What If? A Preseason Ladder Scenario

Let’s assume Travis Strojny continues his Wind Up practice of only showing up to play the games he’s scheduled to pitch, Clemens style. That keeps him fresh, and just like his game from the Wind Up his velocity and accuracy here from 48’ are the best they’ve been in his career. Nothing but 1-2-3 innings early for Strojny and the Islanders as he cuts through the lineup of his former team, King Friday.
Ray Brown is back on the 45’ mound for King Friday, pitching his second game of the day. He matches Strojny’s zero put up in inning number one, but pitching around the lineup featuring Pearson, Werner, Zeller, and Giguere is requiring a lot more pitches. The second inning sees a pair of close calls: Pearson just gets too far under a ball and hits a pop fly that takes 9 seconds to land; later, Werner rips a sharp line drive, but Adams is well positioned to make the catch.
Strojny does eventually put a runner on base, but King Friday hasn’t threatened through four innings. The Islanders draw first blood in the bottom of the fourth. After a walk, rookie Tom Zeller finally drives a ball over the left-center field wall giving the Islanders a 2-0 lead.
King Friday makes things more interesting in the fifth getting runners to first and third, with a walk, steal and infield single. But they are unable to score and close the gap. Things get worse for them in the bottom half of the inning when Pearson gets on top of a ball, launching another two-run home run. The Islanders lead 4-0 heading the sixth. Last call for King Friday.
Strojny doesn’t waste any time. Returning to the form with which he started the game he rings up 3 Ks, including one on a first pitch. Islanders secure their first postseason victory in franchise history and move on to face El Diablos in the best-of-three Championship Series.
Paquin (See Yas) vs Castle (King Friday) pitching in Game 3, and it’s back-to-back games with both pitchers throwing from the 45’ mound. King Friday’s riding the high of the walk-off home run, and their bats kick off here in stride. A leadoff double, a ground out to advance the runner, and a sac fly put them on the board in the top of the first: 1-0.
Chasing that run the See Yas are obviously trying to push the issue, and chasing pitcher’s pitches as a result. Through two innings Castle hasn’t issued a walk, has 4 K, and 2 harmless flyouts. #PerfectGame
Paquin gets the Friday hitters off balance after the first and keeps them off the board for the next few innings. The See Yas hitters overcorrect; they stop chasing, but Castle gets a first pitch K and couple strike outs looking in the third and fourth. They do get scatter a walk and hit, but don’t threaten to score.
King Friday adds a run in the top of the fifth through some smallball. The See Yas answer with a Nick Braden solo shot in the bottom to keep the separation at 1 run: 2-1 King Friday heading to the sixth.
King Friday gets another late inning home run, this time off the bat of Castle, extending their lead to 3-1. A single by Brown is later wasted by a pair of Paquin strikeouts. See Yas are chasing 2 in the bottom of the sixth.
They get the leadoff runner on with a walk. But the mood turns quickly when the runner gets doubled up on a strike-em-out-throw-em-out steal attempt where the pitch hits the board. Down to their last out the See Yas draw another walk, but the next batter grounds weakly back to Castle on the mound for the final out. King Friday advances to Game 4: 3-1.
The home team in Game 2, King Friday, has a lot of options from 45’. Ray Brown, David Castle, Jason Hewlett, Zac Adams, and Dylan Braden are all arms they can use effectively from that distance. Castle and Brown may be able to heat it up from 48’ if needed, but playing the matchup Friday opts to throw from the close mound here and start Ray Brown.
Stinky Nuts have a pair of options they can throw in Game 2. In the real world a little over 3 months from now, after getting a full season of work in Andrew Moore may get the ball. He showed some promise in his innings at the Wind Up, but without that season to see what he can do Josh Nagorski is getting the ball for Stinky Nuts. Josh put up some great numbers on the mound in 2017; he’ll take the mound from 45’ here.
From the start Game 2 is more exciting than Game 1 with more balls in playing and runners in scoring position. Still, the pitchers handle business when they need to, and no score through the first two innings. The Nuts scratch across the first runs in the third inning: taking a 2-0 lead. However, Nagorski gets into trouble in the bottom of the third: King Friday plates one run and under the pressure he receives two warnings for going over the speed limit. 2-1 Nuts lead heading to the fourth.
Things quiet back down in the fifth: no scoring, but Nagorski does break the speed limit for a third time pushing him back to 48’, and putting the black bats in King Friday’s hands for the rest of the game. That proves costly. In the sixth inning two King Friday runners reach, via a single and a walk. Then, Dylan Braden barrels up a Nagorski slider for a walk-off 3-run home run. King Friday advances, 4-2.
Against all odds Game 1 gives us the exciting pitching matchup of Farkas vs Kujawa. These two have never pitched to a decision head-to-head against each other in the playoffs, to their chagrin. They’ll start against each other, but will either captain consider pulling them in the fourth inning?
King Friday has good 45’ pitchers, but neither captain here fears their staff enough to risk losing this game. Especially with the game tied 0-0 heading into the fourth. The Aces will ride Kujawa to the end. Stinky Nuts will ride Farkas to the end. Both pitchers throwing from 48’.
It’s the expected Clown Shu pitching matchup until the top of the fifth. Then, Kujawa walks two before a ball is put in play in play to right field. One run scores. He recovers and gets out of it, but Farkas retires the next six batters. Stinky Nuts win 1-0 in six innings and moves on to play King Friday.
The ladder is a whole new concept for the 2018 postseason. So, to get everyone up to speed let's have some fun with how it would play out based on the preseason results.
First up, the seeding. Generally speaking, credit is given for playing in the preseason. However, when you play and go 0-4-1 there is no avoiding how dismal that is. The Stinky Nuts did just that and by doing so become the #6 seed in this theoretical ladder.
#5 is that more expected selection. The Wicked Aces didn't appear at the Wind Up. We don't know how they play, so they'll sit at the low end as the fifth seed.
Similar positioning at #4. King Friday, technically, didn't play at the Wind Up. However, David Castle was there. He had one huge home run and a couple wins on the mound (with El Diablos offense behind him), so half-credit for that.
The See Yas went .500 at the Wind Up with 2 of 3 wins coming in pool play. That even record and placing third in the tournament is enough to seed them at number three.
The Islanders were impressive at the Wind Up. Rookie Tom (not Cody) Zeller's power at the plate was a surprise, and the team hit well all day. Stephen Werner handled the bulk of the heavy lifting on the mound, but Travis Strojny was great in the one game he pitched from 48'. Easily the two-seed based on what we've seen so far.
No surprise, the team that won the Wind Up earns the #1 seed here, avoiding the ladder. El Diablos (+ Castle) middled their way through pool play, but then went 3-0 in the bracket when games really mattered. Chandler Phillips' did the heavy lifting from 48' during those games, and Craig Skinner showed up for 1 inning of work to close out the championship game. This team will be strong in the regular season, as well. Don't be surprised if this seed repeats itself.
Over the next few days leading up to Opening Day, we'll play out the matchups with what might happen in this scenario. Stay tuned. The season opens up in 5 days.

