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Old 02-23-2018, 04:37 PM   #241
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21 April 2048

From: Aristotle Catheter M.D., Club Doctor
To: Billy DePodesta

Des Moines Magpies Medical Department
INJURY REPORT: IEMITSU ISHII


Iemitsu Ishii has fractured his thumb. This is a painful injury, but routine and low-risk to treat. I expect him to remain on the league disabled list for approximately 3-4 weeks, but he should make a full recovery and feel no lasting effects. The club has an established rehabilitation regime for this type of injury, but the medical department will work with the coaching staff to ensure the programme is suitable for Iemitsu throughout his recovery period.

Aristotle Catheter M.D.
Club Doctor
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Old 02-23-2018, 04:39 PM   #242
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2 May 2048

GM’s notebook - Series 9 and 10

Salem 1-0 Magpies
Salem 4-3 Magpies
Salem 3-5 Magpies
Magpies 4-2 Sacramento
Magpies 9-7 Sacramento
Magpies 11-7 Sacramento

- Robinson Ortíz has agreed a 3-year contract extension to buy out his arbitration years 2049-2051 for $9.5m per annum. That’s about $3m below the salary we were estimating he would get at arbitration. Obviously this move is adding payroll for next year not this - and adding less payroll than if I’d let him go to arbitration. I anticipate Ortíz being a key member of my rotation next year, but agreeing the extension doesn’t rule out a trade in any way.
- Wesley Weaver was superb in the opener against the Ironclads (8 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB), but took an unlucky loss courtesy of an offense that managed just 2 baserunners all game.
- Enrique Limón hit a home run and a triple in the 5-3 win over Salem in game three.
- Jeremiah Harvey’s 2-run homer in the 10th inning won the series opener in Sacramento. He is now regularly subbing at third base for Carlos Zúñiga, who continues to be utterly ineffective.
- Two guys I perhaps shouldn’t have let go: Jim Dillman won WL batter of the month for April after putting up a 1.128 OPS; Gerardo Rivera won EL pitcher of the month after going 5-0, 1.95 for Richmond.
- Limón hit 2-2 with 2 HR and 2 BB in the 9-7 win over the Stingrays. He’s just been exceptional so far.
- Michael O’Quinn is also playing really well. He hit 2 HR himself in the 11-7 win.

This week: 4-2
Record: 17-13, 2nd place, 1 GB from Lansing
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Old 02-23-2018, 04:41 PM   #243
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8 May 2048

GM’s notebook - Series 11 and 12

Magpies 2-5 Santa Fe
Magpies 1-0 Santa Fe
Magpies 3-5 Santa Fe
St. Paul 2-3 Magpies
St. Paul 5-3 Magpies
St. Paul 3-6 Magpies

- Philip Givens showed some of the old magic from last year with 8 scoreless innings in the 1-0 win versus Santa Fe.
- Bullpen guys Ken James, Jorge Cruz, Júlio Martínez and Don Rich combined for 7.2 innings without a run in the home opener against the Rockets. We won on Roberto Caro’s RBI double in the 14th inning.
- Wesley Weaver moved to 4-3 with a 2.81 ERA as he earned the win in the rubber game. He could get even better if he shows his ability to control the strike zone during games - his 3.0 BB/9 ratio is higher than I’d like.
- Ominously, Lansing and Madison are both 9-1 over their last 10 games. The Brown Bears are still back at 18-18 after a dreadful first three weeks but are looking good once again.

