Midwest 6 – Midseason Report
Observations through 45 games
When starting a project like this, I worry that I haven’t done enough research or made the teams balanced enough and one team will run away from the pack. That almost happened when Pittsburgh got on a roll and won nine straight to get to 17-9. Since then, they have regressed back to the pack and are battling Chicago for first place in the North.
I am delighted with the parity in the league. Through 45 games, all teams have at least twenty victories and are within four games of each other. One thing that I have noticed is that the teams with the three best records have the best splits against right-handed pitching. I envision a few minor trades to try and balance out the lineups and see how that plays out in the second half.
I cringe, at times, when I see one of the legendary pitchers in the league getting lit up. Hilton Smith has long been the pitcher that I gravitate towards cheering for and he has had a very rough season to date:
15 Starts, 6-5 record, 5.40 ERA, 12 HR allowed, 1.52 WHIP
Bullet Joe Rogan
5 Starts, 1-7 record, 8.21 ERA, 49.1 IP, 81 Hits allowed, 2.13 WHIP
Matching up out of the bullpen can be difficult at times with the lack of lefties in the set and most of them have minor reverse splits to their card (1R for example). Chicago has had the best bullpen at the midpoint, with Donaldson (5L) and Cockrell (1R) leading the way.
Struggling at the Plate
The baseball is usually jumping around the ballpark as the slugging All Stars batter the ball all over the place. A few have surprisingly struggled so far this season:
.237 BA, 9HR, 27 RBI’s
.201 BA, 0HR, 10 RBI’s
Oscar Heavy Johnson
.243 BA, 2HR, 20 RBI’s
.218 BA, 3HR, 24 RBI’s
Good Luck is about all that I can say. With catcher’s arms all on the strong side and most of the pitchers have outstanding hold ratings, it is hard to replicate the running ways of the traditional Negro League. Pete Hill had a lot of success early but has cooled down as of late. Success rates are averaging, for the top base stealers, in the range of 1-11 at most, 1-8 normally. Hard to send runners in most situations with a 40% chance of being safe.
Chicago trades Newt Joseph to Memphis for Jimmy Crutchfield. Gives Memphis a late inning defensive replacement for Beckwith. Gives Chicago some outfield depth off the bench.
Kansas City trades Jelly Gardner to Pittsburgh for Jerry Benjamin. Trade backup centerfielders to help against splits for both teams.
St. Louis trades Tank Carr to Chicago for Ben Taylor. A swap of first basemen that will help righty/lefty splits for both teams.
Three team pitcher trade, Kansas City moves DD Radcliffe to Pittsburgh, giving Pittsburgh a second catcher on the roster. Pittsburgh, in turn, sends Bullet Joe Rogan to Memphis to provide some outfield depth to their roster. Memphis, would then, send Dick Redding to Kansas City to give their bullpen three arms.
Indianapolis trades Chaney White to Pittsburgh for Fats Jenkins. Jenkins should get more playing time in Indy. White provides speed and a late inning defensive replacement for Pittsburgh
Chicago trades Bruce Petway to Kansas City for Oscar Heavy Johnson. Neither team has much use for backup catchers (Gibson and Mackey) and Johnson should get a chance to play more in Chicago.
The biggest trade proposal…Kansas City moves Bill Monroe and Pete Hill to Pittsburgh for Dobie Moore and Hurley McNair. Teams swap their CF and SS in a move that should help both teams splits.