Gameday Results, 5/5: Week 1 - Coffee Grounds

Print Scoresheets Enter Statistics
GAMES 1 & 2   —   12:00 PM   —   FIELD A
2 Pts   (1-1-0)
.272 .495 17.4 1.94 1.33 2.66
2 Pts   (1-1-0)
.287 .536 14.3 3.21 1.33 3.63
LP: J. Skinner (0-1)
HR: Tomlinson (1)
WP: Tomlinson (1-0)
WP: Farkas (1-0)
HR: Farkas (1)
LP: Moore (0-1)
GAMES 3 & 4   —   2:30 PM   —   FIELD A
0 Pts   (0-2-0)
.254 .474 16.0 6.74 2.35 1.57
4 Pts   (2-0-0)
.280 .551 13.6 5.91 2.39 1.46
LP: M. Villarreal (0-1)
HR: M. Villarreal (1)
LP: D. Villarreal (0-1)
WP: Werner (1-0)
HR: Giguere (1,2)
WP: Strojny (1-0)
HR: Giguere (3), Werner (1,2)
GAMES 5 & 6   —   5:00 PM   —   FIELD A
3 Pts   (1-0-1)
.232 .464 15.3 5.65 2.27 1.48
1 Pts   (0-1-1)
.228 .444 16.1 5.44 1.95 2.26
WP: Castle (1-0)
HR: Brown (1,2,3), Castle (1,2,3), Adams (1,2), Hewlett (1,2)
HR: Brown (4)
LP: Paquin (0-1)
HR: Corbett (1,2), Paquin (1,2)
HR: Robert (1)

2018 Wind Up Tournament - Results

ROUND ROBIN  —  11:00 AM  —  FIELD A ROUND ROBIN  —  11:00 AM  —  FIELD B
6  LP: Alongi (0-1)
 HR: Zeller (1,2)
2  WP: Paquin (1-0)
 HR: Pevos (1)
7  WP: Castle (1-0)
 HR: Castle (1)
0  LP: Farkas (0-1)
ROUND ROBIN  —  11:45 AM  —  FIELD A ROUND ROBIN  —  11:45 AM  —  FIELD B
2  WP: Giguere (1-0) 1  LP: J. Skinner (0-1)
 HR: C. Phillips (1)
0  LP: Moore (0-1) 5  WP: N. Braden (1-0)
 HR: Pevos (2)
ROUND ROBIN  —  12:30 PM  —  FIELD A ROUND ROBIN  —  12:30 PM  —  FIELD B
2 2  LP: Corbett (0-1)
 HR: Pevos (3)
2  HR: J. Skinner (1) 3  WP: Werner
 HR: Zeller (3), Werner (1)
1ST ROUND (G1)  —  2:00 PM  —  FIELD A 1ST ROUND (G2)  —  2:00 PM  —  FIELD B
3  LP: M. Phillips (0-1)
 HR: Farkas (1,2), Prater (1)
14  WP: C. Phillips (1-0)
 HR: C. Phillips (2,3), Tomlinson (1)
4  WP: Paquin (2-0)
 HR: N. Braden (1)
0  LP: Giguere (1-1)
WB FINAL (G3)  —  3:00 PM  —  FIELD A LB SEMI (G4)  —  3:00 PM  —  FIELD B
5  WP: C. Phillips (2-0) 2  LP: Farkas (0-2)
1  LP: N. Braden (1-1) 7  WP: Werner (2-0)
 HR: Zeller (4)
LB FINAL (G5)  —  4:00 PM  —  FIELD A
8  WP: Strojny (1-0)
 HR: Pearson (1), Strojny (1), Giguere (1)
0  LP: N. Braden (1-1)
5  LP: Werner (2-1)
 HR: Pearson (2,3,4)
7  WP: Castle (2-0)
 HR: C. Phillips (4)
4 1 1
4 3 0
3 3 0
0 4 1