Jackal Tales

This topic contains 295 replies, has 16 voices, and was last updated by  Jeff (Maracaibo Jackals USA) 3 years, 10 months ago.

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  • #2259
     Maracaibo USA 

    Shortly before dawn on the morning of March 12, 2028, the Maracaibo Jackals owner awakes with a start, hurries from his mobile observation tent in the center of the encampment, and frantically seeks out his commander Tankersley. His soldiers are still asleep, for they need not prepare yet for the coming war; there is still time before Spring Training.

    But the owner is restless.

    It has been a maddening nine months for the owner, who replaced his prior commander with new blood in a fit of impatient rage. The Korean LOD title that had been promised to him was not being delivered, so he made a change; he hired Jeff Tankersley (aka Jeff the Great, Destroyer of Worlds) as his new general, and issued his new commander an ultimatum. “Before I die,” the owner said, “I want to win the title.”

    The Jackals made a strong, not-quite-heroic attempt in the second half of the season, almost sneaking into the playoffs behind the big bats of cornerstone masher Burgas the Burly and newly acquired mercenaries Copones and Quinteros the Conquerer, but at the end of the war, as Hukuoka and Cheju rode on to battle for the crown, the exhausted and beaten Jackals could only look on, having finished a single game behind Cheju. It was a finish the owner took especially hard, as he relented to several days and nights of drinking and self-pity, but this morning, his anguish and anxiousness are even more acute.

    The owner had a nightmare last night – and it foretold his coming death.

    He finds his commander Tankersley by the command tent. Jeff is preparing early for more tryouts, contemplating more contract offers for the unsigned mercenaries, and also looking over his lead scouts’ reports of the newest available soldiers, which will be picked through in a draft by the combined armies soon. The owner explains his vision – no, not vision – prophesy. “We must be ready, and we must win. This year. For I will not live another.” Tankersley accepts his charge and peers out at the coming dawn. It is going to be a great year.

  • #17709
     Maracaibo USA 

    Some aged warriors have left the Jackals fold since the last campaign ended so unsatisfactorily. The payouts needed to bring back veterans Mauro Verasquez, Quinteros the Conquerer, and long-time catching anchor Chi-Eun Sin were deemed excessive by the new commander Tankersley, and when those three sign with new forces soon, there will be tremendous wallowing and anger among the Maracaibo Nation. Sin’s departure in particular is a troublesome thing to fathom, as he is so well-loved by the populace, so it is being ignored by team leadership at the moment. There was also sad news to report from the infirmary last week as long-time Jackal and steady arm Francisco Goyce was released from the team after injuries ended his career. Goyce made 84 starts over his 6-year career in Maracaibo, and was a well-respected, though not well-admired, contributor to the team’s efforts. The lack of congratulatory farewells as this battle-tested warrior left the encampment of heroes speaks to the oftentimes unforgiving nature of this effort.

    From its farm system, Maracaibo was able to trade off warriors still in training for three veteran warriors of varying skill sets, who will hopefully fill roles in the army this year. The most well-known and admired of these three new teammates is quick-footed Whitey Hyde, who will fill the Jackals lead outfield role for the next three campaigns. At 33 years old, this soldier is in the declining phase of his career, but still plays outstanding defense and will hopefully score many runs for the Jackals from the leadoff or #2 spot. Blandino the Bland brings excellent defense at 2B or SS and an ability to get on base to the Jackals, and minor league veteran Saborido comes to Maracaibo with a renewed sense of purpose, hoping to contribute as a member of its pitching rotation this year.

    But today Maracaibo Nation is happy to celebrate as its favorite son and champion, Burgas the Burly has signed a five-year extension to remain with the Jackals. There is much happiness and optimism for the coming years in the Burgas household today and in the streets of Maracaibo as the terms of this extension reach the masses.

    Jeff the Great, Destroyer of Worlds knows that, to succeed this year and in the coming years, more pitching is necessary on this team. From the loss of Goyce and Verasquez to the inability of its pitching farmhands to make an impression that would prompt a promotion, Jeff knows that rebuilding the pitching ranks from the top (via mercenary free agency) to the bottom (via the soldier draft) is of absolute importance. As he plots his strategy, the rambling owner, with his nervous hands clasped and shaking in front of him, returns to ask his commander what he thinks about Dinky Rodarte. “Can we sign him?”

  • #17729
     Hukuoka CUB 

    lol, i love it…best read (other than “Around the WBH”) on this site!

  • #17739
     Maracaibo USA 

    Thanks – slow week at the office. Banged out one more:

    The owner and Tankersley met with some prospective unsigned mercenaries over the weekend and numbers were exchanged with a few of them; today one of those offers was accepted. A currier from the far-away land of Santurce arrives with news that mercenary pitcher Dae-Jin Kim has accepted Maracaibo’s offer and his family is packing their belongings now for the long journey to his new home. Jackal Nation is usually in disagreement with its response to player acquisitions, but with this news mostly decides that Kim is not the ace they were looking for. A series of groans among the populace is sensed, but, the more sensible among them are trying to point out the team isn’t done. Maybe something else is still in the works.

    A competitive offer was made to Dinky Rodarte but rumors are swirling that’s he’s accepted an offer from another army. The tension in Maracaibo builds.

    Meanwhile, Jeff the Great has shifted his focus from discussions with unsigned mercenaries to preparation for the coming soldier draft. Young warriors entering the profession are chosen in turn by teams in Korea to be placed in those armies’ farm training systems. The Jackals owner, who is only concerned with this coming season’s success, ignores these draft proceedings almost completely, except to point out there might be a major league-ready reliever or quick-footed middle infielder who could be drafted and promoted to Maracaibo immediately. “We can use a good pinch runner on the team”, he rambles. Tankersley placates his owner with false agreement, seemingly defering to his opinion, but knows a steady stream of minor league talent is necessary to make the Jackals competitive in future years. He looks over the pref lists his scouts have provided and wonders, who will be available with the sixth choice?

  • #17749
     Thunder Bay KOR 

    Nicely done, Jeff.

  • #17753
     Taegu JPN 

    Very amusing blog so far! I hope your team fights more like the Spartans and less like the French.

  • #17783
     Maracaibo USA 

    March 20, 2028

    Scene: General Tankersley and his closest advisors enter the owner’s large celebration tent, covering a half-acre of grass and full of Maracaibo citizens. The air has a sense of grandeur as the men approach the owner:

    Owner: Upon finishing second in the Most-Improved GM Award Results, and in light of the grand attempt to reach last year’s playoffs, I knight thee Sir Jeff Tankersley. Sir Jeff, in the name of God we declare and appoint thee guardian and high protector of Maracaibo and thy captains as aides-de-camp. Stand and be recognized.

    Rich crowd-goer #1: Sir Jeff – inasmuch as you and your captains hail from a region long known to support the importance of the hit-and-run and sacrifice bunt as a strong means of winning titles, may we invite you to support and uphold that rightful means of war?

    Rich crowd-goer #2 (shouting): Damn the productive outs supporters, they are all lollygaggers!

    Rich crowd-goer #3: Now is the time to declare a strategy!

    Owner: Gentlemen! Please, Gentlemen! Wait, Sir Jeff, where are you going?

    Jeff (turns to address the crowd): We have performed well, but Cheju will come back, because you won’t stand together.

    Rich crowd-goer #2: Well, what will you do?

    Jeff: I will invade Cheju and defeat the Chejans on their own ground.

    Rich crowd-goer #2 (laughs): Invade? That’s impossible.

    Jeff: Why? Why is that impossible? You’re so concerned with squabbling for the scraps from Hukuoka’s table that you’ve missed your God-given right to something better. There is a difference between us. You think the people of Maracaibo exist to provide you with position. I think your position exists to provide those people with championships. And I go to make sure they have it.

  • #17790
     Maracaibo USA 

    March 21, 2028

    Jeff the Great, Destroyer of Worlds, and his team of lead scouts from Maracaibo descend upon the bustling village of Amateuritibo, Korea at mid-day, and notice that representatives from several of the other armies of Korea have already arrived. The brash Jays from Jeonju, the cocky, returning LOD champions from Cheju, and the invasion from Roswell among others stand about, suspiciously on guard, speaking silently amongst themselves as they wait for the Korean soldier draft to begin in earnest.

    In contrast with the stoic and purposeful inactivity among the other Korean armies, Will Moore’s contingent from Thunder Bay is displaying an almost-annoying flurry of activity. Curriers from other teams across the world are continually arriving to complete, reject, and/or discuss various trade offers with Moore, who seems hell-bent on turning over his entire team’s roster – in fact, it has been joked among the self-pitying Avenger faithful that the hard-luck team has no recognizable players anymore, because they’ve all been traded away.

    A gaggle of anxious soldier prospects, ranging in age from 17 to 23 years, are also milling about the grounds. They’ve brought all of their wordly possessions, and some of their close family and friends, to this event, one that will change their lives forever. Most are hoping to simply be chosen at all, for a few of them will go home without an assignment. But a select few are hoping for more – to be the first pick in the draft. They quickly bristle and stand at attention as the contingent of Burning Dragons scouts from Busan arrive and look over the prospects again. Busan has the first selection in tonight’s draft, and has not tipped its hand as to whom that first pick will be.

  • #17794
     Santiago de Cuba USA 

    Perhaps Jeff the Great, Destroyer of Worlds should consider employing a Rotation of Renown, Breakers of Bats to work hand in hand with their existing Lineup of Launchers, Keepers of Payroll Inflexibility.

    (By the way, love the write ups. Keep up the good work!)

  • #17835
     Maracaibo USA 

    [Currier note from Tankersley (Amateuritibo, KOR) to Jackals Owner (Maracaibo, KOR)]
    “1st round complete, our top four were gone when we made pick. Drafted Jae Pak, 18-yo SP from Inchon, KOR. 6’2, 200. Extreme ground-baller. Control needs work. 8 stamina rating means definitely staying in rotation. Potential for three, poss four, pitches. Natural leader, but poor work ethic. Sending now to Las Teyerias (A) – might be ready for Moron (AA) at mid-season because of advanced pitch movement/ground ball skills. 2nd round tonight -JT”

  • #17850
     Thunder Bay KOR 

    My name in a blog. Almost annoying. Awesome!

  • #17943
     Maracaibo USA 

    March 26, 2028

    A surprise visit by Maracaibo legend Salvador Estrada ,who for five seasons served as the most dangerous warrior in a stout Jackals lineup, winning two gold gloves and an MVP in those five years, livens up the Jackals draft delegation, which is packing up and heading home from the draft. Estrada, who won a Dominican League championship with Bocas later in his career, is on hand to personally appeal to Hall of Fame voters who are attending the draft proceedings. All Estrada needs is an introductory handshake to remind this observer of the man’s greatness.

    The draft has been completed, and though the class was considered fairly deep by industry sources, Maracaibo‘s class is not particularly impressive. Tankersley says a number of players he was hoping to select were taken just before the Jackals had a chance. More on this to come, but the team is now headed back home to prepare for Spring Training.

  • #17947
     Maracaibo USA 

    March 31, 2028
    Maracaibo is bustling with recent news related to the soldier draft just completed, and some mercenaries who signed with other teams.

    Jackal Nation is upset to learn that Quinteros the Conquerer, who joined the team in mid-season 2027 and helped spark a run that fell just short of the playoffs, has signed with the Tortugas in the United States. Team officials have reacted to this news by wisecracking about the terms of his contract, which will see him paid $12M in his age 35 season, but the drop in fan interest here is substantial.

    The soldier draft this year saw an emphasis on adding pitchers. The players selected have been assigned to Single-A Las Teyerias:

    1st round: Dae Pak, ground-ball 18-yo pitcher. 2nd round: Greg Barber, 20-yo OFer. 3rd round: Kawachi, 18-yo loser with no future. 4th round: Joe Kent, an 18-yo potential utility infielder. 5th round: Colton Gorman, slow-armed future innings-eating AAA filler. 6th round John Hennessey, a 17-yo future corner bat, perhaps pinch hitter. 7th round: van Hoose, fringe bat with a cool name. 8th round: Hoyt, 18-yo RP. 9th round: Gaston Lemieux, bad SP. And 10th round: Shintaro Kurota, another bad SP. All in all, Jackals management sees two prospects with probable major league potential (Pak and Barber), three others with some contributing potential as utility players or fringe pitching ability (Kent, Gorman, and Hennessey), and is hoping one of the other players drafted can turn into a surprise contributor.

  • #17953
     Maracaibo USA 

    April 1, 2028

    The pitching situation for Maracaibo this year is very much up in the air, and that feeling of uncertainty hovers over the pitching warriors as they arrive at the Spring Training camp to settle in. The runs-against numbers in 2027 were outstanding, but no single arm in the rotation or bullpen can yet claim to be among the best in their field. It is widely believed that the success of the Jackals at limiting runs in 2027 was a combination of getting the right arms in the right fights at the right time with an always-strong defense behind it. That depth/quantity over quality strategy will likely be the plan again in 2028.

    De facto Jackals ace, 31-year old, Cesar Anaya, looks uncomfortable in the ace role, being looked up to by his younger teammates, but not a vocal or energetic leader as much as he is an example-setting workhorse with a gold glove award and some ERA titles to his name. He hasn’t been officially named the Jackals Opening Day starter, but he’s earned it. Behind Anaya in the rotation will be an assortment of arms yet to be sorted through: 25-year old Elian Flores, 35-year old Lee Jong, 24-year old Kknoch-no-eul Yi, free agent additions Beau Roebuck and Dae-Jin Kim, trade acquisition Saborido, and bullpen long-men Vincente Lara and Lino Moralis are all in the mix.

    The bullpen has some very strong arms who will be supplemented by whoever in the rotation competition doesn’t make the rotation. Relief aces Alberto Chavez and Fookey Fukasawa headline the group while Edgard Ibarra expects to return to his closers role. Notably missing from Spring Training is fan favorite Moon You, who ranks #5 among the Jackals favorite players but has yet to pitch in the big leagues.

    The crowd of spectators is fairly sparse, as it is most years when the pitchers arrive. The jittery owner is trying to stay occupied, nervously engaging some of the youth in the crowd with trivia games focused on prior years statistics. The crowd grows hourly, though, and people arrive in spurts with hopes of catching glimpses of the hitters as they arrive later in the day…

  • #17963
     Maracaibo USA 

    April 1, 2028

    There is a feeling of excited anticipation as the 2028 season’s group of Jackals hitters meets in Spring Training camp. Old teammates meet new teammates and a mix of faces, both familiar and unfamiliar, greet each hitter as he arrives in the early afternoon. The crescendoing conversation among the hitters and the surrounding crowd of Maracaibo faithful only diminishes slightly when the aged vet Copones arrives last; no player commands as much respect and admiration on this field on this day. This could be Copones’ last season with Maracaibo, his second, and rumors of his staying for more years are always quickly squelched by team management. All talk of contract extensions have been tabled by the team’s superstitious, haunted owner, who dreamed of his own demise only weeks ago and believes that any talk of future campaigns for any upcoming free agent would only distract from the task at hand – winning the Korean title in 2028.

    The probable heart of the Jackals lineup meets at mid-field. Fan favorite and expected #3 hitter Burgas the Burly, the 26-year old masher, who already has a batting title, home run title, and MVP to his name, and who recently signed an extension keeping him in the Jackal fold for another five years. Expected cleanup hitter, the aforementioned gold glover Copones, who at 31 is among the best bats in Korea. And surprise rookie contributor Sweet Sugiura, who at 26 had one of the league’s most unexpected 20-homer seasons (between AAA and the bigs) while playing outstanding defense at shortstop. The three say their hellos, then reach out to their teammates. New Jackals quick-footed Whitey Hyde and Blandino the Bland, old Jackals Chris Begin, gold glover Ze-Min Ning, and second-year outfielder Zhong-yan Da, journeyman catcher Mun, and an assortment of potential utility players and platoon partners assemble around the three mashers and start to ask amongst themselves, “Can we do it?” “Can we score the 600 runs we’ll need to win this?” The discussion continues as the pitchers wander over to greet their fellow warriors.

    The comraderie almost reaches joviality before a sudden hush takes over the training ground. The whole army and gaggle of spectators is silenced as their commander, General Jeff, aka Jeff the Great, Destroyer of Worlds, walks to the middle of the throng and tells the soldiers to find the batting cages. The first Spring Training matchup versus the hated Quebec Dragons and their new ace Bababooie, is tonight.

  • #17955
     Maracaibo USA 

    April 13, 2028

    Young Chad Doober awoke on the morning of April 13 at a slightly earlier hour but with the same purpose as he had the prior two weeks: attend a Jackals spring training exhibition fight. For two weeks, he woke at the crack of dawn, trudged into his mother’s kitchen to grab some bread and an apple or peach, then started his three-mile journey to the Jackals facility hoping to meet some of the players outside. He hasn’t had much luck. He shook hands with long-man Vincente Lara once, and he received friendly waves from a few other players, but getting these warriors’ attention was no easy feat.

    On this day, Chad arrived at his spot a little sooner than previously, and none of his schoolmates had yet arrived. He sat on the ground and looked out into the distance, picking the grass and thinking about the coming season. Jackal Nation‘s high hopes for the season are almost stifling at this point, but the ground this early in the morning is peaceful and calm.

    Slowly rising in the distance, Chad sees a dusty cloud that usually signifies a player and accompanying delegation are coming to camp, but who would be bringing such a large delegation to the training facility? All of the Jackals players were already settled in and wouldn’t have the horses and cart that this coming visitor was obviously bringing. He squinted harder as the cart came closer and closer before finally jumping to his feet and sprinting towards it. He had to know who was coming.

    The cart-pulling horse was reigned in as Chad approached and the driver shouted at him. “Boy! Be this the Jackals camp?” Chad simply nodded. The driver tipped his head in thanks and continued on, but then Chad noticed a second horse riding next to the cart. This great steed was dressed in battle armor and wearing red colors that matched the Jackals logo, and on top of the animal was a warrior wearing the light and loose garb normally worn by pitchers. “What pitcher is this?”, Chad wondered. The warrior stopped, looked down at Chad, and said hello. Chad grimaced as he recognized him – it was the hated Killer Zanga, who last year was on Hukuoka’s Korean Championship team and made merry sport of destroying the Jackal hitters in battle. But Zanga was now wearing Jackal crimson, just like his horse.

    “I’m pitching for Maracaibo this year, boy! Go tell your friends!” the great fighter shouted as he started his horse forward once again.
    Chad jumped in his spot and yelped in excitement, but then thought for a second. “But sir…”, Chad said deep in thought.
    “What is it, boy?” Zanga asked.
    “Sir, they’ll never believe me!”

  • #17978
     Maracaibo USA 

    April 15, 2028

    The first two weeks of Spring Training are in the books, the team going 7-6 over the first 13 games while outscoring opponents 57-51. Jeff the Great rolled out a six-man pitching staff for the first two weeks in order to get all of his starting pitchers as many looks as possible, but announces now that his staff will be whittled down to a five-man rotation once the season starts. He still has not officially named the Jackals’ Opening Day starter, but signs point to newly-signed ace Killer Zanga taking the ball first, then seasoned veteran Cesar Anaya second, and mercenary addition Dae-Jin Kim third. A sudden depth of starting pitching is now apparent, and four pitchers, including two members of last season’s regular rotation (24-year old Yi and 35-year old Jong), have been sent down to AAA El Tocuyo to start the season there.

    While the rotation and bullpen were drawn up this Spring to obviously provide pitching opportunities for as many pitchers as possible, the lineups were not. Every day, Tankersley threw out the same lineup: R Blandino the Bland leading off, followed by L Burgas the Burly, R quick-footed Whitey Hyde, L Copones, R Sweet Sugiara, L Ze-Min Ning, S Zhong-yan Da, and L Mun. This lineup has raised eyebrows within Jackal Nation for a number of reasons. Skeptics are grumbling about the best hitter on the team, Burgas the Burly, hitting 2nd instead of 3rd or 4th, where his monster bat can do more damage; wondering why Mun is starting at catcher rather than some platoon made up of he, Sato, and Lopez; and also noting loudly the absence of Chris Begin from the everyday lineup. Defenders of the lineup point to the alternating R/L handed hitting throughout the lineup that should help keep opponents from easily lining up their bullpen in later innings, and many were promoting Da over Begin as the everyday starter in LF anyway. Unfortunately, Begin has taken his official relegation to bench role poorly and he’s been yelling at bat boys for no reason while sitting on the bench.

    The team’s overly-excited owner and Tankersley discussed the batting order with locals after last night’s contest and seem to be in agreement; this lineup will be the lineup on Opening Day, and it will be hard for anyone on the bench to assume a starting role until an injury or extended period of poor play strikes one of the starting bats. “We’ve taken great pains to add batsmen that compliment each others’ abilities in the lineup and who can play outstanding defence on the battlefield,” Jeff says. “This team is going to win a lot of fights this year.”

    “They better!” the owner laughs maniacally. The crowd erupts in laughter, knowing that, with the Zanga signing, the owner has committed over $88 million to this year’s team.

  • #17529
     Bocas del Toro VEN 

    That damn Zanga…he wanted 2 years at 9.7M from me, so I offered it to him and you blow my offer away…now I’ve got cash burning a whole in my pocket. Must overpay for someone else 🙂

  • #17980
     Maracaibo USA 

    Before last sim, I had offered him 2 @ 12. He said he wanted more money and more years so I added a 3rd-year player option and bumped the yearly up to 14. If I could have got him for, say, 3 @ 10 (beating your 2 @ 9), that really stinks!

  • #17981
     Hukuoka CUB 

    I was offering him 3 at 12 or 12.5 ( I can’t remember) with the last being a team option so it is good you bumped up your offer…

  • #17996
     Maracaibo USA 

    April 30, 2028

    Maracaibo went 8-4 in its last twelve spring training games and all of its starters have been declared injury-free and ready to go for Opening Day.

    The team is going with a four-man rotation to start the season. Killer Zanga will pitch the opener, followed by Cesar Anaya, bullpen convert Alberto Chavez, and Dae-Jin Kim. Each starter is being capped at a low pitch count so they can throw on shorter rest. When asked why this change is being made, especially now that the team seems flush with serviceable starters like Flores and Roebuck, who now have to pitch in relief, Tankersley said the Zanga signing spurred the team into implementing this strategy. “Zanga and Chavez each have four or more good pitches, which makes them great SP candidates, but don’t have the stamina to pitch a full SP workload every time through the rotation. We’re going to see if we can go a few months of having them pitch less each start, but have them make more starts. If it doesn’t work, we’ll just go back to the five-man staff.”

  • #18028
     Maracaibo USA 

    May 1, 2028

    The sharpened blade, the sun-glinted batting helmet, the bright-colored banners unfurled in the wind, the pure white, unmuddied baseball, the hopeful fans, the sharp eyes, the giant horses, the dust-less canteen, the hopeful owner, the fists of the warrior clenched in excitement – these are snapshots of a day like no other. Opening Day.

    With spring training over and the warriors seemingly prepared for battle, it is difficult for them not to fall into a state of overwhelming anticipation, but among their leaders and more seasoned comrades is the uneasy knowledge that this 2028 campaign, which kicks off tonight with a Jackal attack on Quebec, will be no quick or easy stroll through Korea. The road is long. The horizon distant and unseen. As vital as the acts of the warriors in combat in the field of battle today and over the coming months will be the scouting work done by advance scouts preparing the soldiers for battle and the developmental work being accomplished by the minor league organizations training the next generation of troops ready to commit to the throes of war.

    Jeff the Great makes no attempt at a motivational speech to the troops now assembled before tonight’s fight; this team of veterans knows what today is all about. The fans and well-wishers from Maracaibo, for the most part, know, too. Today is important; the first skirmish in a large conflict that will hopefully provide the Jackals haunted owner with the Korean Championship he so dearly wants to attain before he dies. The first in a long war that will ultimately decide the fate of Korea for years to come.

  • #18069
     Maracaibo USA 

    May 8, 2028

    Maracaibo’s owner sternly told Jeff the Supposedly Great that his 4-man rotation experiment is hereby concluded as a horrible failure. Tankersley thought about mentioning sample size or luck, but decided to abandon the 4-man plan and go back to a five-man rotation with week 2’s action. “One win and five losses,” the owner cried. “What the hell, Jeff?!?!”

  • #18095
     Maracaibo USA 

    May 9, 2028

    Maracaibo’s season has not started off well, but on this night, new hope, as recent callup Saborido, pressed into the pitching spot left vacated by Typhoid Kim, fights eight shutout innings, allowing only two hits, in a much-needed win for the Jackals, despite only killing three opposing batters. The team is grateful for the strong effort but it is unclear if the minor league veteran has earned another start.

    May 12, 2028

    “Embarrassing and disgusting” are the words used by Maracaibo’s dismayed owner when lamenting tonight’s match. “The errors in the field, the inability to strike a hit off that pitcher, and the twenty-one runners left on base…” he trails off, shaking his head. “Twenty-one runs left on base!” The owner’s ire has turned from Jeff the Great, who he feels mismanaged the rotation in week 1, to journeyman catcher Mun, who has gone 3-for-22 to start the season, and who left seven of those 21 runners on base in tonight’s close loss. “Mun must die!” the owner shouts at a trainer standing nearby. “He must take his sword and impale himself upon it!”

  • #18144
     Maracaibo USA 

    May 15, 2028

    The second week ended up a more preferable mix of glory with agony for the Jackals, who won four of their six fights, but a new leader among the Korean LOD has solidly taken its place at the top of the landscape: Thunder Bay. The citizens of Maracaibo are starting to mutter the Avengers name with curses as they have for years when speaking of the Volcano or the hated Dragons.

    Of greatest dismay to the fans thus far has been the poor performance of its supposed aces – Cesar Anaya has allowed ten runs in his first three matches thus far, and Killer Zanga has allowed eight run in his first three, all losses. To make matters worse on the field, the two warriors are not friends off the field, and they are feeding the combative nature within the clubhouse. Zanga was heard shouting at his teammate Anaya during the May 13th fight against Jeonju while Anaya was looking complacent on the mound after allowing five runs to score. Anaya has reportedly taken to bad-mouthing the mercenary Zanga behind his back as a money-hungry thief with no valor, honor, or will to win.

    In the wake of the owner’s hatred for current catcher Mun, and in light of the fact that long-time catcher and Maracaibo hero Chi-Eun Sin just signed a one-year mercenary deal to play in the USA, and to fulfill their never-ending hope for more heroes to come up and contribute on the Maracaibo roster, Jackal Nation has started to show great interest in catching prospect Dequevado, who is now playing in El Tocuyo. The catcher still has a lot of room to improve, but his placement at the top of various publications’ lists of prospects (#1 Maracaibo, #6 Korea) has excited Jackal Nation.

  • #18123
     Maracaibo USA 

    May 15, 2028

    In his second turn through the rotation, Saborido provides a start that mimicks his first, an outstanding seven inning, one run win for the Jackals. His spot in the rotation is a little more secure now and Jackal Nation is starting to wonder if he could be more than a spot-starting long man.

    May 17, 2028

    Another outstanding performance today on the battlefield for your Maracaibo Jackals as Killer Zanga finally gives the team the kind of performance it was paying for. Burgas the Burly and Copones each hit home runs in a big win for the Jackals. The team seems to be coming around after its dismal performance in week 1.

  • #18150
     Maracaibo USA 

    May 21, 2028

    In every start since Opening Day, quick-footed Whitey Hyde has been hitting third for the Jackals between monster hitters Burgas the Burly and Copones. Jackal Nation hasn’t endeared itself to this situation yet since Hyde has been hitting so poorly thus far – his .313 on-base percentage and his .236 batting average rank low among the Jackals hitters.

    But on this day, quick-footed Whitey Hyde put Jackal Nation in a frenzy with his walk-off home run, hit in the bottom of the tenth frame of tonight’s match against Quebec. The homer lifts the Jackals to 9-9 on the season, and only one game behind the division-leading Avengers from Thunder Bay. The Jackals’ horrible 1-5 start has been followed by a decent 8-4 stretch that has the owner in a much happier state.

    Lollygagging Mun and clubhouse depressant Chris Begin are still on the owner’s “must deal with” list, but most of the team’s best players have been performing better lately, including its feuding aces Killer Zanga and Cesar Anaya, who each turned in a strong performance on the mound this week. Rookie sensation Saborido, who lifted Jackal Nation with two amazing performances hit first two times on the mound, was beaten soundly tonight in his third, allowing five runs in five innings, but the team’s dramatic win has lessened any disappointment with tonight’s start.

  • #18153
     Hong Kong CUB 

    Loving these write-ups. I should go in the blog forum more often.

  • #18157
     Maracaibo USA 

    Thanks! Tomorrow’s should be epic. One more before that one, though:

    May 22, 2028

    Early news breaks this off-day as right-handed outfielder Chris Begin has been traded with cash to Hong Kong for non-prospect Kiridoshi in what everyone acknowledges is a straight salary dump. Begin’s role on the Jackals has been a contentious one since younger options Da and Martinez have been starting in the third outfield spot next to Copones and quick-footed Whitey Hyde, but Begin’s ability to play all three outfield positions and destroy left-handed pitching makes him a great addition to the Golden Dragons lineup, so long as he accepts his platoon/4th-outfielder role.

  • #18184
     Maracaibo USA 

    May 23, 2028

    Ladies, children, old men and the faint of heart, go inside and hide. Carnage and death are coming to Maracaibo. The Jackal Army fights the hated defending LOD Champion Volcanos from Cheju in a three-day bloodbath that starts tonight before hosting the division-leading and burgeoning rival Avengers from Thunder Bay in another three-day sickening macabre festival of death. Not since the Battle of Noryang in 1598 has a defence of Korea been so paramount. The sun-blinding sky will turn black with sulfur and ash. The parched, cracked ground will turn dark red. The strong and genius alike will perish as if soldier ants being cast aside by uncaring, ruthless leaders. The mountains will tremble and the seas will boil and they will know us by the trail of dead…

  • #18205
     Maracaibo USA 

    [Week 4 action report]
    May 23, 2028 – A strong five-inning, 0 runs, 8 Ks performance by Killer Zanga leads Maracaibo to a big 3-2 win over hated Cheju.
    May 24, 2028 – Opposing pitcher Sato perhaps threw the best fight of the week in Korea, a complete game shutout, and Dae-Jin Kim doesn’t give Maracaibo a chance, as the hated Chejans win 6-0.
    May 25, 2028 – Maracaibo wins the series by taking this one 8-4 behind two home runs from Copones, but supposed-ace Cesar Anaya continues to struggle as he allows four runs in five innings and his ERA is 5.20 in his 26 innings pitched this year.
    May 26, 2028 – In the opener against Thunder Bay, starter Knock Yi got beat up, again, but the bullpen and Sweet Sugaria’s two home runs carried the day 5-4. Yi’s status in the rotation is again in doubt. Fans know he needs to get his regular reps in to be effective, but they also know the depth of pitching in AAA might be more effective than these turns he is taking.
    May 27, 2028 – Saborido’s strong rookie campaign continues, as he throws seven innings, allowing only three runs in a Jackals 4-3 victory.
    May 28, 2028 – Killer Zanga’s best fight of the season leads Maracaibo to a 4-1 win and a sweep of the hated Avengers.

    Week 4 sees the Jackals go 5-1 and take a nice lead atop the Korean LOD. Killer Zanga’s 12 shutout innings, and the bullpen’s outstanding 20 innings allowing only 4 runs, and Copones’ seven home runs this year, have Jackal Nation in a frenzy, and four of this week’s five wins were by two runs or fewer, so they were very stressful and exciting. The bats are picking up a little. Maracaibo now has a day off before travelling to Busan. Looking forward to week 5…

  • #18220
     Maracaibo USA 

    [Farm system update after 4 weeks of the 2028 campaign]
    May 29, 2028

    1) Top prospect C Jorge Dequevado has been tearing up AAA to a tune of 314/382/453. He will probably stay in AAA all year before coming up in 2029, but he is already third on the fans list of favorite players (behind Copones and Jong), so the calls for his promotion might be heeded this year if he can keep this up.
    2) Pitching prospect Dae Pak, who was drafted with the team’s top pick in this year’s soldier draft and pitched very well in his first three starts, was diagnosed with shoulder inflammation and will be out of action for eight months. This is a devastating blow to his development plan. If he recovers as planned, he will start again in single-A next year as a 19-year old.
    3) Rising star C Bert Pomar is still working in A-ball, hitting 242/324/495.
    4) OF Taro Ichikawa was brought up to the majors when he turned 25 and promptly hit 2 home runs in his first game on 5/20/2028. He is serving as the Jackals top left-handed pinch hitter and fourth-outfielder, hitting 308/400/923 in 13 at-bats.
    5) OF Edgar Campos has been having trouble again in AA, hitting only 258/343/387. He’s going nowhere.
    6) OF Kichidahas been killing AAA pitching with a 333/402/414 line, but scouts still don’t trust his bat and believe his eye and plate discipline aren’t good enough for the majors. In any case, there are a number of OFers above him on the depth chart right now. Only a rash of injuries or a trade to another team will get him a look.
    7) OF Greg Barber, who was drafted with the team’s second pick in this year’s soldier draft, has been struggling in A-ball, hitting 260/283/385 and only walking three times in his 97 at-bats. Since he is already 20 years old, team management’s view of his performance can be summed up in an aside heard from Jeff the Great on Tuesday: “The guy needs to learn how to lay off a freakin’ ball.”
    8 ) 1B Quinto Sanchez, in his first AAA season, has been struggling mightily, hitting 219/303/260.
    9) OF Jeffrey Moon, who was the team’s second pick in last year’s draft, is having a bad season in A-ball, but at only 18 years old, the team is in no rush to push him. He’s hitting 264/284/406 and will likely stay in Las Tereyas the whole season.
    10) 2B Lorenzo Sanchez has been hitting 287/352/388 in AAA and will be called up if 2B Blandino suffers an injury, but otherwise will remain in AAA as organizational depth at 2B. He does not play SS well, so he isn’t usable as a utility infielder.

    Others of note: OF Eli Ortiz, 19 years old in A-ball, is hitting 368/429/526 but scouts still don’t see a future major leaguer. No word on his timetable on a promotion if he keeps hitting this well… Hoyt, a reliever drafted in the eighth(!) round of this year’s draft, has struck down 11 batters in 14 innings while allowing only 11 baserunners in A-ball to start the season and the team is wondering if it found a sleeper… 3B Jose Llague, 22 years old in AA, is hitting 281/337/404 and scouts are starting to believe he might provide just enough on-base and power skills to at least be serviceable as a bench bat in the future… RP Jorge Melendez, 22 years old in AAA, has 18 strikeouts in 15 innings and is closing for the Pulverizers. He will reach the majors before the season ends… Fan favorite and Inchon native RP Moon Yoo, who since being drafted in the first round of the 2023 draft has delighted fans with his crazy antics but underwhelmed scouts with his mediocre performance, has been doing more of the same this season in AAA. Yoo ranks fifth on the fans favorite players list but is simply allowing too many baserunners and not throwing enough strikes… The team’s depth at AAA is currently considered strong, especially with regard to its pitching depth, as evidenced by the team’s 20-6 record. This depth should help keep the big club fresh with arms during the season. Team officials are also pleased with the performance of the single-A team, but the AA club in Moron, which currently has an 8-18 record, is proving to be a pretty underwhelming collection of non-prospects. It remains to be seen if this lack of talent in AA will hurt the club in the future, or if Jeff the Great is just taking more time to promote talent from single-A than his predecessor was.

  • #18303
     Maracaibo USA 

    May 30, 2028

    A change was announced today, that Fookey Fukusawa has finally taken his place as the team’s official closer, replacing largely-ineffective fly ball pitcherIberra, who has allowed almost two baserunners per inning this year. Fookey’s wildness is still an issue, but team management gave him a four-year deal last season and appears committed to seeing this through.

    Fookey’s first save opportunity came tonight and, sure enough, he allowed a hit and walked one before closing the door on the Burning Dragons 4-2.