This week: 3-3
Record: 20-16, 2nd place, 3 GB from Lansing
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Old 02-23-2018, 04:44 PM   #244
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9 May 2048

Spike Incredulous
@whattheeff

Whats up with Zuniga? Hes batting .108 with a .192 on base %. Seriously, I could do better! #worsethanmygran
10:23AM - 9 May 2048

Severino Guadalajara-Smith
@sabermetricjedi

@whattheeff he’s not the only one. Caro has OPS of .595 and has already 9 GDP. Soto .507 OPS. Dodd .258 wOBA. I could go on! #sortitoutlads #workthecount #platediscipline
10:26AM - 9 May 2048

Hank Blunt
@isayitlikeitis

@whattheeff Zuniga’s garbage
10:30AM - 9 May 2048

Dietmar Uberfan
@magpiesobsessive

@isayitlikeitis no way man! Long way to go. I watch every pitch in every game and see signs that the offense can get it together #sheleftme #crying #stillgotthemagpies
10:37AM - 9 May 2048

Bart Wardrobe
@MagpiesMad

In Billy I trust! #keepthefaith #Magpies
10:40AM - 9 May 2048
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Old 02-24-2018, 01:25 PM   #245
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15 May 2048

GM’s notebook - Series 13 and 14

Magpies 16-10 Phoenix
Magpies 4-3 Phoenix
Magpies 4-7 Phoenix
Baton Rouge 0-4 Magpies
Baton Rouge 4-5 Magpies
Baton Rouge 5-2 Magpies

- I need to shake things up to try get more offense going. Terry Lawrence has been sent down, and Cy Cox promoted. Cox will take over from Pedro Soto in RF, who’ll be the left-handed outfield backup. Carlos Zúñiga is now only playing 3B every other day.
- The Phoenix game was crazy. We went 16-0 ahead after scoring 11 runs in the 4th inning and another 4 in the 5th. But we then contrived to let the Raccoons get 10 run back. P.J. Hendrickson allowed 5 runs without retiring a batter in a terrible 9th inning that was thankfully academic to the result. Not academic to my dim view of Hendrickson’s performances out of the pen, however.
- Roberto Caro’s sac fly tied game two in the 9th, and then Dave Dodd’s RBI single won it in the 12th.
- Jeremy Williams has been my most consistent starter so far, but got smashed out of the final game in Arizona after just 2.1 innings.
- Sacramento’s António Martínez pitched his SECOND career perfect game against Olympia. He also threw one for Augusta against Columbus in July 2046.
- After going 5-13 in only 3 games so far, Cy Cox has asked for a new contract of $6m per year, compared to his current $1.7m salary. The mind boggles.
- Kevin Cantrell was magnificent in the 4-0 win over the Deltas: 9 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 10 K.
- The 5-4 win the following day saw Michael O’Quinn hit 3-3, DBL, BB and Júlio Martínez get his 10th save of the year.
- Iemitsu Ishii has returned from the disabled list. I can’t send Cy Cox down after his fast start, so unfortunately Pedro Soto has had to go. He’ll definitely be back in September if not before. Ishii and Cox will platoon at RF and António Fernández will be my multi-purpose outfield backup.
- Madison are on a 15-game winning streak and are now level with us on 24-18.

This week: 4-2
Record: 24-18, =2nd place, 2 GB from Lansing
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Old 02-24-2018, 01:27 PM   #246
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21 May 2048

GM’s notebook - Series 15 and 16

Magpies 1-3 Denver
Magpies 5-6 Denver
Magpies 5-8 Denver
Carson City 2-3 Magpies
Carson City 3-6 Magpies
Carson City 0-6 Magpies

- Enrique Limón hit 3-4 with a HR in the second game of the series against Denver. We had been leading 4-0 but Jeremy Williams and Jorge Cruz managed to blow it.
- António Fernández has agreed a 3-year contract extension, which buys out his arbitration years, of $1.9m per year. That’s significantly below the $3.5m-$4.0m we were expecting him to get had he gone to arbitration at the end of the season.
- We may have gotten ourselves swept in Denver, but in the final game Iemitsu Ishii finally showed what he’s capable of (2-4, HR, TPL), and Carlos Zúñiga gave hope his long slump may be over after hitting 2 doubles.
- Sacramento’s António Martínez followed his perfect game by pitching a 4-hit shutout versus Salem.
- Madison’s winning streak ended at 17. Their first loss in May came on the 18th of the month.
- Michael O’Quinn made the difference in the opener at home to the Rattlesnakes, hitting 2-4 with a home run and a double.
- Guillermo Díaz and Fernando Martínez homered in the first inning of game 2, giving us an early 6-0 lead which Philip Givens protected well.
- Díaz and Zúñiga both had 3 hits in the 6-0 victory that completed the sweep over Carson City. We left 10 men on base and should have scored more.

