Zion Nuclear Gnatts Season Review

Pre draft reflection:

I had just won the coveted Spit Cup with the Black River Falls Anti Arctic Cats. The philosophy behind that team was raw power & on base average. They had some base running speed but were definitely driven with power. Glaus, Guerrero, Ramirez, Hill, Klesko, Edmonds, Chuck J.

But BaRF was handicapped with a redheaded stepchild pitching staff. There were some pluses on the staff yet oh so many negatives. Randy Johnson and his mullet was their leader. Not much of a starting staff after him. He pitched extremely well down the stretch and was the winning pitcher in game 5 of the World Series - our final game. Ray King led the relief core. High grade. Very little games. Very little innings. He pitched the final inning of the series - leaving a runner stranded on 3rd while pitching the final out. Those were the only good pitchers. Benitez, Shetter, Colon, Burba, Heredia, Kohlmeier etc we all know the names - not too much to brag about.

Some how I managed. Luck of the dice. Hot at the right time. Figured out how to win with my team. I don't know. All I know is that the team with the tons of power, high on base pct and a bastard pitching staff somehow managed to achieve the coveted Grail.


So with that in mind I decided to scrap my lifelong 'might is right' and draft a fantastic staff. Z's, G's and +3's [of course, there are no starting pitchers that have those three peripherals - four relievers Mesa, Patterson, Vosberg (H) and Lorenzo Barcelo (H) and Vosberg and Barcelo didn't make any sense to select]. The offensive strategy would be something of some power, good average, great base running speed with high stealing pct guys. All this, without managing to leave serious holes in my defense. Anyways, everyone can see how the draft went. At the end, all of my players could run OK and steal efficiently (except Gonzo shouldn't steal) and some proficiently. Even both catchers. The only single digit base runner in my everyday lineup was Sweeney (8). I thought I had created a good bench with plenty of pinch runners, some pop and no poor defensive players. Hollandsworth could even fill in for Walker and could bat in the middle of the lineup while Larry misses the 20 games. Oh, and by the way, at the time a neutral Steve Swinea suggested that I select Mesa at the time I did. Thank you Steve.

I ended up with one Z on the staff. Yikes! Red flags all around. 3 W's! I did have some solace in the fact that the league hits and runs so much that some walks are eliminated and that this season did not have a lot of huge walk guys. Bonds yes. Some others sure. But not too many teams could string together a bunch of 100 base on ball guys as had been the case in some recent seasons. Fortunately, my entire staff except '3 and out Hampton' and 'I think I will allow some unearned runs Van Poppel' had G home run rating and Nelson an H.


Strangest season to date. I moved. No Country Club. Chris had no computer. I really wasn't connected for some time. Never thought anything would finish and the kicker; no Steve. Steve I hope you are in the league forever. I feel that it is great that you had a heart to heart with Taz. But, if anyone on could play 5 seasons without letting his wife know it would be you.

Anyways. Bob gets off to a great start. We are playing games. Oddly, at the 40 game mark I am asked if I will make any Free Agent moves. I hadn't even thought about it and make no changes.

Eventually, I move to Colorado. The league pretty much comes to a halt and I am stuck on 70 games. Slow moving. I am doing this stupid temp paper route job and my sleep and evenings are all screwed up and I have no rhythm to my days/nights. Fortunately, I get to Graham's house and get 10 in against Graham and Matt. Back in the saddle.

Some key games get my team going. Game 88 - facing the Dogs. Shumpert hits a grand slam against Stanton and a 5-2 deficit turns into a 8-5 win. Game 91. Huge series - against Chris. I don't remember how many games separated us but it wasn't that much. Savoy is up 8-1 in the third. I get one in the 5th. In the 7th, Craig Wilson hits a grand slam and my team rides the momentum and wins the game 10-8. I manage to win the series 8-2 and create some serious separation between our teams.

Semi Finals

Vs Bob. I struggled against him all season 5-15. Fortunately, Alomar and Ichiro decide that they don't want to get on base in the same manner as they had all season and Bob's offense is shut down. I advance.