    June 1, 2028

    C Roberto Lopez won the LOD’s “Rookie of the Month” award in May, hitting 309/349/432 in 81 at-bats. He’s never been considered a strong prospect since being drafted in the 6th round of the 2022 soldier draft, but has filled in admirably this season for departed hero Chi-Eun Sin and vapid vortex of suck Bad Mun. The team’s owner has already started asking if a rookie of the year award might be in play for the young catcher.

  • #18342
     Maracaibo USA 

    June 4, 2028

    Tonight’s loss to Roswell drops Maracaibo to 17-13 and some early poor performances are being addressed by the soldiers and coaches. Veteran Cesar Anaya, for example, fought well in his last start and the worries over his chances at helping the team this year are mostly gone. Some other changes are being made, most notably with previously-well-regarded ace prospect Knock Yi being moved to the bullpen. His numbers as a starter in AAA have been astronomically good, but his numbers as a starter in Maracaibo have been dreadful. The warrior is only 24, and his prospects for turning into a great starter are still possible, but not probable. Team management wants to see if he can be more effective in the bullpen and at least help a little bit. Roebuck will take Yi’s place in the rotation for now.

    Jackal Nation is clamouring over Killer Zanga’s performance to date, and with his five shutout innings on June 2nd, his scoreless innings streak is now up to 24 innings, spread over his last four starts, all wins for the Jackals.

    Jeff the Great has ramped up his search for another infield bat to compliment the poor work done by Sweet Sugiura so far this year. The shortstop hit twenty home runs last year in his rookie season, but this year has hit a wall. If Sugiura could be pushed to serve as the team’s infield bench bat, it would let the team drop Noodle-bat Vilches, who has seen 40 at-bats this year, from a meaningful role. Those 40 at-bats are about 40 more than he should have seen…

  • #18414
     Maracaibo USA 

    June 13, 2028

    Tavio Soravilla is hurried onto the battlefield with no time to spare. One month ago yesterday, he was released by tonight’s opponent, the Avengers of Thunder Bay. Following that dismissal he was signed by the Jackals to a minor league deal, but his time spent in AAA El Tocuyo was brief: Two relief outings and two starts allowing six runs across seventeen innings. Not the strongest possible performance, but, with a shortage of effective starters on the big league roster, he is called up to make an emergency start tonight…against his former teammates.

    As he picks up his weapon and faces his first enemy, his heart is racing, but he manages to induce a ground out. One down. His next opponent, Canalles crushes his second throw for a triple and the Thunder Bay crowd is amazed, but hopes for an early lead are ended when Soravilla gets the next batter to ground out, then kills the last batter for his first strikeout. Soravilla’s bats do some damage during the match, scoring two runs in support over his six strong subsequent innings, and as the game ends its seventh inning, Soravilla is spent. He is gasping for air in the dugout after pitching his best performance of the season. His line: seven innings, two strikeouts, four hits, zero walks, and zero runs. His new teammates quickly congratulate him as he leaves the match, but they continue to press on, knowing there are still two more innings to go.

    None of the Thunder Bay crowd have left the field when the bottom of the ninth inning comes along. Maracaibo’s closer is not being used today, so former closer Iberra steps to the mound and allows three baserunners and one run to score. Soravilla’s hopes for a victory are then dashed for good when pinch hitter Hwang murders reliever Elian Flores with a three-run home run, capping an improbable four-run comeback to end the match and send the Jackal warriors home in disappointment, and the team owner home delirious with rage.

    Jeff the Great, Destroyer of Worlds, surveys the damage – seeing his defeated former closer Iberra, beaten and on one knee; looking at the bowed heads of his defenders, who were powerless to stop the final blow; then looks over to see tonight’s starter, Soravilla, who is tiredly trying to look distraught for the sake of his teammates, but is obviously pleased with his own performance- and Jeff smiles. Tomorrow is another day.

  • #18437
     Maracaibo USA 

    June 23, 2028

    Scene: Mack McMoneypants (aka Rich crowd-goer #2 from earlier in our story) blinks awake to the sound of drumbeats coming from the street. He looks out his window and sees the Jackal Army marching down the road towards Cheju.

    Mack, shouting out the window at Jeff the Great: “Where are you going?”

    Jeff: “I told you that we have performed well, but Cheju has come back. I will invade Cheju, and beat the Chejans on their own ground.”

    Mack: “Fare thee well, Jeff! And don’t bunt with your #2 hitter! Ever!”

  • #18536
     Maracaibo USA 

    July 17, 2028

    The fans of Maracaibo, in a manner similar to the fans of other cities, display differing degrees of interest in the team’s farm system every year. Some fans are always up-to-speed on the latest news from the training system; they know who is hitting well, who has a possible future role with the Jackals, when each fighter was drafted and how old they are, and when each should be reaching the majors. Many fans, however, do not invest the time, energy, or interest needed to keep up with the lessons being learned in daily fights in the minors, and will instead put their hope and interest only in those prospects deemed the best by various publications.

    But one prospect who started in the 8th spot in today’s lineup for the Jackals has always been an overwhelming favorite, both of the casual prospect tracker and the die-hard minor league fan: Catcher Jorge Dequevado. With Limp Mun’s horrific performance bringing about his tar & feathering last week, Dequevado joins Sato as the Jackals catching options while rookie sensation Roberto Lopez moves over to second base, moving Blandino the Bland to shortstop and leaving Sweet Suguria (whose play this season rivals Mun’s as the worst in Maracaibo) as a right-handed bench option.

    Fans are already arriving for Dequevado’s first game, against the hated Chejans.

  • #18537
     Maracaibo USA 

    July 19, 2028

    An eerie silence falls on the crowd watching Maracaibo’s match today as heroic warrior Burgas the Burly is injured following a collision on the basepaths. Burgas leads Korea in batting average, home runs, and RBIs.

    July 21, 2028

    It appears Burgas will miss four weeks due to the injury sustained in Wednesday’s loss to Cheju. Team officials plan to use veteran Kent Miron as the team’s primary first baseman until Burgas returns.

  • #18541
     Maracaibo USA 

    July 24, 2028

    At the trade deadline last season, Jeff the Great, Seeker of Champions, made a few big trades that pushed Maracaibo far enough to finish just outside the LOD’s playoff spot, finishing one game behind the hated Chejans. This season, he has stood his ground, even while those hated Chejans continued to hold with Maracaibo in the standings, making only minor adjustments to his organization’s rolls of warriors, mixing and matching his assets between the majors and AAA frequently to give the Jackals the best chance to win he could. So what, if anything, will Jeff do at the trade deadline this week to impact the team’s run a title? Burgas the Burly’s injury is weighing heavily on the minds of Jackal Nation, but he will return with plenty of time for a hopeful playoff run, and Tankersley believes that his team’s weakness isn’t in the middle of the order now, but in its pitching staff and bottom half of the lineup.

    On the plus side, Maracaibo’s pitching and defence this season to date have dominated the LOD: in runs allowed, Maracaibo is first with 272, while the team in second has allowed 337; in ERA, Maracaibo has posted a 3.44, while the team in second has 4.24; and opponents are batting .236 against Jackal pitching, while the second-ranked team allows a .258 average. But where others see a juggernaut, Tankersley sees a paper tiger. He notes the Jackals have only struck down 494 batters, while every other team in the LOD has struck out 510 or more. He also sees that the team ranks third among walks issued.

    On the offensive side of battle, Maracaibo has not been able to score as many runs as they should have. Jackal hitters rank 1st in home runs and 2nd in OPS, largely because Burgas and Copones are having MVP-caliber seasons. But the Jackals rank 3rd in on-base percentage and 4th in batting average. The Jackals rank a disappointing third in runs scored. Jeff the Great grimaces and shakes his head. This inability to get runners on base and have them score when a home run hitter bats points to some errors in Jeff the Great’s tactical decisions during the matches themselves. A fresh look at the team’s strategy settings is warranted.

    Beyond that, Tankersley really has few options as the Korean peninsula approaches this campaign’s trade deadline. This team could use a strong #2 SP to fit between ace Killer Zanga and solid #3 Cesar Anaya in the rotation. It could use a high-BA, high-OBP hitter to fit at the top of the lineup ahead of Burgas and Copones. It could also use a good left-handed bench bat and another left-handed reliever. But will Jeff the Great make any deals? Would Jeff the Wheeler and Dealer be able to trade ace-prospect Knock Yi and other pieces for a second ace? Can he send 25-year old outfielder Zhong Da to a team that might give him an everyday role and improve his play up to his amazing 7/8/8/6/6 potential? Several outfielders in the Jackals system have been on the trade block all season, and they can be had for any player that helps in the stretch run, but Tankersley has been apprehensive about dealing rising star catcher Barto Pomar in any deal that doesn’t bring long-term value to the Jackals. Even the insane owner’s constant pleading for a championship won’t push Jeff into dealing Pomar for a mercenary rental this season… or so his staff believes.

  • #18553
     Maracaibo USA 

    July 24, 2028

    The trade is official: Outfielder Zhong Da, Minor League reliever Jorge Melendez, and minor league veteran Roebuck have been issued their orders to report to Akashi, Cuba, in exchange for lefty 1B Trasancos and left-handed relief ace Manuel Pandelo.

    These additions fill two of the roles mentioned earlier today above as team needs. Trasancos will probably start for the Jackals at 1B until Burgas returns from his injury. Pandelo (23 innings, 32 Ks, 22 walks, 1.73 whip(yikes!), 2.66 ERA) takes his place as probably the second-best lefty in the bullpen, joining Chavez (55 innings, 54 Ks, 17 walks, 1.07 whip, 1.95 ERA). No word on whether the Jackals’ third pen lefty Siono will survive the addition or if he’ll be sent back to AAA.

    No trade can be made without giving something up, and in this case, the centerpiece was young outfielder Zhong Da, whose amazing potential, while still present, has never been fully realized, and whose place on this team was always in a sort of limbo. He wasn’t good enough to start for this team yet, but he wasn’t developing while working part-time as a fourth-outfielder. Another outfielder will be brought up to Maracaibo to repace Da, likely Kijuro Ebina.

    With a left-handed bat added to the bench, and a left-handed reliever added to the bullpen, Tankersley continues to look for an all-star caliber SP or top of the lineup bat he could add at next week’s deadline, with Knock Yi reportedly the main trade chip available to other clubs.

  • #18559
     Maracaibo USA 

    July 25, 2028

    Jeff the Great fancies himself a strong multi-tasker, but, having the WBC trade deadline coincide with his fantasy baseball trade deadlines is making his head hurt.

  • #18586
     Maracaibo USA 

    July 31, 2028

    A three-game sweep at the hands of Thunder Bay and a 1-5 week all told, the Jackals fall to 42-36 on the season and into a tie with hated Cheju for first place in the LOD. His absence is showing why Burgas the Burly’s bat is so sorely essential to this lineup’s success, but problems in the pitching staff are also prevalent.

    After an inspiring start to the season, Saborido’s rookie campaign has fallen off a cliff. He’s taken the loss in his last four outings and has allowed 22 runs in his last 23 innings. Jackal Nation is still hoping a deal can be made for a #2 SP to fit between ace Killer Zanga and solid #3 Cesar Anaya in the rotation.

  • #18639
     Maracaibo USA 

    July 31, 2028

    Shocking news in Jackal camp as young closer Fookey Fukusawa is traded to Cancun, Japan, along with rising star catching prospect Barto Pomar, in return for young ace pitcher Jinny Choo-Choo and two minor league relief prospects. In a league that traditionally sees old players on non-contenders moved for young players or prospects on contenders, a trade of two young cost-controlled arms between teams is rare.

    The team’s owner is delirious with delight as he pores over Choo-Choo’s statistics to date and dreams on his potential for the second half of the season. With the addition, Maracaibo now has four strong starting pitchers with firm rotation spots for the rest of the year: Ace Killer Zanga, veteran Cesar Anaya, mercenary veteran Dae-Jin Kim, and young Jinny Choo-Choo.

    The bullpen takes new form now as well, but Tankersley wants to wait until midnight, when the trade deadline officially ends, before making his new bullpen assignments.

  • #18712
     Maracaibo USA 

    August 1, 2028

    As the smoke clears on the 2028 trade deadline, Jackal Nation looks at the list of players added and those departing, trying to get an idea of what Jeff the Great, Destroyer of Worlds, was able to accomplish. With a flurry of trades, the team looks much different this morning than it did in its last contest.

    SP Fiasco (acquired from Roswell)
    SP Jinny Choo-Choo (acquired from Cancun)
    RP Manuel Pandelo (acquired from Akashi)
    LH corner infielder Ruben Trasancos (acquired from Akashi)
    C prospect Kevin Klinger [AAA] (acquired from Hong Kong)
    RH middle infielder Sampson Spurr [AAA] (acquired from Rizao)
    RP prospect Byung-Ku Son [AAA] (acquired from Hong Kong)
    RP prospect Arwin Langdale [A] (acquired from Cancun)
    SP prospect Alberto Pacheco [A] (acquired from Cancun)

    Closer Fookey Fukusawa (traded to Cancun)
    SP Knock Yi (traded to Roswell)
    OF Juan Martinez (traded to Hong Kong)
    OF Zhong Da (traded to Akashi)
    RP Gabriel Jimonez [AAA] (traded to Roswell)
    RP Shimpei Yamamoto [AAA] (traded to Rizao)
    RP Vincente Lara [AAA] (traded to Rizao)
    RP prospect Jorge Melendez [AAA] (traded to Akashi)
    RP Beau Roebuck [AAA] (traded to Akashi)
    C prospect Barto Pomar [AA] (traded to Cancun)

    The team’s owner is literally giddy (townsfolk are shaking heads in embarrassment as the owner has taken to skipping and hopping as he moves about town, clapping at inopportune moments, and patting the behinds of old ladies) with the addition of Fiasco, who gives Maracaibo a lights-out starting pitcher who will fit right in with Killer Zanga at the top of the rotation. Most fans are knowledgeable enough to prefer, however, that the team not trade away its entire future to give the owner his championship wish this season, and those fans are mostly pleased with the other additions Tankersley was able to make, as well.

    “Of the four pressing needs identified going into the deadline period, I believe we’ve met them all. Of course, we made the big trades with Roswell that added Fiasco and with Cancun that added Choo-Choo. Those two deals met our need for an SP. We traded for a lefty in the bullpen in Pandelo. We added a left-handed bench bat in Trasancos. And by bringing up Dequevado, we’ve been able to move Lopez over to 2nd base and eliminate the need for a high-average high-on-base middle infielder. We lost a lot of pitching depth at El Tocuyo, but feel we’ve added needed depth on the offensive side.

    “Losing a prospect like Pomar is a big deal, but we added another catching prospect closer to the bigs in Klinger, and we’ll continue to work very hard to make up the minor league depth we’ve lost. Dealing Pomar for Ch’o was, in the end, the best thing for Maracaibo long-term. It was also hard to part ways with a possible superstar like Knock Yi and we hope that he is able to succeed with his new team. Da and Martinez are both good players now, but we feel we have the outfield depth to cover their losses, and we were able to add some value to our system by dealing them to other contenders.

    “Our most pressing need now is to fill Fookey’s spot at closer. That role will be filled by Francisco Coldivar tonight, but we’ll see how the new-look bullpen shakes out once we’ve decided who will be in it. It is very possible that we traded away too many of our relievers.”

  • #18719
     Hukuoka CUB 

    Great read, and for what it is worth i think your team is MUCH better today than it was before the deadline. Hopefully your proficiency of winning a championship come true!

  • #18790
     Maracaibo USA 

    Thanks, Zeb!

    August 8, 2028

    Loud explosions and fireworks were seen in Thunder Bay this evening as the Jackals and Avengers combined for eight home runs, and Avenger Octavio Gomez had five hits, in an 10-8 Jackal win. Trade addition Trasancos hit two home runs for the Jackals and aged slugger Clinton Forster hit two for the home team, but the biggest home run came off the bat of backup catcher Kagahisha Soto, who hit a 9th-inning pinch-hit grand slam to give Maracaibo the win.

    August 11, 2028

    Jinny Choo-Choo‘s 2-hit 8-inning shutout performance today has Jackal Nation in a frenzy. The team’s owner surprises Jeff the Great with a bear hug and throws fistfulls of matted dollar bills into the crowd on hand to witness the event. Seven strikedowns, no walks, no runs. A fine performance by the team’s new young hurler.

  • #18791
     Maracaibo USA 

    August 12, 2028

    Mercenary Dae-Jin Kim suffered an injury in the fourth inning of today’s 6-2 win in Jeonju. The severity of the injury isn’t known, and Jeff the Great is already regretting signing the extension contract paperwork a few days ago that is presently on its way to Kim’s home by courier for his signature. If Kim ends up suffering a career-ending injury, another $3 million are going into retirement with him….

    August 14, 2028

    In the two weeks since the flurry of soldier swaps at the trade deadline, the Maracaibo Jackals have gone 7-5 and continue to jockey with hated Cheju atop the Korean LOD. The two armies are currently tied at 49-41 with 30 games to play.

    Maracaibo’s gregarious and haunted owner is seen everywhere these days, constantly strolling about Maracaibo on days that the team is home, and visiting random homes and shops in opposing team’s cities when the Jackals go on the road. He tells everyone he meets of his dream, the one that convinced him he would die after this season and that nothing now matters to him, save his wish that the Jackals win the Korean title; the mix of responses he gets from his rants range from sorrowful pity to outright dismissal. While no one really believes that his death is forthcoming in the manner he describes, they do all seem to agree that he did have a very real nightmare, and that he is probably insane, either by supernatural haunting or by mental illness. The ups and downs of Maracaibo’s season are taking their tolls on his psyche, and he has trouble even rationally discussing everyday matters of town business like trade with surrounding towns or taxes on local businesses. The townspeople are united in support for his quest for a title, and they speak of the team’s owner as if he were an elder family member at the end of life whose stories and opinions must be listened to and respected.

    Jeff the Great, Destroyer of Worlds, has not discussed the dream’s details with his employer, nor has he even given much thought to his employer’s prophecy. Today Jeff signed extensions with two vital members of the Jackal’s league-best pitching staff: trade deadline addition and new fan favorite Fiasco (2.06 ERA in 74 IP so far this season) has signed a three-year extension, and mercenary Dae-Jin Kim (3.56 ERA in 103 IP) has signed a one-year extension. These extensions show that Maracaibo plans to continue competing in the future, despite the owner’s short horizon. While these two signings have been greeted with moderate enthusiasm by Jackal Nation, fans also note with worry that no progress or news on contract dealings with crowd favorite and MVP-candidate Copones (.266/.402/.525 with 22 HRs in 278 ABs so far this season) have been made. They’ve seen this behavior from an aging star and team management before; specifically, last year’s contract talks between the Jackals and catcher Chei-eun Sin had the same lack of progress and the fans are now reacting in the same way – putting the future of their favorite player in the back of their minds and instead just trying to enjoy what might be that player’s last season with the team.

  • #18814
     Maracaibo USA 

    August 14,2028

    Cesar Anaya won July’s Pitcher of the Month award. He started 5 games, threw 37 innings, yielded 31 hits and logged a 3-1 record. He put down 28 batters on strikes, walked 7 and compiled a 2.43 ERA. Opposing teams batted .228 against him.

  • #18815
     Taegu JPN 

    @Maracaibo (KOR) wrote:

    August 12, 2028

    Mercenary Dae-Jin Kim suffered an injury in the fourth inning of today’s 6-2 win in Jeonju. The severity of the injury isn’t known, and Jeff the Great is already regretting signing the extension contract paperwork a few days ago that is presently on its way to Kim’s home by courier for his signature. If Kim ends up suffering a career-ending injury, another $3 million are going into retirement with him….

    I have such a severe distaste for Dae jin Kim – I won’t call it “hate” – but I just can’t stand the guy. He pitched good everywhere else, and was an absolute disaster in Taegu. Before us, he was good. He signed a big fat contract to be a Bear, and was god awful. Once he was gone (salary dump), he was good, so it’s not like he was in some sort of decline.

    I hate it for you that he’s hurt, since he’s been a good pitcher, but from a personal standpoint, I have no sympathy for the guy.

    And there’s my 0.02 on a fake pitcher in a fake baseball universe.

  • #18819
     Toluca KOR 

    @Taegu (JPN) wrote:

    And there’s my 0.02 on a fake pitcher in a fake baseball universe.

    Two fakes make it real!!! The WBH is as real as it gets!

  • #18821
     Maracaibo USA 

    Ben, it looks like his injury is only a mild strain, keeping him out five days, so he might not even miss his next rotation turn. Whew! He wanted a three year 10M contract but I offered one year 2.6M and he took it.

    [Farm system update after 15 weeks of the 2028 season]
    August 14, 2028

    1) Top prospect C Jorge Dequevado was called up to the majors on July 18th and has hit .241/.337.430 in 79 ABs since. He won’t be going back down, so he should graduate from these farm system updates for much longer.
    2) Pitching prospect Dae Pak remains on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation that will keep him out for the rest of the season.
    – [TRADED AWAY] C Barto Pomar was traded to Cancun in the Ch’o deal at the trade deadline.
    – [CALLED UP] OF Taro Ichikawa has been in the majors most of the season, serving as the team’s defensive 4th-outfielder. He’s hit 213/296/426 in 47 ABs and won’t be on the next farm system update.
    3) OF Edgar Campos‘s performance has improved at AA, but his lack of power is still holding him back. He still has time to develop as he’s only 21.
    4) [ACQUISITION] C Kevin Klinger was acquired from Hong Kong at the trade deadline and has hit 278/458/722 in only 18 ABs with El Tocuyo since. Before that, he hit 210/338/343 with Hong Kong’s AAA team in the Cuban league. He’s a good prospect, but fans and team officials still favor Dequevado for that role long-term in the majors. Klinger will either serve as a backup in Maracaibo or need a position change.
    5) OF Kichidahas been killing AAA pitching with a 300/352/392 line in 283 ABs. With the deadline trades of Da and Ramirez, Kichida is probably close to getting his first call up to the majors. If he had more power potential, team officials would probably leave him in AAA to develop it, as he’s only 22, but since scouts don’t see any power potential for him, there really isn’t any developmental reason to hold him down.
    6) OF Greg Barber was promoted to AA too soon and he’s only hit 120/154/160 in 25 AA ABs. His lack of skills against right-handed pitching and his inability to draw a walk point to a much weaker projection than team officials had hoped and they are now faced with the decision of whether or not to demote him back to single-A, or just let him take his lumps finishing the year and repeat the level in 2029.
    7) [ACQUISITION] RP Arwin Langdale was acquired from Cancun at the trade deadline and has a 2.97 ERA with 81 Ks and 26 walks in 75 innings in single-A. He’s being used as a starter to give him innings, but his long-term role is likely in the bullpen.
    8 ) 1B Quinto Sanchez, has been struggling mightily in AAA, hitting only 244/325/300 in 353 ABs. He’s already 24 and this lost season has almost completely destroyed his chances at any playing time in the bigs.
    9) OF Jeffrey Moon turned 19 on June 8th and is hitting 274/298/392 in single-A, where he will likely stay the rest of the season.
    10) OF Emilio Perez, 20 years old, is hitting 266/303/336 in AA.

    Others of note: OF Eli Ortiz, 20 years old, was promoted to AA recently and has hit 227/244/227 in 44 ABs there and obviously needs to make some adjustments. Scouts still don’t see a future major leaguer… SP Yukinaga Yan and SP Kan Sakai have been turning in strong seasons at single-A and could possibly appear on next year’s top-twenty list… On a similar note, C Kai Kiragawi is another prospect to keep an eye on. Only 19 years old, he’s been showing some good contact skills and potential… Hoyt, whose first action in A-ball excited prospect watchers has continued to show infrequent flashes of potential. He has 32 Ks, 10 walks, and 42 hits allowed in 33 innings so far this year… SP Alberto Pacheco was acquired with Klinger and Langdale in the Pomar deal with Cancun. He’s been assigned to single-A Las Tereyas and has eight shutout innings to his name. In Manzanillo he threw 122 innings with a 2.79 ERA, 128 Ks, and a 1.17 whip. He’ll be moved up to AA next season… 3B Jose Llague, 22 years old, was promoted to AAA but hasn’t been getting any ABs there in light of recent team transactions. Scouts are starting to believe he might provide just enough on-base and power skills to at least be serviceable as a bench bat in the future, so finding him some ABs next year is a small priority… RP Byung-Ku Son was acquired with Klinger from Hong Kong at the trade deadline and will shuttle between Maracaibo and El Tocuyo as team needs dictate. He’s not a back-end-of-the-bullpen prospect, but can perhaps be of some use… Fan favorite and Inchon native RP Moon Yoo ranks highly on the fans favorite players list and was called up to the majors on August 8th, but he remains a fringe prospect at best. Team officials are secretly trying to figure out when it would be the best time to cut him in a way that minimizes a negative reaction by the fan base… The team’s pitching depth at AAA was incredibly strong going into the trade deadline, as evidenced by the team’s 51-33 record on July 31st. A lot of pitching was traded from that level at the deadline, but most of the depth remains, and some offensive prospects were added as well.

  • #18826
     Santiago de Cuba USA 

    The minor league seasons are over so those will be your final stats unless you call somebody to the majors.

  • #18846
     Maracaibo USA 

    Oh. Shoot. Yes, you are right, Bob, thanks. Jeff the Great’s historian is embarrassed.

    August 17, 2028

    Maracaibo and Busan just finished a three-game series in which Maracaibo outscored Busan 18-17, but Busan won two games, one of which went 12 innings. The Jackal bullpen, which was so dominant over the first half of the season, is still trying to find its way after losing some arms in deals at the July 31 trade deadline.

    August 20, 2028

    Maracaibo’s 3-3 week wasn’t strong on its face, but the three losses were by a combined three runs. The team has moved into first place by one game over hated Cheju for the Korean LOD with 24 games left to play. The Jackals pitching warriors are exhausted from the six-day stretch of games, many of which saw late-inning heroics on the part of hitters on both sides. Every night, the team tracks the scores coming from hated Cheju while fighting its current opponents, and the team’s fans have on a few occasions cheered at odd times during play because they are reacting to scores on other battlefields rather than the play of Maracaibo. On that note, Maracaibo’s insane owner has shipped three bottles of Misu to Quebec’s general as thanks for his three-game sweep of hated Cheju to close the week, but asked the courrier to not deliver them until Maracaibo’s upcoming three-game series (which starts tomorrow) with Quebec is complete.

    Jeff the Great is pleased to see that Burgas the Burly had no setbacks with his rehabilitation from injury and will be in the Jackals lineup on Monday. The Jackals went 11-13 in his absence.

  • #18851
     Maracaibo USA 

    August 21, 2028

    In 2027, a year of exciting upheaval in Maracaibo and a close pennant race, 24-year old Elian Flores was a member of the Jackals starting pitching staff. He made 23 starts for the Jackals, posting a 12-6 record with a 3.99 ERA and 1.30 whip in 135 innings, making him probably the third-best starter for the team that season. But heading into Spring Training, Flores found himself moved to the bullpen, abruptly and with no explanation from Jeff the Great. After the additions of Killer Zanga and mercenary Dae-Jin Kim to the rotation, Elian saw his situation as even more tenuous. He looked at his teammate Knock Yi‘s situation and saw his own. Yi was 24, turning 25 in 2028, had performed decently as a starter in 2027, but now was being shuffled between the starting rotation and bullpen in Maracaibo and Triple-A, before he was finally traded away at this year’s trade deadline. Elian’s future was very much in doubt and he wondered if he had what it took to succeed in Maracaibo.

    Then the calendar turned to August 8th, and life would be very different. Flores awoke that morning before the sun, as usual, and headed into the field to begin warming up. Aged veteran Cesar Anaya was already out here, as he has been for the past eleven summers in Maracaibo, dutifully and silently practising his craft. But this morning, standing with Anaya, was the team’s general, Jeff the Great. The two stood, discussing something, as Anaya worked and Tankersley watched. Anaya saw Flores first, glanced at him in a way that got Tankersley’s attention, and the two of them walked over to Flores.

    Elian was understandably nervous. His outstanding performance in 2027 and in the bullpen for the current season to date had not yet endeared him to the fans of Maracaibo. They still cheered their hardest for world-renowned Killer Zanga and new ace Fiasco among pitchers, and openly lamented the departure of closer Fookey Fukusawa, whose spot at the end of the bullpen was so strong for the first half of the season before he was traded away. Elian’s youth and inexperience left him somewhat apprehensive about what his hero Anaya and leader Tankersley were going to say.

    “Elian, you are closing tonight”, Tankersley stated. “It will be your job from now on. Can you do it?” Elian looked over at Anaya, who simply nodded without speaking or even smiling. Elian said, “of course I can.”

    That night’s 10-8 victory will be looked back on for years to come for many reasons. As mentioned previously, that game saw eight home runs hit, and it saw a five-hit performance by the home team’s first basemen, but in the top of the ninth inning, it was pinch-hitting Sato who earned the Maracaibo fans’ applause, hitting a grand slam that put the Jackals ahead 10-8. Flores had watched the evening’s events unfold with apprehension and excitement. His bullpen mates were being hit heavily and repeatedly by Thunder Bay all night, and he wondered if his services could have been used in an earlier inning to stop the bleeding. But now, in the bottom of the ninth, Flores took his place on the mound to get the final three outs and send the Jackals home with the win.

    His first fight was with Hye Hwang, who had gone 0-for-4 with three strikeouts today. Flores confidently landed a first pitch called strike before Hwang hit a single and brought the tieing run to the plate. Flores settled down and got his second opponent Garcia to pop out to his first baseman. With one out and a runner on first, Flores got pinch-hitter Dumont to also fly out. With two outs and a runner on, Flores faced Vinny Perrault, who had a home run and a double earlier against Flores’ teammates. On the third pitch of the at-bat, the tenth of the inning, Perrault grounded out weakly to shortstop and the home crowd fell silent as the Jackals team left the field.

    In the days since that game, a dozen players have been asked for their accounts of the game, from the six players who hit home runs to the one who had five hits to the starters who were beaten so badly. When Cesar Anaya was asked by a reporter, “whose performance tonight were you most impressed with, having experienced the game from the bench?,” Anaya looked over at Flores, smiled, and said nothing.

  • #18884
     Maracaibo USA 

    August 26, 2028

    It was an 8-4 loss for the Jackals to hated Cheju, in which Jerome “Fiasco” Manggin
    pitched poorly, allowing 7 runs in the first four innings. The loss has Jackal Nation a little down, but overall panic has not yet set in, especially with regard to the pitcher Fiasco. Fans in Maracaibo became fans of Fiasco immediately upon his arrival following the July 31st trade deadline and enthusiastically received his three-year contract extension that will keep him here for the foreseeable future. Off the field, they love his confident and exuberant nature, his cartoonish history of dating the attractive females in town (“love em and leave em, that’s what I always say”), and his always-intoxicated state, which endears him to the older generation of hard-working Maracaibans and the younger generation of optimistic youth equally. On the field, his teammates frequently see his dominant side, as his talent and numbers for the season are strong, but they’ve also come to see the “fiasco” side to Fiasco; the man is a prankster, he drinks non-stop day and night, he pitches an almost-disturbing number of bad games compared to good, and he just might be kind of crazy.

    “It isn’t an act”, Ze-Min Ning tells his older sister, who is in the clubhouse secretly fawning over the flamboyant alcoholic athlete as he flexes by lifting crates of rice above his head. “He really is crazy.”

    Today Fiasco starts his post-game routine as he always does, with an enormous mug of beer and some fruit. After consuming drink after drink in rapid succession, he starts to talk, and as the minutes go by he gets louder and louder, hurling good-natured-but-off-color insults at his teammates and happily cavorting with his new lackey and friend, relief pitcher Moon Yoo.

    Yoo fetches Fiasco another drink, but Fiasco spits it out and screams, “Unacceptable! This disgusting bottle of uncultured swill is not what I wanted!” Fiasco, red-faced with drunken anger, throws the mug of mead that Yoo had brought him into the night air as observers duck its path. “Your inability to do anything right is just more evidence that you were raised by goats!” Yoo nimbly ducks his counterpart’s throw and does a cartwheel in the tent, laughing giddily and humming, and bumping some of his teammates. Observers aren’t yet tired of this act, laughing at the two as if they were a school’s jock bully and his foil, the class clown, but that day is coming.

    “Maybe if you stopped being such a prissy dolt you wouldn’t drink every can of fermented wheat you see,” clown Yoo teases. “Especially when that mead is flavored with monkey hairs and beetles!” Yoo falls the ground in a fit of laughter as Fiasco hears the comment on a mental delay (caused by his current inebriation), looking confused, then starts to laugh at himself. A bystander picks up the mug and, seeing some evidence of hair and a dead bug in it, drops it to the ground in shock. “I’m going to kill you!” Fiasco hollars, laughing hysterically. Fiasco runs at Yoo and tries to grab him, but Yoo springs back to his feet, does two jumping jacks, and runs away. Both men run laughing into the dark hills as their teammates look at each other in amazement and annoyance.

  • #18904
     Maracaibo USA 

    August 27, 2028

    – Another extra-inning loss to hated Cheju drops Maracaibo to 54-48 and a tie with Cheju for first place in the Korean LOD. Cheju’s sweep has Jackal Nation in a slight frenzy, and has the team’s haunted owner beside himself with worry.

    – Centerfielder quick-footed Whitey Hyde has had a strong season so far, but less-productive days are near. The 34-year old right-handed hitter was acquired before the 2028 season and has provided some stability in the middle of Maracaibo’s lineup this season, taking his place between the more-heralded left-handed hitters Burgas the Burly and Copones. Hyde’s bat will be extremely important down the stretch, and will be even more important if the team can make the playoffs. He spent the last two seasons in Barquisimeto in a platoon to mitigate his ineffectiveness against righties, but Jeff’s been starting him every game this year regardless, seeing his right-handedness as a way of keeping other teams from loading up lefties to get Burgas and Copones out.

    With today’s two home runs against Cheju, Hyde has hit 15 HRs in 350 ABs but with over a hundred strikeouts. The biggest problem is that his contract stands to pay him another 11.5M per season for the next three seasons, so Maracaibo’s fans are hoping he can push off the impact of Father Time for as much of those seasons as possible. A platoon partner might be needed in the future, as his weakness against lefties is obvious.

    – The dream ends for aged vet Soravilla and minor league veteran Saborido tonight as the team caravan has left for Maracaibo without giving them a ride home.

    Soravilla was one of the season’s more interesting stories, as the 36-year old came back to Maracaibo as a minor league free agent. Soravilla was a vital member of that long-heralded 2018 Maracaibo pitching staff (along with Cesar Anaya) that won the Japan League Championship. Soravilla threw two games in that postseason, providing 15 shutout innings. In this 2028 season he was able to make some quality spot starts, but not enough to help the team.

    Saborido had a history of varied success in the minor leagues and was acquired by the Jackals before this season in the Hyde/Blandino/O’Malley deal to serve as a fifth starter. After a great run of starts at the season’s beginning, Saborido fell back into his HR-prone ways and has allowed one run in each of his last three bullpen stints, including tonight’s in extra innings that gave Cheju the win. Jeff just doesn’t want him on the team anymore.

  • #18908
     Barquisimeto CAN 

    We weren’t platooning Hyde and he is dominant against lefties, still solid against rightes (looking at his ratings). He has had some injury troubles in the past, so it’s great to see him playing well and in the lineup for most of the season!

    We did start putting him at 1B or a corner outfield spot to try and reduce his injury risk (real life application, hard to say if it works in OOTP), but his ratings are definitely elite for a top defensive CFer. Good luck in the drive to the playoffs, would be happy to see Hyde get a chance at another Championship!

  • #18916
     Maracaibo USA 

    Thanks Gerry, yeah, I’ve never let the facts get in the way of a good narrative 🙂 , but looking now you are right, he’s got an awesome injury history! I’m surprised he’s only missed six games for me this season so far (knock wood). Watch, he’ll suffer a torn ACL on 9/17. His OPS against righties this year is .740 (as of 8/28) while the Korean LOD OPS against all pitchers is .749 (as of 9/4), so, apples to oranges, yes, he’s not killing me against righties, but I don’t think he’s playing up to his strong ratings (6/8/7/7/3), either. I imagine he’s got a drop in those ratings coming this offseason. Adding him and Blandino has been huge. The two have given me 6.2 WAR this year (as of 8/28).