This week: 3-3
Record: 27-21, 3rd place, 2 GB from Lansing
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Old 02-24-2018, 01:29 PM   #247
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28 May 2048

GM’s notebook - Series 17 and 18

Magpies 8-0 Bismarck
Magpies 6-2 Bismarck
Magpies 4-2 Bismarck
Magpies 1-2 Madison
Magpies 8-4 Madison
Magpies 1-3 Madison

- Iemitsu Ishii’s grand slam in the top of the 1st set the tone in the series opener in Bismarck. Kevin Cantrell was superb (7.2 IP, 4 H, 0 ER).
Jeremy Williams returned to form with 7.1 innings of 1-run ball in the 6-2 win.
- Lansing suffered a blow with the news that young star Maikel Mud (5-1, 1.72) will probably miss the rest of the season with a back injury.
- Wesley Weaver got the win in the final game in Bismarck, and is now 6-3, 2.66. Our 4 runs in the game all came via solo homers, from Enrique Limón, Matt Anderson, Fernando Martínez and Jeremiah Harvey.
- Walton White hit 2-4 with a home run in the 2-1 defeat in Madison. He’s now playing every other game at catcher and threatening to take the starting role away from Fernando Martínez (who’s hitting only .206).
- Guillermo Díaz dominated the Brown Bears’ pitching in the second game, hitting 2 enormous home runs including the crucial go-ahead grand slam in the 7th inning.

This week: 4-2
Record: 31-23, =2nd place, 2 GB from Lansing
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Old 02-25-2018, 03:21 PM   #248
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28 May 2048

onlytheboxscore.com/Magpies
Magpies first baseman Enrique Limón has developed into one of the league’s best hitters
Posted by Lionel Untidy, @mrmessy

When he joined the Magpies in May of 2016, Enrique Limón had some big boots to fill. Previously a full-time outfielder on the Indianapolis Wildcats roster, the Magpies brought him in to replace Roberto Marín, who moved the other way in the trade, at first base. Marín, who has since retired and been elected to the SCL Hall of Fame, had only been at the club just over a year, but had already become a hugely popular figure. He was not the offensive production machine of his earlier career, but won the Magpies fans over with his leadership, ability to get on base, and never-say-die attitude.

Limón was taken 10th overall by the Wildcats in the 2044 draft, but struggled in 2045, his first full season in the big leagues, hitting .240 with a .682 OPS. His raw talent and early season form in 2046 persuaded Magpies GM Billy DePodesta to make a move for him. And he’s got steadily better ever since.

This season, Limón has been an elite hitter. His OPS mark of .925 is 7th best in the SCL, just ahead of team-mate Michael O’Quinn (.919). These great hitting stats come despite his relative mediocrity against lefties. Against righty pitchers, Limón has been absolutely dominant, hitting .348/.453/.624 with 8 HR and 25 RBI. Few other players consistently hit and hit with such power as he. Add in his elite-level baserunning and defense when played in the corner outfield spots, and he’s well on the path to “face of the franchise” status in Des Moines. He’s been selected for the all-star game the last two years, and looks odds on to earn a third selection this year.
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Old 02-25-2018, 03:24 PM   #249
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3 June 2048

GM’s notebook - Series 19 and 20

Austin 5-11 Magpies
Austin 5-9 Magpies
Austin 2-5 Magpies
Magpies 2-3 Olympia
Magpies 1-5 Olympia
Magpies 1-4 Olympia