Vs Chris. 12-9 against him in the regular season. I felt I had the best starting staff going into the playoffs as Hampton was not required to pitch and Wood was only there to pitch game 4 of each series. The rest would be done by my big 3 Zito, Garcia and Ortiz. I felt comfortable with each on the mound.

I win 4 games to three coming back amazingly four times in game 7. During that game -three times in extra innings.

Some things still amaze me about the 7th game. No hit thru 7. 4 comebacks. Of all people, Jose Cruz gets three clutch hits. Eric Chavez commits his first error of the season during the 7th game of the Series.

Eric Chavez and Jose Cruz

These two were going to be the subject of whatever I wrote as most of the season I would sit and wonder why they were selected. Both have terrible on base percentages. Neither did much most of the season. Cruz was stealing some bases but was never really on first to steal. Then all of a sudden Cruz hits 8 home runs in a ten game series against Keith and his stats didn't look all that horrible.


4th CF selected. I debated whether to take him or Cameron. I did not like Cameron's SA-3 but did like his OF-3 32 arm. I selected Cruz based on his XBH. At the time of the writing compared to other CF he finished 2nd in runs scored. 3rd in RBI. Tied for 1st in HR. 2nd in steals. Bernie Williams scored more runs but he had Berkman and Sosa hitting behind him not Chavez and Cabrera. So, in my mind, Cruz has somehow done himself justice. He managed to score runs from the 6th spot in the lineup.


I actually had him batting 6th and Cruz 7th for most of the first half of the season. I switched them because I did not want the lefty SA-5's (Klesko) back to back. I don't know if it had any large overall affect on my team but I did it anyways. In the beginning of the draft, I had wanted Rolen, Chavez or Glaus. Rolen was the ideal but it did not work out. I debated between Glaus's OBP and Power and Chavez's Power and defense. Defense won.

Chavez was cruising along at about .210 .260 .405 - started hitting a little and finished at .233 .276 .445. He was the in the middle of the pack of third basemen offensively. His justification. He was hands down the best defensive thirdbaseman. Gold Glove. 26 DP's. Zero Errors. Rolen was closest to him and had 7 errors.

'The' Bench

I thoroughly enjoyed it. One error though. I selected Lankford instead of Devon White - for some reason I missed White and Keith jumped on him. Oh well. In my final series against Keith, White hit a walk off home run against me and Lankford hit one against him - fair enough. Lankford hit 3 home runs. All three were walkoff homers.

Ultra flexibility. 3 catchers. 5 1B. 4 2B. 6 SS. 4 3B. 4 CF. 9 OF. Center field games were limited but whoever was playing there I had no plans of pinch running, hitting etc. Wilson, Shumpert and Lankford did most of the PH. Not the greatest but I think they did fine in the end.

McLemore and the middle infielderman march

For some reason when he was drafted, I think some GM's were under the impression that he was going to play SS. In a thin selection of 2B, he was selected to lead off and play 2B for his 125 games. He has been a joy. Multi positional. 124 2b, 11 SS 14 OF. Pure fun. McLemore and Cruz had the same MLB rc/g 6.8. Mack has a much higher rc/g in the SL (6.1 to 4.8) but finished with 5 less runs scored than Cruz in 10 less PA.

Player		PA's	GIDP	SB	CS
Cabrera	604	1	16	7
McLemore	576	0	53	10
Shumpert	221	0	21	5
Graffanino	86	0	5	2
Sanchez	8	0	17	1

The above logged every inning on my team at middle infield. A grand total of 1 GIDP.


No Z's exept for Mesa. 3 W's. Everyone actually pitched better than I expected. Zito, Ortiz and Garcia logged a lot of innings with 13,17 and 12 wins respectively. Starting staff led the league in HR/9 1.31. Relief staff led the league in HR/9 1.02. The team led 1.21 HR/9- the rest of the league was bunched together between 1.45 and 1.63. 4.0 BB/9 was by far the worst. Fortunately, my staff was keeping the ball in the ballpark.


3rd in defense. 2nd in ERA. 2nd in Runs Scored. 3rd in run differential (behind Savoy and Gretna). 3rd in runs scored 7+ inning or later.


Who will know what will be in store for next season. I always look forward to the next season. I am the two time defending champ and may be the target of others.

Good luck to all! Happy drafting!