    September 3, 2028

    A 4-2 week puts the Jackals back in first place at 58-50, while Cheju goes 3-3, giving Maracaibo a one game lead with two weeks left to play. Maracaibo has played to its Pythag this year, but Cheju has beaten theirs by 5 games! Cheju has actually been outscored on the season 540-516, while Maracaibo has outscored opponents 513-471. Jackal Nation is quaking with excitement and nerves as everyone in town follows the fight reports with great intensity every night. The offensive warriors themselves are still feeling fresh and strong, having been given frequent off days over the course of the season, and the bench bats are all in synch having been given regular at-bats and defensive innings over the course of the season.

    Jeff the Great is going to tinker with the rotation and bullpen, again, this week, still hoping to find the most effective balance of talent between the two. Rumor has it that Fiasco’s experience in the bullpen this season might make him a bullpen fighter option if the team makes the playoffs anyway, so that move might happen here in these last two weeks.

  • #18963
     Maracaibo USA 

    September 12, 2028

    Week 15, it all comes down to this. After a surprising 6-0 week 14, Quebec takes its place with Maracaibo at the top of the LOD at 61-53. Hated Cheju sits two games back at 59-55, ready to pounce. Maracaibo has to play both of those teams in this final week. A 6-0 or 5-1 week will propel the Jackals into the playoffs. A 4-2 or 3-3 week will likely mean the end of their season, depending on how Quebec and Cheju fare against spoiler-driven Thunder Bay.

    Week 15, the end of the season. Jackal Nation cannot sleep. The citizens of Maracaibo are rooting for two teams this week: their Jackals, and Thunder Bay. The team’s owner has aged ten years in the past week and will age another twenty in the coming days. Rarely has a task presented to the Jackal warriors been so difficult, and one wonders if they are up for it. Shops have closed for the week and the doors of the town chapel cannot hold the throng of prayer-making fans pleading God to help their heroes. The warriors’ families have gone completely silent for fear of jinxing the players or disturbing their focus.

    Week 15, the warriors are restless, and their season’s achievements to date now have no meaning. Killer Zanga gathers his thoughts and prepares to take on hated Cheju. His talents were brought to Maracaibo at great expense, the owner deciding that a “true ace” was needed for a playoff run. On his day, we will find out the truth. Young closer Elian Flores is eager to prove his worth, hoping to have six opportunities this week to close out games for his team. Fiasco can’t stop drinking ale, but that isn’t new. Burgas the Burly and Copones hold court on the offensive training ground as they always do, in full knowledge that this week’s at-bats might go down as the impact most remembered by Jackal Nation of their time in Maracaibo.

    Week 15, the coming dawn. While Jeff the Brave, Destroyer of Worlds works diligently to prepare his team for this week’s fights, the other LOD leaders make similar preparations. Cheju’s general surveys the battlefield, seeing an opportunity for his Volcano to make their run, and hurriedly prepares for the fight on his trusty steed. From Quebec, the Dragons are preparing to continue their winning streak, this time against the Avengers in Thunder Bay. Quebec’s general knows, every game is needed this week in order to secure a playoff berth. The Avengers General Moore is attempting to motivate his warriors for a week of fights against Cheju and Quebec, believing a strong final week would be the team’s last chance this season to convince fans that his army has better days ahead, that there is always hope, and that playing the role of spoiler can oftentimes be more satisfying than almost making the playoffs.

    Week 15, four men enter. One man leaves. WELCOME TO THUNDERDOME!!!

  • #18977
     Maracaibo USA 

    September 17 , 2028

    Maracaibo celebrated a playoff berth following tonight’s win. Your Jackals of Maracaibo are this year’s Korean LOD champs, winning the season by one game over upstart Quebec. Just last season, Maracaibo had been on the other side of that coin, finishing just one game back of hated Cheju.

    Entering tonight’s game, Quebec and Maracaibo were tied at 64-55. The winner would be crowned LOD champs, and, while the drama and excitement of the previous 119 games built up to deafening levels before this game, it was mostly settled early in the match as Maracaibo scored 9 runs early and went on to a crowd-pleasing win that left Quebec just one game short of the playoffs. The Jackals warriors took care to not strut too proudly upon leaving the stadium, knowing they had only barely beaten the proud warriors of Quebec and Cheju this season, sneaking in by the slimmest of margins, and also knowing that the young soldiers in Thunder Bay helped them by winning a game against each of those foes in this final week.

    Now it is time to look ahead to the playoffs.

    Some members of the team are headed home, as the 30 men who played in this final week is whittled down to 25 for the playoffs. In a strange twist, the Roswell team that traded crazy Fiasco to the Jackals in a deadline deal for Knock Yi and Gabriel Jimonez is meeting the Jackals in the Korean playoff after going 13-2 in September to reach the playoffs.

    The Jackals lined up its best three SPs for the last series (Fiasco, Zanga, and Ch’o) of the season and they are therefore not able to start Game 1. Tenured hero Cesar Anaya (9-7 4.26 ERA) will pitch game 1, followed by Killer Zanga (10-10 3.77 ERA) on short rest in Game 2. Late-season hero Jinny Choo-Choo (5-0 3.09 ERA) is in line to pitch in Game 3. Fiasco (8-4, 3.54 ERA), who was beaten in his spot start on 9/15/2028, moves to the bullpen and is excited about fighting his former comrades. It will be mercenary Dae-Jin Kim (8-6 4.34 ERA) in game 4, then, if Maracaibo can stay alive, Anaya, Zanga, and Cho again in a potential game 7.

  • #18992
     Maracaibo USA 

    September 18, 2028

    Mack McMoneypants looks around his office, late in the evening, with nervous eyes. His beloved Maracaibo fights in a playoff series tomorrow night, for the first time since 2018, when Maracaibo won the championship in Japan. Those were wonderful days, he remembers, and days that he’s been audibly longing for in daily conversations with his wife, neighbors, and associates. The late hour casts candlelight shadows on the walls, those shadows dancing as he moves about collecting his things for his walk home. He bumps the table and finds his satchel, and puts some of his more discretionary paperwork and keys in it. He puts on his boots and collects his coat and hat before looking for his last item, the soot-covered white cloak, which he puts on. He drapes his overcoat and hat over the satchel in his hand then grips the doorknob.

    He looks very silly in his present state, the hooded white cloak, with only two slits where his eyes can see out, his coat and hat in his hand. The cloak runs down the entire length of his body and the holes through which his hands and feet pass are tied tight around his wrists and ankles. It is crude. He pauses at the door, takes in a sharp breath, then quickly turns the knob and runs from his office, dropping the satchel and coat in a bush in the alley, right outside his door, then runs straight into a side door of the building next to his. It is the team owner’s home.

    Mack comes out about six minutes later, sheds his cloak and puts on his overcoat, then hurries along down the alley towards his home, smiling as he stuffs the white cloak into his satchel. His wife is asleep when he enters the house, but his eldest son Moochie is laying on the living room bench, half-awake. Moochie works as a part-time field hand in a neighboring village, and had come home to stay at his father’s house while trying to get tickets to the playoff matches. His being here is not an infrequent occurrence, as Moochie has been known to beg for money from others and obviously tries to get some from his parents, too, oftentimes crashing at his father’s home when not having another place to stay. Moochie rubs his eyes and wonders what his father is doing.

    “Dad, why are you home so late?” Moochie asks.

    “Working, son. Shut up and go to sleep.”

  • #19011
     Maracaibo USA 

    September 23, 2028

    Cesar Anaya won his Game 1 match, but the Jackals lost Games 2 and 3 started by Killer Zanga and Jinny Choo-Choo. The team’s offense has been poor and needs to start hitting. The Jackals look to come back from down 2-1 tonight in a highly-anticipated Game 4.

    Jeff the Great’s prep meeting with his pitching staff is interrupted this morning again, however, by the team’s crazy owner, who says that the ghost that has been haunting him all these months returned again last night, and was more specific with his threats, saying that the owner was going to die on September 28th. The team has gotten used to these ramblings and mostly tunes them out, but today Jinny asks out of curiosity what this ghost looks like. The owner then regales a long description of the spectre, saying it has “arms and legs not quite like ours” but “walks among us”, reeks like “the dead” and smells “sweaty and fishy”, and says the third level of hell is reserved for the manager who bunts to move runners in early innings.

    “Wait a second”, chimes in Elian Flores. “Doesn’t that one guy down the street keep telling us all not to bunt? Maybe the ghost is a relative of his.”

    “That’s got to be that McMoneyFarts guy”, says Fiasco, who is highly intoxicated. “That goof spent three hours telling me bunts are the devil over a few pints after we beat Cheju last week. I was hitting on a waitress and this guy kept pushing her away!”

    The players start to smile and look around in understanding, but Fiasco goes on, “I finally had to just move to another table, which I hate to do since he was buying…” Fiasco continues to go on an off-color tangent before Coldivar turns to the confused owner and sums up: “And Mack McMoneypants runs that fish-chopping shop next to your house! He’s the moron whose been haunting you!” The whole room erupts into laughter as the poor, red-faced owner realizes he’s been had by local businessman Mack McMoneypants.

    After an uncomfortable pause after the initial burst of laughter, the owner looks at Jeff the Great, who has been following these discussions with some amusement. Jeff says “well, what should we do about it?” Everyone pushes their Game 4 pitching plans aside and start to discuss a way to get McMoneypants back for his hijinks.

  • #19061
     Maracaibo USA 

    There is no joy in Maracaibo. The Jackals fall to Roswell 4-2 and stay in the Korean LOD for now.

    Congrats Mike! Give em hell.

  • #19079
     Maracaibo USA 

    Some time in the December, 2028

    A few quick notes on the 2028 season:
    – The Jackals actually won one fewer game than they had last season. They reached the playoffs this year at 65-55 by one game. They missed the playoffs at 66-54 in 2027 by one game.
    Copones hit 272/409/543 with 29 HRs, playing all 120 games for the Jackals this year. He still isn’t signed for next season.
    Burgas the Burly hit 330/394/614 with 27 HRs while missing 6 weeks of action with an injury. He won’t repeat as MVP this year, as Cheju’s Tat Huie hit for the Triple Crown and will likely be taking home that hardware.
    Blandino the Bland led the LOD in walks, but still was just outside the league leaders in the rate stats. He did score 83 runs, putting him third in the LOD, and played outstanding defense at 2B and SS, helping him finish the year 2nd in LOD batting WAR.
    – Three Jackal hitters finished in the LOD top five in batting WAR: Blandino (5.0), Burgas (5.0), and Ze-Min Ning (3.6) finished 2nd, 3rd, and 5th respectively, behind Huie (6.9).
    – Jackal hitters Blandino, Copones, and quick-footed Whitey Hyde ranked 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in walks in the LOD this season. Maybe the Jackals should try knocking more of those guys across the plate when they reach base?
    – Jackal pitching dominated the LOD this year, ranking first in ERA (4.02), whip (1.28), and runs against (520).
    Killer Zanga (3.3) and Cesar Anaya (2.8_) ranked second and fourth among pitching WAR leaders. Zanga also led the LOD in Whip among qualifying SPs.
    – Reliever Alberto Chavez led the LOD in pitching VORP at 30.2, as he threw a 84 innings with a 1.10 whip and 1.93 ERA and 88 strikeouts.

  • #19479
     Maracaibo USA 

    May 15, 2029

    2028 closes. Its been a long offseason in Maracaibo as members of the organization took some time off to pull their shattered lives back together following the disappointing 4-2 series loss to Roswell in the Korean league championship. Roswell’s Invasion has moved on to the Cuban league and Maracaibo started once again on its yearly quest for the Korean title.

    Mercenary dealings. In Free Agency this preseason, General Tankersley was unable to re-sign perennial MVP-contender Copones, earning some frustrated comments from Jackal Nation, but he signed outfielder Victor Martinez to a one-year deal to take his place. With lefty Guizan already providing good numbers against right-handed pitching, at worst, the VMart/Guizan platoon should be able to make up some of the offense lost by Copones’ departure, and at less than half the cost. The Jackals claimed SP Domingo Sanchez on waivers, adding another arm to a strong stable of pitching warriors from which to assemble a rotation. Free agent reliever Guo-quiang Long was also added to the bullpen.

    Soldier draft. This year’s amateur soldier draft was deemed positively ‘ridiculous’ in terms of available talent, and while stuck with the last pick in each round, Maracaibo was still able to strike gold a number of times. 1st round: Feliciano Escamille, 18-yo 2Bman. 2nd round: Gwon-beom Kim, 19-yo, SS. 3rd round: Jae-Weong Chong, 22-yo OF, 4th round: Luis Cotte, 17-yo OF. 5th round: Chris Kerfoot, 18-yo RP. 6th round: Jose Alguirre, 17-yo SP. 7th round: Alroy Corrujedo, 21-yo 1B being converted to the mound. 8th-10th rounds: 18-yo infielder Yi, 17-yo catcher Ko, and 21-yo first baseman Stoltzfus. All in all, Jackals management sees four prospects with probable major league potential (Escamille, Kim, Chong, and Cotte) and three pitching prospects with some high-risk, high-ceiling potential (Kerfoot, Alguirre, Corrujedo).

    Contract extensions. Silent warrior SP Cesar Anaya was signed to a two-year extension that will keep him in Maracaibo through the 2031 season. Anaya has spent all 11 years of his career as a vital member of the Jackals rotation and this extension will carry him another three years, and makes it likely he will end his career here in Maracaibo.

    “Anubis’ Machetes” – the Jackal bullpen: With an overall lack of moves in the rotation, Maracaibo’s citizens have taken a great interest in this year’s bullpen, which has seen a number of changes, and is now conversationally being referred to as “Anubis’ Machetes” after a local scribe coined the term. First, while there was only one minor trade this offseason, it is one that improved every spot in the pitching bullpen. By dealing prospect Hennessey for reliever-turned-whiner Ronald Weidemann, Jeff the Great plans on throwing the new RP right into the closer role he was complaining to get from his prior employers, and therefore move the other bullpen arms down the ladder one notch apiece. Second, the Long signing added yet another strong arm. Third, SP/RP nutcase Fiasco, whose outstanding fighting ratings were always offset in Tankersley’s mind by his inconsistent battle scores and lack of real role in the army, was dealt for prospects and reliever Pillager P’ung. Finally, young lefty Alberto Chavez, who finished second in last year’s Reliever of the Year awards, was moved into the rotation where he has struggled early. All of these events lead us to our new and expectantly-outstanding “machetes”: Ronald Weidemann, Elian Flores, Manuel Pandelo, Pillager P’ung, and Guo-quiang Long.

    Injuries. Following an outstanding spring training, two injuries hit the Jackals that impacted its Opening Day roster. SP Cesar Anaya, who just signed a two-year extension, went down with a torn rotator cuff and will be out for six months, meaning he won’t likely help the Jackals at all this season. This was a surprising blow for one of the more durable fighters in Maracaibo, but only slightly worrisome to the team’s rotation that seems to have enough arms to make up for Anaya’s loss. OF quick-footed Whitey Hyde, one of the more frequent visitors to Maracaibo’s disable list, was hurt again in Spring Training, returned to action, then was hurt again, and continues to see his rehabilitation pushed back a week at a time. He will hopefully return soon, as he is Maracaibo’s best bat against left-handed opposing pitchers.

    Burgas. Burgas the Burly is Genghis Kahn reborn. What a monster.

    2029 kicks off. Our entry today ends with a quick summary of the first two weeks of Maracaibo’s 2029 season: 9 wins, 3 losses, 66 runs scored, 38 runs allowed. 44,096 attendance per game. Maracaibo’s warriors are hungry for the kill, and their legions of fans are back to witness another attempt at Korean league domination.

  • #19648
     Maracaibo USA 

    May 30, 2029

    Skepticism and slight worry follow the signing of mercenary and former Maracaibo star catcher Chi-Eun Sin to a one-year deal, while prized prospect-gone-wrong Jorge Dequevado is sent back to AAA to straighten things out.

    June 11, 2029

    Maracaibo closes out a 6-0 week with a combined 1-hit shutout of the Avengers, thrown by Alberto Chavez and three members of the Jackal bullpen. Anubis’ machetes have had mixed success this season and are still being worked into the right roles, but tonight’s pitching held the opposing batters down in stellar fashion.

    In “we’ve heard this before” news, centerfielder Bob Whitey Hyde was injured running the bases and will be out six weeks. This is already his second DL stint of the 2029 season and Maracaibo needs to start making plans on filling the hold in center field if he can’t stay healthy.

  • #19658
     Maracaibo USA 

    June 18, 2029

    Che-Ein Sin‘s return to Maracaibo has been glorious. He’s hit 410/489/641 in 39 at-bats and has bought Jeff the Great another year to develop the designated catcher-of-the-future Dequevado in AAA.

    Mercenary signee Victor Martinez has fought well, hitting 284/370/541 with 8 HRs and leads the Jackals with 42 RBIs. He’s already asking Tankersley for an extension. A big one.

    4th-outfielder Estrada has struggled in his efforts to fill Injured Whitey Hyde’s spot in the lineup against lefties and Jeff the Great is starting to look for cheap short-term help in free agency or the waiver wire or in AAA.

    Fans are openly wondering “what’s wrong with Blandino the Bland?” Blandino was a spark at the top of the order last year, delivering an OPS+ of 111, but this year he has only hit an OPS+ of 94 and has especially struggled against right-handed pitching. Benching Blandino isn’t an option, so Jackal Nation is hoping for a quick return to form.

    Elian Flores’ suprise return to the rotation has gone well so far, and Anubis’ machetes are still finding their way. Lefty Manuel Pandelo has led the charge, appearing in 26 games, logging a 0.78 ERA and 0.83 whip with 32 strikeouts and only 5 hits against (!) in 23 innings.

    Maracaibo (25-17) holds a slim two-game lead over hated Cheju (23-19)after seven weeks of play.

  • #19679
     Maracaibo USA 

    [Farm system update after 7 weeks of the 2029 season]
    June 19, 2029

    1) OF Edgar Campos takes his turn as the top-ranked prospect in the Jackals system. The 22-year old has hit 274/354/407 with 9 SBs in 113 ABs in AA. His defense isn’t improving, so he’ll be stuck playing a corner position, which means he’ll actually need to improve on those offensive numbers if he’s going to help Maracaibo at all. Still, at only 22 years old, he has room to grow. He was injured on June 1st and will miss two months of action.
    2) OF Manolito Eribarne was brought to the Jackals in the Fiasco deal and has hit a pittly 158/198/188 in 100 ABs in single-A. He’s only 18, so he’ll be in Las Tereyas for a while. His potential ratings remain strong.
    3) OF Quirce Lavol was brought to the Jackals in the Klingler deal and has hit 228/281/328 in AA Moron with 2 HRs in 180 ABs. He’s only 19, so the AA assignment is a slight push.
    4) OF Kichida is playing decent in AAA but has no more room to grow, so his time in Maracaibo is coming. His ceiling appears to be that of a 4th-outfielder/bench bat, so his ranking this high on the list is a sad statement about the rest of the farm system. He plays an outstanding right field.
    5) 18-year old 2B Feliciano Escamille, Maracaibo’s top pick in this year’s draft, was injured early in the season and is just now being put back in the Las Tereyas lineup. His defensive ratings are weak, so he’s likely destined for 2B, but his bat has hit well enough that a promotion to Moron might be soon coming.
    6) 19-year old SS Gwon-Beom Kwon, Maracaibo’s second pick in this year’s draft, was also injured early in the season and is getting ready to play in Las Tereyas again.
    7) 22-year old Jae-Weong Chong, Maracaibo’s third pick in this year’s draft, is being moved from A to AA this week. He hit 300/410/433 with 2 HRs in 120 single-A at-bats. His floor is that of a pinch-hitting corner OFer right now. Team management is hoping he develops some more power/eye or improves his center field defense so he might be an everyday bat for Maracaibo in the future.
    8) OF Greg Barber, Maracaibo’s second pick last season, has the highest potential of any Jackal bat in the minor league system, but his struggles last year weigh heavily on the mind of General Tankersley. Barber is currently hitting 259/313/422 with 3 HRs in 147 AA at-bats, so he has a lot of work still to do, but his potential ratings and young age (21) make it reasonable to be patient with his development.
    9) OF Jeffrey Moon turned 20 on June 8th and is struggling in single-A, where he will remain the rest of the season.
    10) 1B Quinto Sanchez is pretty much worthless. He’s already 25 and not ready for the bigs.

    Others of note: No Jackals pitching prospects appear in the top ten, but some do exist in the system. Pitching prospect Dae Pak was ranked as high as the 2nd-best prospect in Maracaibo’s system last season before an injury cost him most of the season. Now he isn’t rated among the top 20 Jackals prospects, but was moved up to AA and has a 5.13 ERA with 18 Ks and 13 walks in 33 innings…SP Chris Kerfoot was drafted in the 5th round this year and looks like a future reliever…SP Yanuga Yan is getting murdered in his first season in AA with an 0-8 record and 6.14 ERA. Management is thinking about sending him back to Las Tereyas….The pitching in AAA hasn’t been as strong this year as it was last year, with prospects Alberto Pacheco and Alex Frietas, and non-prospect Er Kwan the likeliest arms to be brought up for the stretch run. None of the three are expected to help much…C Kaii Kawagishi is slowly making his way up the top-20 list (currently #15) and continues to improve his ratings at every turn. He’s still only 19…All three of Maracaibo’s farm clubs are playing sub-.500 ball, and prospects across the organization are showing poor morale due to poor performance. This is something Jeff the Great hasn’t seen before and doesn’t know quite what to do about it. Perhaps keeping more aged players in the system to help win meaningless games at the lower levels will help keep the true prospects happy, but Jeff just hates letting non-prospects steal at-bats/innings from real talent.

  • #19717
     Maracaibo USA 

    June 25, 2029

    The Jackals went 4-2 this week to improve to 29-19.

    Rookie infielder Sampson Spurr has earned the Korean Rookie of the Month award, and Jeff the Great is using him more and more as the season progresses. He was brought to Maracaibo at the trade deadline last season in a deal that shipped away some excess pitching and he spent the rest of 2028 in AAA. In Spring Training, he was viewed mostly as a utility infielder, but the loss of Whitey Hyde to injury for parts of this season has pushed Spurr into regular use at second base (while regular second-baseman Blandino the Bland is put to use at SS or RF). the 25-year old rookie has made the most of his opportunity so far.

    Cynical fans might note that Spurr’s Rookie of May award might carry the same “prestige” as the Rookie of May award last year, which went to current bench option and bum Roberto Lopez. When asked if the award is a precursor of things to come from Spurr, the team’s proud owner beams and gloats with pride, bragging at finding the next great Korean second baseman; cooler heads believe Spurr’s ceiling is pretty close to his current performance, and perhaps we should keep expectations in check.

  • #19734
     Hukuoka CUB 

    @Maracaibo (KOR) wrote:

    June 25, 2029

    The Jackals went 4-2 this week to improve to 29-19.

    Rookie infielder Sampson Spurr has earned the Korean Rookie of the Month award, and Jeff the Great is using him more and more as the season progresses. He was brought to Maracaibo at the trade deadline last season in a deal that shipped away some excess pitching and he spent the rest of 2028 in AAA. In Spring Training, he was viewed mostly as a utility infielder, but the loss of Whitey Hyde to injury for parts of this season has pushed Spurr into regular use at second base (while regular second-baseman Blandino the Bland is put to use at SS or RF). the 25-year old rookie has made the most of his opportunity so far.

    Cynical fans might note that Spurr’s Rookie of May award might carry the same “prestige” as the Rookie of May award last year, which went to current bench option and bum Roberto Lopez. When asked if the award is a precursor of things to come from Spurr, the team’s proud owner beams and gloats with pride, bragging at finding the next great Korean second baseman; cooler heads believe Spurr’s ceiling is pretty close to his current performance, and perhaps we should keep expectations in check.

    I always liked spurr, not really great ratings but he has put up numbers and has won awards. Glad to hear he is doing well for you…

  • #18392
     Maracaibo USA 

    Thanks Zeb – he seems to be putting together a nice season. In related news…

    July 1, 2029

    Following rumors of an Org-shaking Ch’o and Blandino deal with Puerto Plata, Sampson Spurr takes on the everyday second base job for the Jackals and wins another Rookie of the Month award, this time for his performance in June.

    Reliever-turned-ace Alberto Sanchez was also recognized as the LOD’s Pitcher of the Month for his play in June.

  • #19748
     Maracaibo USA 

    July 2, 2029

    Following another 4-2 week that pushed the Jackals up to 33-21 overall, the rumored trade becomes official; young ace Jinny Choo-Choo, second baseman Blandino the Bland, and recent bullpen acquisition P’ung are being sent to Puerto Plata, Japan. With the trade, Puerto Plata fills vacant spots at two necessary positions and should be able to improve their league-leading roster that much more. Blandino, who spent a year and a half as Maracaibo’s leadoff warrior, compiling outstanding on-base stats and excellent defense at three positions, has taken the news in stride and looks forward to competing against a higher level of competition. Young Choo-Choo is also excited for the opportunity. Both players are on cost-controlled contracts, paying them a total $10.5 million for the next three years.

    Such a bargain didn’t come easy, however, as Maracaibo has added five good prospects, four of whom should fit into the organization’s top ten rankings. 20-yo 2B Yokoyama already provides strong defense at 2B and shows a quick bat, but lacks power or on-base skills. He’s the closest to the majors of the four prospects and will start in AAA. 19-yo Hit-O is a strong relief prospect and will start in AA. He has severe control problems that will need to be addressed, but otherwise is ready for the bigs. 18-yo SP Almestica shows the highest potential of the group, with a high ground-ball rate, strong ratings across the board and three good pitches. 17-yo catching prospect Davilos has good hitting potential, poor defensive skills, and is headed to single-A. Finally, a fifth player was thrown in to help fill the organization’s SP needs in AAA – SP Harvey Valcourt is a fifth-starter at best, but might be needed in Maracaibo soon.

    Jackal Nation is always excited to add prospects to the system, but worries for the short-term impact of this trade. When asked if this trade effectively punts the army’s hopes for a Korean title to another year, Jeff the Great mocks the questioner with a passive wave of his hand and a simple “no.” When pressed for more comments on the subject, the team’s pitching coach offers a clearer picture:

    “The pitching spot being vacated Jinny Choo-Choo was filled last week by long-man Vaquerologo, and we’ve got other options like Domingo Sanchez and Valcourt. We looked at our top ranking in all the Korean pitching stats and think the loss of Choo-Choo can simply be offset by other arms on staff. Also, Colivar returns from the DL today to join the rest of Anubis’ Machetes in the bullpen. We bring up fresh arms from AAA every week. We’ll miss Ch’o, but his loss won’t impact our chances this year.

    “In the leadoff spot being vacated by Blandino, we’ve already plugged in Sammy [Spurr]. Next year we’ll likely be a competition for that spot between Spurr and Yokoyama.”

    Following this upcoming week’s action, the regular season will be half over. That gives Jeff the Great just a few more weeks to figure out what kind of needs exist on the big league club and what kind of depth he has to deal from. Last year’s trade flurry will be hard to repeat, but Tankersley has always loved to trade, so nobody in the organization is feeling too safe right now.

  • #19772
     Maracaibo USA 

    July 3, 2029

    Young Chad Doober got out of school at the usual time, and quicky ran down the streets of Maracaibo towards his home, as he usually did. But today, after dropping his school bag inside the front door, he turned and ran down another street. This street led out of town and over some hills and after a while he was making good time. He was headed for Las Teyerias, Maracaibo’s class-A training army locale, so he could see the team’s newest and brightest prospect, Bobby Almestica.

    Almestica’s legend was already growing. The second pick in this year’s Japan League draft, he was acquired by the Jackals in the Ch’o/Blandino deal, and stories about his few minor league exploits and Hall of Fame potential were already widely spreading around Jackal Nation. Maracaibo hasn’t had a pitching prospect this highly rated in a long time, and the team’s fans are excited for his future. To Chad, the wild stories of a 2-hit, 8 inning outing and a 7-strikeout performance in June had to be true, even though his classmates didn’t believe it.

    Chad reached the quaint town as the sun was setting and the torch lights were going up around the small field. There was only a small group of fans gathering at this game – the park usually saw about 6,000 viewers per game, compared to the 44,000 that sometimes attend battles in Maracaibo – and maybe only a hundred or so were gathered outside waiting for the gates to open. It was still about an hour from game time, to Chad went to find something to do in town with the time to kill. He found an ice cream parlor, got a cone, sat on the street curb, and ate happily. At this time, a kid who didn’t look much older than Chad, short in height but largely round in the gut, sat down next to him. The kid had a notebook and pencil.

    “Are you from Maracaibo?”, the kid asked. Chad nodded. “From the city itself? You live there?”, the kid followed up.
    “Yeah, my folks have a butcher shop there,” Chad answered. The kid brightened up somewhat, as if excited to meet someone from Maracaibo.
    “What’s it like?” Chad was confused by the question, but was always happy to make new friends and carried on a conversation with this kid about his home town. As the hour whittled away, this kid finally stood up, a pudgy 5’9″, 205 pounds, and thanked Chad for answering his questions.
    “No problem. If you ever come to Maracaibo, you should stop by. My name is Chad Doober,” Chad offered.
    “My name is Bobby Almestica and I’m pitching tonight. I’ll be in Maracaibo soon.”

    Chad sat amazed as Bobby waddled off to the ballpark, then hurriedly finished the ice cream and ran to the box office to buy his ticket. Not all of Almestica’s efforts that night went well, but six innings, seven hits allowed, only one walk and one earned run, and six cheer-inducing strikeouts sent Chad home happy to have witnessed Almestica’s first action as a Jackal prospect, despite the team’s loss.

  • #19790
     Maracaibo USA 

    July 10, 2029

    Jackal pitcher Domingo Sanchez has been released. Sanchez was claimed off waivers this offseason and put into the bullpen where he pitched well, but has remained unhappy in this role and wants to be a starting pitcher. Good luck with that, Domingo.

  • #19807
     Maracaibo USA 

    July 17, 2027
    Some quick notes:

    The Jackals went 6-0 this week (!) and now lead the LOD by three games over hated Cheju.

    Last year’s top draft pick SP Dae Pak pitched in four games last year before suffering an injury that took him 8 months to recover from. This year’s top draft pick 2B Escamille is having the same luck this year. He’s already missed six weeks in May/June with a strained lat, and is now going to miss another six weeks with a fractured wrist. He’s only been able to play in 22 games this season.

    In the majors, a 6-0 week is going to keep Jeff from tinkering with the pitching staff this week. Promotions, demotions, and role changes have been the norm for most of the year, but Jeff’s going to let this pitching staff stay in its current incarnation for at least one more week.

    On the other hand, the lineup will get a new look in the wake of some roster changes. Maracaibo added two more OFers to the big league club. First, prospect Kichida was called up and played in five games last week, hitting over .400 and providing a great spark helping the Jackals go 6-0 this week. Second, mercenary bat Clobber was just signed to a $2.8M deal and will join the mix of OFers currently on the roster. It is uncertain how all this will shake out when Quick-footed Whitey Hyde returns, but for now, the three OF positions will be manned by some combination of Victor Martinez, Augusto Guizan, Elaizer Estrada, rookie Kichida, new addition Clobber, and Karim Tercero. Six outfielders is way too many, so Jeff today will either cut Tercero, option Kichida back to AAA, or trade Estrada. Guizan is the only lefty in the group, so his spot in Maracaibo is safe.

  • #19829
     Maracaibo USA 

    July 17, 2029

    Recent trade acquisition Yokoyama is being called up to Maracaibo today and will start at second base. It will be his first action in the bigs. Rookie placeholder Samson Spurr will be on the bench and serve as a utility infielder for the foreseeable future.

  • #19856
     Maracaibo USA 

    July 18, 2029

    Yokoyama’s second start for the Jackals is an interesting one. The rookie went a hot 3-for-3 in the game, but was caught stealing twice, in a memorable 1-0 Jackals win. Maracaibo and Thunder Bay each allowed seven hits, but only one baserunner scored, in the bottom of the fifth when Jackals Clobber and Martinez hit back to back doubles. For most of the game, the teams were trying small ball to push across runners, but came up empty.

    After six strong shutout innings from Killer Zanga (now 8-2), Anubis’ machetes struck down six Avenger bats over the last three innings, including a 3-K save from Machete Wiedemann, his 16th save of the season.

    July 23, 2029

    With today’s shutout, a combined effort by Alberto Sanchez and Machete Long, Jackal Nation is riding a 12-game win streak and getting excited about the upcoming trade deadline.

  • #19674
     Maracaibo USA 

    July 23, 2029

    At last season’s trade deadline, left-handed masher Trasancos was brought to Maracaibo to provide a bench option for the playoff run. Trasancos hit an amazing 294/388/603 with six homers in 68 regular season ABs, and was brought back this season to fill the same role. His performance in that role this year, however, has been dreadful, as his line has fallen to 136/309/273, and he’s gone 0-for-10 with 2 walks over the last ten games he’s appeared in. His poor performance as a bench bat exposed, Trasancos is being waived and DFA’d. If anyone wants him, Jeff the Great will take 50K for him.

  • #19869
     Maracaibo USA 

    July 24, 2029

    In the wake of the big trade that brought recently-highlighted but unknown 17-year old prospect Almestica to Maracaibo’s farm system, Jeff the Great parlayed top OF prospect Quirce Lavol into the well-known 20-year old pitching prospect Litchy Jung. Jung’s extreme popularity has caught Maracaibo by storm and he’s already taken the #2 spot on Jackal Nation’s “most popular player” listing.

    Jung Fever has taken over Maracaibo, as they follow with great interest his pitching reports from AAA El Tocuyo. Yesterday the young ace threw seven shutout innings and murdered 10 opposing batters while issuing just a single base on balls.

    Excitement over the big team’s success is also running high as the Jackals are riding a twelve-game win streak right now, and are scheduled to host hated Cheju and Jeonju at home this week. Along with all that excitement, we’ve got the return of Fleet-footed Whitey Hyde from the infirmary, where he is going to be fit into Right Field while new center fielder Clobber settles into his role. And in addition to all of this, the trade deadline is only a week away! Things are crazy and are expected to get even crazier as this year’s campaign for Korean supremacy continues.

  • #19888
     Maracaibo USA 

    July 31st, 2029

    Last year’s trade deadline was a flurry of transactions in which Jeff the Great addressed many short- and long-term needs, but this year’s activity has been much tamer.

    In a move not surprising to those close to the team, Fleet-footed Whitey Hyde was moved to Hong Kong in a straight salary dump. Then, later in the day, rookie outfielder Kichida was moved to San Lorenzo for two OFers, aged vet Cipriano Rios and arbitration-eligible Ezequil Soto, in what also might be referred to as a reverse salary dump. In the end, Tankersley says he was happy to move Hyde’s 2030 obligation off the books while adding some short-term contracts within this year’s budget that might help with this year’s playoff run.

    Observers say that Tankersley’s affection for the team’s current farm system, along with the team’s major league success to date, have soured him against trading any of the team’s prospects. As the year rolls along, we’ll see if he accurately viewed the team’s situation or if he should have tried harder to add a bigger bat, a better fifth starter, or another right-handed reliever to Anubis’ Machetes.

  • #19915
     Maracaibo USA 

    August 1, 2029

    With 13 weeks of the 20-week campaign complete and the trade deadline passed, the roster is set and the soldiers settle in for the final stretch. Daily routines are being skewed more towards skill maintenance than improvement, and the older members of the team are taking more care in an attempt to prevent injuries and fatigue. At 50-28, the Jackals hold a strong but not comfortable 8-game lead on 42-36 Cheju in the Korean LOD.

    In the lineup, some parts were moved around at the deadline, but no earth-shattering changes. Burgas the Burly is still the heart of the lineup, Chei-Eun Sin the table-setter, Victor Martinez and Ze-Min Ning the steady hands, and Sweet Suguira the all-or-nothing free-swinger.

