: his career OBP was .489, while only Joey Votto is above .400 among active players (he’s at .401). Bonds’ career SLG was .680, while Cabrera is closest among active players at .562.

The Rest – Our all-time triples leader is probably not a surprise: Carl Crawford hit 56 triples in his career. He is followed by Jose Reyes, who is somehow still active, who has 49. Interestingly, Andrew McCutchen entered this season with 47 for 3rd place. Justin Upton is our all-time leader in strikeouts, 11 ahead of Cabrera at 1133. And finally, the player who has been hit by the most pitches? Shin-Soo Choo, with 76. Alex Rodriguez is second at 67.

A note on the milestones: Albert Pujols’ 1000th RBI came in the 160th game of Middletown’s 2017 season, a 9-5 win over Atlanta. He got it against James Shields. He hit his 300th HR in Middletown’s 60th game, an 11-2 win over Elm Grove. Miguel Cabrera hit his 300th HR in Silver City’s 142nd game, an 8-3 loss against Berea. He hit the homer off Justin Verlander.

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All-Time Pitching Leaders

I continue to work on updating the league’s history, and one of the pieces of that (soon to come, I hope) is the all-time leaders section. I have numbers for the first 17 seasons on the pitchers of the RBA, and here are some interesting facts in advance of the full leaderboards showing up on this site:

Wins:

Coming into 2018, two players were tied with the most wins in RBA History: Justin Verlander and Felix Hernandez both had 110 wins. However, Verlander has won 2 games with the Elm Grove Cardinals, while Felix remains winless, so Verlander is the current all-time leader with 112 wins. Clayton Kershaw and Tim Hudson entered 2018 tied for 3rd at 103, with Zack Greinke at 102.

Strikeouts:

Kershaw held a 70 strikeout advantage over Verlander entering 2018, 1669 to 1599.

Tim Hudson:

His name will soon begin to slip off of the top spots, but for now Tim Hudson continues to be our all-time leader in innings (1769), runs (819), hits (1743), and earned runs (768). He has the second-most losses of all time, 88, a number that is 12 behind our leader. That’s James Shields, who has lost an even 100 games.

Mariano Rivera:

It will be a while, if it indeed ever happens, until Rivera is booted from the top spot in saves. He retired with 440 appearances (#1) and 194 saves. That 194 number is 52 better than our #2 player, Jonathan Papelbon, and it is more than double the count of the number #3 player, Wade Davis, who has 88.

ERA:

Unsurprisingly, our ERA champ is Clayton Kershaw. His 2.34 career mark (entering 2018) is by far the best among qualified pitchers. Another southpaw, Dallas Keuchel, sits in the #2 spot at 2.78. Only 1 other pitcher is below 3.00 (again, entering 2018), and that is (perhaps surprisingly) Julio Teheran, with a career 2.99.

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2017 RBA Championship Recap

Congratulations to the Berea Bombers, who won the 2017 RBA Championship in 6 games over the Las Vegas Effect. Mike Kapottos becomes the 11th person to win the RBA Championship (well, the 12th, since Bob and Chris both won in 2013), while Matt Cooper suffers his 4th RBA Championship defeat against his win in 2009.

In Game 1, Berea ace Justin Verlander set the tone for the #1 seed Bombers, hurling 6 scoreless innings against the tough Vegas offense. Berea scored 4 runs in the 2nd inning off Steven Wright on RBI hits by Zobrist, Realmuto and Villar (who would be heard from again in this series). Verlander gave up a solo homer to Trevor Story in the 7th, but Kenley Jansen and Andrew Miller held the line for a 4-1 Berea win.

Game 2 featured Cole Hamels, late of the Effect, facing #1 pick Kenta Maeda. A 3-run homer by Robbie Grossman put the finishing touch on a 4-run 3rd inning for Vegas, a mirror image of Game 1. Las Vegas piled on with 4 more runs, and the Effect finished off a shutout in an 8-0 win.