- The week started with a great win over Austin, where Guillermo Díaz, Enrique Limón and Michael O’Quinn each got 3 hits.
- The productive offense continued the next day in the 9-5 victory. Matt Anderson hit 4-4 and Limón had another 3 hits, 2 of them doubles.
- You know the offense is on form when even Austin’s ace Lee Cox struggles.
- Roberto Caro has a mild strained oblique, but will only miss a week and so won’t go on the disabled list. Jeremiah Harvey will play 2B in the meantime.
- Carlos Zúñiga has injured his knee and will go on the DL for an estimated 4 weeks (see next post). Juan MacNamara gets his first big league call-up.
- MacNamara hit 1-3 on his debut, with the hit a solo HR in the 8th inning of the 4-1 defeat to Olympia.
- The whole Olympia series was a really limp effort with three poor performances, especially from the offense after being so good against Austin.
- Madison have caught Lansing and jointly lead the division. This close three horse race is eerily familiar from last season. We have the three best records in the Western League (again).

This week: 3-3
Record: 34-26, 3rd place, 2 GB from Lansing, Madison
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Old 02-25-2018, 03:25 PM   #250
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2 June 2048

From: Aristotle Catheter M.D., Club Doctor
To: Billy DePodesta

Des Moines Magpies Medical Department
INJURY REPORT: CARLOS ZÚÑIGA


I attach, as requested, a detailed assessment of the knee injury sustained by third baseman Carlos Zúñiga during this afternoon’s 5-1 defeat to the Olympia Wolfhounds.

Carlos has suffered a meniscus tear of his right knee. The meniscus is a piece of cartilage providing a cushion between the tibia and femur. There are two such menisci in each knee, and Carlos has torn one of those in his right knee. Many athletes are at risk of a meniscus tear, which most frequently happens during activities involving twists or rotations of the knee; baserunning, as in this case, is just such an activity.

The medical staff feel that Carlos is particularly prone to this sort of injury, and we hypothesise that mild discomfort in his knee that he has experienced during the course of the season may be a factor behind his disappointing form so far. We expect this injury to heal without long-term effects, and if his recovery progresses as expected he should be able to leave the disabled list in approximately 4 weeks. Please note, however, that at his age, 28, such injuries are unfortunately only likely to become more commonplace in future.

Aristotle Catheter M.D.
Club Doctor
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Old 02-25-2018, 03:28 PM   #251
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2 June 2048

FANGRAPHICS
Chat: Fire your questions at our resident question-answerer, Mr Osiris Sabretooth.

9:01

Osiris: Greetings, Earthlings. Welcome to today’s chat.

9:02

Ooo Behave: How do you rate the Magpies’ chances, will they get another shot at the playoffs?

9:02

Osiris: They’ve been good so far, despite some of their batters having poor seasons. They look a good bet for a wildcard spot for the third year running.

9:03

Bananadrama: What’s up with the Magpies lineup? Limón and O’Quinn have been outstanding, while Zúñiga, Anderson, Dodd and Martínez have been distinctly bleh.

9:04

Osiris: I think Zúñiga can return to past form. I’m told his knee has been bothering him all season, so his stint on the DL could do him the world of good and give him the chance to get better. Dodd and Anderson have always been defense-first players. Martínez could well lose the catcher job to Walton White.

9:04

Previously On 24: Another guy with a below par year: Philip Givens. The Outstanding Pitcher award curse at work?

9:05

Osiris: What’s changed from last year is that his walk rate is up, 2.61 per 9 IP, which is above his career average (2.15) and his performance last year (1.49). I expect his numbers to improve as the walk rate regresses back down.

9:06

That Was The Week That Was: When will we see young pitcher Rhys Nunn in the big leagues? I like the look of him.

9:06

Osiris: So do the Magpies. I think it’ll be soon, he’s probably the next guy up if there’s an injury to a starter or a righty reliever. I’m told the front office are also frustrated with Tommaso Chigi’s displays so far, so Nunn could be given a go in his place soon also.