    In the rotation, a solid top-three has settled in as top-of-the-rotation options, led by Killer Zanga, former closer Elian Flores, and former reliever Alberto Sanchez. Anubis’ Machetes have provided lights-out bullpen support, and gets even stronger at the trade deadline by adding Alejandro Ramirez to a committee of closer Ronald Weidemann, relief aces Gu-Ong Long and Manuel Pandelo, and middlemen Coldivar, Fuantes, and Son.

    The 2030 roster picture is taking clearer shape now, too. Jeff the Great, Destroyer of Worlds, has approximately $60M committed to next year’s payroll, with spots at catcher and in the outfield to fill this offseason. If Zanga exercises his 2030 option (more on this in a second), then the entire current Jackals rotation and five of the seven relievers above are signed through next season. If ace Killer Zanga declines his $14.4M option for 2030, Jeff will need to add another ace with that $14.4M. The team’s owner has been hosting Zanga and his wife for weekend dinners over the past few months in an attempt to sway his decision. Killer is having an outstanding year to date, sporting a 9-3 record and 2.92 ERA.

  • #19918
     Maracaibo USA 

    [Farm system Final 2029 review]
    August 6, 2029

    Since our last review of the Jackals farm system, a number of prospect were added to the system and are noted. The system is deeper at this time than ever during Jeff the Great’s brief three-year tenure in Maracaibo. Bolded names are prospects who will probably contribute in the majors next season.

    1) [ACQUISITION] SP Roberto Almestica finishes the year as Maracaibo’s top-ranked prospect, as his ceiling is higher than Jung’s, but at greater risk of not meeting it. The 19-year old Almestica was acquired in the Blandino/Ch’o deal a few months ago and finishes the year with a 2.49 ERA in seven single-A starts. He’ll probably start again in single-A next year.
    2) [ACQUISITION] SP Litchy Jung is knocking on Maracaibo’s door from AAA El Tocuyo, where he had a 3.43 ERA in five starts. The 20-year old still has some control problems to work on, so if he comes up to the bigs next year, it will likely be in the bullpen at first.
    3) OF Edgar Campos hit 274/354/407 in 29 games in AA Moron. His time was limited with some injuries, but at 22 years, he is probably ready for a AAA assignment to start next season. Jeff doesn’t want to bring him up until he gets closer to that 7 potential power rating and Campos is only at 3 power right now. Campos also rates as a poor defensive centerfielder, so he can’t help Maracaibo until he can slug his way into one of the starting corner OF spots.
    – [TRADED AWAY] OF Quirce Lavol was dealt prior to the deadline for Jung, then was traded again, earning some laughs from those who noticed he has been in four organizations over a four-month span. Lavol’s potential as a pitchcount-raising hitting specialist is sky-high and he should fare well in the bigs next year if given the opportunity.
    – [TRADED AWAY] OF Kichida was called up in July, played some games, then was dealt at the trade deadline for major leaguers Soto and Rios.
    4) [ACQUISITION] 2B Yokoyama is starting for the Jackals now, hitting 283/377/413 in fifteen games so far. He’ll be off the prospect listing soon.
    5) OF Manolito Eribarne was brought to the Jackals in the Fiasco deal and has hit a pittly 172/210/232 in 67 games in single-A. He’s only 18, so he’ll be in Las Tereyas for a while. His potential ratings remain strong and scouts envision a low-average, high-power, defensive wizard in CF when he reaches them.
    6) [ACQUISITION] Future closer Hit-O is tearing up AA and will start next year in AAA with a chance to help the parent club later next season.
    7) [ACQUISITION] C Davilos has hit 253/295/323 in single-A and will stay there for a while. He’s only 17 and has a bright future.
    8 ) 2B Feliciano Escamille, Maracaibo’s top pick in this year’s draft, was injured early in the season and hit 289/357/395 in only 22 games this year. He’s only 18, so a lost year doesn’t hurt his status unless it happens again. He’s slated to repeat single-A next season.
    9) 19-year old SS Gwon-Beom Kwon, Maracaibo’s second pick in this year’s draft, hit 255/299/327 in 54 single-A games this season and will also be repeating single-A.
    10) 22-year old Jae-Weong Chong, Maracaibo’s third pick in this year’s draft, hit 300/410/433 with 2 HRs in 120 single-A at-bats before hitting 360/429/400 in only eight AA games before losing the rest of the season to injury. His floor is that of a pinch-hitting corner OFer right now. Team management is hoping he develops some more power/eye or improves his center field defense so he might be an everyday bat for Maracaibo in the future. If he can stay healthy to start the year, he might be helping Maracaibo next season.
    11) OF Greg Barber, Maracaibo’s second pick last season, has the best bat in the Jackals system and made it up to AAA, hitting 298/355/455 in 49 games there to close the season. Jeff the Great plans on starting him as the Jackals Opening Day Left Fielder next season if he doesn’t add a mercenary bat this offseason.

    Others of note: 20-year old OF Jeffrey Moon hit 238/283/350 in 49 games in AA this year, where he will probably repeat next year… Pitching prospect Dae Pak was ranked as high as the 2nd-best prospect in Maracaibo’s system last season. Now he isn’t rated among the top 20 Jackals prospects, but was moved up to AA and finished with a 4.81 ERA and 6-6 record… SP Chris Kerfoot was drafted in the 5th round this year and, in 17 starts single-A starts, went 2-9 with a 5.34 ERA,.. 20-year old C Kaii Kawagishi hit 268/327/329 in single-A this year… Maracaibo’s farm clubs played some pretty ugly ball this year and prospects across the lower levels are showing poor morale due to poor performance. Las Tereyas went a miserable 26-64 this season, coming in last in runs scored and runs allowed among the eight teams in the Korean single-A. Jeff thinks part of this is because of the emphasis these last two seasons on drafting younger players, meaning there are a lot more teenagers playing every day than if they had been drafting more college grads during the draft. Hopefully, with most of the young talent at single-A repeating there next year, the talent bumps will make the team more competitive next season. Double-A Moron didn’t play much better than Las Tereyas, going 34-56 this year. AAA El Tocuyo went 51-39, seven games behind that league’s winner.

  • #19922
     Maracaibo USA 

    August 7, 2029

    Does SP Dae Pak have value? Can he pitch in Maracaibo one day?

    Pak was drafted with the eighth pick (first round) in the 2028 draft. He shows poor pitching skills in all but three aspects – potential 10 movement, a ground ball rate of 78%, and 8 stamina. His stuff and control potential ratings are worse than average at 4 and 4 apiece. At the time, with our home park factors reducing hits across the board, except for HRs, an emphasis on adding high GB-rate arms to the rotation was implemented and Pak was going to be the poster boy. Unfortunately, he only started four single-A games before an injury cost him the rest of the season. The BA top-prospect list had him Maracaibo’s #2 prospect for most of the year.

    This year, he fell off the BA prospect list, pitched poorly in single-A and double-A, but threw a good game in the season’s finale on the fifth. 14 games started in AA, 88 innings, 95 hits + 34 walks allowed.

    Can a pitcher with only those three skills (movement, ground ball rate, and stamina) help a team? Can he be a solid #3/4 innings-eating league-average pitcher? Or is he a fringy #5 starter/long-man? Our ball park and strong defensive roster mean that if he were to succeed anywhere, it would be here.

    Some possibilities working in Pak’s favor:
    – While his 1.46 whip in AA isn’t strong, it can be hoped that some of those 95 hits would be converted into outs if Pak was pitching in Maracaibo due to the better defenders who would be in the field behind him. When Gui Lau is manning shortstop in AA, a lot of hits will get through, but fewer of those will when Sugiura is manning the position.
    – He’s only 19, so there is room for random talent bumps these next few years, but he’s already mostly-met all of his potential ratings, so at some point next year, we’ll be able to say he is what he is. Will that be enough?

    Working against him:
    – His poor ratings. I haven’t seen any pitchers surviving in the WBH without at least 5 stuff, and Pak only has potential for 4. Control-wise, some pitchers do okay with Pak’s 4 control rating, but only if their stuff ratings are in the 8-10 range.
    – Quality of opponents. Above I point out he’ll have better defensive help as he moves up the ladder, but the opposite is also true, that the guys hitting against him will also be better as he progresses. I’m hoping that can be mitigated somewhat by his awesome GB rate.

    Does anyone have any comps to Pak? If we assume Pak tops out as a Stuff 4, Movement 10, Control 4, Ground Ball 78% pitcher, will he be worth a rotation spot? The easy answer is “we’ll find out”, and we will, but I’m curious if anyone has tried to use a guy like this in the bigs and what the results were.

  • #19926
     Santiago de Cuba USA 

    @Maracaibo (KOR) wrote:

    Does anyone have any comps to Pak? If we assume Pak tops out as a Stuff 4, Movement 10, Control 4, Ground Ball 78% pitcher, will he be worth a rotation spot? The easy answer is “we’ll find out”, and we will, but I’m curious if anyone has tried to use a guy like this in the bigs and what the results were.

    My closest comp was Darien Murgilla (4/9/5 at one point with me). He was the definition of inconsistent.

    I tried to build my rotation around movement guys at one point and it didn’t work. Murgilla was good in 2020 and terrible in 2021 before I nontendered him. He went on to be nominated for a Middle Reliever of the Year award.

    Give you guy a shot as a long reliever or fifth starter and see what happens. That’s the only way to really know what will happen.

  • #19932
     Maracaibo USA 

    Thanks, Bob – you’re right, Murgilla‘s a great comp. Looking at his page, his 2015 season (in Maracaibo, no less) was actually quite outstanding – 22 starts, 143 innings, 1.25 whip, 2.45 ERA, 105 Ks, 37 VORP(!). His ratings are similar to Pak‘s but his GB rate is still only 71% compared to Pak’s 78%, so maybe my guy has a little room to be better than that. Or room to be worse, because Murgilla’s control was a better than Pak’s (5 to 3), so who knows. I’m glad Murgilla had some seasons in Maracaibo because park factor could be a huge part of Pak’s potential value. If I could get some seasons like Murgilla’s 2015, Pak would work out great for me.

    But Murgilla’s other seasons in Maracaibo in 2014 and 2016 weren’t too good and his 2021 season you mentioned was pretty bad. So yeah, inconsistent.

    Thanks for checking

  • #19968
     Maracaibo USA 

    August 20, 2029

    As the rain poured down on Mac McMoneypants, he sneezed aloud and again contemplated giving up and going home, but the large throng of Jackal supporters standing with him made it impossible to escape the town square without shoving past dozens of people, so he again decided to simply tough it out. The monsoon that hit Korea, and that was currently raining sheets of water upon the whole peninsula, made travel nearly impossible, and the couriers who accompanied the Marcaibo army to hated Cheju were taking much longer than usual to return with word of the action. It seemed that the whole town was standing with Mac in the square at the town’s entrance, amidst a number of flickering torches and blown-over tarps and tents. A few children were hustled up next to an overturned, empty cart, but like Mac, most everyone was drenched and cold while waiting for the reports.

    “The anticipation is killing us!”, one man yells. “What news from the front?!” 🙂

  • #19969
     Changsha JPN 


  • #19974
     Maracaibo USA 

    August 21, 2029

    A 5-1 week puts the Maracaibo Jackals at 61-35 overall, 13 games ahead of 2nd-place Cheju. It is the Jackals largest lead of the season, and with only four weeks left to play, Jackal Nation is starting to get antsy for another playoff berth.

    Unfortunately, the team’s best hitter, Genghis Kahn reborn Burgas the Burly, suffered an injury early in the week, and will miss the next 2-3 weeks. A similar accident befell our hero last year in July/August; he missed four weeks of action and returned in time for the playoffs. Jeff the Great is hoping his best weapon suffers no setbacks in his recovery and is able to be at full strength should the team be able to reach the playoffs. To date, Burgas has hit 346/441/657 with 26 HRs and 6.6 WAR. For perspective on Burgas’ dominance this year, his 6.6 WAR towers over the 2nd-best hitting WAR in the LOD, which belongs to Quebec’s Dong-joo Sin 3.6 WAR.

    Taking Burgas’ spot in the lineup while he is out is journeyman minor league veteran retread Tokutomi Kunomasu, who was stored away for the season to date for just this purpose: to serve as injury insurance in case Burgas goes down.

  • #20019
     Maracaibo USA 

    September 3, 2029

    Two injuries hit the Jackals this week. Ronald Weidemann, the team’s closer, is going to be out for the final two weeks of the season. Maracaibo’s #2 SP Alberto Sanchez is out for 2-3 weeks with an injury, so that might be a problem if the team makes the playoffs. Currently slated to start Game 2 or 3 of a potential playoff match, his status for that game might now be in jeopardy. We’ll have to wait for more time to pass before an exact return date can be determined.

    Burgas the Burly remains sidelined for another four days. Veteran minor league retread Tokutumi Kunomasu has performed well in Burgas’ absence, but the team went 2-4 this week (68-40 overall) and could use Burgas’ offensive powers back in the lineup.

    With 68 wins, the Jackals have already surpassed last year’s win total of 65 games, and the 66 games won in 2027. Two weeks remain and they lead hated Cheju in second place by 10 games, so if the Jackals can win 3 of these last 12 games, they’ll have the division wrapped up.

    And some other good news, as it appears mercenary LF Victor Martinez will be returning to Maracaibo next year after accepting a 3-year, $24M offer. Jeff looked over some of the upcoming free agent corner outfield options and decided to try and get the Jackals current right-handed hitter signed before he hit free agency. Martinez has been having a great season, hitting 277/373/473 with 15 HRs and 81 RBIs in 368 ABs.

    In more good news, Killer Zanga won this month’s LOD Pitcher of the Month award, going 4-1 in his six starts this month. In 40.2 innings, he rang up 44 strikeouts with a 0.89 ERA. 2B Hisashi Yokoyama collected 14 hits to earn this month’s LOD Rookie of the Month award, batting .212 with 14 RBIs and 7 runs scored. The 21-year old is barely old enough to shave, but he could definitely contend for Rookie of the Year if he keeps up this pace. Wow. He is currently batting .230 with 3 HRs and 16 RBIs.

  • #19980
     Maracaibo USA 

    September 10, 2029

    The Maracaibo Jackals clinch the LOD division with a 2-1 win against the Dragons of Quebec, and now, with six games left to play, the Jackals are able to look ahead and prepare for the playoffs. Killer Zanga (14-5) pitched six shutout innings in the win and his ERA fell to 2.28 on year.

    Jackal Nation is more excited to follow the action in the LAD this week. It usually doesn’t spend much time tracking the daily standings in the other Korean division, but with possible playoff foe Lagunillas (62-52) holding only a three-game lead over rival San Lorenzo (59-55), and with both teams playing a three-game series in San Lorenzo tomorrow, the whole peninsula is bracing for a bloodbath, and the citizens in Maracaibo plan to hold court in the town square waiting for word of those games’ results, just like they do when the home team is away and they wait for word on its results. The anticipation among those in the square is usually anxious and fretting, but I expect this week’s wait for news to be more festive and excited. The townsfolk have been waiting all year for another chance at the playoffs – now that a berth is in hand, they don’t know quite what to do with themselves, other than be happy for their team’s success and worried for their team’s future.

    Last year’s playoff is a lingering and upsetting memory. The Jackals met the Invasion from Roswell and were beaten four matches to two. The Game 2 and Game 5 losses were especially hard for the team’s fans, as the team’s best pitcher, Killer Zanga, was beaten badly in those matches, throwing only 10 innings, giving up 8 walks, 6 hits, and 7 runs. Despite those postseason failures hanging heavily on Zanga, because of his outstanding play this season, Jeff the Great has already named him this playoff’s Game 1 starter. Zanga’s season has been one for the ages, as the ace compiled 150 strikeouts (ranking #3 in Korea), a 2.28 ERA (1st), a 0.99 Whip(1st), and a 14-5 record in 158 innings this season.

    Game 2 will be pitched by young hurler Elian Flores. Flores has compiled 104 strikeouts (#15 in Korea), a 3.55 ERA (8th), a 1.17 Whip (6th), and an 11-5 record in his 116 innings this season. Neither Zanga nor Flores will pitch this week before the playoffs.

    Game 3’s starter is still to be decided. Jeff would like to go with Alberto Sanchez,but the pitcher has been out for a few weeks and his return date is still uncertain. Doctors will only say “1 to 2 weeks”. “Well?” pressed Tankersley, “is that 7 days, 9 days, or 12 days?” “1-2 weeks” is all they’ll say. If Sanchez can return by Game 3, at 100%, he’ll be the starter. Otherwise, it will be Dae-Jin Kim. Sanchez has thrown 96 strikeouts (#19 in Korea), a 3.42 ERA (6th), a 1.27 Whip, and an 11-7 record in his 118 innings this season.

    While the best three starters should be good enough to provide Maracaibo with some strong early innings, none of them have strong stamina marks and generally only pitch 5-7 innings, so no one would be surprised if Anubis’ Machetes make the difference in this series. Machetes Ramirez, Weidemann, Long, Fuantes, and Pandelo have made preparations to set up camp in the bullpen after the last game of the season and will spend the days until Game 1 there sequestered away from fans and teammates. Its an odd bunch, and the groundskeepers have already started complaining to Jeff about the horrible smells and noises coming from the bullpen before games.

    Older fans in Maracaibo have noted with some sadness that the franchise’s best postseason pitching warrior, Cesar Anaya, who carried the team to victories in the 2017 Venezuelan and 2018 Japanese Championships in his first two seasons, and who pitched an outstanding game 1 win in the 2028 postseason ten years later, will be watching this year’s fighting from the dugout after missing the whole 2029 season with a torn rotator cuff. If unhurt, Anaya might be making his case now to Jeff the Great for the Game 3 start, but as it is, he’ll now only be playing the role of cheerleader. Anaya’s time in Maracaibo has come full circle, having signed an extension before this season for an additional two seasons. He’s hoping the town he’s fought for and called home his whole career can carry the postseason without him and give him another chance to compete in a mid-tier WBH league.

    Some playoff roster decisions might be hard to make next week, as Jeff will likely want to whittle some unneeded starters and long men, like lefty Valcourt and righty Venturo, from the roster. They’ll probably be designated for assignment after the last game. Backup catcher Sato was injured this week and now appears unlikely to return for the playoffs – while this upsets Sato greatly, it does make Jeff’s bench decision a little easier since Roberto Lopez who is an outstanding defensive catcher, was already assured of having a bench spot, so he can fill the emergency catcher role and save Sato’s bench spot for a better bat.

    The lineup in Game 1 will still feature the same group of warriors that led the LOD in runs scored this season, with Burgas the Burly, Chei-Eun Sin, Victor Martinez, Ze-Min Ning, rookie Yokoyama, Rios the Aged, Swatter Soto, and Sweet Suguira all anxious to have this shot at glory. Jeff is not giving anyone this last week off, but is keeping everyone in only 2-3 games instead of 5-6.

    Jackal Nation still has some reflective gripes about the course this season has taken, notably the early-season departures of Jinny Choo-Choo and Blandino, who have thrived in their time in Puerto Plata since that trade; and also about the skyrocketing ticket prices, which have maxed out at $20/ticket, but the stadium continues to sell out every home game, and the town’s daily fortunes seem to live and die by the scoreboard, even when the team is away.

    The team’s owner, who was heart-broken when last year’s tense campaign ended in disappointment, was mostly able to avoid repeating that tension this season because of the Jackals somewhat-easier march through Korea (and the knowledge that his time on earth isn’t as limited as he once believed). But over the past few weeks, as the team has struggled to a 3-7 September record, he’s fully reverted into his simultaneously outlandish and nervous paranoid behavior from last season. The slightest noise makes him jump in fear, and he’ll snipe at random folks for startling him, but he self-destructively spends his time seeking out those noises – by day, he walks the streets, finding any who will talk to him about his Jackals and lengthily discuss the team’s strategies and exploits; by night, he crashes the bars and gambling houses, screaming in unison with the Jackal fans’ drunken renditions of battle hymns, and weeping along with their crying recollections of seasons past.

    It is a great time to be a baseball fan in Maracaibo. I hope it lasts.

  • #20099
     Maracaibo USA 

    September 18, 2029

    Jeff the Great, Destroyer of Worlds, and all of Maracaibo, are counting on the Jackal warriors to fight well and fight hard tonight. The long campaign is almost over, but Maracaibo’s success this year to date means nothing. Lagunillas stands in their way.

    This Jackals pitching staff beat the Korean league with such force this season that it would be carrying a Goliathic air of invincibility if it wasn’t being so frequently reminded of last year’s playoff failure. From the LAD, Lagunillas brings a similarly outstanding army to the field with every intention of following last year’s champions Roswell up the WBH ranks from Korea. Maracaibo is ready. But so is Lagunillas.

    The armies’ two aces, Maracaibo’s Killer Zanga and Lagunilla’s Triple Crown and likely Pitcher of the Year winner Stoney Harrow have been working all season on refining and perfecting their craft. Neither warrior speaks, even to their teammates, on gamedays, as customary gameday ritual dictates, so that doesn’t change as they prep now for Game 1. The rest of the rotations and both bullpens scored strong marks in the standard categories this season, and no matter who pitches, Jeff the Great foresees many parried offensive shots and dead batters. His rival Ken the Marauder likewise has personally braced himself for a level of carnage greater than that seen during the campaign to date.

    Lagunilla’s batters are slowly assembling for battle. Loro warriors like Denavedeze and Carlos Meaz take their places in the ranks of soldiers armed for battle. The older members of the army, seasoned warriors with years of experience and reverence, loudly and sternly pass on lessons learned from prior postseasons.

    On the other side of the field, the glut of Jackal fighters part ranks as Genghis Burgas approaches. Burgas and his companions will be called on to rain thunder and destruction upon the battlefield. Veteran Chei-Eun Sin, Maracaibo’s career leader in games, runs, RBIs, hits, walks, at-bats, total bases, and home runs stands at attention, having been on this battlefield before. This might be his last chance to win a title in Maracaibo. Their left field companion Martinez is jubilant and excited as always, laughing with loud authority. His demeanor is contagious, and the Jackals go about their preparations with a firm step and resolute heart, knowing all the while, this next week of fighting will bring glory and honor to but one side of the fight. The troops on both sides are physically invigorated with excitement over the coming battle. Its going to be a bloodbath.

  • #20166
     Maracaibo USA 

    October 1, 2029

    Another heartbreaking playoff series loss for the Jackals leaves Jeff the Great with few answers to lots of questions. An impulse to blow it up needs to be set aside for a second as we congratulate Ken’s Loros on putting another great team together and winning the 2029 Korean Championship. Nice work.


    SP Zanga declined his 14.4M option for 2030, so he hits free agency and leaves Jeff with a big hole to fill atop his rotation. Not sure if we’re going to pursue another high-priced arm, or just go with a stable of low-priced arms and use payroll to fix the weak lineup.

  • #20167
     Maracaibo USA 

    <2029 season review>

    Playoff Results
    The playoffs ended horribly, as the Jackals were swept 4-0 by Lagunillas.
    – Among hitters, only 1B Genghis Burgas, who hit 500/579/813, and 3B Ze-Min Ning, who hit 313/353/625, played well in the series, Chei-eun Sin went 3-for-17 in an embarrassing effort at the plate.
    – Among pitchers, ace Zanga matched his season’s stats, getting 12 Ks in his 12 innings, allowing only 3 runs. But the series was mostly lost by the other two starters, Flores and Chavez, who allowed a combined 10 runs in only 3 innings, which left the great Jackals bullpen to pitch 21 innings in the four games.
    – Of those 21 innings pitched by the bullpen, 10 were thrown by relief aces Machete Ramirez and Pandelo, who struck out a combined 16 batters and allowed two runs. Six innings for Pandelo and four by Ramirez, all in just four playoff games, is a noble workload, but points damningly at the two starters who couldn’t get past the third inning in their matches. Jerks. Makes me mad.

    Season Results
    I’d do a recap of the season with some stats for my best players, but, I’m honestly ready to just move on. We went 76-44, which was awesome. My pitching staff led the league in every stat by a wide margin. My offense was good, too, and Burgas had another MVP-caliber season. I’m losing my best pitcher Zanga to free agency, but I think I’m okay with that. My pitching was so good during the season, I wonder if those resources would be better spent just getting the best bats I can and pay them through the nose. On the other hand, the pitching from my #2 and #3 SPs was so bad during the playoff, they lost the series for me, due to getting shelled early and burning out my bullpen. Should I be seeking out better SPs? Despite the regular season’s success? I’ll probably just go with the easiest path, and that is, pretend those two playoff starts were freak happenings and just work on the lineup this offseason. It will be a lot easier to find zero aces than it will be to find three of them.

  • #20206
     Maracaibo USA 

    2029 Awards

    It was a Jackal sweep of the 2029 LOD season awards.

    Genghis Burgas is your LOD MVP.

    Killer Zanga is your LOD Pitcher of the Year.

    Sampson Spurr is your LOD Rookie of the Year.

    Jeff Tankersley is your LOD Manager of the Year.

    It was so nice that this team could put together such a great season before being thoroughly mutilated in the playoffs. 😆

  • #20209
     Thunder Bay KOR 

    Congrats across the board from your players to your management.

  • #20451
     Maracaibo USA 

    February 17, 2030

    SP Killer Zanga’s departure from Maracaibo, and the quick signings elsewhere by noted mercenaries like Alarcio and Nakamura, have left Jeff the Great at a crossroads in planning for the team’s future. On one hand, most of his early free agent targets have either signed elsewhere as noted, or have escalated their salary demands to levels no longer seen as worth the investment, so maybe a commitment to a low-cost team for the first half of the season makes sense – the team can try to stay competitive until the trade deadline and use the cap room to add salary dumps then. On the other hand, the current payroll is hovering just under $50 million and the revenue projection should break $90 million, leaving him with room to add large contracts now. Jeff isn’t sure if he should commit future resources to needed free agents at prices higher than hoped, or if he should continue to hold the line at what he considers are “reasonable” contract offers and patiently see what comes of it. As most of you who have dealt with Tankersley in trade discussions already know, patience is not something Jeff does very well. In fact, he’s been known to quickly go all-in on something, then change his mind at a moment’s notice, then regret it later and try to remedy it by making even more decisions of cascading ineptitude,

    Here’s a quick recap of this offseason’s trades to date. No free agents have been signed as yet.

    SP Number T
    RP Jorge Datil
    OF Hsuang-tsung Jen
    RF Inejiro Watanabe – A
    SS Hi-Yuan Gong – A

    Traded away:
    C Kagahisa Sato
    C/2B Roberto Lopez
    SP Alberto Pacheco – AAA
    SP Scott Regush – AAA
    C Carlos Meyia – AAA
    3B Montel Quillantan – AAA
    SP Chris Kerfoot – A
    CF Jae-Weong Chong – A
    Barrels and barrels of cash.

    So, before the third free agency sim, as Jeff looks at the mercenaries still available, and the contract demands those mercenaries are making, and at the contract offers he’s already made, he’s having some trouble deciding which offers he should leave on the table and which he should pull, and how to fill an empty roster spot if he pulls an offer to a player he needs. Throw in all the crazy trades being discussed and it creates a torrential cyclone of juggled resources and priorities.

  • #20544
     Maracaibo USA 

    March 1, 2030

    Two minor signings this week. The Jackals are bringing back left-handed CF Cipriano Rios to share center field duties with right-handed CF T-Sung Jen. Rios aparently liked his time late last season in Maracaibo and signed for a modest $3M, 1 year deal.

    Also coming to Maracaibo is SP/RP Auriello Fernandez, who doesn’t have a rotation spot yet, but is a strong righty who can help out of the pen until a need for more pitching arises. He’ll be earning $2.6M for two seasons.

  • #20595
     Maracaibo USA 

    March 10, 2029

    Christmas comes early in Maracaibo as Jeff the Great inks two All-Star middle infielders and trades for a backup catcher.

    First, switch-hitting catcher Hwen Zhou was added to the roster via a trade with Santiago De Los Caballeros. Zhou can hit righties, so he is a good compliment to lefty-masher Jorge Dequevado.

    But the biggest news came in the form of twin mercenary signings, Hua Hsia to play shortstop, and Crawdaddy Cho to play second base. Hsia’s contract is a big one, and for four years, which will keep him in Jackal red and black through his age 36 season. It is an enormous gamble, but one Jeff thinks he can afford. Less risky, the Crawdad signing is only two years long. His addition puts wunderkind Yokoyama‘s and rookie of the year Samson Spurr‘s spots on the team at risk. Yokoyama is likely destined for AAA. Spurr can be a useful backup. Last year’s starting shortstop Sweet Sugiura, who has hit 20, 20, and 18 HRs in his three seasons respectively, is relegated to bench duties, and perhaps a non-tender candidate at the end of the coming season due to a contact ratings drop that has Jeff the Great worried – worried enough to make big offers to the two mercenaries he signed today.

    The Amateur soldier draft is coming soon and Tankersley’s scouts are already moving about Korea putting a pref list together. Success in the draft is hard to come by, especially for an army that has picked 8th for three straight seasons. Ugh.

  • #20641
     Thunder Bay KOR 

    I have enjoyed Jeff’s vision through his blog. I wanted to wish the guy that started the same time as I did the best in what will be his 100th post very soon. One hundred posts puts you in a pretty illustrious company. Best of luck buddy! Here is hoping for hundreds more from Jeff the Great.

  • #20717
     Maracaibo USA 

    March 31, 2030

    Compared to last year’s awesome draft pool, this year’s pool of draft talent in Korea is ghastly pathetic outside the top four or five bats. Not a single pitcher projects as a potential ace-, #2-, or even #3-type pitcher, and no high-heat closer is available, either, according to Jeff the Great’s amateur scouting team. The team’s fans are excited to hear about the next wave of talent from the farm, though, and are looking forward to giving the prospect system some thought before spring training starts.

  • #20764
     Maracaibo USA 

    April 2, 2030

    2030 Jackal lineup preview

    Starting Lineup:
    Leading off – SS Hua Hsia 7/5/6/7/10 – Hsia will be out for a few months to start the season, but when he returns, he’ll take his place at the top of the Jackal lineup. Jeff the Great is a little worried about his declining defensive numbers, but really has no other option at SS, so we’ll just deal with it.
    Batting second – Platoon – Vs Lefties CF T-Sung Jen 6/4/5/7/5 : Vs Righties CF Cipriano Rios 5/7/3/8/4 – Rios is the better fielder, Jen the better-rated bat, but both will be on a quick hook if they have trouble at the season’s start. Ning or Crawdaddy might end up here.
    Batting third – 1B Genghis Burgas 9/9/8/6/8.
    Batting cleanup – LF Victor Martinez 5/8/6/7/5 – the right-handed compliment to left-handed Burgas, these two packed a strong punch in these spots last year, so it makes sense to leave VMart here.
    Batting fifth – RF Ezequiel Soto 5/8/8/6/4 – power bat, fits well with Burgas and VMart in the 3/4/5 spots, making it L/R/L.
    Batting sixth – 3B Ze-Min Ning 6/10/5/5/8 – Strong hitter, perfect for the six-spot, multiple gold gloves to his name, the most “underrated” of Maracaibo’s hitters the past few years.
    Batting seventh – 2B Crawdaddy Cho 5/7/6/7/7 – Overpaid 2nd-base mercenary, might be moved up into the 2-hole above if that CF-platoon doesn’t produce.
    Batting eighth – C Jorge Dequevado 6/5/7/5/8 – 25-year old ready to finally either make a leap or fall back into a AAAA profile. We’re hoping he can produce, of course, but at worst, he ends up a lefty-killing part of a future platoon.

    C Hwen Zhou 5/6/2/4/6
    2B Sampson Spurr 5/7/3/5/6
    SS Sweet Sugiura 5/1/7/4/8
    LF Augusto Guizan 5/8/5/8/3
    CF T-Sung Jen 6/4/5/7/5

    On the farm, might help in 2030:
    Maracaibo’s system is void of upper-level bats who might help in 2030. Even the two listed are young enough and far enough away from their potential that it would hurt their development if they were brought up in 2030. Jeff has five good OFers on the roster. If we suffer an injury, he’ll just try to add a minor league vet via free agency. Still, crazier things have happened.
    LF Greg Barber 5/8/5/3/4 – 22 years – pot. 6/8/7/6/5
    CF Edgar Campos 5/7/4/3/4 – 22 years – pot. 8/8/7/4/6

    Up next: 2030 Jackal pitching preview

  • #20768
     Maracaibo USA 

    April 2, 2030

    2030 Jackal pitching preview

    1) SP Number T Chon 7/8/5 – Offseason trade acquisition Chon will probably be the Opening Day starter, replacing departing mercenary scumbag Killer Zanga, who Maracaibo’s citizens hope will be eaten alive by a freak locust storm or contract the plague or something.
    2) SP Alberto Chavez 8/6/5
    3) SP Elian Flores 6/6/7
    4) SP Cesar Anaya 6/6/6 – Elder statesman on the roster, missed all of last season with an injury. Jeff’s hoping he returns at full strength and can give Maracaibo another good year.
    5) SP Dae-Jin Kim 6/5/8 – Lots of bad innings, but, innings are innings. Might get moved to pen if ineffective.

    Closer – Machete Weidemann 7/7/6 – Not our best reliever, but pitched well as our closer last year.
    Setup RH – Machete Ramirez 7/7/8
    Setup LH – Machete Pandelo 10/6/5
    Relief RH – Aurelio Fernandez 7/6/5 – In the SP mix, but will start in the bullpen.
    Relief RH – Machete Coldivar 5/6/4
    Relief LH – Jorge Datil 7/7/5
    Relief LH – Pedro Fuantes 7/6/5 – In the SP mix, but will start in the bullpen.

    On the farm, might help in 2030:
    Maracaibo’s system has a few relief arms who should be ready to help out during the year, and one strong SP prospect who is not ready yet, but might be ready to help in the bullpen if the need arises.
    SP Litchy Jung 9/7/2 – 21 years – pot. 9/7/5 – Will be ready to pitch in the bullpen soon, but that control needs a lot of work before he can be trusted with innings.
    LH RP Arwin Langdale 7/7/4 – 23 years – pot. 9/7/4
    RH RP Alex Freitas 6/7/5 – 25 years – pot. 6/7/7
    RH RP Hit-O 8/7/3 – 19 years – pot. 9/7/7 – still needs to work on his control, but if he dominates AA and AAA, he’s coming up, whether his ratings are high enough or not.
    SP Dae Pak 4/9/2 – 20 years – pot. 4/9/2 – ground ball machine dropped potential ratings all the way down to 4/9/2, so he’s probably done, but at 20 years old, we can afford to just stash and see. Might bring him up late in the season just for kicks.

  • #20773
     Taegu JPN 

    Question from the Peanut Gallery:

    How does one become a “Machete”? Or, what is the difference between being a “Machete” and not being one? since some relievers are machetes, and some are not.

    Bill Swerski

  • #20774
     Maracaibo USA 

    Members of the vaunted 2029 Jackal bullpen were deemed “Machetes” by the local media. Doubling down on the nickname, before Game 1 of the ill-fated playoff, the group actually went to the town hall in a display of drunken comradery and had their first names legally changed to Machete (ala the Ramones).

    We’ll have to see if the new guys try to join that club, or if the departing Machetes (like Long) will simply revert to their birth-given names upon signing with other teams.

    I should also point out that Machete Son was a member of the bullpen and among those who changed his name last year, in an attempt to coattail-ride his superior teammates into the lexicon, but he stinks and has been sent down to AAA and will only be making rare appearances in Maracaibo this season. Still, if you were to ask him, he’d count himself a “true Machete” and regale you with stories from his time in Maracaibo, 2029.

  • #20775
     Maracaibo USA 

    And yes, that’s about the funnest post I’ve written in a long time. Thanks Ben for asking! Love this league.

  • #20778
     Toluca KOR 

    I actually clicked each page open to see if they were the real names… Cap_PDT_01_23

  • #20779
     Maracaibo USA 

    Molson, the WBH has apparently refused to acknowledge the name changes due to leaguewide licensing agreements with sportwear producers who still have the original names on many of the players’ official-for-sale uniforms. The Machetes thought about hiring the mercenary agent who ushered another athlete’s name change through the proper legal channels, but then witnessed another name-patriot change his name AGAIN and decided it wasn’t worth fighting the league office on the issue.

