Kings vs. Darkhorses Again?

September 2nd, 2019 by Kevin

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Entering September of 2018, the Kings held a slim four point lead over the Darkhorses.  They would briefly relinquish that lead, but ultimately managed to win the DTBL Championship.  This year, the Kings once again held a four point lead over the Darkhorses heading into the season’s final month.  It is a pretty similar situation with these two seemingly the best bets to win it all.  The margin over the rest of the league is actually a little larger this year though.  As of today, the Mavericks find themselves almost 20 points behind the Kings with exactly four weeks to go.  That’s not completely insurmountable, but they will definitely need some help from both of the top two teams to make up some of that ground.

The Kings and Darkhorses both appear to be slightly better versions of the 2018 editions of themselves.  The Kings still have the league’s best pitching staff.  But this year, they have held the top spot in all five pitching categories for a good portion of the season.  The offense is not as good, but only two other teams have more batting points.  On the other hand, the Darkhorses once again have the league’s best offense.  But this year, no other team is even close.  They have 48 batting points and appear to be close to a lock to win four of the five batting categories (all but stolen bases).  And their pitching staff is pretty good too.  Like Kings hitters, Darkhorses pitchers rank third in total points.

It is really hard to handicap this race, because unlike last year, these two teams have been neck-and-neck pretty much all season.  Neither has had an extended period of poor play.  Both teams are relatively healthy heading into the final four weeks as well.  The Darkhorses are looking for their fifth league title, but first since 2010, while the Kings are seeking their record extending eighth league crown.  It should be a fascinating race.

Here are the award winners for August of 2019.

Batters of the Week:

Week 20 (8/5 – 8/11) – Ronald Acuna, Jackalope
Week 21 (8/12 – 8/18) – Gleyber Torres, Cougars
Week 22 (8/19 – 8/25) – Anthony Rendon, Jackalope
Week 23 (8/26 – 9/1) – Eugenio Suarez, Cougars

Pitchers of the Week:

Week 20 (8/5 – 8/11) – Mike Minor, Naturals
Week 21 (8/12 – 8/18) – Jack Flaherty, Mavericks
Week 22 (8/19 – 8/25) – Dallas Keuchel, Darkhorses
Week 23 (8/26 – 9/1) – Justin Verlander, Kings

The Batters of the Week in August featured four players having monster seasons.  Ronald Acuna and Gleyber Torres have both already reached 30 home runs in their DTBL rookie campaigns.  Anthony Rendon also surpassed that mark in the past week.  And then there is Eugenio Suarez who hit his 40th (!!!) home run of the season yesterday.  As usual, the pitching award winners are a bunch of veterans still going strong, with youngster Jack Flaherty crashing the party.  Justin Verlander locked up the weekly award by pitching his third career no-hitter yesterday.  Because that happened on September 1 though, it didn’t help his cause for winning another Pitcher of the Month award.

Batter of the Month:

Ronald Acuna, Jackalope
.270 AVG, 11 HR, 27 RBI, 23 R, 6 SB, 3.26 PAR

Pitcher of the Month:

Mike Clevinger, Naturals
1.96 ERA, 1.064 WHIP, 5 W, 0 SV, 51 K, 3.06 PAR

Last week, to the best of my knowledge, Ronald Acuna became just the second player to reach the 30/30 HR/SB club in his DTBL rookie campaign.  I don’t have a particularly easy way to confirm this, but I did a Baseball Reference Play Index search looking for 30/30 seasons since 1993 in a player’s first two MLB seasons and the only other result was Mike Trout in 2012.  So I feel pretty confident about this assertion.  Acuna currently has 36 home runs and 33 stolen bases with four weeks to go in the season.  He has a great shot at becoming the league’s fourth 40/40 player.  It once looked like a two horse race between Cody Bellinger and Christian Yelich for the league MVP award, but Acuna is very much in the thick of that race now, in addition to Rookie of the Year.  As strong as his August was, three other players nearly snatched this award from him:  Demigods outfielder J.D. Martinez and the Nationals dynamic duo of Mavericks outfielder Juan Soto (also a DTBL rookie) and Jackalope third baseman Anthony Rendon.

Finally, we have someone who isn’t a grizzled veteran winning the Pitcher of the Month award.  Mike Clevinger was a late bloomer, but is in just his second DTBL season with the Naturals.  At 28, he is easily the youngest to win this award so far in 2019.  Despite losing about two months due to an injury, he has still managed to compile a nice stat line for the season.  Half of his 10 wins came in August though.  He led the league in August strikeouts with 51.  For what it’s worth, he would not have won this award had Jack Flaherty’s first start of the month been as an active member of the Mavericks rotation.  Despite that start not counting, Flaherty still finished third for the award.  The runner-up was the Cougars’ Sonny Gray who is having a very nice career resurgence this summer.

One Response to “Kings vs. Darkhorses Again?”

  1. David says:

    Also, the early 2020 projections have been completed, and the Darkhorses are once again picked to finish in the bottom third of the league…

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