Congrats to the 39 year old Las Vegas Viper, Jose Contreras on his no hitter today against the New York Kings!
— Official ULB (@ULB_Commish) February 28, 2015
Vipers hire Chris Stephans as their new GM. Welcome to Vegas, Chris!
— Official ULB (@ULB_Commish) February 20, 2015
What is fair market value for a superstar these days? Over the last few seasons, the Las Vegas Vipers have gone out to get two big free agents on the open market. They gave Ryan Anderson a record contract, and signed Adam Shorsher to another big deal last season.
Combined with Ichiro Suzuki (Perhaps the best player in the ULB, mind you…) they have a combined 93,670,000 tied up in these three players.
According to WAR (Wins Above Replacement), Shorsher was worth 6 wins above a replacement player. Ryan Anderson was worth 8.8. Ichiro, had he played a full season and not gotten injured, could have been worth 6. (He was worth 3.0 in 82 games.) That’s a combined 21 WAR for these three players. That’s $4,460,476 per win.
We’ll use that number as an extremely expensive baseline.
David Zed was worth 4.8 wins last season over in the MLB. Free Agent Market Value according to the Vipers would have been $22,302,380. Looks like the Mavs overpaid him by about $5,000,000. How about Jim Thome? He was worth 7.7 WAR last season for the Blue Jays and was worth $34,345,665. Looks like the Fire got a potential bargain for him, paying him about half of what he’s worth potentially.
Of course, these numbers aren’t a guarantee that a player will perform. They could get old (Thome) or skyrocket to superstardom (Zed). The key factor is that no one can really predict the future. Anything can and will happen. The Vipers rolled the dice and spent big and ending up losing 89 games last season. The Fire lost 101 games in 2009 and the Mavs have had two losing seasons after ending up in the plus column for 13 years.
Vipers' Ichiro Suzuki will miss 6 weeks with a hamstring strain. Was hurt running the bases in game vs. Crickets.
— Official ULB (@ULB_Commish) September 8, 2014
The 2008 ULB All Star Game Voting Period has ended, and here are the winners for the 14th edition of the ULB Classic.
C Alfonso Delgado PHO
1B Alex Crooks OKC
2B Gerard King LV
3B John McCurdy SJJ
SS Stephen Drew CHA
OF Josh Hamilton MIL
OF Mark Folsom CHA
OF Ichiro Suzuki LV
DH Kenneth Payne PHO
C Andy Burress WAS
1B Eron Morrow POR
2B C.J. Henry NO
3B Mark Schramek JC
SS Mike Peeples SJS
OF Jason Kubel LAS
OF Jason Harrison SL
OF Albert Pujols HOU
DH Jody Gerut JC
The ULB Playoffs will be set is just 8 days, and there is plenty of excitement in three of the four divisions. With the Charlotte Eagles as the lone team that has clinched their division outright, everything is still up for grabs in the rest of the league.
The Federal League East Champonship is suddenly in doubt as the Buffalo Blizzard and New Orleans Pelicans have gained significant ground on the Jersey City Giants in recent weeks. While the Giants will begin the final full week of the season with a 3 game winning streak, they’ll have one game vs the always awful Generals and then face the Salt Lake City Bees at home and finish the season in San Juan against the Storm.
The Pelicans would have to hope to sweep the Blizzard before getting to the Generals for an easy series if they can pull off an improbable comeback to end 2007. The Blizzard face the Storm for 1 game in Puerto Rico then finish the season with 3 games against the Pelicans and Apollos on the road. Jersey City is still the favorite, but as we’ve learned in the past, don’t count out New Orleans. in 1999, New Orleans and Jersey finished the season tied and went on to play a game 155. The Giants won that game and went on to win the Union Cup that season. You can bet that if we get a game 163, the Pelicans would love to get some payback against the Giants.
In the Federal League West, The Mavericks are currently on top, but the Los Angeles Stars are sitting just a half game back and are looking to get their second FL West Division title. It would be the Stars 2nd title and first since 1995. The loser of the FL West Division Title will get the 1st Wild Card, so the Stars are all but assured of a playoff berth. The Bees hold the 2nd Wild Card for now, but the Blizzard are just 2 games back and Pelicans 3 games back in the Chase final Federal League Playoff spot.
The race everyone is talking about is of course the Players League West Wild Card Race. While the Vipers look to have the Division all but locked up, barring a monumental collapse, we have a 3 way race for the final two spots. The Saints hold Wild Card spot #1 for now at 91-63, and the Oklahoma City RedHawks and San Jose Jedi are tied at 91-64 for the 2nd spot.
Perhaps OKC GM Mark Bauer said it best:
“Holy cow. That is nuts”
The Three way race could very well end in a tie for final spot, meaning the league could be looking at multiple Game 163’s to end the season. Holy Cow is an understatement.