  • #20866
     Maracaibo USA 

    April 3, 2030

    2030 Las Teyerias lineup preview

    There’s been some light discussion recently as to the value of teenage prospects, and some comments knocking teen prospect value in general, unless those teenagers are somewhat developed (current ratings) at the time they are drafted. These comments run counter to what I’ve been thinking this whole time – that the youngest prospects have the most time to improve on their ratings, so they are more valuable. There is no simple winner and loser to this debate, of course, and those comments are likely accurate, as organizations should probably assemble a strong mix of high-risk/high-reward types (younger guys) supported by a strong mix of low-risk/mid-reward types (the older prospects), for depth purposes, and because some of those older prospects can also see unexpected ratings bumps at various times during their careers and end up high-reward guys.

    Anyways, as a form of grand experiment, Jeff the Great can’t resist assembling the best possible lineup in single-A, filled only with teenagers, so he can look back in a few WBH years and see how many of these guys actually reach their high ratings. This lineup note is going in a time capsule to be opened at a later date.

    Leading off, SS Gwon Kwon pot. 7/7/2/7/10, 6 defender at SS, 19 years old.
    Second, 2B Feliciano Escamille pot. 7/6/4/6/9, 3 defender at 2B, 18 years.
    Third, LF Inejiro Watanabe pot. 9/7/8/5/5, 5 defender in LF, 19 years.
    Cleanup, CF Vincente Rodriguez pot. 8/8/7/4/6, 5 defender in CF, 17 years.
    Fifth, 1B Monzaemon Mizuno pot. 7/5/8/5/6, 5 defender at 1B, 19 years.
    Sixth, C Abejundio Davillos pot. 6/7/7/6/10, 4 defender at C, 18 years.
    Seventh, RF Manolito Eribarne pot. 5/4/9/3/3, 7 defender in RF, 18 years.
    Eighth, 3B Yong-Jun Yi pot. 5/8/2/3/5, 4 defender at 3B, 18 years.

    I also have OF Luis Cotte pot. 7/8/1/1/9, 3B Hi-yuan Gong pot. 6/3/3/5/7, 1B Yung Ho Chon pot. 6/7/6/4/5, and C Hong-ryul Im pot. 6/3/8/6/7 on the bench.

    Maracaibo wonders aloud – how many of those eight listed teenage prospects will reach their maximum potential by the time they turn 26? I’m guessing three.

    More practically, we’re also wondering how many will simply be solid everyday players, producing a positive WAR, in the majors, five years from now, in mid-season 2035? I’m guessing six.

  • #20868
     Toluca KOR 

    Very cool Jeff, I can’t wait to see the results.

  • #20975
     Maracaibo USA 

    April 1, 2030

    Opening Day

    Catastrophe strikes Maracaibo’s starting rotation when Alberto Sanchez suffers a torn rotator cuff, putting him in the infirmary for 12-13 months. This is a devastating blow, on the heels of an offseason that saw ace Killer Zanga opt out of his Jackals contract and saw long man Aurelio Fernandez go down for the first six weeks of the season with his own injury.

    Maracaibo’s three-man foundation, after losing Sanchez, is down to two: Number T Chon and Elian Flores. Aged veteran Jackal-for-life Cesar Anaya‘s success is even more paramount as the Jackals scramble to find quality innings. Pedro Fuantes moves from the pen to the rotation to take Sanchez’s place, behind rapidly fading vet Dae-Jin Kim.

    Are Chon, Flores, Anaya, Kim, and Fuantes strong enough pitchers to keep Maracaibo competitive this season? Perhaps. I think Jeff the Great wants to find some cheap innings in AAA, though.

  • #20976
     Thunder Bay KOR 

    That’s a really tough break.

  • #20977
     Maracaibo USA 

    April 1, 2030

    Jackal Nation, despite losing one if its best pitchers, is as upbeat and excited as ever on this Opening Day as the 2030 season kicks off with a visit to Thunder Bay. The shops and schools are all closed today, as they are every year on this National Holiday. The team’s owner and Jeff the Great are in Thunder Bay, as are many of the townsfolk who made the journey in support of their army, but most of Jackal Nation is simply waiting in the town’s many taverns and congregating areas, eating, drinking, singing, and anxiously awaiting the inning-by-inning accounts that come by carrier pigeon.

    The mood in three other towns nearby is almost as exciting as it is in Maracaibo. In the three villages that support the Jackal’s soldier training programs, El Tocuyo, Moron, and Las Tereyias, the fans are prouder than they’ve been in a long time, looking over their young soldier rosters and taking note of their best prospects. Maracaibo’s system sits comfortably atop today’s top Korean farm systems report, placing five prospects among the peninsula’s top eleven: SP Roberto Almestica (#2), SP Litchy Jung (#4), CF Inejiro Watanabe (#5), CF Vincente Rodriguez (#9), and CF Edgar Campos (#11) head a system packed with 12 of the league’s 50 best prospects. Jeff the Great has spent more time preparing for the minor league season than he has the major league one. He’s hoping the lessons he’s learned with soldier development in the recent past can guide his minor league team management to better results this season.

  • #21106
     Maracaibo USA 

    May 18, 2030

    Returning mercenary Cipriano Rios killed six opponents today, leading Maracaibo to a 10-3 win against Busan. The six hits in six at-bats mark the first time in ten years that a Korean hitter performed the feat. The last time was 6/17/2020 when Tsugahara Miyake went 6 for 8 against Roswell while playing for Xi’an.

    Rios has been leading off for the Jackals against right-handed pitchers due to his on-base skills, and today with the bat, he was unequaled.

    Halfway through last season, things were quite different. Rios was hitting a horrific 70 OPS+ in San Lorenzo before being shipped to Maracaibo in a deadline deal. Rios turned his life around in Maracaibo, though, and hit a 141 OPS+ the rest of the season before entering free agency. Seeing no strong offers from other teams, Rios accepted Jeff the Great’s offer to return to Maracaibo for one season on a $3M contract and share center field duties with another player. It looks like Rios might have one of those swings that will best work only in Maracaibo. If he can keep eating up right-handed pitching and playing gold glove defense in center field, it would be a great help to Maracaibo’s playoff aspirations once again. Jeff also appreciates that Rios’ strong play this season will allow him to keep CF prospect Edgar Campos from being forced into the big leagues too early.

  • #21109
     Maracaibo USA 

    May 21, 2030

    The Jackals started the season 7-5 before completing a week 3 sweep of Busan and Thunder Bay to take a strong 13-5 record atop the Korean LOD. Maracaibo is having little trouble scoring runs, which is an improvement on last season’s squad, and has gone 10-2 on the road so far.

    The Jackals have suffered a few more injuries, notably to Crawdaddy Cho and Victor Martinez, but nothing too gruesome. Cho is already back in the lineup, and long-man Fernandez is expected back in about three weeks, which will help a little in the bullpen. The team is hurting for strong backup outfielders, as Jeff the Great wants to avoid calling up either of the two strong OF prospects in AAA, Edgar Campos or Greg Barber to replace Victor Martinez. I think slap-hitting lightweight Ichikawa will need to come up.

    On the farm, Roberto Almestica has been dominating single-A and is telling people he is ready for AA. His coach agrees and is pushing Jeff to promote him. Jeff has told the prospect to stay in single-A for now, but a promotion later this season is now expected.

  • #21110
     Maracaibo USA 

    May 22, 2030

    Starting pitcher Pedro Fuantes has hated his time in Maracaibo. He was added to the Jackals roster via waiver claim in late 2029, shoved into the bullpen to play a left-handed specialist role, then was thrown into the rotation where he made five mostly-forgettable starts. Because he was added to the team’s rotation at the end of the season, he was left out when his bullpen teammates became Machetes for real, and he took great offense at being left out of a club he believed to be a part of.

    Following the playoff loss (in which Fuantes the Furious made two appearances, getting four outs and allowing two hits, no runs), Jeff the Great told Fuantes that he was going to non-tender the pitcher and let him seek new employment via free agency. But then, at the last minute, Jeff decided to try and keep him with a $3.1M contract right before arbitration. Later that offseason, Fuantes was put on the trade block (several times), and was discussed with a few other teams as a salary dump, but he never did get traded. Before Spring Training, he was told he was going to be serving as the team’s sixth-man to start the season, which meant he was back in the bullpen, but without the “Machete” tag, so he was again greatly offended. With early injuries to Chavez and Fernandez thrusting Pedro yet again into starting duties, he was angrily surprised at the start of the season to see Jeff the Great expose him to waivers, hoping another team would take on his $3.1M contract. This angered Pedro so greatly that he promptly came out and dominated in his first three starts, all wins for the Jackals, going 2-0 with 12 strikeouts in 19 innings, and a 1.89 ERA, 1.11 Whip.

    Fuantes the Furious gets the start tonight against Quebec.

  • #21129
     Maracaibo USA 

    May 29, 2030

    Four weeks into the season, Maracaibo has jumped out to a nice 17-7 lead atop the Korean LOD, with a 17-7 Pythag, going 14-4 away from home, which leads me to think we might have a chance at 80 wins this year (knock wood). The Jackals have outscored opponents 128-79 on the season.

    – Young lefty LF Soto has hit 341/442/682 in 88 ABs and leads the team with 12 doubles, 6 HRs, 23 RBIs, and 60 total bases. He signed a five-year extension with Maracaibo that will keep him in town through 2034, so Jackal Nation is excited about his bat and future.
    1B Genghis Burgas has hit 320/391/515 so far. Ho hum.
    – Young Catcher Dequevado has hit 311/392/444, so while he isn’t the power-hitting option we were hoping for, he’s getting on base. He was Jeff’s biggest question mark before the season, because he’s got some serious platoon splits, but so far, so good.
    – Mercenary addition Crawdaddy Cho has hit 283/400/413 in limited time due to injury.
    Machete Ramirez, in 20 innings, has 19 Ks, 4 walks, a 1.80 ERA, and a 1.00 Whip.
    – Aged veteran SP Cesar Anaya is 4-1 with 31 Ks in 31 innings, a 3.16 ERA and a 1.40 Whip.
    – I’d list a few more pitchers, but, really, the whole staff has been performing quite well. All told, Maracaibo pitchers have pitched 215 innings with 172 Ks and a leage-leading 3.13 ERA.

    Just a few.
    3B Ze-Min Ning has hit 213/275/362 in 94 ABs.
    LF Victor Martinez hit 196/317/392 in 54 ABs before going down with an injury.
    LF Augusto Guizan has completely fallen apart, going 3-for-28 with 14 Ks to start the season. He’s walked 7 times, which is actually a decent number, but his days of pinch-hitting against righties every week will end as soon as Jeff can find another bat.

    SS Sugiura would be in “Goat” territory with his 220/273/385 line in 90 ABs if without the context that he’s only holding a lineup spot full time until Hua Hsia returns from injury in a few weeks. Sugiura will be a bench bat upon Hsia’s return and his numbers should improve because he’ll be a platoon pinch hitter against lefties.
    CF Cipriano Rios isn’t providing much of contact or power, but is getting on base, and had that awesome 6-hit game last week, so he stays off the “Goat” list for now, despite his 220/403/322 line.

    With a lack of close-to-ready options in AAA, and with no payroll room to add help, Jeff is hoping Maracaibo can stay atop the LOD without having to make any desperate transactions this year. With four weeks down, he’s pleased so far.

  • #21159
     Maracaibo USA 

    [Farm system May 2030 review]
    June 5, 2030

    After five weeks of the 2030 season, here’s a look at the Jackal farm system.

    1) SP Roberto Almestica starts the year as Maracaibo’s top-ranked prospect, and the #2 prospect in Korea. The 19-year old compiled a 1.88 ERA in 7 single-A starts, with 38 Ks in 48 innings, and will be moving up to AA Moron pretty soon.
    2) SP Litchy Jung has a 2.60 ERA in 7 AAA starts, but has only pitched 35 innings, so is obviously on a tight pitchcount. He has 48 Ks in those 35 innings. The 20-year old still has some control problems to work on (21 walks in those 35 innings), so he won’t be coming up to Maracaibo this season.
    3) LF Inejiro Watanabe, 19 years old, has hit 275/331/431 in 109 ABs in single-A and looks like a future All-Star.
    4) CF Vincente Rodgriguez, 17 years old, has hit 174/221/261 in 115 ABs in single-A. The young hitter has really struggled and Jeff the Great is reducing his workload a little bit.
    5) OF Edgar Campos started the year in AAA and hit 273/353/413 in 121 ABs. At 23 years, he is probably ready for Maracaibo, but Jeff wants to leave him down until he maxes out his ratings. Campos has improved his centerfield defensive skills a little, so he’ll eventually be able to help Maracaibo there and in left field.
    6) CF Alvar Archuleta, 22 years old, was acquired in the draft day deal with Xi’an that shipped Maracaibo’s first-round pick Hong Im out of town. Alvar started his Jackals career in AA and has hit 191/211/279 in 68 ABs in center field. Jeff really doesn’t know what to do with him. There are four other strong OF prospects already in single-A, so it doesn’t make sense to send Alvar down. At 22 years, and with decent current ratings, he should be performing better in AA.
    7) OF Manolito Eribarne hit a sad 172/210/232 in 67 games in single-A last season at age 18. At age 19 now, again in single-A Las Tereyas, he has struggled once again, hitting 176/208/304 in 102 ABs. His potential ratings have dropped since last season and scouts no longer envision an everyday high-strikeout, big-power centerfielder when they look at Eribarne. He does play strong defense at all three outfield positions, so Jeff the Great is hoping to just get a good bench OF role player.
    8 ) 20-year old SS Gwon-Beom Kwon, Maracaibo’s second pick in last year’s draft, is leading off every day in Las Tereyas and has hit 280/336/410 in 100 ABs this season. His defensive ratings continue to improve (he will stick at SS) and Jeff the Great sees Maracaibo’s future leadoff hitter, due to his excellent contact, eye, avoid K’s, and base-stealing ratings.
    9) Future closer Hit-O is playing well in AA, but with the large group of older arms already in AAA, Hit-O will probably just stay in AA for the season. He’s only 19 years old, and his control rating is still weak, so it doesn’t make sense to promote him yet. He has 16 strikeouts and 7 walks in 16 innings thus far.
    10) 18-year old C Davilos has hit 224/278/327 in 49 single-A ABs.
    11) 1B Monzaemun Mizuno, 19 years old, is the second-hottest hitter in the whole Maracaibo system (next to big-leaguer Ezequiel Soto), hitting 330/385/479 in 94 ABs in single-A.
    12) OF Greg Barber, Maracaibo’s second pick in 2028, has the best current batting ratings in the Jackals system and is being held back in AAA another year to improve his eye ratings; his on-base skills are simply too weak to put in the big league lineup.

    Others of note: 2B Feliciano Escamille, Maracaibo’s top pick in last year’s draft, was injured and didn’t play much of last season. He has hit 268/391/324 in 71 single-A ABs to start this season. His lack of power is currently being offset by a good OBP, but Jeff is hoping for more from his future 2Bman… OF Jeffrey Moon, repeating at AA this year, saw a ratings drop during the offseason and is no longer considered a decent prospect… Pitcher Dae Pak was ranked as high as the 2nd-best prospect in Maracaibo’s system in 2028, but his ratings have tanked. Despite the poor scouting reports, he is still fighting strong in AA with a 3.18 ERA, 18 Ks, 16 walks, in 34 innings this year…. RP Alex Frietas pitched in Maracaibo last season and looked like a good bet to be the first arm up in case Jeff needed help in the bullpen, but Frietas has been lit up to the tune of 16 earned runs and 31 base runners in 10 innings…SP Ray Hoyt has a prospect spotlight entry coming soon.

  • #21161
     Maracaibo USA 

    June 6, 2030

    Prospect Spotlight – SP Ray Hoyt

    Back in 2028, Korea had a pretty ugly draft pool. With its first pick, at 6th overall, Maracaibo drafted the widely-discussed low-ceiling ground-baller Dae Pak. With its second pick, it drafted LF Greg Barber, who is faring well in AAA and could be in Maracaibo next year. The rest of the draft list is mostly languishing in prospect limbo and not worth discussing, except for the Jackals eighth-round pick that year, a relief pitcher named Ray Hoyt.

    Hoyt had two pitches and was tossed into the single-A bullpen, where he caught the attention of scouts mid-season, with one scout noting: “Hoyt, a reliever drafted in the eighth round of this year’s draft, has struck down 11 batters in 14 innings while allowing only 11 baserunners in A-ball to start the season and the team is wondering if it found a sleeper..”, then again later in the season, noting: “[Hoyt] has continued to show infrequent flashes of potential. He has 32 Ks, 10 walks, and 42 hits allowed in 33 innings so far this year. ” His ability to get strikeouts, despite his weak stuff, was mitigated by his trouble preventing base hits. He had a lot to improve on.

    He spent all of 2028 and 2029 in the Las Tereyias bullpen, racking up 85 Ks versus 30 walks and 92 hits allowed in 77 relief innings. When Hoyt strolled into Spring Training this season, however, he surprised coaches with two additional pitches. They immediately thrust him into the rotation, where he’s made seven starts. His potential ratings are still rather weak at 6/4/5, but he’s compiled a 3.02 ERA with 57 strikeouts in 41 innings. Those 57 strikeouts lead all pitchers in the Jackals organization.

    The decision now is what to do next. At only 20 years old, Hoyt has plenty of time to develop further, and the hope is that his stuff and control ratings improve over the coming offseason. If so, he might be starting next year in AA with an opportunity to be a 4th or 5th starter in the majors some time in 2033 or 2034.

  • #20539
     Toluca KOR 

    Did Hoyt really learn two pitches?

    I’ve never heard of a guy learning two pitches.

  • #20540
     Maracaibo USA 

    I can’t prove it. I didn’t take screen shots of him last year, but at the beginning of the year, I went through my minors and put anybody with 3+ pitches in a rotation. Anyone with 2 pitches went into the bullpen, and that’s where Hoyt went.

    This year, I did the same thing, and noticed Hoyt had four pitches. Maybe I just didn’t see it last year or something.

  • #21268
     Maracaibo USA 

    July 10, 2030

    At the midpoint in the season, Jeff the Great looks at the devastation and carnage in the battlefields behind him and takes account of the Army of Maracaibo’s status. What was once expected to be an 80-win jaunt through Korea has turned into a daily slog through gut-soaked quagmires that currently has the Jackals tied atop the Korean LOD with hated Cheju at an exhausted 33-27 record. An LOD title is still in reach, and the Jackals leadership still sees its squad as the strongest on the Peninsula, but what once seemed a probable playoff berth now seems to be a daily struggle for survival.

    What is going wrong? Where do we start?

    LF Victor Martinez‘s return as the right-handed compliment to Maracaibo’s lefty-heavy lineup has been a horrible nightmare, and the hitter has completely fallen apart at the plate and spent some time on the disabled list as well. He continues to carry his broken sword and cracked shield into battle every day, trying his best to put the previous day’s disappointing play behind him, but every fight is a new nightmare as he struggles to retain last year’s form. In the command tent, Jeff the Great speaks with optimism regarding Martinez’ future (“he’s got a great bat – this has to turn around one day, don’t worry”) but privately laments the extension that will pay Victor another $4M this year and $8M over each of the next two years.

    The LOD’s reigning MVP and Maracaibo’s favorite son Genghis Burgas has completely forgotten how to hit left-handed pitching. He’s only hitting a horrible 0.446 OPS against lefties, while hitting a tremendous 1.053 OPS against righties. Waiver claim 1B Jacobo Puente, who hits right-handed and is therefore a good compliment for the left-handed Burgas, is now getting more at-bats against left-handed pitching, giving Burgas some rest against the lefties that are eating him alive. This lack of production against lefties spells certain doom for the club, as opposing lineups have been lining up their best bullpen lefties to kill Burgas in the late innings; a trend that will certainly continue as the season slogs along.

    Starting pitchers Cesar Anaya, Pedro Fuantes, and Dae-Jin Kim are all now providing league-average pitching results or worse, dropping Maracaibo’s staff pitching ratings from the top of Korea’s leaderboard for the first time in years. Fuantes is being moved back to the bullpen and offseason acquisition Aurielo Fernandez is now being given a spot in the rotation in an attempt to stop the bleeding.

    Closer Machete Weidemann has been having another decent year as the Jackals’ closer, but preferred reliever Machete Ramirez has started openly complaining about his role, wishing to serve as the closer himself. Jeff already put Weidemann on the trade block and may need to start pushing harder to shed his services before he has a full-blown revolt in his once-proud bullpen. It seems Jeff will do what he can to keep Ramirez happy, much to the delight of those privately greedy and selfish players in Maracaibo.

    T-sung Jen’s injury has had a double-edged impact on Maracaibo’s lineup. First, because Jen is one of only three productive right-handed hitters on the squad this year, his absence has left the team even more susceptible to being killed by left-handed pitching. Second, because his absence leaves Cipriano Rios as the only man on the roster capable of playing center field. Rios himself has been having a horrible year at the plate and is getting up there in age at 37, but has been holding down the fort in center field so far, producing strong defense. Losing Rios would be devastating to Maracaibo’s short-term competitive chances, so Jeff is holding his breath that the aged veteran can hold up for a few more weeks until Jen returns.

    In brighter news, today marks SS Hsua Hsia’s long-awaited debut in the Jackals lineup. The high-priced mercenary adds another lefty bat to an already-lefty-heavy lineup, but Jeff will take every soldier he can get.

    LF Ezequiel Soto’s outstanding season continues, and mercenary addition 2B Crawdaddy Cho has also been providing outstanding production from the right side; these two have been the MVPs of the Jackal season to date, and Jeff is hoping their surprising production can continue for the rest of this coming slow march through Korea….

  • #21277
     Maracaibo USA 

    July 17, 2030

    “This ain’t your granddaddy’s LOD,” Mack McMoneypants tells his son at the breakfast table. Moochie was looking at the morning newspaper.

    “What the heck is going on in Thunder Bay? And how are we going to fight off Cheju and Quebec?” Moochie asks again. Another 3-3 week has kept Maracaibo atop the Korean LOD, but only by one game. The Jackals 36-30 record is enough for first place over the other three teams in the division, who share 35-31 records. “Has this division ever finished the year with all teams over .500?”

    “This ain’t your granddaddy’s LOD”, Mack repeats as he slams the front door on his way to work.

    A trade and some organizational moves shaking up the Maracaibo system today.

    First, in Maracaibo, LF Augusto Guizan, and Closer Machete Weidemann are shipped away to Thunder Bay in a salary dump. SP Pedro Fuantes was also supposed to be traded away in another deal, but suffered a yet-undiagnosed injury and will instead be put on the DL. Guizan had been designated for assignment last week, so his departure isn’t a surprise. Relievers Alex Frietas and Fireman Fan are being called up from AAA to replace Fuantes and Weidemann.

    Weidemann will be missed, and upon hearing of his departure, the contingent of Jackal fans who made the trip to Wuhan for last night’s fight sang an impromptu song of thanks to the now-former Machete. Weidemann anchored the back end of an amazing bullpen in Maracaibo 2029 and his 22 saves as one of Anubis’ Machetes during the regular season will be remembered fondly, even if his horrible performance in the playoffs that year (getting just one out in two games pitched while allowing five hits and four runs) will be remembered for different reasons.

    Top relief prospects Hit-O and Sakai are being promoted from AA Moron to AAA El Tocuyo. This sets up Sakai to help out the Jackals some time in 2032 and Hit-O, hopefully, in 2033.

    A number of other roster moves are being made in AA Moron and A Las Teyerias today in an attempt to shake some production out of those losing teams. Great interest is being paid by Maracaibo’s prospecting fans on top prospect Roberto Almestica’s status, as most, including Roberto, believe he is ready for a promotion to AA, but it looks like he’ll be staying in single-A for the rest of the minor league season, which is scheduled to end the first week of August.

  • #21278
     Maracaibo USA 

    July 18, 2030

    Prospect Spotlight – SS Gwon-Beom Kwon.

    2029 saw one of the best Korean draft classes in recent memory, and Maracaibo at #8 snagged 2B Feliciano Escamille in the first round. The second baseman showed outstanding contact, gap, eye, and K ratings, and some minor pop in the bat as well, but displayed poor enough fielding ratings to commit him to 2B only, early. Then he was hurt for most of the 2029 season and has played relatively poorly this year in single-A Las Teyerias. He remains a decent prospect, but no longer considered the best of the 2029 class.

    That honor goes to consistent leadoff hitter and stellar defender SS Gwon-Beom Kwon. The youngster was taken with the Jackals’ second pick in that 2029 draft (#16 overall). As a 19-year old, Kwon didn’t set any records with his play in single-A his first season in the minors, hitting a lowly OPS+ 84, but he showed some outstanding progress over the offseason with respect to his potential ratings and is now viewed as a future leadoff hitter and defensive wizard at the game’s toughest position.

    This season, Kwon has led off for the Slam in 51 games (as of 7/3/30, two weeks ago), hitting 316/369/429, a 132 OPS+, 12 stolen bases, and with a strong defensive zone rating (+3.9) at shortstop, all as a 20-year old. While he lacks power, he rates a 7 or better in the other hitting categories and a 10 in basestealing. He is just the kind of long-term shortstop prospect this team needs, and he could be reaching Maracaibo in 2034, when Hua Hsia’s four-year contract expires. Until then, fans in Las Teyerias are excited to see him play every day and fans in double-A Moron are excited to see if he comes up to play there next season.

  • #21279
     Maracaibo USA 

    July 18, 2030

    Prospect spotlight – SP Alroy Corrujedo

    Another member of that vaunted 2029 Korean draft class, Alroy Corrujedo was drafted in the 7th round (#56 overall) by the Jackals out of college as a starting pitcher and was immediately thrust into the single-A Las Teyerias rotation. He showed an unimpressive 91 innings of work, compiling a 1-9 record with an ERA+ 84, 1.49 whip, but showed great control skills with 81 Ks and only 29 walks in those 91 innings.

    He stayed in Las Teyerias this season as a 22-year old, and as of 7/3 has thrown 70 innings, compiling an ERA+ 169, 1.31 whip, but with only 53 Ks and 23 walks in those 70 innings. He’s in a unique position, however, as Jeff the Great has a tough decision to make, probably as soon as this offseason.

    Corrujedo has spent his two-year minor league career (and his college career before that) as a starting pitcher, but because he is left-handed, and because he only has two strong pitches (his third pitch is a very weak changeup that shows no sign of improving), and because he has strong current ratings, and because he’s already 22 years old, he might be a candidate to move into the bullpen next season. He’ll be 23 years old and is past due for a promotion to double-A Moron. The only question is whether Jeff wants him to stay in the rotation and possibly reach the majors in 2033 at age 25, or if he wants to move him to the bullpen, where he could move quickly through AA and AAA and reach the majors in 2032 as a left-handed reliever. Also a factor in the decision is the fact that any change wouldn’t have to be permanent. The current Jackals rotation has two former relievers in Elian Flores and Alberto Chavez, and most believe that when much-heralded prospect Litchy Jung makes the bigs, it will be as a reliever first. Corrujedo could always be brought to Maracaibo in 2032 as a reliever, then moved to the rotation if his third pitch improves later.

    System need is also a factor favoring his move to the bullpen. The system has a number of decent SP options in the minors, and most of its major league starters are locked up for a long time; Number T Chon, Elian Flores, and Alberto Chavez are all signed through 2034, so, theoretically, the team only needs to find two other SPs for that three-year stretch, and cheap vets like Cesar Anaya and Kim are usually around. The need for relievers is actually greater on the farm than the need for starters, hence Jeff’s coming decision. He’ll probably wait and see what kind of ratings bumps Corrujedo shows this offseason. If Corrujedo shows improvement to his changeup, he might stay in the rotation, but otherwise, he could be destined for the bullpen.

    Either way, this isn’t too bad for a seventh-round draft pick.

  • #21280
     Maracaibo USA 

    July 18, 2030

    Prospect spotlight – LF Greg Barber

    Maracaibo’s second pick in the mostly-forgettable 2028 draft was college left-fielder Greg Barber. Barber spent most of his draft year at age 20 in single-A Las Teyerias, where he hit a strong 283/322/423, an OPS+ 111, with 6 HRs in 73 games played. He was called out in a scouting report early that year for his lack of patience, with Jeff the Great himself saying “The guy needs to learn how to lay off a freakin’ ball”. Despite this early lack of patience, he showed improvement as the season progressed and was promoted to AA Moron late in 2028 – too soon in retrospect – and he struggled but finished the season there with 25 forgettable at-bats. He was ranked #6 in the end-season Jackal prospect rankings.

    Barber opened 2029 at age 21 in AA Moron, ranked #8 on the system’s BA rankings, and hit a decent 259/313/422, OPS+ 109, in 147 at-bats before being promoted to AAA at mid-season. His potential ratings remained strong, with an okay contact rating, but high gap and power ratings, and his eye continued to improve. In AAA, he broke out, hitting an outstanding 298/355/455, OPS+ 114 in 191 at-bats to finish the season. He fell to #11 on the Jackals prospect rankings during the year, though, because of several high-profile prospect trades that brought a lot of young talent to the system. In that last prospect update, it was noted that “Jeff the Great plans on starting [Barber] as the Jackals Opening Day Left Fielder next season if he doesn’t add a mercenary bat this offseason.”

    Unfortunately, Jeff the Great’s worst offseason move wasn’t adding a mercenary left fielder but instead extending 2029’s great right-handed bat Victor Martinez, essentially locking Barber into AAA for at least one more season. Barber started 2030 ranked as the #48 prospect in Korea, and #12 in the Jackals system. He has hit 289/333/512, an OPS+ 131, thanks to 9 HRs and 23 total extra-base hits in his 50 games as of 7/3, leading the Jackals farm system in home runs. His eye has improved somewhat, but with power and contact like he is now showing, there is little doubt he could survive in Maracaibo. Unfortunately, there just isn’t a need. Jeff doesn’t want to bring him up unless he gets everyday at-bats, and with two right-handed OFers already in Maracaibo, Barber’s time is not yet at hand.

    With Martinez’s well-discussed struggles this season, and with Barber showing 9 defense in left field, and with Barber nearly maxed to his potential ratings, there really isn’t much reason to leave Barber out of the big league picture to start 2031. Jeff has been playing him in center field in AAA recently, hoping he can build ratings enough that he could help out there next season, as center field is an area of short-term concern. Greg Barber is definitely a prospect that Jackals fans should keep their eye on.

  • #21284
     Maracaibo USA 

    July 18, 2030

    Prospect spotlight – The 2030 draft class

    It dawns on me that this reporter never did a rundown of the 2030 Maracaibo draft this year. This is probably for two reasons – one, the draft pool in Korea was ugly as sin, and two, Maracaibo actually did some trading of draftees that makes compiling the list a little complicated, but I’ll try to make it concise.

    In the first round, with the eighth pick, Maracaibo snagged 17-yo catcher Hong Im, but Im was quickly traded to Xi’an for their third-round choice CF Alvar Archuleta. Maracaibo also added a first-round pick from Japan, trading AAA prospect 2B Yokoyama for 17-yo CF Vincente Rodriguez, who Santiago grabbed with its 8th pick.

    So, considering those additions/subtractions, here is how the Jackal draft turned out.

    1) 17-yo C Hong Im (traded away)
    1) 17-yo CF Vincente Rodriguez (trade acquisition)
    2) 17-yo 1B Yun-ho Chon
    3) 19-yo SP Kyung Kim
    3) 22-yo CF Alvar Archuleta (trade acquisition)
    4) 19-yo SP Song-Shil Chong
    5) 22-yo CF Juan Fuentes
    6) 22-yo SS Chu Tongbang
    7) 18-yo SP Sung-oo Min
    8 ) 18-yo RP Bob Mullen
    9) 18-yo 1B Ezequil Hurtado
    10) 17-yo 3B Jung-Seok So

    All told, Maracaibo leadership sees two possible superstars (Rodriguez and Archuleta), three possible everyday contributors (Chon, Kim, and Tongbang), and the rest appear to be high-risk fringe players with no future.

  • #21285
     Maracaibo USA 

    July 18, 2030

    Prospect profile – C Jorge Cruz

    Drafted in 2026 in the fifth round by Barbacoa, Jorge Cruz entered single-A as an 18-year old high school graduate and spent three seasons in their single-A affiliate, hitting an OPS+ 109 in 2026, 95 in 2027, and 95 in 2028. He was always a decent-but-not-great prospect, showing a solid 5 contact potential rating when drafted, which increased to 6 before he was traded to Maracaibo, along with RP Frietas and LF Quirce Lavol for C Kevin Klinger before the 2029 season.

    Klinger has gone on to become a very talented 25-year old on-base machine for the Bahia, currently showing a .429 OBP in part-time action and looking every bit the cornerstone catcher they were trading for. Lavol, meanwhile, was dealt away by Maracaibo and no one is exactly quite sure where he ended up. Frietas is currently in the Jackals big league bullpen.

    Meanwhile, Jorge Cruz spent 2029 in double-A Moron and hit well, but didn’t catch anyone’s attention and didn’t place on Maracaibo’s top-20 list this offseason. He stayed in AA to start 2030.

    In 2030, Cruz broke out. He’s hit 314/355/455, an OPS+ 136, and defensively has thrown out 13 of 35 attempted base stealers, good for a 37% rate. Cruz’ status as a real prospect is still in doubt, however, because his potential ratings just aren’t that great, at 6/6/3/3/7. His offensive production this season, as a 22-year old in AA, far overshadows his potential ratings. Even his defensive numbers show a stronger prospect than scouts see, as his defensive rating at catcher is only a 5 and he doesn’t have a strong arm.

    Jeff the Great still hasn’t promoted Cruz to AAA, as he doesn’t have another catching prospect quite ready to take his place in AA, and AAA currently has 25-year old Dany Cuff hitting a strong 301/344/422 there and under team control for next year, so a promotion for Cruz to AAA probably won’t even happen NEXT season. Unfortunately for Cruz, even after he reaches AAA, that’s probably where his Jackal career will end. Every catcher in the system stands behind young power bat Jorge Dequevado, who is hitting 256/326/419, an OPS+ 102, in Maracaibo. Dequevado’s career is just starting and he’s been providing great production for the team so far. He stands to make the minimum another two seasons before his three arbitration years, so, if Cruz stays in Maracaibo’s system, he’ll be 27 before he has a realistic chance of becoming a starting catcher for the Jackals. Also, Cruz has uber-prospect Davilos, 18 years old and playing well in single-A, bearing down on him. Even if Cruz were to make the big league roster as a backup catcher, it would only be for a year or so before Davilos should replace him.

    For now, Cruz is just happily hitting along in double-A, leading the team with his grit and determination, but prospect watchers know, his chances of ever seeing significant playing time in Maracaibo are very slim.

    Also, how cool is it that Maracaibo’s catching depth is so strong that it can survive the losses of Chi-Eun Sin, Kevin Klinger, Barto Pomar, Kagehisa Sato, Roberto Lopez, Carlos Mejia, and Hong-Ryul Im in recent memory and still have outstanding depth at all four levels of the organization?

  • #21312
     Maracaibo USA 

    July 24, 2030

    With one week left before the trade deadline, Maracaibo sits at 39-33 after fighting through another 3-3 week. The Korean LOD is very competitive this year and all four teams are still aiming for the playoff berth. Hated Cheju is also 39-33. Thunder Bay is 38-34 and Quebec is 37-35. That’s four teams within two games of first place.

    Maracaibo is excited about traveling to Hated Cheju this sim, and also a trip to San Lorenzo, who is in their own fight for the LAD crown.

    The trade deadline is quickly approaching. Jeff the Great, Destroyer of Worlds, always says he’ll sit back and not make any trades, but then he does.

  • #21334
     Maracaibo USA 

    July 30, 2030

    Another slog through another 3-3 week drops Maracaibo behind upstart Thunder Bay in the LOD standings, one game back, and in a tie with Hated Cheju at 42-36. Quebec remains close behind.

    Jackals leadership is still trying to get a winning run going, but hasn’t had a 5-1 or better week since the third week of the season and suffered another debillitating injury this week – this time it is power-hitting catcher Jorge Dequevado going down for five weeks with a strained groin. Dequevado has been a revelation this season, hitting 281/354/463, an OPS+ 122, and has played in 73 of the Jackals 78 games to date. His loss is a devastating blow.

