Two Blokes and A Fantasy: Initial Panderings

•March 28, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Jared: (March 17)

Ok so this idea is brilliant. We talk about so many stupid things during the season that this will be a good reference point for us next year when we’re sweating bullets about our draft and our season. Even though we’re stealing the basic idea from Stephen King and Stewart O’Nan I think our memoir will have a better ring to it. Plus, what fantasy baseball season isn’t better than a retelling of a team breaking an 86-year curse and winning the World Series? I was thinking about my draft styles and I realized something. I suck at drafting. Even when I appraised my team this year after the draft and thought I had a pretty good group, it’s the whole ‘drafting early’ thing that gets to me when I scrutinize every aspect of my team because all I have are projections and last year’s stats. I don’t think I can be convinced this year that I have a worthwhile team. It keeps getting weaker year after year.

Greg:  (March 17)

I think our major problem is that we just can’t wait to start every year, and after several spring training games I start second guessing all of my picks.  I know the draft would look very different if we held it again today and the season has yet to begin.  Kris Medlen is already out for the season and I believe a few other guys have been hurt as well.  Maybe next year we should hold it after spring training has already started.  If we can advance from the whiteboard drafts to an online draft I think we should be able to make this change.  Is there anyone you already regret drafting?

Jared: (March 17)

Our whiteboard draft was revolutionary. We’ve had a lot of stupid ideas and projects over the years but the random idea that popped up while walking through the aisles of Wal-Mart may have been our “Ark of the Covenant” of ideas. Too bad we had to see it go.

I agree with you on the whole idea of waiting until Spring Training is underway. Our early draft is just another consequence of our desire for the season to start. Maybe we can call up the commish and get them to change the start of the season to early March. Robbie has already lamented his frustration with our early draft several times. He’s already lost Medlen for the year (like you said), but he’s also lost Jarrod Parker for the year and he doesn’t even know it yet. I’m sure I’ll hear from him when he learns of it. He’s complaining about finding new guys to fill those vacant spots when he has Clayton Kershaw in his rotation. I wasn’t aware you needed somebody else?

As for your inquiry about my regretting draft choices, I think I regret every choice that came after Joey Votto… So picks 3-25. But in hindsight I think I would have held off on drafting Matt Kemp and Josh Hamilton. When you’re continually plagued by nagging injuries in Spring Training after an entire offseason of rest, thats a little disconcerting.

 

Greg: (March 17)

Well of course I am already regretting half of my team I drafted, I feel that I have too many young guns in my pitching staff.  I really set out to draft young guys this year to avoid the more injury prone veterans.  Last year I had a few guys starting on the DL or DTD list, and as off right now I only have one listed as DTD and it’s nothing serious.  Troy Tulowitzki is the one guy who is not at 100% for me, but really I knew the risk when I picked him as my keeper.  I would also like to add in here how upset I was that Robbie stole Hamilton right before I was about to take him, I think that guy is gonna be a stud and I really could have used the stolen bases.

 

Jared: (March 17)

Young guns are the name of the game though. I’m always torn between trying to trust an established veteran or to take a risk on a young guy and hope he has a large upside. In season’s past, my best pitchers have been the younger guys. Although I’m not sure its responsible to consider Kershaw two years ago as a “young gun”. Last season my two best pitchers were Matt Harvey, who was a rookie, and Yu Darvish, who was in just his second season. That being said, the presence of veteran guys is important, because if I had to choose, I’d take James Shields and Cliff Lee any day, because they are solid every single year. I’ve had Lee twice now and this is the third time I’ll have had James Shields and both guys have yet to disappoint.

 

Jared: (March 17)

Yeah I’m a firm believer in the youth movement for that very reason. Typically the youthful guys are less of an injury risk, although I was snake bitten by two rookies last year; Machado and Harvey. For me, it breaks down this way: If a guy is young, I’m more likely to take a shot at him because he’s typically less injury prone and most top prospects have high ceilings. When I do have to decide whether or not I want to draft a more veteran guy, I look at two big things: Consistency and proneness to injury. For me, health is a big deal because the nagging injuries can really affect your stats, and consistency speaks volumes about a player’s work ethic and the stats that they’ll put up. Thats why I’ll always make Joey Votto a priority. Not to mention James Shields like I said earlier. Shields has notched 200 + innings every year since 2007, that’s impressive. Not to mention he’s had better than 150 strikeouts in all of those years, as well as only having an ERA above 4.00 twice. To me, that spells consistency and durability. That’s the key component I look for when I reach for a veteran guy.