Game 3 was another 1-sided affair, as Berea got to Vegas’ Anthony DeSclafani early. Like Game 1, Berea put up a 4-spot in the 2nd inning, highlighted by a Villar 2-run homer. But they kept tacking on this one, scoring 1 in the 3rd and 4th. With the score 6-1 in the 6th, Berea scored 7 more runs in the 6th and 7th to put the game completely out of reach. The Bombers hit 5 homers (Villar, Belt, Bautista, Zobrist, Realmuto) and hung on for a 13-3 win.

Down 2-1, Las Vegas tried once more to come back and tie the series. They sent Daniel Norris to face Berea’s Jason Hammel. Jonathan Villar once again keyed a Berea rally, scoring the opening run of the game in the 4th. Berea took a 2-0 lead to the bottom of that frame, but Vegas began to chip away immediately. Trevor Story homered to cut the lead to 2-1 and then this happened in the 5th:

I. SUZUKI facing J. HAMMEL, B 5th, No Outs, Bases Empty, Behind 1-2
HAMMEL winds and fires … it’s deep to left … BAUTISTA’s racing over … he leaps
and it pops out of his glove … the ball rolls away … SUZUKI’s heading for third
they’re waving him home … here’s the relay … and he’s … just safe under the tag
that’s a four-base error … and a run scores … oh man, what a play

I’ve never seen that call before, to be honest. Starling Marte then followed with a solo homer to give Vegas a 3-2 lead. Jason Kipnis’ RBI single in the 6th gave Vegas a 4-2 lead. Jean Segura’s bases-loaded single in the 7th pulled Berea to within 1, but Castellanos was held at 3rd with 2 out. Brandon Belt came to the dish:

B. BELT facing C. ALLEN, T 7th, 2 Outs, Bases Loaded, Behind 3-4
The runners take their lead … the offering … BELT swings for the fences … there it goes
but it’s all in his mind … that ball is lodged firmly in LUCROY’s mitt … side retired
and he leaves the bases loaded … and they get out of it with a big strikeout

 APBA can be cruel. Berea missed the opportunity, and Vegas held on for the 4-3 win.

So Game 5 opened with the series tied at 2. Berea sent their ace back to the hill, and they hoped he would repeat his performance in Game 1. However, Trevor Story hit a 2-run homer in the 1st, his 3rd of the series, to put Vegas on top 2-0. And for a fleeting moment, it looked like Vegas might have swung the series. However, Verlander dug in and Berea came back. Brandon Belt doubled in Villar and Segura in the 3rd inning to tie the game at 2, and then it was Villar again in the 4th:

J. VILLAR facing S. WRIGHT, T 4th, 2 Outs, Runner on 2nd, Tied 2-2
WRIGHT working on ZOBRIST to hold him close … here’s the delivery … poked to left center
base hit … that could be trouble … GROSSMAN and EATON converge … and it’s through
ZOBRIST scores … Bombers have the lead! … and VILLAR’s in to second standing as the throw comes in

Meanwhile, Verlander was allowing nothing, retiring the Effect in order from the 2nd to the 6th inning. There was one more run scored in the game, and it was by MVP Jonathan Villar, who capped his amazing game with a solo homer in the 9th. Berea took a 3-2 series lead with a 4-2 win.

So it was up to Cole Hamels vs. Kenta Maeda in Game 6, and Hamels was up to the challenge this time. Hamels turned in an amazing line of 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 11 K, putting his foot on the Effect’s throat and never letting up. By the time the 5th inning ended, Berea was doing a victory lap, having built up a 6-0 lead. After the thrilling Games 4 and 5, this one was somewhat anti-climactic, as Berea walked to a 9-2 win and their first title.

Congrats once again to Mike and the Berea Bombers, our 2017 Champions!