    Crawdaddy also suffered a setback in his injury recovery and will be out another week. His injury-plagued season can’t be called a surprise at his age, but it has been a hindrance nonetheless.

    The nagging weekly injuries, the loss of Dequevado, and the team’s poor defensive play this year have Jeff the Great worried for the Jackals chances at repeating as LOD champs. The team ranks last in the LOD in defensive efficiency and BABIP against, leading him to believe that the team lost enough defense in favor of offense over the offseason to actually hurt, rather than help, the team. Mercenary addition Hua Hsia has only been in action for a few weeks, but observers note he is not the outstanding defensive shortstop he once was. Enough of last year’s solid regulars (such as Martinez, Ning, and Spurr) have lost a step defensively that the team has struggled to support its pitching staff. That is being reflected in the number of close losses and underperformance versus the Pythag.

  • #21338
     Maracaibo USA 

    July 30, 2030

    Jeff looks around the room.

    “Well? What do we do now?”

    The Jackals trainer has just confirmed the news. Team leader and everyday catcher Jorge Dequevado, in the midst of an outstanding season, has suffered an injury that will keep him out of the lineup for five weeks. There are only seven weeks left in the regular season, and Maracaibo is in the thick of a playoff race that has it currently one game off the lead, but only four games ahead of last place.

    The plan for Deadline Day was to be quite extensive. The team was going to try and acquire pitching help, and possibly shed low-cost contracts like long-time Jackal Ze-Min Ning or Dae-Jin Kim, but now those plans are on hold. With Dequevado’s loss, the team is staring at an uphill climb that might not be worth committing future resources in trades to ease. Ning and Kim, while underperforming, and possibly in need of a change of scenery, are still low-cost assets signed through 2031. It doesn’t make sense to trade Ning only to create a need at 3B in next year’s lineup. We also need to realize Maracaibo wouldn’t get much for those kind of assets anyway. The team was also going to try and sell off, for cash if necessary, some of its lower-ranking prospects.

    Now the discussion in the Jackals War Room is changing. Instead of looking for ways to trade current assets for current help in needed areas, Maracaibo is starting to look at trading current assets for future help. That means Relief ace Manuel Pandelo, in the last year of his cheap contract, is definitely heading out of town on Deadline Day.

    Some in the room are now openly asking if some of Maracaibo’s best players, such as Ezequil Soto, Number T, and Genghis Burgas, are now available. Maybe it makes sense, in this down season, for the Jackals to sell high on its most-productive players in an effort to improve its long-term outlook.

  • #21372
     Maracaibo USA 

    August 1, 2030

    2030 Trade Deadline Roundup

    The Jackals traded this season’s best pitcher, and one of its cornerstone hitters, today, along with some minor league outfield depth, in a low-scale roster shakeup with long-term impact.

    SP Roque Aguilar (acquired from Santiago USA)
    RP David Montan (acquired from Santiago USA)
    OF Alberto Sobrol (acquired from Incheon)
    C Marcos Escalada (acquired from Vancouver)
    SP Martin Martin [AA] (acquired from Santiago USA)
    3B Miguel Delpilar [A] (acquired from Santiago USA)
    1B Porfiro Cepesia [A] (acquired from Santiago USA)

    SP Number T Chon (traded to Santiago USA)
    3B Ze-Min Ning (traded to Santiago USA)
    OF Jeffrey Moon [AA] (traded to Incheon)
    OF Cristo Zelazque [AA] (traded to Vancouver)
    RP Zi-Jun Fan (cut)
    RP Omar Maroles (cut)

    Along with losing young hero Number T, the Jackals parted with long-time third baseman Ze-Min Ning, who was drafted by the team in 2022.

    Ze-Min Ning only needed 1 1/2 seasons in the minors before spending the next 7 major league seasons in Maracaibo, providing strong offensive numbers (averaging a 268/330/440 yearly slash line) and outstanding defense (winning three Gold Gloves). His production, offensive and defensive, took an unforeseen turn for the worse this season and it sounds like Santiago might try platooning him with the other bats there. At 30 years old, Ning is no young man, but no old man either. Jackal Nation is quietly pulling for him as he moves up to USA, and the general fan outlook has been hurt by his departure.

    Now the team needs to fit its remaining and new pieces into a lineup that makes sense. Hua Hsia likely shifts from shortstop to third base with Ugly Sugiura likely taking over at shortstop full time. Jeff’s attempts to land a decent shortstop at the deadline were fruitless. Incoming outfielder Alberto Sobrol joins an eclectic mix of outfielders that will surely lead to some hurt feelings over playing time, so Jeff will have to mix and match the best he can in order to maximize playing time as well as production.

    When some trade discussions fell through in the late hours, Maracaibo found itself with some salary space available and traded for catcher Marcos Escalada to fill in during Dequevado’s injury. This bumped the Jackals slightly over the 90M threshold, so two minor-league depth players on major league contracts are being cut from the team today: Zi-Jun Fan and Omar Maroles.

    Among the prospects added at the deadline, Miguel Delpilar immediately becomes the Jackals best 3B prospect. He’s being placed in single-A Las Teyerias for now, but a promotion to AA might in order next season. The team also added a potential starting pitcher in Martin Martin, who the team is already trying to come up with a funny nickname for. Finally, the team also added another 1B bat in Porfiro Cepesia to the single-A roster, creating somewhat of a logjam at that position because none of the Jackals three decent 1B prospects has yet separated from the others. Jeff is hoping one of Mizuno, Chon, or Cepesia can become a power-hitting 1Bman in Maracaibo.

    Jeff expressed some surprise that no other Korean teams made any trades at this year’s deadline. The Jackals are hoping the downgrade from Number T to Aguilar isn’t too damaging to the team’s playoff chances.

    Finally, the one player most-believed to be heading out of town today, ace reliever Manuel Pandelo is still here. Jeff the Great is telling people that he just didn’t like the offers he got for Pandelo, but this reporter knows, there was no outside interest in renting Pandelo’s services.

  • #21314
     Maracaibo USA 

    August 1, 2030

    On his way to the training field for his daily warmups, an angry Victor Martinez is called over to the Command Tent. Victor knows he wasn’t traded at the deadline yesterday, and remains angry that he isn’t getting the playing time he wants, serving in recent weeks as a pinch hitter. After signing a 3-year $24M extension late last season, the right fielder has hit a horrific 173/269/291 in 127 at-bats. That’s an incredible drop from the 274/373/475 line he put up in 387 at-bats last season. He was the best right-handed hitter in the Jackals’ 76-win lineup. Now, with the addition of Alberto Sobrol to the outfield mix, Victor knows he rates as only the third-best right-handed hitter in the Jackals outfield.

    General Jeff greets the hitter at the door with a handshake and gesture to take a seat. Victor frowns, sighs, then sits, without a word.

    “We’ve added another right-handed bat to the outfield in Alberto, and we like that he can defend the three outfield positions better than you,” Jeff states bluntly. “But we’re going to put you back in the starting lineup everyday.”

    Victor is surprised and looks up, confused.

    “We need you to turn this thing around. We need you to start hitting and we’re going to give you the opportunity. If you don’t turn around your season, we’re going to cut you before the arbitration deadline or pay to ship you elsewhere. Looking ahead to next season, we’re prepared to go with Alberto and T-Sung as our right-handed outfielders and bring up a prospect to fit with them and Soto in our outfield mix. If you can turn it around this month, though, and help us reach the playoffs, we’ll cut one of those other guys from the equation and look forward to having your bat in the lineup next year, too.” Jeff’s memory of 2029 is still too fresh. And his hope that the slugger can get back to his potential is guiding his commitment.

    Martinez jumps to hit feet, thanks the Commander, and runs to the practice field with a new sense of optimism. We’ll see if it makes any difference.

  • #21375
     Maracaibo USA 

    August 6, 2030

    It is an exciting week in Maracaibo as the team calls up and starts 26-year old non-prospect Ramon Bargone to man shortstop in all six games. Also, newly acquired corner outfielder Alberto Sobrol plays the week in centerfield, and veteran slugger Victor Martinez is put back in right field in an attempt to shake off this year’s hitting misfortunes. Also new to the team, free agent mercenary SP Javier Rivera and trade acquisition SP Roque Aguilar make mediocre starts for the Jackals in its rotation. While none of these five new/returning starters lit the world on fire, the Jackals went 5-1 and jumped back into first place, by one game over Thunder Bay and Hated Cheju.

    This week, Maracaibo hosts Hated Cheju and LAD-leading Wuhan. With just six weeks remaining in the regular season, and with Maracaibo holding only a one-game lead, the stakes are high, and this week’s matches are critical. Thankfully, Crawdaddy Cho returns from another nagging injury to take his place back at 2nd base.

    Jeff the Great, Destroyer of Worlds, hopes the team can take advantage of this 5-1 week and carry some momentum into next week. With the trade deadline passed, there’s not much that can be done to improve the roster, so the warriors are strongly settling into their current roles for the home stretch.

  • #21395
     Maracaibo USA 

    2030 Farm System Review
    August 7, 2030

    Since the 2030 minor league season has drawn to a close, let’s take a look at what happened on the farm this season.

    The system shows good depth in the outfield and at catcher, and some of the outfield depth was traded this year in deals for short-term help in the majors and cash, but the Jackals kept every member of its preseason top 15 and actually added to the list during the year with the Chon trade.

    The AAA team in El Tocuyo had a strong season, finishing 50-40, while the AA and A teams in Moron and Las Teyerias fared quite poorly at 38-52 each. No prospects of significance were promoted from the system to Maracaibo this year, as only a few arms (like Arwin Langdale and Alex Frietas) made forgetable appearances in the Maracaibo bullpen, and a few non-prospects (like SS Ramon Bargone and 2B Antonio Lopez) were called up to make minor contributions at the plate.

    Now lets look at the systems top prospects, as rated by BA. A few of Maracaibo’s top prospects have a chance at being promoted into a useful role in the big leagues next year. Those are noted below with a **.

    1) SP Roberto Almestica started the year as Maracaibo’s top-ranked prospect and the #2 prospect in Korea. The 19-year old compiled a 2.27 ERA in 18 single-A starts, with 109 Ks in 122 innings, and will be moving up to AA Moron to start next season. He was the Jackals Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2030.
    2) **SP Litchy Jung** had a 2.64 ERA in 18 AAA starts, but only pitched 95 innings, so was obviously on a tight pitchcount. He had 129 Ks (leading the entire Jackals Organization) in those 95 innings. The 20-year old still has some control problems to work on (54 walks), so he didn’t come up to Maracaibo this season, but team leaders think that if he were to gain some control ratings over the offseason, he might help the team as a reliever next season.
    3) LF Inejiro Watanabe, 19 years old, hit 281/331/417 in 288 ABs in single-A and looks like a future MVP candidate. He has been told he will start next year again in single-A, but a mid-season promotion is in order if he dominates the level. Along with Kwon (#9 below), Watanabe is a considered a future cornerstone of the Jackals lineup.
    4) CF Vincente Rodgriguez, 17 years old, hit 229/273/342 in 240 ABs in single-A. The young hitter struggled as expected and will repeat single-A next season.
    5) OF Edgar Campos hit 284/347/420 in 243 triple-A ABs. He is probably ready for Maracaibo, but Jeff wants to leave him down for at least one more season in order to improve his power and defensive ratings. His potential power rating is off the charts (8), but he only hit three home runs this year. Greg Barber (#13 below) is superior to Campos offensively and defensively at the moment, and hits from the same side, so Barber will see the majors before Campos does, although Campos projects to have a higher ceiling.
    6) 3B Miguel Delpilar, 19 years old, was acquired in the Chon deal at the trade deadline and became the Jackals designated third baseman of the future. He hit a very strong 305/353/437 in 325 triple-A at-bats this season and might move up to double-A to start next year.
    7) CF Alvar Archuleta, 22 years old, started his Jackals career in AA, was demoted to single-A at mid-season, then compiled a 247/295/414 line in 162 single-A at-bats. He will probably stay in single-A to start next season and hopefully move quickly up the system. He’ll be too old for single-A at age 23 next year, so his status is slightly tenuous.
    8 ) OF Manolito Eribarne‘s horrible 2029 season in single-A at age 18 repeated in 2030 at age 19. His potential ratings dropped between seasons, his production was non-existent, and scouts no longer envision an everyday five-hitter power-hitting centerfielder in Eribarne. He was shopped around to a few other teams at the trade deadline as part of a larger deal, but generated no strong interest. He plays strong defense at all three outfield positions and stole 20 bases this year, so Jeff the Great is hoping to at least get a good bench OF role player. He’ll stay at least one more season in single-A. He’ll likely fall pretty far down this list next season.
    9) 20-year old SS Gwon-Beom Kwon might be Maracaibo’s best prospect, and was named the Jackals Minor League Player of the Year for his performance in 2030, hitting 296/345/399 in 318 ABs this season. His defensive numbers at shortstop were also outstanding. Jeff the Great sees in Kwon Maracaibo’s future leadoff hitter, due to his excellent contact and eye skills and his base-stealing ability (17 SBs, 2 CS). Jeff says he is “tempted” to move him up to double-A this offseason, but no commitment has been made.
    10) **Future closer Hit-O** was promoted to AAA at mid-season. He’s only 19 years old, and his control rating is still weak, so Jeff is hoping Hit-O sees a control bump this offseason before deciding if he’ll be able to help in 2030 or later. He notched 61 Ks in 52 innings this year.
    11) C Davilos hit 249/288/389 in 193 single-A ABs. He’s only 18 and is Maracaibo’s best catching prospect. With C Dequevado comfortably in Maracaibo’s catching spot for the foreseeable future, the team can afford to be patient with Davilos.
    12) 1B Monzaemun Mizuno, 19 years old, had all the makings of a breakout season early this year, but his torrid May was tempered by a weak June and horrific July, for the year hitting 259/315/339 in 301 ABs in single-A. As mentioned before, Maracaibo now has three decent, but not great, prospects at 1B and is hoping at least one can turn into a middle-of-the-order bat to replace Genghis Burgas eventually.
    13) **OF Greg Barber** currently has the best bat in the Jackals system and is ticketed for a role in Maracaibo next season if Victor Martinez is cut or benched this offseason. Barber hit a fantastic 301/347/515 in 309 AAA at-bats and received this year’s Minor League Hitter of the Year award.

    Others of note: 2B Feliciano Escamille, Maracaibo’s top 2B prospect, hit 250/327/306 in 252 single-A ABs. His coaches in El Teyerias keep telling Jeff that Escamille is ready for a promotion to AA, but Jeff reportedly “just doesn’t see it” … Profiled starting pitcher Ray Hoyt dominated single-A this season with 124 Ks in 104 innings and a 2.68 ERA. He finished a close second to single-A teammate Almestica in the organization’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year voting, but Almestica’s slight ERA and Whip advantages factored more heavily in the voting than Hoyt’s strikeout advantage. Hoyt is being promoted with Almestica to AA to start next season, so their friendly rivalry will continue there … Groundball machine Dae Pak had another decent season in AA (2.97 ERA, 1.27 whip, 62 Ks in 112 innings) and will be promoted to AAA to see if his groundball magic works at a higher level … **RP Kanziburo Sakai** is probably going to see some time in the Jackal bullpen next year. He pitched well in AA and AAA this season, scoring 45 Ks in 34 innings …

  • #21396
     Maracaibo USA 

    August 6, 2030

    This year’s Jackal bullpen hasn’t been in the same class as last year’s Machetes, but today it showed it still had talent. Maracaibo’s best four relievers (Pandelo, Fernandez, Datil, and Ramirez) combined for 3.2 scoreless innings of relief, striking out six and allowing just three baserunners. All four have ERA’s under 3.00 on the season.

  • #21439
     Maracaibo USA 

    August 21, 2030

    Heroics tonight as the Jackals’ fiercest warrior Zeke Soto sets a Jackal record with 8 RBIs in tonight’s 13-5 win over Thunder Bay, going 4 for 5 with two home runs. The eight ribbies give him 86 on the season to date.

  • #21443
     Maracaibo USA 

    August 27, 2030

    Since his “little talk” with General Jeff on August 1st, aged warrior Victor Martinez has turned his season around.

    Here are his monthly splits (BA/OBP/SLG/OPS):

    May – 196 / 317 / 392 / 709
    June – 152 / 263 / 242 / 506
    July – 163 / 213 / 209 / 422
    August – 329 / 355 / 612 / 967

    Victor is still a mess in right field, but, at the plate, he is bringing the pain from the right side like he did last year. Here’s hoping this is a return to form and not an aberration.

  • #21445
     Toluca KOR 

    I’ve got two of those stories…

    RF Wang Chio (who is due to make $7.5 for 5 more years)
    May .218 .257 .475
    June .143 .333 .286 .619
    July .097 .200 .226 .426
    August .308 .345 .769 1.114

    LF Hsin-ping Mar
    May .105 .146 .184 .331
    June .250 .250 .250 .500
    July .375 .444 .375 .819
    August .355 .444 .516 .961

    these are (or were) my corner OFers, now they are bench players trying to earn a spot back in the line-up.

  • #21450
     Maracaibo USA 

    Interesting. Molson, I did the opposite with my guy. He started the season in the everyday lineup, but wasn’t producing and got hurt in May, then when he returned in June I looked at those awful May stats and put him in a platoon/pinch-hitter role and he played even worse. His monthly at-bats for May, June, July were 51, 33, 42. Then in August I threw my hands up, put him back in the everyday lineup and actually moved him up to the middle of the lineup and he’s hit great in 85 at-bats.

    It looks like I handled him all wrong this year; when he returned from injury, I should have just put him back in the everyday lineup instead of looking at his May stats and thinking he should be a platoon.

  • #21451
     Toluca KOR 

    I was trying everything really.

    I even demoted each of them for a spell.

    Mar tore it up in AAA, but he is the one who shows lower ratings. Chio sucked in AAA, then came alive when I brought him back up. I have been platooning each of them, so that should definitely help by playing to their strengths. They are at opposite ends of the spectrum as far as Desire to Win, for whatever that is worth (my team just crossed over .500 for the first time this season).

    Both are solid defenders and solid runners, so there’s that.

    p.s. Sorry to hijack your blog.

  • #21523
     Maracaibo USA 

    September 19, 2030

    As the regular season drew to an end on Tuesday, the Jackals and Jackal Nation had locked up the LOD in the second-to-last day of the season with Quebec’s victory over Cheju. Hated Cheju made a strong last run, going 5-1 in the last week of the season, but Maracaibo’s 3-3 mark was enough to hold the lead by one game in the final tally. Maracaibo finished the season 67-53. The town takes a collective sigh of relief, then starts packing the caravan for the trip to Wuhan.

    The Jackals face LAD-winning Wuhan in the Korean playoffs. Wuhan went 68-52 with a dominating pitching staff and excellent defense, supported by a talented lineup that will give the Jackals trouble. Jeff’s best three hitters are left-handed, and Wuhan’s pitching staff only has one left-handed reliever (no lefty starters), so he likes his lineup’s chances of scoring some blows, but also notes the Jackals record against Wuhan this season was 3-9. Something about the Jackal battle plan might not work against the warriors from Wuhan. This means little to the citizens of Maracaibo, as they’d be nervous and excited no matter what the circumstances. It’s playoff time in Korea, and Jackal Nation is on the move.

    As the army assembled this morning in Wuhan to prep for tonight’s battle, General Jeff told them that Victor Martinez was sent away and removed from the team, despite his improvement over the campaign’s final two months. A few of the team’s older vets are understandably upset, thinking Martinez got a raw deal, and lamenting their hope that his bat would return to glory in this postseason. The younger fighters, especially those in the outfield (like Sobrol and Jen) are respectful but a little excited at the prospect of seeing a bigger role with the aged vet now out of the mix. It is a move that makes fiscal sense for the organization, as the team has seen revenues in excess of its payroll and can afford to cut Martinez’ salary if it acts now, and thus frees up 8M in cap space to use in each of the next two seasons. After a free agent binge this past season that brought Hsia and Crawdaddy to the Jackal lineup for over $100M in guaranteed salaries, Maracaibo is again a possible player in this offseason’s free agent market, with about $20M in cap space for 2031, $40M in 2032 and only a few needs. On the other hand, Jeff realizes that cutting a team leader on the eve of a playoff series might not be good for the team’s morale, and he’s hoping that negative impact doesn’t hurt his team’s chances tonight.

    Maracaibo has won the LOD crown in three straight seasons now, but has lost each previous playoff match. Jeff is hoping this third time’s the charm.

    Elian Flores is tonight’s Game 1 starter. He’s come a long way, from fifth-starter on the eve of 2028, to setup reliever in mid-2028, to his coming out party as the team’s closer in August 2028, then a move to the rotation in mid-2029 and a full season this 2030 season as a starter. He’s excited about taking the first shot. Jackal hero and aged warrior Cesar Anaya will be starting Game 2. His postseason heroics in 2017 and 2018 are well-documented, and he’s taken on a guilty burden for his playoff performance in 2028 and having watched 2029’s playoff massacre sidelined with an injury, so he is focused on bringing his best stuff in Game 2. The Game 3 starter still hasn’t been announced, but it should be one of Aurelio Fernandez or Dae-Jin Kim.

  • #21524
     Maracaibo USA 

    September 19, 2030

    As he looks over the game logs from Maracaibo’s previous battles with Wuhan, Jeff the Great notices a similarity in ten of the twelve matches.

    May 12, Wuhan wins 5-4
    May 13, Maracaibo 4-3
    May 14, Wuhan 4-3

    June 19, Wuhan 5-1
    June 20, Wuhan 4-1
    June 21, Wuhan 4-3
    July 14, Maracaibo 2-1
    July 15, Wuhan 11-10
    July 16, Wuhan 6-5
    August 11, Wuhan 4-3
    August 12, Maracaibo 5-4
    August 13, Wuhan 4-3

    Ten one-run games? I think its safe to say there might be some close contests in this playoff.

  • #21552
     Maracaibo USA 

    September 23, 2030
    As the dust settled on the first three days of fighting, Jeff the Great, Destroyer of Worlds and his nemesis Reggie the Scourge, Purveyor of Mayhem surveyed the heavy carnage to size up his wins and losses. The morass of bodies, weapons, dirt and blood made their efforts difficult, but these were experienced eyes, warriors who had been fighting on the WBH landscape for many years.

    These first three days action can be best described as a strong start for Wuhan, winning Games 1 and 2 in Wuhan, then a series-saving win in Game 3 for Maracaibo in Maracaibo. Wuhan’s offensive warriors landed several early blows in Games 1 and 2, scoring 10 of their 13 runs in the first four innings of those two battles, chasing the two Jackals starters, while Maracaibo left 27 men on base in that missed opportunity of a Game 1. Jeff the Brave’s minions returned to Maracaibo tired and beaten after an 8-4 massacre in Game 2, but pulled together a momentum-stopping 2-1 win in Game 3 behind the arm of Aurelio Fernandez and home runs from Dequevado and Genghis Burgas. While Maracaibo is pleased with its small win, it still trails Wuhan 2-1 in the series.

    Maracaibo’s Cesar Anaya, whose horrible performance in Game 2 has slightly marred his otherwise stellar career playoff history, is still inconsolable this morning. He had strutted into battle against those Blackhawks from Wuhan with a quiet confidence and mission, only to be beaten and parried at every turn. He was pulled from the battle early, tired and bloody, only to be followed by weak-armed Ko and Quintana, who were similarly chased from the battle before its resolution. As these warriors sit defeated in Maracaibo’s ranks, their leaders are taking some solace in the performance of the Jackal bullpen, which once again fought well, and helped parlay further damage. While the Jackal bullpen’s performance was outstanding in Games 1 and 2, the offense was unable to come back, and those games were still lost, but the bullpen’s dominance in Game 3 contributed greatly to the momentum-stopping victory.

    Both leaders now stand on opposite sides of the field, before their men, surveying the damage. An eerie and calm quiet own the morn. There is no hurry or nervousness in their veins; they know the action won’t resume until later in the day and they have time to be thorough in their surveyance. After some time, the red fog dissipates from the battle scene, as the morning dew, mixed with blood, sweat, and dirt slowly gave way before the rising, humid sun, creating a thick and heavy haze that was simultaneously addling and invigorating. Maracaibo’s two monsters, Soto and Burgas, have fought valiantly, with averages over .500 and one home run apiece, but the rest of the Jackals bats have been quiet. Wuhan’s Gauthier the Gauger stands opposite them with a similar average and two home runs to his credit. The three are brimming with glorious excitement, anxious to murder some more pitchers tonight, hoping to find and seize an opportunity to shift the series in his team’s favor.

    Meanwhile, in opposite corners of the same battlefield, Maracaibo’s Dae-Jin Kim is being called into action to face Wuhan’s Jimmy Primmer in Game 4. The citizens of both towns are nervous with fright, each fanbase having experienced the full range of emotions associated with watching two strong armies battle for the three days, with wins, losses, tense moments, missed opportunities, elated glory, and heroics all around. But Jeff the Great and Reggie the Scourge stand firm, unspeaking, and hard-hearted.

    As the two Titans of the battlefield contemplate the prior battles and add up the numbers in their minds, their loyal soldiers prepare for the fight to come… Game Four is on the horizon…

  • #21563
     Maracaibo USA 

    Well, the warriors from Wuhan win the Korean championship 4-2 and Maracaibo is again disappointed with its loss to the LAD champ. Three straight years, three straight playoff losses.

    The citizens of Maracaibo have decided to blame foreign soothsayter Medicine Man Dan for predicting a Jackal playoff loss before the season. His life now in danger, there are reports Dan is seeking refuge in a Korean LAD city, knowing no army from Maracaibo will ever defeat an LAD one in battle 😆

  • #21575
     Maracaibo USA 

    October 1, 2030

    <2030 season review>

    Season Results
    Season Record: 67-53 (1st place in LOD) Playoff: 4-2 loss to Wuhan
    Team MVP: LF Ezequiel Soto. Soto hit a .954 OPS, with 31 HRs and 94 RBIs, placing him third, second, and second in the LOD respectively in those categories. His 4.5 WAR beat out Genghis Burgas’ 4.3 WAR for the Maracaibo mark in 2030, and ranked third among LOD hitters.

    Offensive Player of the Year: LF Ezequiel Soto
    Pitcher of the Year: SP Elian Flores
    Minor League Player of the Year: SS Gwon-Beom Kwon
    Minor League Hitter of the Year: LF Greg Barber
    Minor League Pitcher of the Year: SP Roberto Almestica

    Playoff Results
    Game 1: SP Elian Flores was worthless. 17 Jackal baserunners only plated 3 runs (3-5 loss).
    Game 2: SP Cesar Anaya got bludgeoned. The Jackals hit three HRs, but only scored four runs (4-8 loss).
    Game 3: SP Aurelio Fernandez was strong. The Jackals hit two solo HRs (2-1 win).
    Game 4: SP Dae-Jin Kim started and stunk, but the Jackals pulled off a late-inning rally (6-5 win).
    Game 5: SP Elian Flores was worthless. Again. (2-5 loss).
    Game 6: SP Cesar Anaya was outstanding. 8 innings, 2 runs. But opposing “pitcher” Gimmeabreakthisisludicrous, with his awesome 4/6/5 ratings, held the Jackals to one run in seven-plus innings. A monumental embarrassment to everyone in the Jackal lineup. Come on. I’m considering dropping every one of you worthless stupid Jackal hitters. One stinking unearned run. Geez. (1-2 loss).

    Series loss 4-2. We’re stuck in Korea and will have the 8th pick in the draft. Again.

    Offseason Agenda

    Starting pitchers – After letting a few pitchers depart via free agency and trades over the past two seasons, the Jackals have assembled a motley crew of #3/#4 type starting pitchers at low cost. It isn’t a surprise that Maracaibo’s pitching stats have declined in those seasons and our lack of top-quality arms hurt us in the playoffs. It is time to find some better pitching. If we can add one or two this offseason via trade or free agency, that’d be great.
    Center Field – The departure of Cipriano Rios to free agency (and a declining skill set that Jeff doesn’t want to bring back anyway) opens a hole in center field. The Jackals have a few outfielders with moderate ability to play center, but if we’re compiling a list of “wants”, Jeff definitely wants a gold glove-level defender in center field this year.
    Shortstop – After mixing a few different players at shortstop in 2030 who were mostly in the lineup for their bat and not glove, the Jackals at mid-season called up longtime minor leaguer Ramone Bargone to man shortstop. While his bat is weak, his defense is outstanding, so Jeff is considering simply going into the 2031 season with Bargone again manning the position, but adding a good defender here with a slightly better bat might be a good idea.
    Relief pitchers – The team needs a right-handed and left-handed reliever. Jeff is going to be making bids to retain departing free agent lefty RP Machete Pandelo. If Pandelo finds a big contract elsewhere, Jeff the Great will need to find two relievers. Some in the organization believe pitching prospect Litchy Jung might be ready to help in the bullpen on Opening Day. It is also a possibility that if Maracaibo can add a good SP above, one of Aguilar or Kim will be moved to the bullpen.

  • #21941
     Maracaibo USA 

    April 1, 2031

    2031 Jackal draft wrap up

    This year’s Korean draft class was probably deeper in fringe hitting prospects than the past few seasons, but it lacked a clear #1 pick, it only had two good SP prospects, it had no strong RP prospects, and it lacked middle-infielders. There were a good number of decent corner outfield prospects and some depth at catcher and 1B in the first three rounds. Overall, an average draft, in this writer’s opinion.

    With the 8th pick in the first round, Maracaibo snagged 20-year old Dae-Sung O (pot. 8/7/4/6/6), who is listed as a 2Bman but will be moved to 3B when he reports to single-A. The addition of O to the system pushes prized 3B prospect Miguel Delpilar (pot. 8/8/5/5/6) to double-A. Both Dae-Sung and Delpilar are 20 years old with similar current and potential ratings, except for defensively, where Delpilar has a significant edge. It will be an interesting competition between the two as they mature through the system.

    The other Jackal picks: 2nd round – 1B Craig Drier, age 20 (pot. 6/8/8/6/4); 3rd round – C Paul Dryden, age 21 (pot. 5/5/7/6/5); 4th round – SP Tom Agnew, age 20 (pot. 6/5/6); 5th round – SS Cheol-Kyun Chong, age 18 (pot. 5/4/2/4/8, or 4/9/4 as a pitcher); 6th round – C Jae-Woo Kim, age 22 (pot. 5/5/3/4/6); 7th round – SP Su-gyung Cho, age 20 (pot. 6/4/6); 8th round – RP Yong-Chul Yi, age 21 (pot. 7/4/5); 9th round – RP Seung-soo Pak, age 20 (pot. 6/4/4); 10th round – SP Sancho Murillo, age 21 (pot. 4/3/4).

    All in all, Jackals management sees three prospects with probable major league potential (O, Drier, and Dryden) and five others with some contributing potential as utility/backup players or fringe pitching ability (Agnew, Chong, Kim, Cho, and Yi), and is hoping one of those five latter players can turn into a surprise everyday contributor.

    All of these prospects should start in single-A Las Teyerias, except for perhaps catcher Jae-Woo Kim, who is already 22 years old and the single-A squad has several good fringe catcher prospects already on the roster.

    In Maracaibo, attention shifts to the big league army as Jackal warriors are appearing in Spring Training today as the preparation for the 2031 campaign ratchets up.

    Up next: 2031 Jackal lineup preview

  • #21945
     Maracaibo USA 

    April 1, 2031

    2031 Jackal lineup preview

    Its a new dawn in Maracaibo as, for the first time in seven seasons, local hero and offensive stalwart Genghis Burgas, aka Burgas the Burly, is not in the Jackal lineup following his offseason trade to Akashi. Burgas put up some amazing numbers, to the tune of an average 307/383/520 season across those seven seasons, with 124 total HRs, 384 runs driven in, 380 runs scored, 250 VORP, 27 WAR, one Gold glove and two MVP awards. Most importantly, he anchored a Jackal offense that has reached the playoffs in three straight seasons, his last three in Maracaibo, and despite not winning any of those playoff series, Burgas hit a whopping 367/457/667 (1.124 OPS) in those playoff series.

    It stands to be seen if Burgas can provide his new employer in the USA the same production he provided here in Maracaibo and prove that Jeff traded away a player not yet in the twilight of his career, or if on the other hand Jeff sold high on a “diminishing asset”, as Burgas was described in a recent tavern discussion by a Jackal leader. Team officers stress that, while they understand and miss the value Burgas brought to the Jackal army, after three straight playoff losses, it was the right time for Burgas to move on.

    Jeff the Great is instituting a greater emphasis on platooning position players as a way of mitigating the risk of individual player failure hurting the team’s chances, and spreading the team’s cap space across more players, and has multiple players who can play strong defense at the up-the-middle positions. A lot of the team’s troubles last year on the pitching end were the result of poor defensive play. Jeff has expanded the team’s bench in order to keep all these platoon bats and defensive subs and will therefore have to get through the season with a smaller eleven-man bullpen.

    Projected Starting Lineup:
    – Leading off – 3B Hua Hsia 7/5/5/7/10 – Hsia’s contact, OBP, and base-stealing skills make him a strong leadoff candidate, but he might fare better down the lineup if another hitter can take over these leadoff duties. Hsia is the highest-paid player on the Jackals and is due to make his exorbitant salary for this and two more seasons. He’s in for the long haul.
    – Batting second –2B Crawdaddy Cho 5/7/6/6/7- The second-baseman is a good hitter and is right-handed so he sets up lefty Soto well. He’s in the last year of his current contract and has expressed a willingness to sign an extension at a much-reduced salary, but Jeff is worried about his diminishing defensive skills at 2B.
    – Batting third – RF Ezequiel Soto 5/8/7/6/4 – This power bat and left-handed masher was last season’s team MVP and, with the departure of Burgas, now takes over in the three-spot as the Jackals best hitter.
    – Batting cleanup – LH 1B Delmar Bergano 5/6/7/6/3 and RH 1B Jacobo Puente 5/6/7/6/3 – platoon – Mercenary addition Bergano and returning slugger Puente will share a platoon at 1B this season. It is a poor substitute for Burgas’ bat, but is much cheaper, and Jeff likes that the sitting 1Bman will be a good pinch-hitting option on days he doesn’t start.
    – Batting fifth – LH LF Zhi-Xin Huang 7/5/4/5/5 and RH LF Allberto Sobral 6/5/4/8/7 – platoon – These two should serve as adequate platoon partners in right field until Jeff the Great decides to bring up prospect LF Greg Barber, which should happen this season, and might be as soon as Opening Day. Jeff is very indecisive and fickle in these matters, so, even he doesn’t know when it will be time. When Barber comes up, though, Sobrol and Huang are candidates to be dropped or traded, because they won’t like riding the pine.
    – Batting sixth –C Jorge Dequevado 6/5/7/5/8 – Jorge had a strong 2.3-WAR season last year as Maracaibo’s best right-handed hitter.
    – Batting seventh – CF Ricardo Perez 6/8/6/2/6– Trade acquisition Perez is slated to be Maracaibo’s CF for the season, possibly sitting against lefties in favor of mercenary addition CF Teok-Kyu Yi 6/7/4/6/6.
    – Batting eighth – SS Shunsuke Arai – 6/7/2/4/6 – This mercenary addition will hopefully provide good defense and not hurt the team too much with his bat. Last year’s late-season starting shortstop Ramon Bargone lost a contact rating this offseason and will be in AAA unless the need for his services arises again.

    C Hwen Zhou 5/6/3/4/6
    SS Sweet Sugiura 5/1/7/4/8
    1B Jacobo Puente 5/6/7/6/3 (will start against lefties)
    RF Allberto Sobral 6/5/4/8/7 (will start against lefties)
    CF Teok-Kyu Yi 6/7/4/6/6 (will start against lefties)
    3B Glenn Ritchie 5/6/3/6/5

    If the shift to an eleven-man bullpen is too stressing on the Jackal arms, Glenn Richie is probably going to be the roster casualty needed to add another arm to the active roster.