The ULB has entered the month of August, and we are now just 57 days away from the end of the 2007 regular season. The trade deadline has passed, and while teams may still be able to acquire players through waivers, rosters appear to be set for the time being. The Players League has one of the tightest races in recent memory right now, with the St. Paul Saints leading the division.
The San Jose Jedi are just 1.5 games behind them in the standings, and the Las Vegas Vipers are 2.5 games behind the Saints. All three of them could be heading to the playoffs, with Oklahoma City a distant dark horse in the playoff race at 5 games back.
Currently, the Charlotte Eagles remain in 1st place in the PL Eastern Division, with the Milwaukee Brewers nipping at their heels, 6 games back. The Eagles just lost 4 time All Star Gus Harrison to a fractured knee that will end his season, and reportedly has Eagles management panicking behind the scenes. The club was active at the trade deadline, adding Tagg Bozied and Robb Nen to their roster.
Both the Brewers and Eagles are aiming for their first playoff spot. The Brewers have not made the playoffs since joining the league in 2001, and the Eagles are looking to become the next expansion team to join the postseason club. Of the four expansion teams in league history, only the Oklahoma City RedHawks have made it to the postseason, leaving the Brewers, Eagles and New Mexico Suns in the dust.
Over in the Federal League, the Jersey City Giants are once again the Kings of the Eastern Division, but the reborn New Orleans Pelicans are taking flight and nipping at their heels at 3.5 games back. The Los Angeles Stars are leading the Western Division. If they both manage to hold on to their divisions, it would mark the first time since 1995 that both the Stars and Giants won their respective divisions. In 1995, they were the New Jersey Giants and the Hollywood Stars, and the Giants would go on to lose the Union Cup to the Vancouver Canucks, who are now the St. Paul Saints.
The Stars have the Salt Lake City Bees looking to make sure this does not happen, and they trail Los Angeles by 3.5 games in the West. Both the Bees and Pelicans are holding on to the Wild Card spots at the moment. The Portland Mavericks and the 2007 Union Cup Champion Buffalo Blizzard are trailing in the Wild Card standings, 3 and 3.5 games back respectively.
With just two months to go, who will be heading to the postseason? Time will tell.
Congrats to Ichiro on Hit #2,000!
— UnionLeagueBaseball (@ULB_Commish) February 22, 2014
With three outfield spots to choose from, we’ve selected the best position players, regardless of which spots they have manned in the outfield. Naturally, this values left fielders slightly less, but think it’s a fair position to take. Having said that, we come to the first of three outfielders we’ve chosen to honor as the ULB’s First Ten.
Outfield: Ichiro Suzuki (Vancouver Canucks 1998-2003, Las Vegas Vipers 2004)
Ichiro might be one of the best players to come out of Japan in the history of the ULB. He was posted for sale by the Nippon Professional Baseball in the 1997-1998 offseason, and former Vancouver Canucks GM Matthew Monagle pounced on the chance to secure himself a sure thing Fielding Bible Award winning caliber player.
When asked about the Star youngster being offered by the Orix Blue Wave, Monagle simply exclaimed “He’s Mine!” and dashed off to the Canucks offices to make a 6 year, $140,670,000 offer (On to of the $9 Million Posting Fee he paid to the Blue Wave, mind you.) This combined with the Addition of Mike Mussina, helped propel the Canucks to a… er… second place finish in from 1998 to 2000. Monagle would find himself addicted to painkillers and antacids after the 1998 season, and made a quiet exit from the league.*
Ichiro meanwhile would proceed to win the 1998 Players League Rookie of the Year Award while batting .352. In 2000, he would win the Players League MVP Award while batting .379 with 224 hits. He was named an All Star seven times, and was elected as a starter in very year thanks to his loyal Japanese and Canadian fans. He would also go on to win the Fielding Bible award at his position (right field) every year as well.
From 1998 to 2004, Ichiro batted .358 with 1521 hits, 233 doubles, 29 triples, 102 home runs, 600 runs batted in, 865 runs scored, 671 walks, and 257 stolen bases. He led the entire league in Value over Replacement Player (VoRP) with a score of 588.6, narrowly beating out Fellow First Ten Award Winner Kenneth Payne who had a score of 583.2.
Ichiro would be unable to come to an agreement with the financially crippled Canucks organization who moved to St. Paul and became the Saints in 2004 and would go on to sign a new deal with the Las Vegas Vipers. He helped guide the previously hapless Vipers to their first ever Playoff appearance, and batted .314 in the postseason, in which they would be knocked out the Divisional Cup by the Oklahoma City RedHawks.
Ichiro’s spectacular defense in right field and his ability to drive pitchers and catchers insane net him a spot in the ULB’s First Ten.
*Monagle now runs an ice fishing business in Anchorage. He has several pet Reindeer.