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2017 RBA Championship Preview

In two days, Las Vegas and Berea will battle for the plaque in the 2017 RBA Championship. Here’s how they got here and how they stack up:

Season Series: Berea won 13-5

Berea Bombers – #1 seed
Managed by: Mike Kapottos
1st Place, Puckett Division, 105-57
Scored 891 runs, allowed 649

Beat #4 Arizona Greenbacks, 4 games to 1, in First Round

Probable Starters:
Justin Verlander: 22-7, 2.76 ERA
Cole Hamels: 19-8, 3.40 ERA
Kevin Gausman: 16-6, 3.56 ERA
Jason Hammel: 14-6, 4.21 ERA

Key Hitters:
JT Realmuto: .330/.374/.507
Jean Segura: .284/.341/.496
Jose Bautista: .291/.393/.483
Brandon Belt: .269/.395/.425
Ben Zobrist: .288/.374/.506

Las Vegas Effect – #2 seed
Managed by: Matt Cooper
1st Place, Larkin Division, 98-64
Scored 901 runs, allowed 693

Beat #3 Dunedin Clear Blues, 4 games to 3, in First Round

Probable Starters:
Trevor Bauer: 12-3, 2.44 ERA
Steven Wright: 9-9, 3.74 ERA
Kenta Maeda: 13-7, 3.70 ERA
Jeff Samardzija: 11-8, 4.17 ERA

Key Hitters:
Freddie Freeman: .280/.364/.506
Josh Donaldson: .300/.380/.570
Starling Marte: .339/.373/.485
Trevor Story: .276/.370/.565
Jason Kipnis: .297/.361/.489

It’s an old-school battle of division winners this season, as we almost certainly have the best two teams in the league vying for the plaque. Will Las Vegas bring home Plaque #2, or will Berea claim their first in their first trip to the playoffs?

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15-Year Tournament – Round 1

I’ll be updating the results of the series here as Round 1 progresses:

#129 2013 Dunedin 3, #128 2011 Ft. Duquesne 0
-2013 Dunedin advances to play #1 2002 Elm Grove

#160 2008 Orlando 3, #97 2003 Rockford 0
-2008 Orlando advances to play #32 2002 Walla Walla

#113 2011 Dunedin 3,  #144 2012 Orlando 1
-Dunedin loses game 1, but wins 3 straight to take the series. Dunedin teams are now 2-0 in the tourney. They advance to play #16 2006 Buffalo.

#145 2011 Atlanta 3, #112 2004 Rockford 2
-Atlanta’s first team in the tourney becomes the first to overcome a 2-0 deficit. So Rockford has now lost to the overall lowest seed and blown a 2-0 series lead. They are 0-2 overall the in tourney. Atlanta advances to face #17 2013 Arizona.

#121 2007 Elm Grove 3, #136 2014 Arizona 2
-Elm Grove and Arizona finally meet in a series, and it was a great one. Arizona tied Game 5 in the 9th inning, but Elm Grove won it in the 10th. 2007 Elm Grove moves on to face #8 2003 Elm Grove.

#104 2003 Chicago 3, #153 2001 Tallahassee 2
-Our 3rd straight 5-Game series goes to Chicago, as they take out down our first original team in the tourney, Tallahassee. 2003 Chicago advances to face #25 2013 SoCal.

#120 2007 Gulf Coast 3, #137 2015 Berea 0
-The expansion Collective advance to play #9 2011 Arizona, while Berea’s only team in the tourney goes down without a win.

#105 2014 State College 3, #152 2012 SoCal 2
-Possibly the worst offense of all time musters enough runs to win 2 games, but the ’14 Cows do advance. They will now play #24 2007 Las Vegas.

#132 2013 Atlanta 3, #125 2008 Elm Grove 1
-Atlanta moves to 2-0 for the tourney overall as they once more overturn a higher seed. The Avalanche advance to play #4 2013 Ft. Duquesne.

#157 2010 State College 3, #100 Louisville 1
-These Cows become the second bottom-four team to advance, as they make easy work of one of two Louisville teams in the bracket. State College moves to 2-0 and this particular team moves on to face #29 2007 State College.