    On the farm, might help in 2031:
    Maracaibo’s system is pushing LF Greg Barber 5/8/6/4/5 into the majors sometime this year, while future star CF Edgar Campos 6/7/4/3/6 will stay for perhaps one more year in AAA before Jeff the Great is forced to make room in Maracaibo for him, too.

    Other possible contributors, but non-prospects, are 2B Antonio Lopez, SS Ramon Bargone, 1B Jesus Rincons, 3B Jose Llaque, and C Dany Cuff.

    Up next: 2031 Jackal pitching preview

  • #21946
     Maracaibo USA 

    April 1, 2031

    2031 Jackal pitching preview

    While the lineup will suffer this year the absence of Genghis Burgas, the pitching staff suffered a slightly less devastating but still difficult loss when reliever Machete Pandelo signed with Seoul. Pandelo anchored Anubis’ Machetes, the Jackal bullpen, for a few years, but management wouldn’t commit to a large extension, so Pandelo moved on.

    Maracaibo has been blessed (or cursed, depending on your strategy preferences) with a large number of similar slightly-better-than-league-average starters who can double as relievers, so the rotation isn’t yet established. Nine candidates are vying for five spots.

    Rotation candidates:

    SP Elian Flores 6/6/7 – Returns following a 3.5-WAR season.
    SP Alberto Chavez 8/6/5 – Suffered a catastrophic injury before last season and will miss Spring Training this year during his recovery, so its anybody’s guess as to how much he can help Maracaibo this season.
    SP Javiero Aquino 8/4/6 – The trade acquisition is excited to begin his Jackal career, but will be remembered more as the return Maracaibo got for departing God 1B Genghis Burgas than for whatever pitching stats he can provide, at least for a while. He is a good candidate to start the season in AAA since the Jackals have so many other options and because Jeff can delay his free agent clock by keeping him down for a while longer.
    SP Cesar Anaya 6/6/7 – Maracaibo’s oldest veteran, lifetime Jackal, and the only Jackal linking this three-time LOD champion mini-dynasty (2028-2030 KOR) to the last Jackal mini-dynasty (2017-2019 Ven/Jap/USA), is in the last year of his contract, hoping to give Maracaibo another good year.
    SP Joseph Martel 6/7/6 – Mercenary addition.
    SP Aurelio Fernandez 7/6/6 – Aurelio is a great reliever (8/6/6), but Jeff is leaning towards giving him a rotation spot for the whole year to see what happens.
    SP Roque Aguilar 6/6/6 – Was at times hit or miss following his mid-season acquisition last season, earning 2.2 WAR between the USA and Korea, and he’s on a short leash.
    SP Bartolome Guerrero 8/6/4 – A recent waiver claim, probably has too many control problems to be trusted in the rotation.
    SP Dae-Jin Kim 5/5/6 – Is in the SP mix, but might be simply dropped, since 1) he’s at a low salary, 2) he suffered a ratings drop over the offseason, and 3) because Jeff hopes to go with an 11-man pitching staff this year so he can carry an extra bench bat.

    Bullpen Definites:
    Closer – Jorge Tijerina 7/8/7
    Setup RH – Machete Ramirez 7/7/8
    Setup LH – Jorge Datil 7/7/5
    Relief RH – Roberto Peleta 8/6/5

    On the farm, might help in 2031:
    Maracaibo’s system has a few relief arms who are ready now and one strong SP prospect who is not ready yet, but might be ready soon if the need arises:
    SP Litchy Jung, LH RP Arwin Langdale, RH RP Alex Freitas, RH RP Hit-O, and RH RP Kanz Sakai.

    SP Dae Pak and SP Martins are going to be the next SPs that come up, but probably not this season.

    Spring Training fights start tonight!

  • #21969
     Maracaibo USA 

    May 1, 2031

    It is Opening Day! Your Maracaibo Jackals went 12-12 in Spring Training this season, and the final cuts are being made to get the army down to its 25-man compliment. The lefthanded Albert Chavez will be getting the ball in tonight’s inaugural battle. The rotation is set and the gang is ready for action.

    There was a surprise mercenary signing that shakes up the lineup announced in April – slugger Leon Salgado joins the mix at 1B, and this means Bergano and Puente fall into support positions on the Jackal bench rather than serving in a strict platoon at first base. When asked how he will find playing time for the three sluggers, Jeff the Great said he didn’t know.

    The mood in Maracaibo is exciting; Opening Day is a city holiday in Maracaibo that follows a three-night celebration leading up to today’s festivities that take place in town before tonight’s Thursday start. In the three nearby villages that support the Jackal’s soldier training programs, El Tocuyo, Moron, and Las Tereyias, the fans are already lined up outside those arenas trying to gain entry. Maracaibo’s system sits comfortably atop today’s Korean farm system rankings, boasting five prospects among the peninsula’s top ten: SP Roberto Almestica (#2), RF Inejiro Watanabe (#4), CF Edgar Campos (#5), SP Litchy Jung (#6), and CF Alvar Archuleta (#9) head a system packed with 12 of the league’s top 50 prospects.

  • #21989
     Maracaibo USA 

    May 7, 2031

    A crazy first week of action wraps with a 6-3 Jackal victory over Cheju in which C Jorge Dequevado hit his fifth home run of the season. It’s been quite a week for Jorge, who went 9 for 24 with 12 RBIs and five home runs, four of which came in the season’s first two matches. The Jackals start the year 4-2.

    Rookie Greg Barber started the season in the starting lineup, to the surprise of many in Maracaibo, and it looks like he’s going to be manning left field for a while. Some last-second lineup changes were made when league officials noted the signing of mercenary slugger Selgado was against the rules and he was released back into the free agent pool. Jeff is blaming the slugger’s agent for sneaking a performance incentive demand into the employment contract, but the slugger blames Jeff the Great for the error and won’t renew contract discussions, so he won’t be a Jackal this season.

    With injuries to RP Roque Aguilar and 3B Hsia in this first week, Maracaibo is calling some more talent up to the majors, including rookie fireballer Hit-O, who could make his big league debut in tomorrow night’s match against Quebec.

  • #22036
     Maracaibo USA 

    After playing horrible baseball in his first two starts of the season, on 5/06 and 5/12, Jackal hero and living legend Cesar Anaya was moved to the bullpen on 5/13….

    … where he was directly responsible for the next two losses on 5/15 and 5/16, allowing the losing runs in each match. The twelve runs he allowed in his seven innings this season account for four losses. With another pitcher in that spot, the Jackals would be 13-5 instead of 9-9.

    It might be time to let the legend go. Rumors today suggest he is being designated for assignment if he doesn’t accept a veteran demotion to AAA.

  • #22057
     Maracaibo USA 

    May 29, 2031

    After four weeks, it is too early to make any desperate changes to the Jackal roster, but some trends are taking place. The Jackals are 14-10 and tied with Thunder Bay at the top of the Korean LOD.

    The good:

    C Jorge Dequevado has hit 275/350/582 and leads the Jackals with 8 HRs, 27 RBIs, and 17 Runs. He is the best bat on the Jackals so far.

    3B Hua Hsia has hit 281/385/500 leading off for the Jackals and is setting the table for the big bats down the lineup. His bat has been good. But his glove has not. More below.

    SP Aurelio Fernandez has a 2.20 ERA, 1.12 whip, and 25 Ks in 28 innings.

    Rookie LF Greg Barber is hitting a decent 284/321/405 every day in left field and leads the team in Batting Average so far.

    Rookie RP Hit-O has made a case to stay in the Jackal pen all season. In the past two weeks he logged 9 appearances and 10 innings, allowing only one run and striking out 11.

    Before the season, Jeff decided to implement a larger bench and fewer arms in the bullpen. To date, it seems to have paid off, because the team leads the LOD in bullpen ERA and pitching ERA overall. The bullpen’s top four arms have made a ton of appearances in the team’s first 24 games: Datil 16 appearances, Tijerina 16, Ramirez 15, and Paleta 12, and as noted above, RP Hit-O 9. Of these, Datil seems the most-overused because he is the only lefty in the group, so the team is keeping its eyes peeled for a left-handed RP it can add.

    The bad:

    Last year’s MVP Ezequil Soto is a wreck at the plate, hitting only 163/238/359 in 92 ABs. He’s been dropped down the lineup.

    3B Hua Hsia has committed 6 errors at 3B in only 18 games. His bat needs to stay in the lineup, though, so Jeff is going to try moving him around the infield and try to mitigate his defensive problems. This is an unforeseen problem. The Jackals already have several 2B and 1B on the roster, and not enough 3B, and Hsia has three years left on his contract, so it won’t be easy to figure out where to put Hsia short- and long-term defensively.

    The ugly:

    Longtime anchor SP Cesar Anaya started the season in such disarray that he was sent to AAA in the hopes that he straightens things out. He accepted his demotion and is still happy morale-wise, so, Jeff the Great wonders if maybe Cesar just rather prefers to play in the minors for the rest of his contract. Strange.

  • #22114
     Maracaibo USA 

    2031 Farm System Report

    June 12, 2031

    1) SP Roberto Almestica (#2 in Korea) started the year as Maracaibo’s top-ranked prospect and the #2 prospect in Korea. The 20-year old reigning Minor League Pitcher of the Year struggled in AA initially, but has settled in with some better performances, overall tallying 51 Ks in 55 innings with a 3.88 ERA and 1.17 Whip. His coaches are saying he is ready for AAA, but Jeff wants to keep his timetable intact.

    2) LF Inejiro Watanabe (#4 in Korea), 20 years old, jumped to second on the prospect list this preseason, now ranking second in Maracaibo and fourth in all of Korea. He started hot in single-A and was quickly promoted two weeks into the season to AA where he has continued to rake, hitting 376/448/495 in 93 ABs in AA. Watanabe’s place as a future cornerstone of the Jackals lineup is becoming more concrete.

    3) OF Edgar Campos (#5 in Korea) started off well in AAA, but suffered another injury and has been sidelined for several weeks.

    4) SP Litchy Jung (#6 in Korea) was on the short list of possible arms that might help in Maracaibo this season, but his control problems have worsened this year from last and he’s probably just going to stay in AAA for the full season. He has a 3.68 ERA and 1.58 Whip in 37 AAA innings, with 45 Ks and 21 walks.

    5) CF Alvar Archuleta (#9 in Korea), 23 years old, shot way up the prospect listings this preseason and is a work in progress in AA, showing good power (leading the Jackal affiliates with 7 home runs) but poor gap power (only 7 doubles in 149 ABs) and poor plate discipline (only showing a .335 OBP). All told, he’s hitting 262/335/450 in 149 AA at-bats. He’s not playing a great CF defensively, either. His value as a corner outfielder is limited, so his coaches are doing their best to encourage improvement in center.

    6) 3B Miguel Delpilar (27th in Korea), 20 years old, is hitting an underwhelming 248/300/389 in 149 AA at-bats to date, but is playing promising defense at 3B. He should be in AA for the remainder of the season and might stay there next year, too, since the 3B behind him on the org depth chart (O below) is struggling and won’t be pushing Delpilar up the chain any time soon.

    7) We were pretty sure OF Manolito Eribarne‘s horrible 2029 and 2030 seasons would drop him way down these rankings, but he actually moved up to 7th in Maracaibo (28th in Korea), probably because of his amazing defensive abilities. While his hitting and eye tools remain weak, and his raw power has yet to translate into game power, his defense in centerfield has been outstanding. He is only 20 years old and is hitting 264/310/364 in 121 single-A at-bats to date.

    8 ) 21-year old SS Gwon-Beom Kwon (29th in Korea), the Jackals reigning Minor League Player of the Year, was promoted to AA to start the year but only performed satisfactorily before an injury set him out for several weeks. He returns this week ready to start his progress again.

    9) Maracaibo’s top draft pick this season, 3B Dae-Sung O (37th in Korea) has struggled in his first season, hitting 228/310/342 in 118 Abs.

    10) C Davilos (40th in Korea) is only 19 and is struggling in A-ball – 222/280/283 in 99 Abs.

    11) Future closer Hit-O (43rd in Korea) is in Maracaibo to stay. He’s thrown 19 innings, allowing only one run and struck out 22. He should be promoted off the prospect rankings soon.

    12) OF Greg Barber (48th in Korea) is hitting 270/298/420 in his rookie season in Maracaibo and playing outstanding defense in left field. He should be promoted off the prospect rankings soon.

    Others of note:
    CF Vincente Rodriguez, ranked as high as fourth on the Jackal listing last season, but dropped to 17th before the season, 82nd in Korea. He suffered some potential ratings drops and is playing poorly in single-A, but is only 18, so he’s got time to right the ship… 2B Feliciano Escamille, Maracaibo’s top 2B prospect, is hitting 298/356/388 in single-A and might be ready for a promotion to AA soon … Profiled starting pitcher Ray Hoyt’s friendly rivalry Almestica continues to bear watching – Hoyt jumped to #52 on the Korean Prospects list and has 43 Ks in 42 AA innings with a 1.41 whip and 4.01 ERA …

  • #21588
     Maracaibo USA 

    July 10, 2031

    The Jackals pitching staff has been beaten up by injuries and poor performance (looking at you, Cesar Anaya) over the first two months of the season, but the army has continued to fight tough atop the LOD until this week, when it went 1-5 in this latest week’s action. The Jackals now sit at 31-29, in second place behind Thunder Bay at 32-28. Hated Cheju and Quebec are hanging tough at 30-30 and 28-32 respectively, meaning all four teams in the Korean LOD sit within four games of the lead. This should be an exciting fight to the finish in late September.

    Some Jackal news:
    Some mid-tier prospects were dealt for returning hero Blandino the Bland and slugging outfielder Martin Ramal two weeks ago and, while Blandino’s efforts have impressed, the Ramal move has not been positive. Ramal has only hit 178/275/267 in his first 12 games as a Jackal, admittedly a small sample size.

    A few fans in Maracaibo were surprised by the team’s claim on first-baseman Felix Franco on waivers last week, because the team already has four first basemen on the major league roster. Turns out, Jeff the Great saw in Felix a good ROOGY; he’s been converted to middle relief and has given the Jackals 3.2 innings with no runs, four strikeouts, and only three baserunners allowed.

    Rookie LF Greg Barber was sent back to AAA with the Ramal acquisition. He fared decently in Maracaibo for the first half of the season, so his demotion seems to be service-time related. Outfielders Perez and Martin Ramal are in the last year of their current contracts, and the team has shown no interest in extending those contracts, so Barber should be back in Maracaibo next season if he doesn’t make another appearance this year. Also possibly helping the Jackals next year could be uber-prospect CF Edgar Campos, who is hitting 359/406/424 in AAA right now, but Jeff is concerned that a player with so much power potential, and who is obviously hitting AAA so well, still hasn’t hit a single home run this season.

    Closer Alejandro Ramirez is complaining about his role on the team every week. This is strange because he’s served as the team’s closer all season… but he is angrily demanding to be the team’s closer.

    Checking in the infirmary, the team hopes to hang in the LOD race long enough for SP Aurelio Fernandez (six more weeks), SP Roque Aguilar (seven weeks), and bullpen fighter RP Jorge Datil (eight weeks) to return from their injuries. Bullpen ace RP Jorge Tijerina won’t be back this year.

    Rookie Hit-O continues his first season of dominance, now showing a 1.04 whip and 0.83 ERA in 33 innings, striking out 37 batters. I know ERA isn’t a good measure of relief pitcher performance, but, that ERA+ of 521(!) just looks awesome. If this performance can continue, Jeff the Great hopes Hit-O might be a Flamethrower of the Year candidate, despite his delayed promotion from AAA at the start of the season.

  • #22343
     Maracaibo USA 

    July 28, 2031

    It is a day that will live in Maracaibo infamy, for all the wrong reasons. The visiting Jackal crowd gasped loudly when last year’s team MVP Ezequil Soto tore his labrum fielding a routine fly ball in the 8th inning of today’s close 2-0 victory in Jeonju. The injury overshadowed rookie starter Martins eight shutout innings.

    The diagnosis is in and Soto’s career is over. Originally brought to Maracaibo at the trade deadline in 2029, he overperformed his ratings in 2030, when he hit 291/379/575 with 31 home runs and 48 VORP. He signed a five-year extension at a team-friendly 4.8M/season, but struggled this year before his injury.

    From a fan perspective, this is a difficult loss. Soto seemed to be coming out of his struggles and was getting a lot more playing time of late. His VORP improved from a negative number over the first half to a positive one a few weeks ago. Jackal Nation was patient with Soto as he spent time on the trade block and sporadic playing time early in the year. Now he’s gone.

    From a team performance perspective, his loss is not as bad. With the good number of outfield prospects coming up the minor leagues in the next few years, and with the addition of Ramal via trade a few weeks ago, Soto is not the only left-handed power corner outfield bat on the roster, and his departure will actually help Maracaibo’s payroll situation in the coming years.

    Still, it is hard to witness a 27-year old slugger have the year that Soto had in 2030 and can’t help but be disappointed that he won’t have any more of them.

  • #22393
     Maracaibo USA 

    2031 Farm System Review
    August 14, 2021

    Since the 2031 minor league season has drawn to a close, let’s take a look at what happened on the farm this season.

    The AAA and AA teams fared decently in their respective standings, with El Tocuyo going 49-41 and Moron going 42-48. Single-A Las Teyerias had a rough season, finishing 37-53 while spending most of the season near the bottom of the minor league standings.

    Overall, Jeff the Great is pleased with the progress being made by his top prospects. The system’s strength in the outfield is arguably the best in the WBH, but its strength in the bullpen and at catcher has taken small steps backward this year due to poor performance and stagnating player ratings. The system also lacks infielders up the middle and on the edges. Finding good talent in the infield is going to be a point of emphasis in next year’s draft.

    Several minor leaguers came up to Maracaibo this year and are helping in the close LOD race currently underway. LF Greg Barber, SP Javier Aquino, SP Martins, and RP Hit-O have all made valuable contributions and are in the bigs today.

    Now, lets take a look at the organization’s top prospects. Barber and Hit-O have been promoted from the list. Also, a few of Maracaibo’s top prospects have a chance at being promoted into a useful role in the big leagues next year and those are noted below with a **.

    1) **SP Roberto Almestica** finished the year with a strong 10-2 record in 19 double-A starts, with a 3.10 ERA, 1.07 whip, and 120 Ks in 130 innings. Last year’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year claims that honor again in 2031 with this performance, and is also being named the Jackals 2031 Minor League Player of the Year. He is headed for at least AAA next season and might have a shot at a job in Maracaibo if needed.

    2) LF Inejiro Watanabe, 20 years old, hit 300/357/406 in 290 ABs in AA. Watanabe’s bat is outstanding, but his lack of power might keep him in AA one more season. Watanabe wins this year’s Minor League Hitter of the Year award with an Organization-leading (to date) 2.9 WAR and a strong .325 wOBA. While other players have better power skills, Watanabe’s hitting skills and defensive abilities made the best impression on Jackal management.

    3) **OF Edgar Campos** has been injured yet again, but between injuries was able to hit 310/361/374 in 187 triple-A at-bats and plays decent centerfield defense. Jeff would love to bring him up next season to fill the center field hole in Maracaibo next season, but his horrible injury history means he’ll need a good bench option to take over when Campos inevitably spends time on the disabled list.

    4) **SP Litchy Jung** was on a short list of possible minor league arms that might help in Maracaibo this season, but his control problems worsened this year from last and he faced a 14-game suspension for his part in a brawl around the season’s mid-point, so he’s still waiting for his shot. Even accounting for his control issues, he pitched a strong 2.52 ERA and 1.17 whip in 82 innings with 110 Ks.

    5) CF Alvar Archuleta will be 24 next season, so his minor league career is coming to a close pretty soon no matter how well he fares. Thankfully, he had an outstanding season in AA this year. He hit 256/316/436 in 344 at-bats. He mashed 14 home runs this year but struggled in centerfield defensively, so he might just be a fourth-outfielder in the bigs. He’ll have a full year in AAA next year to figure it out.

    6) 3B Miguel Delpilar will be repeating double-A next year following a disappointing season in which he hit 248/287/356 in 323 at-bats. He’s only 20 years old, so there’s no hurry.

    7) OF Manolito Eribarne might be the best fielder in the Jackal system. He hit 257/300/357 in 272 single-A at-bats this year, but put up 2.0 WAR despite hitting worse than league-average due to his defensive range in right and center field. He is turning 21 early next season and might just stay in single-A one more year.

    8 ) 21-year old SS Gwon-Beom Kwon entered the year as the Jackals reigning Minor League Player of the Year but struggled this year between injuries, hitting 224/272/284 in only 32 games of action. He’ll stay in AA next year and Jeff has decided that we’re all just going to forget this 2031 lost season ever happened.

    9) Maracaibo’s top draft pick this season, 3B Dae-Sung O hit a decent 249/333/361 in 250 single-A at-bats.

    10) C Davilos hit 238/305/364 in 270 Abs. He’s still a teenager and his future is starting to look brighter with the season he just finished.

    Others of note:
    2B Feliciano Escamille, Maracaibo’s top 2B prospect, hit 299/353/402 in single-A and might move up to AA next season. Unfortunately, he gets injured too often, will never be a big home run threat, and does not play a strong second base, so his upside is very limited … Profiled starting pitcher Ray Hoyt’s friendly rivalry with Almestica fell short this season. Hoyt’s dominance in 2030 in single-A was not repeated in double-A as he spent some time on the disabled list and put up a 4.16 ERA and 1.36 Whip in his 80 innings of action. He’ll repeat AA next year … SP Dae Pak’s grounder-heavy approach didn’t fare as well in AAA as it did in AA last year. He turned in a 4.26 ERA and 1.58 whip in 105 innings this year compared to his 2.97 ERA and 1.27 whip in 112 innings last year…

  • #22394
     Maracaibo USA 

    August 14, 2031

    Just an observation: Hua Hsia has walked 54 times this year and has only struck out 15 times. He’s also committed 17 errors in the field. What the heck.

  • #22500
     Maracaibo USA 

    September 1, 2031

    As Maracaibo is sputtering along towards a potential fourth-straight Korean LOD title, the town is pleased to hear that homegrown rookie LF Greg Barber and homegrown ace pitcher SP Alberto Chavez are bringing home some hardware for their performances in August.

    Barber batted .344 for the Jackals in August, lashing 31 hits and 4 home runs, and wins the August LOD Rookie of the Month award. He drove in 16 runs and scored 19 himself. For the season, Barber boasts a 123 OPS+ in his rookie year and has stepped in nicely for Soto and Ramal, who have played their last games for the Jackals due to injuries.

    Chavez, who wins the August LOD Pitcher of the Month award, went 4-0 with 32 Ks in 41 August innings, walking only 6 and holding opposing batters to a .169 batting average.

  • #22542
     Maracaibo USA 

    September 11, 2031

    The season is drawing to a close, but Jackal Nation is worried. A long up-and-down season, in which Maracaibo’s army struggled to stay alive atop the Korean LOD, with all four teams still within reach of the top until last week, is coming to an end.

    Maracaibo leads hated Cheju by a 2-game margin, and Thunder Bay by 5 games. All three teams have a shot at the title; Quebec, which was still fighting tough and within reach just last week, is the only army officially eliminated from the race at 7 games back. It was a strong season for Quebec, and the fact all four teams were still within reach of the division crown as late as the 19th week of the season is a testament to the competitive balance of the division this year.

    Quebec and Thunder Bay have a chance at making some crazy results occur because they each take on Maracaibo and hated Cheju in this final week. Sweeps by Quebec and Thunder Bay would give Thunder Bay the division crown, a nearly unthinkable scenario considering Thunder Bay’s long, sad history in the Korean LOD.

    The Jackal faithful are unhappy to learn that mercenary shortstop wizard Shunsu Arai will be out for this final week. The Jackal bats have been improving of late, but the pitching has been spotty, and this coming week could be anybody’s to win. Hated Cheju, in particular, has given Maracaibo fits over the course of Tankersley’s tenure in Maracaibo, and the Jackal faithful will be anxiously awaiting the results of hated Cheju’s matches even while watching the Jackals participate in theirs. We’re very nervous in Maracaibo…

  • #22559
     Maracaibo USA 

    September 17, 2031
    The Jackals locked up a fourth-straight playoff appearance with Saturday’s win in Quebec. Maracaibo swept Quebec while Cheju went 2-1 against Thunder Bay, putting the Jackals four games up on Cheju with only three games to play. Hated Cheju ends the year three games behind Maraciabo (68-52). It has been a fun year.

    In the Tankersley era (2027-2031), the Maracaibo Jackals have one second-place finish (2027) and now four consecutive first-place finishes (2028-2031). The races have mostly been tight, as the Jackals finished one game behind hated Cheju in 2027, one game ahead of Quebec in 2028 (in a well-documented season of madness that ended in dramatic fashion), nine games ahead in 2029, and just one game ahead of hated Cheju in last season’s race. Unfortunately for Jackal Nation, none of those three division-winning squads were able to win on the biggest stage, losing the Korean title to the LAD champion each time.

    Now, Maracaibo enters the playoffs to play a dominant Brooklyn squad that went 10-2 against the Jackals this season, and 74-46 on the season overall.

    Jackal ace Alberto Chavez, who led the LOD in ERA (2.66) and wins (13), will be starting Game 1 for the Jackals. Some roster maneuverings are in order for Jeff the Great, who also has the team’s starting shortstop out for a week with an injury but possibly might be back in the middle of a long series.

  • #22564
     Maracaibo USA 

    September 18, 2031

    Greg Barber is entering the playoffs on a tear. Now hitting in the 3-hole, the rookie has a ten-game hitting streak going, and has hit 18-for-45 with five HRs and 15 RBIs in those ten games. His season line ended at 302/353/530 in 298 ABs. He also ended the season with 2.9 WAR, leading Korean peninsula rookies by a wide margin; the second-best rookie in the league was his teammate Elias Vigil, who had 1.8 WAR.

  • #22640
     Maracaibo USA 

    October 1, 2031

    <2031 season review>

    Season Results
    Season Record: 68-52 (1st place in LOD) Playoff: 4-1 loss to Brooklyn

    Team MVP: 3B Hua Hsia. Hsia hit a .832 OPS (ranking 4th in the LOD), with 15 HRs and 58 RBIs and 74 Runs scored (4th). His 3.9 WAR ranked third among LOD hitters this season.

    Offensive Player of the Year: 3B Hua Hsia
    Pitcher of the Year: SP Alberto Chavez
    Minor League Player of the Year: SP Roberto Almestica
    Minor League Hitter of the Year: RF Inejiro Watanabe
    Minor League Pitcher of the Year: SP Roberto Almestica

    Playoff Results
    Game 1: SP Alberto Chavez got roughed up, allowing 2 HRs and 5 runs total in three innings. The Jackals made a game of it, but fell short (6-5 loss).
    Game 2: Rookie SP Martins pitched well in his playoff debut, allowing two runs in seven innings, but the Jackal pen couldn’t hold it together and lost a close one. (3-2 loss).
    Game 3: SP Joe Martel pitched great, allowing two runs in seven innings, but the Jackals couldn’t get to the Brooklyn staff and lost another close one (2-1 loss).
    Game 4: SP Aurelio Fernandez kept the Jackals alive with a mediocre performance. The bats woke up. (7-5 win).
    Game 5: SP Alberto Chavez turned in his second bad start of the playoffs and the Jackals were knocked out early. Chavez is this year’s playoff goat: In two starts and eight innings, he allowed nine runs and lost both games. (7-1 loss).

    Series loss 4-1. We’re stuck in Korea and will have the 8th pick in the draft. Again.

    Offseason Agenda

    Jeff the Great is getting pretty tired of being bounced in the playoffs. We’re the Buffalo Bills here – Four straight Super Bowls, zero wins.

    Prepping for next season, the Jackals are shedding some big contracts and will have plenty of funds for free agency, but, the two players that Maracaibo relied on most (Hsia and Dequevado) are due for some serious regression after outperforming their skillset. Hsia in particular is about to become a huge liability, especially on defense.

    The team’s pitching staff is strong, and will see some more help from the minors in 2032.

    Left-handed power bat at any position – After Soto’s collapse, injury, and retirement this season, the team is in need of a big lefty bat in the middle of the lineup. The pickings are slim in free agency, so Jeff will be looking for trade partners who might want to part with a large contract.

    Starting Pitcher – Because the Jackals have filled so many spots with low-cost players, it has payroll space to spend on a top free agent pitcher if one is available. If Jeff could land a true ace to lead a rotation with Chavez, Martins, and Aquino, it would make a potentially-dominant rotation to go with a full bullpen.

  • #22694
     Maracaibo USA 

    November 1, 2031

    The Korean LOD awards beknighted three Jackals for their performance this season.

    LF Greg Barber won this year’s Rookie of the Year award after hitting 302/353/530 in 298 ABs for the Jackals.

    Jeff Tankersley won the league’s Manager of the Year award.

    And SP Alberto Chavez wins this year’s Pitcher of the Year award, compiling a 2.66 ERA with 130 strikeouts in 152 innings.

    Quebec’s Don Deacon won the LOD’s Batting Triple Crown and ran away with the Hitter of the Year award.

  • #22870
     Maracaibo USA 

    March 21, 2032

    Jackal Nation is shocked with today’s trade of prospects Edgar Campos, Chi-ming Zhao, and their second-round pick from the coming draft for superstar 1B Tom Porter. The trade tops off an offseason that saw a flurry of recent free agent acquisitions in the past two weeks that has Maracaibo’s fans in a frenzy.

    Let’s look at the Jackal offseason:

    1B Tom Porter 8/10/8/7/5 (acquired in a trade with Moca).
    2B Kang Yu 7/8/4/8/10 (free agent)
    SP Jeff Mallandain 5/7/7 (free agent)
    CF Juan Luna 6/6/8/7/4 (acquired in a trade with Santiago)
    LF Juan Romero 9/8/3/5/9 (acquired in a trade with Santiago)
    C Seung-woo Kim 6/6/3/8/7 (free agent)
    SP Yoni Albarez 5/8/5 (free agent)
    SP Gyun-sik Ho potential 6/7/6 pitching prospect (acquired in a trade with Rizao)
    RP Rob Muir 7/5/7 and RP Carlos Blancarte 7/7/5 (free agents)

    CL Alejandro Ramirez (traded to Rizao)
    SP Elian Flores (traded to Santiago)
    SP Aurelio Fernandez (traded to Bonao)
    1B prospect Porfiro Cepeisa (traded to Santiago)
    SS Sugiura (traded to Rizao)
    CF prospect Edgar Campos (traded to Moca)
    1B prospect Chi-ming Zhao (traded to Moca)

    The trades and signings of Porter, Luna, Yu, and Romero, added to Hsia, Dequevado, Barber and Blandino, give Jeff the Great his best lineup ever. If the Jackal pitching can stay as strong this year as it was last year, the Jackals could add some wins to last year’s 68-win effort.

    Unfortunately, Porter, Luna, and Romero are all in the last year of their deals, and are all expecting huge payouts over 20M/year for long extensions, so it is possible that all three will move on after this season. Hopefully Jeff can extend one of the three while the others are replaced by internal candidates coming up the system. The Jackal farm system saw a number of its prospects earn ratings bumps this offseason, so good times are ahead in both the short- and long-term.

  • #22974
     Maracaibo USA 

    March 22, 2032

    2032 Jackal lineup preview

    In 2018, while the Jackals were winning the Japanese League title, its hitters scored a franchise record 718 runs*. In 2019, the Erie Wolves scored 747 runs in Korea, setting a Korean run-scoring record that has not been broken*. In that same year, the Moca Machine scored 782 runs in Venezuela, setting a WBH record that has stood to this day*. * Assuming this reporter is viewing the history reports correctly.

    While the fans in Maracaibo have taken to silently hushing Jackal-related overstatements as potential jinxes for an army that has been beaten in four straight playoff matches, the soldiers in the Jackal army have taken the opposite stance. At every opportunity, the warriors of Maracaibo are flaunting their exploits and abilities, claiming to be able, this year, to beat the Jackal team record for runs scored in one season. When players started talking about reaching that 718 number, it was only natural that the more brazen and enthusiastic among them started talking about 747 and 782. “Why not?”, Hua Hsia asks. “I think we can do it.”

    It is a bold position to take, considering the Jackals have “only” scored an average 574 runs in the past four playoff seasons, but Jeff the Great has set an unofficial goal of scoring 700 runs in this year’s Korean campaign, and has been building an internal competition between the Jackal bats as to who will win this season’s MVP award while getting the team to 700 runs.

    With this offseason’s activity, Jeff the Great replaced five of the eight regular lineup spots with better bats than were on last year’s LOD-winning squad. Let’s take a look at this year’s Jackal lineup:

    Projected Starting Lineup:

    Leading off – 3B Hua Hsia 7/5/5/7/10 – Last year’s offensive MVP repeats as this year’s leadoff bat.

    Batting second –2B Kang Yu 7/7/4/7/10 – The mercenary addition brings his bat control and walking skills to Maracaibo as the team’s #2 hitter.

    Batting third – 1B Tom Porter 8/10/8/7/5 – Left-handed Porter was acquired in the last season of his current contract, and Jeff hopes to sign him to an extension. He should be the best bat in Maracaibo since Burgas the Burly was traded away before last season.

    Batting cleanup – LF Greg Barber 6/8/7/5/6 – Last year’s LOD rookie of the year is being put into a vital role in this year’s lineup as the team’s cleanup hitter, and a strong righty amid the left-handed mashers surrounding him. He should get a lot of RBI opportunities this season, and Jackal Nation has high expectations for his development in the majors following a promising minor league career and rookie season.

    Batting fifth – RF Juan Romero 9/8/3/5/9 comes to Maracaibo via trade, and his high-contact, no-power approach might fit better in the 2-spot in this lineup, but, for now, he’ll be leading off the second-half of the Jackal lineup behind the bigger bats.

    Batting sixth –C Jorge Dequevado 6/5/7/5/8 – Jorge mashed 26 HRs last season, but has made it apparent that he is mostly a platoon bat. Mercenary catcher Sung-woo Kim 6/6/3/8/7 was signed to fill the Jackal catching spot against right-handed pitchers. The Dequevado/Kim platoon can be extremely productive if both batters accept their new roles.

    Batting seventh – CF Juan Luna 6/6/8/7/4– Luna struggles in center field defensively, but, with the team’s lofty run-scoring goals, Jeff is going to start him there this season and hope he fares well enough on defense to justify his bat.

    Batting eighth – SS Teodor Blandino – 5/8/8/6/5 – Blandino was added at the trade deadline last year and filled in nicely as the team’s 3rd baseman. With the Porter addition, Hsia is moving back to 3B, so Blandino will start the year as the Jackal shortstop.

    SS Shunsuke Arai 6/7/2/3/6 is the Jackals best infield defender.
    CF Octavio Hernandez 6/7/5/6/5 is the Jackals best outfield defender.
    CF Ji-won Ham 5/7/2/5/5.
    2B Jacobo Puente 5/8/6/6/8.

    On the farm, might help in 2032:

    Maracaibo’s system is pretty empty in AAA, with the exception being CF Alvar Archuleta pot. 6/7/9/4/4. Alvar should be ready for the bigs next year, but could play this season if an injury situation demands it.

    Up next: 2032 Jackal draft wrapup

  • #23114
     Maracaibo USA 

    April 15, 2032

    2032 Jackal draft wrap up

    This year’s Korean draft class was the best of the Tankersley era in Maracaibo, and the Jackals pretty much wasted it, trading the 16th pick overall in the Tom Porter deal early last month. That trade and some subsequent poor choices will keep this class from being one of the better drafts in the recent Jackal era.

    With the 8th pick in the first round, Maracaibo snagged 22-year old college masher Myung Yang (pot. 7/7/8/6/10), who is already an accomplished young hitter and will start the year in AA.