9:07

Osiris: Okay, that’s your lot for this week. Fare thee well!
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Old 02-27-2018, 03:36 PM   #252
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10 June 2048

GM’s notebook - Series 21 and 22

Lansing 3-7 Magpies
Lansing 8-2 Magpies
Lansing 0-2 Magpies
Magpies 9-4 Salem
Magpies 4-6 Salem
Magpies 4-7 Salem

- Juan MacNamara homered in his second SCL game, as we beat Lansing 7-3. He also committed 2 errors at 3B in the game.
- Lansing’s Bryan Brown was on for a perfect game against us thru 8 innings in the second game of the series. Matt Anderson’s 1-out single in the 9th spared our blushes.
- In the rubber game, Wesley Weaver won a high-quality pitching duel with the Sharks’ Chris Faulkner, eventually finishing with 8.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB and a standing ovation from the Iowa Ballpark crowd. He has a shot at an all-star game call-up.
- Enrique Limón (2-4, HR, BL) and Dave Dodd (2-4, 2 DBL) gave Salem’s pitchers a tough day in the opening 9-4 victory.
- The Brown Bears have taken over as outright leaders of the North Division.

This week: 3-3
Record: 37-29, 3rd place, 3 GB from Madison
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Old 02-27-2018, 03:37 PM   #253
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GM’s notebook - Series 23 and 24

Sacramento 3-4 Magpies
Sacramento 1-2 Magpies
Sacramento 4-5 Magpies
Santa Fe 3-9 Magpies
Santa Fe 7-0 Magpies
Santa Fe 11-4 Magpies

- Jeremiah Harvey had mixed fortunes in the opener against Sacramento. He committed 2 errors at 3B, leading to all 3 of the Stingrays’ runs being unearned, but hit 2-4 with 2 doubles for 2 RBIs. Philip Givens pitched 8 innings for just those 3 unearned runs.
- We completed a sweep of 1-run wins against the unfortunate Stingrays. Guillermo Díaz hit his 12th home run of the season, a 3-run thwack into the top tier above right field.
- The Santa Fe series began with us batting round in the bottom of the 1st, scoring 5 runs. The game was a cruise from there.
- The shocking news of Will’s passing (see next post) reached us after the game, leaving everyone in the organisation stunned and distraught. At a team meeting, players and front office staff discussed asking the SCL Commissioner to postpone the final two games against Santa Fe. We collectively decided, however, to go ahead. Will loved baseball, and we agreed it’s what he would have wanted.
- The emotions of the occasion got the better of us in the second Santa Fe game. We just didn’t show up.
- Tommaso Chigi (11.2 IP, 8.49 ERA) keeps leaking runs and has been sent down. Exactly a year to the day after we drafted him, Rhys Nunn gets his first call up to the big leagues.
- I now have no headroom to put any young players on a new major league contract without trading an existing contract to make room.
- Nunn pitched 1.1 innings without score in the 11-4 defeat, the only pitcher not to take some punishment.

This week: 4-2
Record: 41-31, =2nd place, 4 GB from Madison
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Old 02-27-2018, 03:41 PM   #254
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15 June 2048

The Des Moines Telegraph

Magpies in shock at death of owner Will Rueda


Will Rueda, owner of the Magpies, has died at the age of 46. He died suddenly last night while on vacation in Hawaii with his wife, after falling ill earlier in the day. Doctors have not confirmed the cause of death.

Magpies GM Billy DePodesta last night led the emotional tributes to the club owner, who had led the organisation since 2030 after being handed the reins by his father, Eric. DePodesta said: “Words can not express the sorrow felt by everyone in the Magpies organisation at the dreadful news of Will’s untimely passing. He was a wonderful leader of this club for nearly two decades, and was the driving force behind our SCL Cup Final Series victory two seasons ago. Quite simply, the club would not be where it is today without him, and it goes without saying that we will all miss him terribly every single day. Our thoughts and sincerest condolences are with his friends and family.”

It is strongly rumoured that Rueda’s eldest son, Chris, will take over ownership of the Magpies, but DePodesta said he was not in a position to discuss that. DePodesta also refused to be drawn on the impact Rueda’s passing might have on the Magpies’ widely-reported financial difficulties, saying that financial matters were far from anyone’s thoughts at this difficult time.
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Old 04-03-2018, 06:26 PM   #255
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A combination of bad weather here in England and me being under the weather has meant a lot of home working for me recently, and it’s on my commute to the office that I primarily play the game. But now the weather’s better and so am I, which means...