#116 2002 Silver City 3, #141 2003 Las Vegas 2
-This Vegas team was reckoned by some as the actual worst team of all time, but they nearly took down the Vultures. Silver City wins their first series in the tourney and this 2002 team goes on to face another Effect team, #13 2009 Las Vegas.

#109 Rockford 3, #148 2002 Chicago 1
-After losing their first two series, Rockford finally wins one, but they had to face expansion Chicago to do it. Rockford advances to face #20 2011 Silver City.

#124 2015 Arizona 3, #133 2011 Pittsburgh 0
-This makes our recent podcast all the more special, as this Pittsburgh team was Hobbs’ dark horse final four pick. They go down without winning a game, as Arizona goes on to face #5 2006 Elm Grove.

#101 2010 Atlanta 3, #156 2006 Arizona 1
-Atlanta becomes the first team with 3 wins in the tourney, and they do it by picking on a terrible Arizona team. 2010 Atlanta advances to face #28 2008 Silver City.

#117 2014 Pittsburgh 3, #140 2007 Atlanta 2
-Atlanta loses for the first time in the tourney, while Pittsburgh wins for the first time. That ’14 Pittsburgh team advances to face #12 2015 Elm Grove.

#149 2005 Chicago 3, #108 2009 Atlanta 1
-A rather big upset here for 2005 Chicago, as the Wave move to 2-1 for the tournament. Atlanta loses 2 in a row to fall to 3-2 as a franchise. Chicago advances to face #21 2014 Ft. Duquesne.

#130 2013 Pittsburgh 3, #127 2004 Arizona 0
-Much to Hobbs’ chagrin, Pittsburgh sweeps the 2004 Arizona team. The Piranhas are now 3-1 in this first round, while Arizona falls to 1-3. Pittsburgh gets a rough assignment next, as they face #2 2005 State College.

#98 2010 Buffalo 3, #159 2007 Dunedin 1
-’10 Buffalo has no trouble with the second-worst seed in the tourney. Buffalo wins its first game in the bracket, while Dunedin loses their first series to fall to 2-1. Buffalo will now face #31 2012 State College.

#114 2006 Las Vegas 3, #143 2006 State College 1
-In our first of two matchups between Vegas and State College, the Effect cruise to the win. Vegas has its first series win here, and they advance to face #15 2014 Elm Grove.

#146 2009 State College 3, #111 2002 Las Vegas 0
-The Reliever Rotation of Las Vegas’ expansion season takes it on the chin, as State College advances. The Cows are now 3-1 in the tourney. These 2009 Cows will now face #18 2010 Arizona.

#135 2004 Baltimore 3, #122 2002 Baltimore

#103 2014 Las Vegas 3, #154 2011 Baltimore

#119 2003 Baltimore vs #138 2010 Orlando

#106 2007 Chicago vs #151 2004 State College

 

 

 

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RBA 15-Year Tournament

It is with great fanfare and excitement that I renew my posts on this, the RBA Blog. As you’ve seen in your email, the reason for this renewal is the massive 15-Year Tournament, which will be taking place over the next six months.

Here, I’ll try my best to keep you informed of the day-to-day action of the tournament.

Day 1:

#128 2011 Ft. Duquesne
#129 2013 Dunedin

and

#97 2003 Rockford
#160 2008 Orlando

After today, I’ll post both the results and the games for the upcoming day. The winner of our first series today faces the #1 seed 2002 Elm Grove Cardinals. The winner of our second series faces the #32 seed 2002 Walla Walla Koalas.

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2012 RBA Championship Preview

We are less than two hours from the commencement of RBA Saturday, which includes the 2012 RBA Championship. This season it will be contested by two teams who are both looking for their first title. Ft. Duquesne came into the league originally as the Chicago Wave, who never made the playoffs in their 7 years of existence. This is the Corsairs’ 2nd playoff appearance in their 4 years in the league, and their first trip to the Championship Series. Dunedin entered in the 2007 expansion, making this their 6th RBA season. The Clear Blues have been unquestionably the most successful of those 3 expansion franchises, as they are the only one to even make the postseason as yet. This is their 3rd trip to the playoffs and their 2nd trip to the Championship Series. In 2009, Dunedin lost to Las Vegas in what is the Effect’s only title to date.