 

Two Blokes and A Fantasy: Introduction

•March 26, 2014 • Leave a Comment

The American League lEast

 

The following is the personal correspondence between Jared Yttrup and Greg Boberg that follows the 2014 fantasy baseball league season:

 

Jared:

The first thing I should do is give some background information. I’m a baseball fanatic. As is my best friend and longtime partner in crime, Greg Boberg. About three years ago we started a Fantasy Baseball league among a group of our friends. It started with five of us, two of whom didn’t know anything about the game of baseball (it’s a miracle what following ESPN’s top 300 list can do for someone). In our inaugural season we bolstered our roster size to 30 players, so as not to leave All-Stars in the free agent bin. Not surprisingly, I made away with the league championship with an overwhelming 17-3-2 record. I started slow but didn’t lose a game after the 3rd of June. We created a league trophy and compiled league stats to compose weekly power rankings that we kept track of.

The initial success of our league was awesome, so the second year we added three more members. All three of these new guys had extensive baseball knowledge, and our two unseasoned guys had had a full year of exposure to baseball. This season would be different and from the get go. Our rosters were reduced back to 25 players, much like a regular baseball team; 13 position players, 12 pitchers. Justin Niebuhr (one of our members who wasn’t versed in the knowledge of baseball) absolutely slammed everybody. Between he and our other unknowledgable member, their combined record after five games was 8-2. Meanwhile, Robbie Enos and I (the two most knowledgeable members (no offense Greg) had a combined 4-5-1. Niebuhr’s dominance continued as our rivalry grew. Following a 2012 season in which we had tied twice, he beat me twice to my one win in the 2013 regular season. I rebounded from a rough start for the second straight year and finished 15-7-1, while Niebuhr managed an 18-5 record. We matched up in the championship game and though I had lost Matt Harvey, Manny Machado, Allen Craig and Joe Mauer to injury, I thoroughly beat him for my second straight title.

Now comes this season. Our rosters are still 25 players; 12 position players, 9 pitchers and three bench spots. We’re still an 8-team league and our rivalry is even more heated this season than the years before.

With that behind us, I realized that we lived vicariously through our fantasy teams. It was all that we talked about during the season, at least for Greg and I. This season, we decided to keep a correspondence of our experiences and conversations. We break down every little aspect and matchup during the year. The draft, team names, transactions, and even trash talk are all things that we tackle on a daily basis. Occasionally you’ll see some celebrity shots from other members of the league, but mainly, you’ll see the everyday banter between Greg Boberg and myself (Jared Yttrup). This is our experience… This is the American League lEast.

Two Blokes and a Fantasy

•March 26, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I’m going into my third season of being immersed in a Fantasy Baseball league and I have absolutely loved it. My career goal is to become a sports journalist and in particular, work for a Major League Baseball team. One major thing I can take from running a Fantasy Baseball league is that it has opened me up to analyzing player stats to a whole new degree. I’ve always been rather meticulous in my love for stats, but playing Fantasy Baseball has caused me to really hone in on what makes a player great and; furthermore, what makes a team great. I’ve started focusing on guys outside of the Boston Red Sox sport’s bubble and have grown in my love for the game and all 30 teams that play America’s pastime.

For the next couple of months, my blog is going to be almost completely transformed into one that focuses on Fantasy Baseball. My best friend and I have decided that our almost obsessive compulsiveness over our league just has to be documented. Throughout the season we’ll come together to discuss our weekly match ups, player ratings, transactions and trades and the baseball season in general.

Greg Boberg and I are sharing a “Google Doc” and adding our commentary to our fantasy season and I figured it was all for not, if I didn’t give somebody else the opportunity to read our raving and ranting. Bear with me, because our format is a bit scattered, but we hope you enjoy our story and our experience through our Fantasy Baseball league, “The American League lEast”.

WJU Feature Story: Ashley Rose

•March 18, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Leadership is a trait that you’re born with and for William Jessup Warriors senior, Ashley Rose, leadership is something that has been within her every year since she stepped foot on the hardwood. A native of Manteca, California, Ashley is a fifth year senior at Jessup and has been with the Lady Warriors basketball squad each of those years.

Ashley has been a leader on the team throughout her career and encompasses the work ethic and ability that it takes to be a star while remaining humble both on and off the court. “The biggest thing about coming to Jessup was being able to make my faith my own. Really coming here, I was really able to have my own relationship with Jesus. That’s the biggest thing that I’ll take out of here.”

Even though Ashley takes center stage each and every game her goal is still the same. “In any leadership role, you’re held to a higher standard and that puts pressure on you. But at the same time it’s a great honor to have that type of pressure.” Ashley has been a leader every year that she’s been with the squad including her red shirt season her junior year and has been an integral part of the Warriors reaching the Championship game in the CALPAC conference tournament twice in the last four years.

During her career at Jessup, Ashley has compiled a highly impressive stat line, averaging 14.6 points per game to go along with 2.8 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game. She’s been a proven scorer throughout her career and was named the CALPAC Player of the Year following the 2011 season.