...it’s time for Magpie baseball!
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Old 04-03-2018, 06:30 PM   #256
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16 June 2048

From: Achilles Guesswork, Chief Scout
To: Billy DePodesta

Des Moines Magpies Scouting Department
2048 STATE CAPITALS LEAGUE AMATEUR DRAFT: SUMMARY

As requested, my summary assessment of our selections in yesterday’s player draft.

SP Jesús Zamora (age 18, 1st round, 28th overall)
I love this kid. Smooth and easily repeatable throwing action, and he should develop excellent control of the strike zone. His third pitch is a changeup which needs working on by our coaching staff, but could develop into his go-to out pitch. The tall and rangy lefty fell this far in the draft because of concerns over his stamina, but I think he’ll be able to get through 6-7 innings per start. Projection: 5*.

2B Nick Baker (age 22, 1st supplementary round, 60th overall)
He could be hugely valuable because of his defensive versatility. He can play 2B, 3B, SS, LF and RF all equally well, and has a cannon of an arm that baserunners in college competition refused to run on. At the plate he’s a good contact hitter, but has little power and doesn’t take enough walks. Potentially a good defense-first shortstop for us in a couple of years. Projection: 1.5*.

MR Jesús Benítez (age 20, 2nd round, 92nd overall)
A lethal closer against good college opposition, Benítez has a fantastic fastball which he consistently throws in the 96-98mph range, occasionally reaching three figures. Combines that with a deceptive slider and good control of the zone to make life very difficult for batters. He’s not far away from being ready for the big time, and I expect him to challenge strongly for a bullpen spot in spring training next year. Projection: 5*.

SP Eduardo Castillo (age 18, 3rd round, 122nd overall)
Extremely talented young Cuban righty, who stands out to me because of his excellent circlechange pitch. He combines that with a decent fastball and splitter, but his fourth pitch, the changeup, he throws too often and tends to leave hanging temptingly over the centre of the plate. Projection: 4*.

3B Júlio Chacón (age 17, 4th round, 152nd overall)
Durable lad who can play either position on the left side of the infield. Good speed, makes reasonable contact, but has little power. I like his intangibles, he has a great work ethic and a very sensible head on his young shoulders. Projection: 1*.

LF Francisco Baraja (age 18, 5th round, 158th overall)
Baraja is a high school graduate who can also play RF and 2B. Can really struggle to make contact at times, but gets on base at a good lick thanks to his high walk rate. He’s a fringe prospect at best, realistically, but like Chacón has plenty of time to improve. Projection: 1*.
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Old 04-03-2018, 06:33 PM   #257
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20 June 2048

GM’s notebook - Series 25

Magpies 4-1 St. Paul
Magpies 6-1 St. Paul
Magpies 6-4 St. Paul

- Wesley Weaver grabbed his 10th win of the season in the 4-1 win, throwing 6.2 innings for just an unearned run. Júlio Martínez (0.93 ERA) earned his 20th save of the year.
- Jeremiah Harvey’s agent says the player would like to extend his contract here beyond this season. Despite putting up a .298 OBP, he wants $6m per year, compared to his current $2.6m. I wouldn’t pay him that even if I could afford it. I’m much more likely to try and trade him before next month’s deadline.
- Kevin Cantrell at last showed his best form with a quality display in the second game: 7.2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K.
- Unfortunately the game was marred by Matt Anderson’s season-ending injury - see next post. Roberto Caro moves to SS, Jeremiah Harvey to 2B, and Felipe Ríos is recalled to the active roster to play 3B; Juan MacNamara’s defense there has been too shaky for my liking.
- I want to see how we go for a week or two with Carlos Zúñiga back on the roster before deciding whether to try and trade for a defensive shortstop to replace Anderson. I do like having outstanding defense there.
- Wesley Weaver, Michael O’Quinn and Enrique Limón were all selected for the all-star game. I called Weaver getting picked a couple of weeks ago.
- Jim Dillman of Lansing got his 7th all-star call, and SCL legend Sam Jordan his 12th.
- In the third game against the Rockets, we contrived to strand 12 men on base in total, but still won 6-4.