The 2012 Ft. Duquesne Corsairs entered this postseason with the #1 seed and best record in the league at 53-28. They rode strong starting pitching, a powerful offense, and a bolstered bullpen to the Puckett Division crown. With their 1-2 punch of Kershaw and Verlander, they are a formidable opponent for any team, but their 3rd and 4th starters give them a chance to win any game. In their first round series against State College, Ft. Duquesne had to endure a mediocre Game 1 start from their ace and PMA winner Clayton Kershaw, but Ben Zobrist’s 11th inning HR walked them off with an opening victory. Justin Verlander proved equal to the task in Game 2, as Ft. Duquesne took a 2-0 series lead with a 4-1 win. The Cows snagged their only victory of the series in Game 3, in another extra inning affair, as Prince Fielder hit a walkoff HR in the 12th inning. And though the series only went 5 games, it was thrilling in many areas and will perhaps become exemplified by Game 4. Remarkably, it was the 3rd extra inning match of the series, and it was indeed the game on which the entire series turned. State College rode the momentum of Game 3 to hang 5 runs on Ryan Vogelsong in the first 2 innings, taking a 5-0 lead to the 6th. The Cows appeared to have a tied series well in hand. However, the Corsairs mounted an incredible comeback, first forcing extras, and then winning it with 4 in the top of the 10th. State College succumbed to Kershaw in Game 5, losing 4-1 to end the series.

The Dunedin Clear Blues came into the playoffs with the #2 seed and a 52-29 record. They coasted to the Larkin title, leading that division for most of the season, but they had to hold off a charging Elm Grove Cardinals squad in both the stretch run and the playoffs. Elm Grove was confident coming into the series based on their second half performance, the best in the RBA, and they followed this up with a 4-1 win in Game 1 behind their ace, Felix Hernandez. However, it was at that point that Dunedin found the close game magic that might carry forward into the Championship. Mixing and matching pitchers, they held off the Cardinal offense time and again. They took Game 2 4-2 behind their ace, Jered Weaver, and then Game 3 2-1 behind a remarkable performance by Jair Jurrjens. Once more, as usual, Game 4 was the keystone of the series. Dunedin used a different pitcher for each cycle through the Cardinal lineup, bringing them to the 9th inning tied at 2. And in that inning it was Cameron Maybin who hit a 2-out pinch-hit HR to give Dunedin the pivotal Game 4 win. And in Game 5, Dunedin pulled off one of the most remarkable closing games in playoff history, winning in resounding fashion, 8-0.

Both teams enter the RBA Championship after winning their divisions and then their first playoff series in 5 games. And for the first time since 2008, we have a matchup of teams that have played each other before in the postseason. In 2009, Dunedin and Ft. Duquesne faced off in the first round, in one of the more thrilling series to date. Ft. Duquesne won the first two games at home behind Justin Verlander and AJ Burnett before Dunedin charged back to tie the series with 7-0 and 8-2 wins in Games 4 and 5. The Corsairs took a 3-2 series advantage back to Ft. Duquesne by winning Game 5, but Dunedin prevailed with wins in those final two games. Joey Votto and Ryan Braun, as now, were big bats in Dunedin’s 4 wins, but the key shot was Mark DeRosa’s stunning 9th inning HR in Game 7. With Dunedin down 5-4 in that frame, DeRosa hit a 2-run HR to turn the deficit and send the Blues to their first RBA Championship series. Holdovers from that series include the aforementioned Braun and Votto, Dunedin hurlers Lester, Weaver and Jurrjens, Verlander, Kershaw, Pujols and Napoli on the Ft. Duquesne side. Ben Zobrist played for Dunedin and Placido Polanco played for Ft. Duquesne. Both have now switched allegiances.

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