To go along with her stellar numbers, Ashley holds a number of records for William Jessup; including the most field goals, three-pointers and free throws made. She also holds the record for the most points scored in school history, and her senior season still hasn’t come to a close. Though the accolades are impressive, Ashley was quick to assess the credit to coach Guin Boggs, who has been in charge for as long as Ashley has been at Jessup. “For me, its never been about my points or any accolades. It represents how hard I work in the offseason and during the season. It’s more of a reflection about coach Boggs. If the awards mean anything, they mean how much time he has invested in me. If anybody deserves all of those points, it’s him.”

Though she is the bonafide leader of the team, Ashley has remained as humble as ever and her character shows through in the words she speaks and the way she carries the team. Though there have been many games during her career, the best ones aren’t the ones where the shots keep dropping for the all-time points leader. “I think the greatest games that I’ve played are where we’ve come out to such a big lead that players that don’t really get the opportunity to play get to get in and have a good time.”

Being able to give the entire team an opportunity to play and be an essential part of the team is an experience that’ll never be wasted on Ashley. “As a starter and somebody that gets a lot of minutes, you tend to take for granted that opportunity and get a sense of entitlement. In my junior year I red shirted and I truly began to realize what it meant to have to sit out and actually watch every game, and realize that there are people on my team that do that every single day and still come in with a positive attitude. Those are the games where I feel like I want to work my hardest just so they can get it. I know how much it means to play and to allow them to have that opportunity is a lot of fun.”

Through all the changes that both the men’s and women’s programs have experienced the past several years at Jessup, one thing that has always been a constant for Ashley is her faith both on and off the court. Being at Jessup has helped to mold the athlete and person that she is. “Before this, I played basketball for myself and now I play basketball for Jesus. I play to give him the glory. You’re still a competitor and you still want to win the game but at the end of the day, this is an opportunity where you’re worshipping Christ. My opportunity day in and day out is that I get to worship God through basketball.”

The Lady Warriors stand at 6-4 in league play and third place behind Menlo College and La Sierra. Ashley will lead the Warriors into their final two league games against Pacific Union College this Thursday and Cal Maritime on Saturday as they make one final run at the CALPAC title.

Men’s Rocklin High School Vs. Granite Bay High School Recap

•March 18, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Rocklin, Ca      The Rocklin Thunder rolled to an impressive 64-48 win over the visiting Granite Bay Grizzlies Friday night, to wrap up the first half of league play.

Both squads entered the matchup with 2-2 records in league and 11-10 overall on the season, in a dead heat for third in the competitive Sierra Foothill League.

The Thunder were led by junior Evan Gustafson who tallied 15 points on 14 shots. The big man worked effectively in the paint throughout, drawing five trips to the foul line during the contest.

The Grizzlies came into the game on the heels of an impressive win over Woodcreek High School who sits in second place in the league standings. The Grizzlies had an opportunity to move into second place with a win over Rocklin but came up short.

Rocklin jumped out to a quick lead, taking advantage of 8 team fouls called against Granite Bay in the first quarter. The Thunder led 21-14 after the first before Granite Bay cut the lead to six.

Thunder guard Max O’Rourke ignited the Rocklin offense with a clutch three-point play on a drive to the hoop that put Rocklin back up by double digits.

The Grizzlies offense was paced by standout freshman Darren Nelson who racked up 11 points on 4/9 shooting, while amassing 4 blocks during the game.

After taking a 35-20 lead into the half, the Thunder jumped into the second half as quickly as they finished the first.

O’Rourke converted on another three-point play to open the second half as he finished with 12 points overall while shooting a perfect 4/4 from the field.

The Grizzlies cut the lead to nine going into the fourth quarter following a flurry of shots from guard Collin McHale, who finished with 11 points in the game.

The Thunder defense came out strong in the fourth as they held the Grizzlies to just 10 points and forced four turnovers.

Granite Bay got cut the deficit to as close as seven before Rocklin senior Cole Bridge hit back to back threes as part of a 9-0 Rocklin run.

The Grizzlies look ahead to a matchup with Roseville High School next Friday night at home. The Tigers sport a 12-10 record overall but are just 1-4 in league. Granite Bay outlasted Roseville 68-60 in its first matchup of the season.

With the Thunder eyeing a playoff spot they travel to Del Oro High School for a tough matchup next Friday. The Golden Eagles of Del Oro boast a 5-0 record in league and are 21-1 overall.

Rocklin came up just short in their first matchup as they fell short 64-61 in overtime.

 

Granite Bay    14       6          18       10       48

Rocklin            21       14       12       17       64

Women’s Rocklin High School Vs. Granite Bay High School Recap

•March 18, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Rocklin, CA     The Lady Grizzlies held off a furious late rally by the Rocklin Thunder for a 60-57 win Friday night on Rocklin’s home floor.