This week: 3-0
Record: 44-31, 2nd place, 3 GB from Madison
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Old 04-03-2018, 06:34 PM   #258
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20 June 2048

From: Aristotle Catheter M.D., Club Doctor
To: Billy DePodesta

Des Moines Magpies Medical Department
INJURY REPORT: MATT ANDERSON

I regret to have to inform you that shortstop Matt Anderson will be unable to play again this season. As you know, in last night’s game in St. Paul, Matt slipped on the wet turf when in the process of making a routine play on a groundball hit to his right. As he fell, his middle finger got caught between his hip bone and the ground, and he has ruptured a tendon.

He is currently unable to bend his finger and an injury of this type can take several months to heal fully. My staff and I guesstimate a recovery period of 4 months in this instance. A faster recovery is possible, but it is prudent to treat such injuries cautiously, and, irrespective of Matt’s progress over the summer, I would strongly recommend no further on-field action this season. With that and a quiet offseason I would expect no long-term damage.

Better news to report is that Carlos Zúñiga’s recovery has gone as planned and he should be ready to rejoin the active roster very shortly after the all-star break.

Aristotle Catheter M.D.
Club Doctor
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Old 04-04-2018, 03:06 PM   #259
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21 June 2048

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SCLmagpiesnation.com
====================

Magpies well placed at all-star break, but Brown Bears looking strong

By Maggie Pye | 21 Jun | 10,773 comments

The Magpies look set to make a determined push for the playoffs for the third straight year. A combination of their traditionally-strong, Western League-leading defense, dynamic young pitching, especially in the bullpen, and outstanding seasons from several key hitters in the lineup, has DePodesta’s side at 44-31 at the all-star break.

The North Division is again the SCL’s strongest, with pace-setters Madison (47-28) sporting the league’s best record, and the Magpies and Lansing (43-32) occupying the two WL wildcard spots. The latter two are on course to make the WL wildcard game an all-North Division affair for the third year running, but nearest chasers Denver (41-34) are trying to spoil their party.
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Old 04-04-2018, 03:09 PM   #260
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onlytheboxscore.com/Magpies
The pitching kids are all right
Posted by Hermione Pumpkin, @hermeeown2035

The Magpies pitching staff has been very good this season overall. They have a team ERA of 3.31 and have allowed just 274 runs in total, both figures that are 3rd out of 14 teams in the Western League. But while some of their veterans have disappointed, it has been the corps of talented young pitchers that GM Billy DePodesta has assembled which has led the way.

At 27, closer Júlio Martínez counts as one of the elder statesmen of the Magpies bullpen. He’s been sensational this year, converting all 21 of his save opportunities so far, and posting a 0.90 ERA and ridiculous 0.60 WHIP. Some of the high-performing talent has come up through the club’s player development system from recent drafts. Wesley Weaver, the Magpies’ 2046 first round pick, is 10-3, 2.33 and has just been chosen for the all-star game. From last year’s draft, relievers Ken James (1-0, 0.90) and Gabe Copeland (1-0, 1.07) have been brilliant. Lefty setup man Jorge Cruz (3-4, 2.34) is putting up better numbers every year. The only young talent not exceeding expectations is starter Robinson Ortíz, in his first full season as a member of the starting rotation. However, his strikeout and walk rates are similar to last season, and his high BABIP suggests an element of bad luck and the potential for regression back towards the mean over the second half.

The Magpies also have a ton of even younger talent waiting in the wings on their minor league roster. The likes of Israel Padilla, Wade Kelly, Bernardo Mercado, Jesús Zamora and Jesús Benítez are all improving and expected to challenge for positions on the active roster in the not too distant future. That stack of young arms also potentially gives DePodesta some chips that could be traded to strengthen the batting lineup. The pitching future’s bright in Des Moines.
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