The Grizzlies were in control from the get go as they moved to 3-2 on the season with the win. The record moves them to third in the Sierra Foothill League as they set their sights on a playoff berth.

The Thunder were led by junior Kelsey Summers who led all scorers with 21 points on 8/15 shooting.

The Grizzlies jumped out to a quick lead behind the hot hand of senior Jennifer Manduca who scored seven of her 17 points in the first quarter.

The game looked to be out of hand as Granite Bay took a 23-11 lead into the second quarter but the Thunder fought back and outscored the Grizzlies 16-12 in the quarter and trailed by eight at the end of the first half.

Sophomore Jordan Purvis starred for Rocklin as she collected 16 points on 6/12 shooting. She finished with four three-pointers.

Granite Bay regained control in the third quarter, as they were steadily led by sophomore Daeja Black who scored six of Granite Bay’s 14 points in the quarter. Black finished with a team high 18 points on 7/20 shooting.

With a 49-39 lead going into the fourth quarter, the Grizzlies just needed to cruise to the finish but Rocklin put up a fight and things were complicated when starting center Annie Wright fouled out of the game early in the quarter.

Kelsey Summers took over in the fourth as she made two clutch three-pointers and brought Rocklin back into the game. The Thunder forced six turnovers in the quarter as they outscored Granite Bay 18-11 in the final period.

Rocklin cut the lead to 58-55 with less than a minute to go before Manduca hit a clutch two to put the Grizzlies back up by 5.

Summers was fouled on a three point shot and had a chance to tie the game from the free throw line but the shorts didn’t fall and Granite Bay held on to close the game out.

Rocklin looks ahead to a matchup with Del Oro High School next Friday.  The Golden Eagles cruised to a 65-49 win the last time the two teams met and they currently hold second place in the league with a 3-1 record.

Coming off of back-to-back wins, the Grizzlies will look to push their record over .500 when they play host to the 0-5 Roseville Tigers next Friday night. The Grizzlies scored a season high 75 points as they beat Roseville in their first matchup this season.

Men’s Rocklin High School @ Del Oro High School Recap

•March 18, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Rocklin, CA     A spirited rally fell short, as the Rocklin Thunder varsity squad couldn’t overcome the Del Oro High School Golden Eagles Friday night on the road.

The Eagles continued their string of dominance in the Sierra Foothill League as they outlasted Rocklin 56-45. The Thunder knew they had a tall order coming into the game after falling to the Eagles 64-61 in their first meeting of the year.

Rocklin kept the wealth spread as four players went for better than 5 points but the Eagles defense forced 14 turnovers and held the Thunder to 16 less points than the first time the two teams met.

The Thunder were led by senior Cole Bridge who continued his impressive play with 9 points including a pair of big three pointers in the fourth quarter.

The Thunder were dominated in the first half as they were held to just 5 points in the first quarter and 4 in the second quarter while the Eagles jumped out to a huge 25-9 lead at halftime.

The defense for the Thunder looked heavily improved from the first matchup but the offense didn’t follow suit. The defense forced the Eagles into 17 turnovers throughout the game but only managed to come up with points on six of those turnovers.

“We just didn’t get over that hump, we couldn’t turn a stop into a score” Rocklin Coach Casey Cutts stated.

Despite trailing by 16 at the half, the Thunder kept battling and started the second half out on a 5-0 run while piling up 18 points in the third quarter; double what they had the entire first half.

Thunder senior Wes Preece logged seven points on 2/5 shooting and connected on all three shots from the free throw line. He also came up with three steals in the game.

The Eagles got the ball rolling quick as they jumped out to a 9-0 lead at the start of the game. Thing continued to click for Del Oro as their monstrous first half was capped off by a huge alley-oop dunk to 6’8” senior Connor Drake.

The Eagles pushed their lead back to 17 early in the fourth quarter before Cole Bridge hit a three and Rocklin scored 6 unanswered points.

8 of Del Oro’s 17 turnovers were forced by the Thunder defense in the fourth quarter but the offense couldn’t outdo the Eagle as both squads put up 18 points in the fourth quarter

Del Oro hosts rival Granite Bay High School next Friday at home and looks to improve to 7-0 in league and 23-1 overall this season as they continue their quest for a state bid. The Eagles dismantled the Grizzlies 57-40 the first time the two teams met.

The Thunder had a two game win streak snapped with the loss and fell to 3-3 in league play. They’ll look to get back on track next Friday night as they travel to Nevada Union High School and take on the 1-5 Miners.

The Thunder lit up the scoreboard with an 83-63 win over Nevada Union the first time the two teams met but coach Cutts doesn’t plan to underestimate them this time. “The thing about the SFL is its one of the toughest leagues around and every team is solid. We’re going to have to prepare for them the same way we did for Del Oro and every other team.”

 
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