    The other Jackal picks: 2nd round (traded to Moca) – RP Armando Ramos, age 19 (pot. 8/7/5); 3rd round – RP Tal-hun Kim, age 17 (pot. 7/8/6); 4th round – SP Jorge Lagoa, age 17 (pot. 6/4/7); 5th round – SS Jun-Hun Han, age 20 (pot. 5/5/1/3/5); 6th round – C Xiong Tsui, age 17 (pot. 4/6/4/4/4); 7th round – SS Mike Purchase, age 17 (pot. 4/4/2/3/5); 8th round – SP Marcel Gagnon, age 17 (pot. 4/4/4); 9th round – C Miguel Lafebre, age 17 (pot. 4/4/3/3/4); 10th round – SP Eric Savoie, age 17 (pot. 3/4/4).

    All in all, Jackals management sees two prospects with probable major league potential (Yang and Tal-hun Kim) and two others with some contributing potential as utility/backup players or fringe pitching ability (Lagoa and Han), and is happy the final five picks are only 17 because they’ll need a lot of years to develop some real skills.

    All of these prospects should start in single-A Las Teyerias, except for first pick Yang, who is already 22 years old and the single-A squad has several fringe 1B prospects already on the roster.

    Up next: 2032 Jackal pitching preview

  • #23128
     Maracaibo USA 

    May 15, 2032

    Just a quick update on the Jackals quest for 700 runs. After two weeks, the Jackals have put up 72 runs, putting us on a pace for 720.

    It will be hard to maintain. We’ve had some guys hitting way above their ratings, but, we’ve also had a few hitting worse than theirs. I’m hoping the coming positive and negative regressions balance out.

    Defensively (small sample size alert!), we’ve been holding slightly below average, with only one defender showing a zone loss greater than 1 (Juan Luna is a 4 in CF and playing there everyday with a total -2.1 ZR so far), and with the entire squad coming it at a .667 deffensive efficiency, which is 4th in the LOD but 5th in all of Korea. The Jackals and the LAD squads are looking pretty bad so far (again, small sample size alert!) compared to the other three LOD teams. Cheju’s .708 defensive efficiency can’t stay that high with a negative zone rating, can it?

  • #23223
     Jeonju CUB 

    Interesting writeup on the defensive stuff. I don’t know how zone rating or defensive efficiency is calculated. I know I have a decent defensive team. We don’t make many errors nor do we have many weak spots, but our defensive efficiency seems pretty low when you look at our positive zone rating and only 2 errors.

    Maybe I need to do some research!

  • #23232
     Maracaibo USA 

    Thanks Jessie – I think you’re a victim of small sample size where the defensive efficiency is concerned. Defensive efficiency is simply the ability of a defense to convert balls in play into outs. For a team with a lot of ground-ball pitchers, I think it is a very important metric to track. I’ve got two SP’s with 5 stuff but 8 movement and high GB ratios, so I’ll be tracking my DE very closely. Yours is likely coming up in the next two sims. Cheju’s is likely coming down a little. I hope mine doesn’t drop.


    May 15, 2032

    2032 Jackal pitching preview


    After trading SP Elian Flores, SP/RP Aurelio Fernandez and CL Machete Ramirez this offseason, and after the retirement of last year’s #2 SP SP Joseph Martel, the Jackals once again had to piece together a mostly-new squad of starting pitchers for the coming season.

    When the season started on May 1st, returning LOD Pitcher of the Year SP Alberto Chavez 8/6/5 took the hill on Opening Day. In his three starts this year, he’s allowed 10 runs and 23 baserunners in only 13 innings, but has struck out 15. the Jackals have gone 2-1 in his three starts.

    Rookie or sophomore (he threw 67 innings in the majors last year, so he might still qualify as a rookie, I’m not sure) SP Martins 7/6/5 had a bad first start, but pitched outstanding in his next two, and has compiled a 2-0 record thus far, recording 19 strikeouts with a 1.83 ERA and 1.17 whip in 19 innings.

    High-priced mercenary addition SP Jeff Mallandain 5/7/7 lined up in the #3 spot and has an 0-0 record in two starts, both Jackal wins, with a 3.27 ERA and 1.27 whip 11 innings thus far.

    All-or-nothing SP Javiero Aquino 8/4/6 lined up in the #4 spot and has pitched one gem (9 innings, 0 runs, 10 K’s, 3 hits allowed) and one stinker (3 innings, 6 runs, 3 K’s, 7 hits allowed).

    Finally, mercenary SP Yoni Albanez 5/8/5 lined up in the #5 spot and has looked awful. 7 innings, 7 runs, 20 baserunners allowed in his two starts. Jeff the Great is going to be patient, because part of his struggles might be the fault of the defenders behind him. Albanez is a ground-ball pitcher.

    SP Cesar Anaya 6/6/6, Maracaibo’s oldest veteran, lifetime Jackal, and the only Jackal linking this four-time LOD champion mini-dynasty (2028-2031 KOR) to the last Jackal mini-dynasty (2017-2019 Ven/Jap/USA), is likely done as a Jackal pitcher, and might be considering retirement. He started the year in the bullpen and recently suffered a torn back muscle that will set him out of action for at least four months. Jeff the Great has asked someone in the front office to look into what kind of role they can ask Anaya to fill going forward, because his pitching days might be done. Cesar might seek employment next year if his rehab goes well; teams are always on the lookout for left-handed SPs, but, even his stats last year were poor, and he was mostly healthy last year. Jackal Nation wants him to retire a Jackal. He’s been moved to the 60-day DL while he and the team evaluate his situation.


    Once a strong point for the Jackals, the bullpen has seen some personnel losses to trades and injuries and might struggle this year.
    Roberto Peleta 8/6/5 started the year as closer, but has struggled and might be moved back down into a setup role. Rookie Phenom RP Hit-O 9/7/6, RP Alex Frietas 6/8/8, RP Carlos Blancarte 7/6/5, RP Alejando Harlez 10/4/5, and RP Rob Muir 7/5/7 round out the Opening Day bullpen, with some shuffling to be done during the season with some arms in AAA that are ready to contribute, such as SP Litchy Jung and LH RP Arwin Langdale.

    Currently-injured future contributors include Jorge Tijerina 7/8/7 missed last year with a UCL tear and returns in about two months. Jorge Datil 7/7/5 is the bullpen’s best lefty, but he suffered a season-ending injury in Spring Training, so we’ll hopefully see him again next year.

    Help from the minors

    AAA pitchers Jung and Langldale were mentioned above as possible bullpen help this year. For the rotation,
    ace-in-waiting SP Roberto Almestica (currently 7/7/5, potential 8/7/7) can probably help in the bigs now and will get first crack if Albanez continues to struggle. Prospect SP Ray Hoyt (currently 7/5/4, potential 7/5/6) might be the next SP to come up the system after Almestica because he has dominated in his three AA starts to date, logging a 1.53 ERA and 1.25 whip with 10 Ks in 17 innings.

  • #23242
     Maracaibo USA 

    May 22, 2032

    The Jackals made a trade today that should improve its defensive alignment while keeping its well-powered offense rolling along. OF Juan Luna’s shortcomings in centerfield have been well-documented, so today Jeff the Great shipped his teammate RF Juan Romero to Hukuoka for CF Rigo Piloto. Also going to Hukuoka is 19-year old prospect 1B Yun-ho Chon.

    Trading Romero’s bat for Piloto’s should be a wash. Both have similar hitting ratings, with Romero slightly better with batting average and Piloto with slightly more power. Piloto is an excellent defender in center field, though, and that lets the Jackals shift Luna from center to right, where he is a more well-suited defender. Piloto probably won’t play every day and might platoon in center with Octavio Hernandez getting lots of time against right-handed pitching. A Hernandez/Piloto platoon would give the Jackals a 7+ defender in CF every day, 6/7/6/7/5 ratings against righties, and 9/7/5/6/10 against lefties.

    We’ll miss the youngster Chon, who was drafted in the second round of 2030’s draft and who has a good future ahead of him, but he ranked third on the team’s depth chart among first basemen behind Myung-gu Yang and Craig Drier and was considered expendible if it meant beefing up the pro team’s outfield defense in the short run.

    Long-term, trading Romero also helps Jeff the Great deal with the contract issues that are going to present themselves this offseason. As mentioned before, Jeff had three critical lineup spots filled with expiring contracts this season: Romero, Porter, and Luna. All three were demanding eight-year extensions in the 15M-28M/year range, and that means all three were potentially headed to free agency. By trading Romero for Piloto, the Jackals trade Romero’s $1.6M expiring contract for Piloto’s reasonable mid-range contract – $2M this year and for the next two. Now Jeff only needs to consider replacing/extending Porter and Luna (more on that in the next report) in the lineup next season.

  • #23245
     Maracaibo USA 

    May 17th, 2032

    Jackal press release:
    Aquino No-Hits Busan

    Maracaibo is abuzz in the wake of a masterful no-hitter by Javiero Aquino against the Busan Burning Dragons. In a dominating 2-0 performance at Jackals Ballpark, the 27-year-old hurler had 11 strikeouts and 2 walks. Not one batter managed a hit.

    The Busan manager said after the game, “You could tell early on it was going to be a long day for us. He made us look real bad. He was that good. And still going strong at the end of the game.”

    “Yeah, this was a special day for me,” said Aquino. “I had my good stuff and good movement… good location, too. Even when I was off and made a mistake, I got away with it today.”

    This is the first no-hitter to be thrown in South Korea since 2027 and the first Jackal no-hitter since Cesar Anaya threw one in 2018 while en route to a Jackal championship in the Japan league. Anaya also threw one in 2017 while Maracaibo was winning the Venezuela league. Can the pattern of no-hitters being followed by championships continue?

  • #23253
     Maracaibo USA 

    May 23, 2032

    Prospect fans in Maracaibo are excited to hear that the two best warriors-in-training in the Jackal system are being promoted to AAA El Tocuyo this week. Right Fielder Inejiro Watanabe (rated the #4 prospect in Korea) and Shortstop Gwon Kwon (rated #28) are now only a step away from helping Maracaibo’s army. Both players are outstanding defenders, great bats, and are still fairly young at 21 and 22 years respectively. With those two now in AAA, Jackal fans are starting to consider them in their musings about the team’s short-term future. Joining Watanabe and Kwon in the promotion from AA to AAA is their minor league teammate Paul Dryden, who doesn’t have their prospect pedigree, but will still be a solid bat in the majors one day.

    Blocking the two prospects Watanabe and Kwon in Maracaibo are RF Juan Luna, who is in the final year of his current contract and seeking an outrageous 28M+/year 10-year extension, and SS Blandino the Bland, who is signed to a cheap contract through next season.

    Watanabe and Kwon give Jeff a lot of flexibility this offseason. If Watanabe is ready, Luna can just walk into free agency and Watanabe can take his place. If Kwon is ready, the Jackals can let big bat 1B Tom Porter walk to free agency (similarly to Luna, Porter is seeking a 24M+/year 8-year extension), shift 3B Hsia over to 1B because Hsia is a poor defender at third, shift Blandino from SS to 3rd, and give SS to the rookie Kwon. That would improve next year’s squad defensively over this year’s, but would take some power out of the lineup.

    If Jeff can sign either Luna or Porter (or some other free agent) to a short-term deal, then he can leave Watanabe or Kwon in AAA for another season. With a payroll cap of $90M, Jeff the Great is trying to leave some flexibility in his future payroll so that when the two prospects reach arbitration and free agency, he can stagger the contracts in order to keep them both long-term. This maneuvering is complicated by the presence of pitching prospect Almestica, who will be ready to pitch in Maracaibo very soon (like, next month). With cheap sophomores like No-hit Aquino, Barber, Hit-O, and Martins due to start making real money in arbitration from 2034-2038, Jeff could have trouble affording three big contracts for Watanabe, Kwon, and Almestica, PLUS those four sophomores long-term. It is going to be hard to stay disciplined and not offer big contracts to those first four because that wave isn’t as good as the next wave, and Jeff doesn’t want to let one of the big three walk as a result of putting too much money holding on to the first four. Keeping all seven players past 2039 probably isn’t possible, but that’s a long way off. Then the next wave of prospects (Yang, Davilos, Escamille, and Delpilar) to reach Maracaibo complicates this discussion even further. Those prospects aren’t as strong as Watanabe, Kwon, and Almestica, and are at a higher risk of not panning out, but they should be arriving in Maracaibo as soon as 2034. It is very possible that all eleven of the players mentioned arrived in Maracaibo over a four year span from 2031-2034. Its a good time to be a Jackal fan.

    But I digress. It is safe to say neither Watanabe nor Kwon will reach Maracaibo this season. If both progress as hoped in AAA the rest of the year, they might be in next year’s Opening Day lineup, with Almestica on the hill.

    Also earning promotions are prospects SS Hi-yun Gong and 3B Freddy Robles to AA from single-A. Neither are going to be superstars, but each has good value defensively and might make the team as a utility bat one day.

    On the big league club, there are rumors that Jeff the Great has dealt some prospects for an ace closer from Thunder Bay. If true, it would go a long ways towards shoring up a bullpen that has performed poorly these first three weeks of the season.

  • #23330
     Maracaibo USA 

    June 5, 2032

    A good week puts the Jackals up at 19-11 atop the LOD, but only two games ahead of every other team. Thunder Bay, hated Cheju, and Quebec all sit at 17-13.

    The Jackal quest for 700 runs on the season is mostly forgotten now as the reality of a year-long struggle for survival sets in. This year is going to be a lot like last year. Still, the Jackals have put up 159 runs in this first quarter of the campaign, putting them on pace for 636 on the season; not a bad total. Let’s take a look at some quick notes:

    The Good

    SP Javiero Aquino went from the trade block to the hero’s corner of the local pub with his historic no-hitter on 5/17. Now off the table, Jeff the Great has printed Aquino’s name into every fifth start for the rest of the season, hoping the young fireballer can catch lighting again and again. Aquino pitched two quality starts in his three starts since the no-no, and still struggles with his fastball movement at times, but he has been a very nice performer to date, putting up a 2.41 ERA and 0.88 Whip in his 41 innings this year.

    LF Juan Luna (330/448/620) and 1B Tom Porter (294/394/477) have taken an early lead in the team’s MVP race; 3B Hua Hsia (317/418/415) was playing well before sitting down with a sprained ankle, so he drops from the race for now, and mercenary 2B Yu (295/382/402), while hitting well as a table-setter atop the lineup, hasn’t held with those guys because of his weak defense at 2B.

    C Jorge Dequevado (296/367/611 in only 54 at-bats) has been mashing in his platoon role, but because of his great play and Kim’s horrid play (noted below), Dequevado is getting more at-bats against right-handed pitching.

    The Bad

    LF Greg Barber (222/239/398), last year’s LOD Rookie of the Year, has been playing poorly, but has still racked up 5 HRs and 19 RBIs, which ranks 2nd and 3rd respectively on the team’s leaderboard. He’s being moved down the lineup because of his continuing difficulties getting on base.

    SP Alberto Chavez, last year’s LOD Pitcher of the Year, has been the Jackal rotation’s weakest performer, with a 5.50 ERA and 1.49 Whip in only 34 innings in his 7 starts. His inability to pitch strong into the middle innings, and the corresponding tax on the bullpen with each of his starts, has Jeff thinking about moving him to the bullpen as he did with SP Elian Flores last year.

    Mercenary C Seung-woo Kim (250/378/279) was signed to play as a platoon partner for Dequevado, but has struggled in his role and is losing at-bats to Dequevado, even against right-handed pitching.

    The Interesting

    Jeff expected his team to struggle more defensively this year than last, but his standard lineups seem to be producing a good league-average defensive unit. Hua Hsia, in particular, was playing inspired defense at 3B before his injury. He committed 18 errors in the field last year, but only had 2 in his 22 games played this season, and he showed an improvement in zone rating from -2.8 in 28 games at 3B last year to +0.8 in 22 games this year. Its a small sample size, but his defensive play to date is saving Jeff from making a tough decision he was not prepared to make – that is, removing one of Hsia or Porter from the field to add a better defender at 3B and play Hsia or Porter at first. The Hernandez/Piloto platoon in center field seems to be working very well, and Blandino the Bland’s play at SS is as consistent as ever.

    What’s Next?

    A big series against hated Cheju starts the week for Maracaibo. Hsia and bullpen help Tijerana shoud be returning from injury in two weeks, and SP Litchy Jung (not Almestica, as we previously thought) should be getting a call up from AAA if a starting pitcher needs to be replaced due to injury or ineffectiveness.

  • #23360
     Maracaibo USA 

    June 12, 2032

    Prospect Profile – 3B Miguel Delpilar

    Acquired at the trade deadline in 2030 from Santiago (in the Number T deal that also brought SP Martins to Maracaibo), Miguel was immediately designated the team’s Third-Baseman-of-the-Future by team management and put in double-A to start the 2031 season. He showed good defensive skills (a 7 at 3B) and contact, with average power, eye, and avoid-k ratings, making him a good bet to fit somewhere in the bottom half of a good lineup if he met his potential in Maracaibo down the line.

    Now almost two years later, Delpilar is making great contact, still in double-A, and is still playing strong defense, but he’s hit 21 years of age and is still a long way from his potential power rating. He currently shows 5 potential, but only 1 current, and has yet to homer in over 130 at-bats this year. He is hitting 328/403/435 to date.

    Delpilar is happy enough in AA for now, but there will be a day soon when he needs to move on to AAA, either because he gets personally upset with not moving up the chain or because perhaps he gets pushed by fellow org third baseman O. Jeff the Great is just hoping Delpilar can see a power spike this or next season before giving up his hopes for a 15-HR, 25-double threat in the bottom of the future Jackal lineup.

  • #23425
     Maracaibo USA 

    July 3, 2032

    As we look at the standings nine weeks into the season, just one week from the halfway point, the Korean LOD is as tight as ever. Maracaibo and hated Cheju are 32-22. Quebec and Thunder Bay are 30-24, just two games behind.

    Looking at the hitting and pitching stats, this could be the best Jackal team of the Tankersley tenure, placing third overall in Raging Morris of Incheon‘s recent compilation of the 56 WBH Team WAR numbers; and sitting first among the LOD squads in Runs, HRs, OBP, OPS, and pitching strikeouts and walks; second in the LOD in ERA and runs against; and holding steady around an average performance in the defensive metrics Defensive Efficiency (.695, ranking 4th in the LOD) and Zone Rating (-1.2, ranking 3rd). While the Jackals won’t be setting franchise records in any of these stats this season, or even coming close to those vaunted 2017 or 2018 squads, a lot of that has to do with the quality of opponents the Jackals are facing every day now in the LOD.

    Frustrated with some of the recent outings being delivered by staff ace Alberto Chavez and all-or-nothing flamethrower No-hit Aquino, the team has announced the promotion of two other pitchers into those rotation spots. Chavez and Aquino are headed for the bullpen.

    First, the long-awaited arrival of top pitching prospect Roberto Almestica is now over. Jackal fans have been intrigued by the notion of having a home-grown potential ace in its system for quite some time (in fact, its been exactly three years since Almestica’s first start in Las Teyerias described in that report), but their wait will soon be over. He will take the mound this week against LAD-leading Busan at the age of 21.

    Second, with a rather unconventional move, at least by Jeff’s standards, recently-acquired reliever Jae-Hoon “the Warden” Myong is being stretched out into a starting role. Jeff has never liked the idea of a pitcher with great stuff but only two pitches in a starting role, but the results he’s read coming out of Barquisimoto, which as three such pitchers (Parra, Graces, and Wheelhouse), have been interesting. Jeff the Great is hoping the Warden can replicate some of that success in Maracaibo.

    Looking forward to another challenging week in Korea.

  • #23448
     Maracaibo USA 

    July 10, 2032

    The Jackals army had a pretty good week, going 4-2, but falling one game behind division-leading Cheju, which went 5-1. The week was highlighted by 21-year old Roberto Almestica‘s 3-2 debut loss against Busan’s 23-year old ace Greg Wilcox that featured the Peninsula’s best SP in Wilcox showing up the promising Maracaibo rookie in a highly-anticipated matchup that can hopefully be repeated some day soon. At the season’s halfway point, the Jackals are 36-24, one game back of hated Cheju.

    But with this report, we’ll take a look at the farm system and see how things are progressing so far this season.

    2032 Farm System Progress

    The system’s five best prospects are all in AAA or the majors, so timing their promotions to Maracaibo has been a juggling act, as some (like Almestica and Jung above) have been ready for a while and were only recently needed, while others (such as Watanabe and Archuleta below) are probably just not quite ready yet. The Jackal system rating on the BA list of top Korean systems decreased on Opening Day due to some re-evaluations of the Jackal prospects downward, but the system still holds the #1 rating, at least until Almestica drops off the list.

    The AAA team in El Tocuyo and the single-A team in Las Teyerias have been playing poorly this season and are sitting a half-dozen games below .500, while the AA Armageddon have been playing quite well and had a shot at winning the league until very recently.

    1) LF Inejiro Watanabe (#4 in Korea), 20 years old, jumped to fourth on the prospect list this preseason, now ranking first in Maracaibo. He started spent a little time in AA, hitting 295/358/492 in 17 games before being promoted to El Tocuyo, where he has hit 272/302/435 in 24 games. He suffered in injury that has kept him out of the lineup for a while, but he should be back soon. He’s hitting the ball well and playing a great right field, but, his current bat ratings 6/7/5/3/4 are well below his sky-high potential ratings 10/8/8/5/7, so he might just spend all of next season in AAA in an attempt to reach those ratings before he is needed in Maracaibo.

    2) SP Roberto Almestica (#7 in Korea) started the year as Maracaibo’s 2nd-ranked prospect. The 21-year old reigning Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year played well in AAA (3.00 ERA, 1.21 Whip, 81 Ks, 17 walks in 81 innings) before being called up to help the Jackals. He shouldn’t be going back down unless he gets rocked in his first few starts, so he should be dropping off this list going forward.

    3) SP Litchy Jung (#22 in Korea) still doesn’t have the Control to pitch as a starter in Maracaibo, but, he’s been called up to help in the bullpen anyway. At 23, he’s high enough up the prospect ladder that Jeff figured “why not”. Jung was bored in AAA, pitching a 3.09 ERA and 1.13 Whip, with 76 Ks and 31 walks in 67 innings.

    4) Jeff the Great had high hopes for CF Alvar Archuleta (#26 in Korea) this season, but it has been made clear the prospect needs at least this entire season in AAA. At 24 years old, Alvar has stagnated with regard to his play in center field and his pitch recognition skills. He’s put up a horrific 236/291/362 line in 229 at-bats.

    This is a tough call for Jeff, because Alvar’s 9 potential power rating is the best in the Jackal system, with a strong 6 potential contact rating, and Alvar is only a step away from the bigs, but his production results in AAA make it impossible to call him up. His play in CF is an even bigger problem. Alvar rates as a 5 defender in CF, 6 in RF, and a 9 in LF. With sophomore Greg Barber already playing a stellar defense in LF in Maracaibo, and with future star Watanabe already having his claim on the RF spot, there doesn’t seem to be room for Alvar. It does give Jeff a trade chip (either Barber or Archuleta) to use in a deadline deal perhaps, but, none of Jeff’s fellow GMs are likely to pay top value for either of them. This is probably one of those cases where the Jackals will just have to consider Archuleta a lost prospect and check back in on Opening Day next season to see if he gained any ratings bumps.

    5) 22-year old SS Gwon-Beom Kwon (#28 in Korea) has shaken off his troubled season last year and is on the verge of manning shortstop in Maracaibo. After starting the year in AA, hitting 300/344/400 in 16 games, he was promoted to AAA with Watanabe above and continued to play an outstanding defensive shortstop while hitting 305/336/415 in 30 games to date. He has stolen 17 bases in 20 attempts. Coaches have already made the decision: Kwon has little left to learn in the minors and is ready to help in Maracaibo. Now Jeff just needs to find a spot for him.

    6) I was pretty sure, once again, that OF Manolito Eribarne‘s horrible 2029, 2030, and 2031 seasons would drop him way down these rankings, but, once again, I was wrong. He still sits at #33 in Korea because of his amazing defensive abilities. While his hitting and eye tools remain weak, and his raw power has yet to translate into game power, his defense in centerfield has been outstanding. He is only 21 years old and is hitting 210/258/292 in 195 single-A at-bats to date. He’s stolen 24 bases in 29 attempts. Because of his age, and the lack of other strong outfield defenders in the Jackal system, Jeff can simply leave Eribarne in single-A for another season or more and wait out a ratings increase.

    7) 3B Miguel Delpilar (#36 in Korea) has been recently promoted to AAA to join the other top prospects above, after hitting 335/411/447 in 188 AA at-bats. He’s been a frequent subject of trade rumors, and Jeff the Great admits to almost dealing the strong 3B defender in a few deals recently but Delpilar’s outstanding contact ratings and defense make him worth holding on to for a while longer.

    8 ) Maracaibo’s top draft pick this season, 22-year old 1B Mang-Gu Yang (#39 in Korea) brought his advanced bat to AA to start the year and hit 313/427/469 in 96 at-bats before going down with a torn meniscus in his knee. The injury will keep him out of action for another week or so before he rejoins the lineup. He might be starting next year in AAA with a chance to help the team later next year or on Opening Day 2034.

    9) C Abejundio Davilos (#43 in Korea) didn’t see a ratings bump this offseason, but started his single-A season with a bang, hitting 403/416/583 in 17 games before being promoted to AA, where his onslaught has continued, hitting 311/354/573 in 26 games there. The system’s player development assistant is telling Jeff that Davilos is already prepared for a promotion to AAA, which is almost unheard of in the Tankersley tenure in Maracaibo. The kid had great promise for all of his three prior disappointing seasons in single-A, and now he’s on the verge of moving all the way to AAA with an eye on Maracaibo as soon as next season.

    10) 2B Feliciano Escamille (#54 in Korea) has been promoted recently to AA following a 268/338/366 start in single-A.

    Others of note: Once considered the sidekick to Roberto Almestica in the farm system’s hopeful future rotation, Ray Hoyt had a down season last year while Almestica advanced to AAA and now the bigs. Hoyt stayed in AA this year and blew it away with a 2.23 ERA and 1.21 whip, 66 Ks and 29 walks in 68 innings. He’s been promoted to AAA where he hopes to solidify his chance at a rotation spot in Maracaibo late next season… 1B Craig Drier has been hitting in single-A almost as well as Yang has in double-A, and there are those in the team’s front office who believe a platoon of the lefty Yang with the righty Drier in Maracaibo is coming some day soon, while others think Yang should just get every at-bat so as not to stunt his possible development against left-handed pitching, and leave Drier in AAA as an injury-replacement first baseman for as long as the game allows… 19-year old Vincente Rodriguez’s fall from prospect grace is nearly complete, and he isn’t even 20 years old. The return Jeff got in 2030’s trade of 2B Hisashi Yokoyama, Rodriguez was the #9 prospect in all of Korea at that season’s start, with hitting and fielding potential ratings that set him with Watanabe and Barber in the team’s hopes for its future outfield. But in the years since, he’s lost all of his ratings and is hitting 225/240/283 in 180 single-A at-bats.

  • #23509
     Maracaibo USA 

    July 24, 2032

    The latest week’s action on the Peninsula have deeply shaken the city of Maracaibo, raising its anxiety to disturbing levels. The week started with a horrific sweep at the hand of fourth-place Thunder Bay, but then the Jackals came home and swept the first-place Volcanos from hated Cheju, putting the Jackals back in a tie for first with Cheju one week before the trade deadline.

    The 3-game sweep of Cheju was extremely important, but the excitement was short-lived, as news reached the town today of hated Cheju’s deal with Hukuoka that adds big-time SP Buinton Valle to Cheju’s already-strong stable of veteran pitchers. The deal includes a number of other pitchers in the majors and minors changing hands, but the move of Valle in particular has become a fixation of Jackal Nation. The local populace has taken to rumor-mongering with the trade deadline in view, and is disappointed that just a week after giving up on his search for a “true ace” to top the Jackal rotation, Jeff the Great obviously lost out on an opportunity to add a pitcher like Valle. It’s an injury added to insult that Valle was then traded to hated Cheju.

    Jeff was hoping that adding super-rookie Almestica and super-reliever Warden to the rotation would “fix” the group’s recent struggles, but both suffered embarassing losses in the recent sweep by Thunder Bay, and former ace Chavez was traded to the Obeliscos for another bat, so Jeff is likely going to look again into the starting pitcher market with the trade deadline approaching.

    This week starts with a tough matchup against 41-31 Quebec before a match with LAD foe Wuhan, then the trade deadline, which should be a very tense time for Jackal Nation.

  • #23502
     Maracaibo USA 

    July 25, 2032

    I just noticed something. I’ve been starting my OF prospect Alvar Archuleta as the starting CFer for his teams in the minors as he’s come up the organization, and is now in AAA. When I first got him (I traded for him right after he was drafted in 2030) he had good pitching potential, but better power potential, so I made him a CFer instead of an SP/RP. He now has got 545 ratings as a pitcher and has three pitches rated 5s. Despite my decision to go forward as a hitter, for his whole time in my system, I’ve also been putting him as a Mop-up reliever in the Pitching screen, just to see what happened, but he never got any game action.

    Until recently. It looks like he pitched on 7/10 and 7/15, pitching 4.1 innings with 3 Ks and 1 walk and 2 hits, no runs, against.

    He’s got good power now, 7 current vs 9 potential, but he’s 24, so his time as a prospect is almost up. He’s got 6 contact, 3 eye, and 4 avoid Ks, and his defensive ability in CF isn’t improving, so he probably won’t be a good everyday outfielder. Might be a .250/.280/.450 type when he comes up. I can survive with that in CF, but probably not in a corner.

    Has anyone had a dual-role player like this on his bench before? If I bring him up next year as a 5th-OFer, I’ll be putting him as a Mop-up reliever, too. Might be kind of fun. I remember seeing someone ask the question before on the forum, but can’t remember how that conversation went.

  • #23544
     Maracaibo USA 

    July 31, 2032

    A quick look at how the Jackal MVP race is shaping up this year. Last year’s MVP 3B Hua Hsia, ranked #3 below, is on his way to Baracoa in a trade. He is Jackal Nation’s favorite player, so Jeff the Great expects a fan interest drop when the transaction is announced to the public, but hopefully some interest is retained when they see who is coming back.

    1) (TIE) SP Martins – 26.8 VORP. Lost between the fall from grace by former ace Alberto Chavez, the no-hitter thrown by SP Aquino, the debut of super-rookie SP Almestica, the solid play of mercenary SP Jeff Malandain, and the transition from bullpen to rotation of acquisition The Warden, sophomore Martins has put together the Jackals’ best pitching season to date, with an 11-2 record, 3.04 ERA, 1.14 Whip, and 96 Ks in 106 innings. Martins leads all his rotation-mates in Wins, ERA, and Ks, and team management is hoping he can keep up his much-needed consistent outings through the rest of the campaign.

    1) (TIE) LF Juan Luna – 26.8 VORP. Slugging his way to a .289/.404/.545 line to date, with with 20 HRs, 11 doubles, and 6 SBs in 277 at-bats, Juan Luna has paced the Jackal offense this season. He’s in the last year of his current contract, but Jeff is remembering the last time he rewarded a contract-year performance out of a corner outfielder (Victor Martinez) and is apprehensive about extending another one.

    3) 3B Hua Hsia – 24.8 VORP. Hsia played a horrendous defensive 3B last year but put up a strong .290/.393/.439 line atop the division-winning Jackal lineup. After looking for other options at 3B over the offseason, Jeff decided to commit once again to Hsia’s bat at 3B and was rewarded with a huge improvement defensively and an even better batting line than last year. Hsia is now hitting .327/.422/.455 with 6 HRs and 13 stolen bases.

    4) 2B Kang Yu – 22.0 VORP. Yu’s first season as a Jackal is going well. He’s not as strong defensively as we’d like, but his .288/.378/.455 line to date is outstanding, and the team is excited to have him back next year, too.

    5) C Jorge Dequevado – 18.6 VORP. Dequevado’s VORP number is actually behind a few of his teammates’ (Porter’s 20.4 and Hernandez’s 20.6), but in part-time action as a platoon bat behind the dish, Dequevado has mashed 13 HRs on his way to a .297/.396/.588 line in only 165 at-bats. Jeff the Great is slowly increasing his weekly playing time in an effort to get him more action, but is worried he might push Dequevado into an uncomfortable slump with too many at-bats against righties.

  • #23590
     Maracaibo USA 

    August 1, 2032

    With the trade deadline in the rear-view mirror, we look at the current standings in the Korean LOD:

    Team, Record, Pct, GB
    Maracaibo Jackals, 48-30, .615, –
    Cheju Volcano, 46-32, .590, 2.0
    Thunder Bay Avengers, 43-35, .551, 5.0
    Quebec Dragons, 43-35, .551, 5.0

    So with a slim two-game lead over hated Cheju, and five games ahead of Thunder Bay and Quebec, the Jackals made some big changes to its roster in an attempt to keep up the pace. Departing Maracaibo in seperate deals are Tom Porter and Hua Hsia. Coming to Maracaibo is that ace pitcher that Jeff identified as a possible difference-maker down the stretch run, pitching icon Raul Varela. Some role players and prospects also traded teams at the deadline.

    Jeff wasn’t able to replace those two powerful lefty bats in the lineup, and some close deals fell through late yesterday because of budget contraints and Jeff’s indecisiveness and apprehensiveness with regard to parting with his best prospects, so the team will now have to platoon several positions, hoping to hold steady with better defenders and Varela anchoring the new-look rotation. The Jackals are hoping cleanup hitter Juan Luna and table-setter Kang Yu can continue to excel while also hoping that a struggling bat like Barber or Llariba can get hot in August.

    This week opens with a visit by LAD contender Jeonju before another trip to Thunder Bay.

  • #23591
     Maracaibo USA 

    August 2, 2032

    Back in 2030, there was a small discussion around a draft sim about the relative value of 17-year old prospects with high potential ratings versus older prospects with slightly lower potential ratings. As a case study, Jeff the Great wrote up a quick status on his single-A team’s lineup, to reference from the future when those prospects that he was so excited about eventually panned out or fell off. Let’s see how those prospects are faring thus far and give a quick update as to what kind of player we now expect from them now.

    For reference, here is the case as written: viewtopic.php?f=47&t=9182&start=100#p60857

    The potential ratings back in 2030:
    @Maracaibo (KOR) wrote:

    Leading off, SS Gwon Kwon pot. 7/7/2/7/10, 6 defender at SS, 19 years old.
    Second, 2B Feliciano Escamille pot. 7/6/4/6/9, 3 defender at 2B, 18 years.
    Third, LF Inejiro Watanabe pot. 9/7/8/5/5, 5 defender in LF, 19 years.
    Cleanup, CF Vincente Rodriguez pot. 8/8/7/4/6, 5 defender in CF, 17 years.
    Fifth, 1B Monzaemon Mizuno pot. 7/5/8/5/6, 5 defender at 1B, 19 years.
    Sixth, C Abejundio Davillos pot. 6/7/7/6/10, 4 defender at C, 18 years.
    Seventh, RF Manolito Eribarne pot. 5/4/9/3/3, 7 defender in RF, 18 years.
    Eighth, 3B Yong-Jun Yi pot. 5/8/2/3/5, 4 defender at 3B, 18 years.

    The potential ratings now:
    SS Gwon Kwon pot. 7/6/2/8/10, 7 defender at SS, 22 years old. Kwon has lost 1 potential gap, gained a potential eye, has improved defensively, and is currently 6/6/2/4/9 in AAA; he won’t likely meet that high eye rating, but the rest are within reach. Should be a top-of-the-lineup defensive all star.
    2B Feliciano Escamille pot. 7/6/4/6/9, 6 defender at 2B, 21 years. Escamille’s potential ratings haven’t changed, but he’s improved markedly defensively (Jeff has had him at 2B every day for three years), and is currently 5/6/2/3/6. He might not meet his eye and avoid K potential, but still has time.
    LF Inejiro Watanabe pot. 10/7/8/5/7, 7 defender in LF, 8 in RF. 21 years. Watanabe has gained 1 potential contact and 2 potential avoid Ks, he’s improved defensively at the corner OF spots where he’s been utilized, and is currently 6/7/5/3/4. He is progressing steadily towards those potential ratings so far.
    CF Vincente Rodriguez now has pot. 4/4/3/2/5, 6 defender in CF, 9 in LF, 19 years. So he’s gone from a 8/8/7/4/6 potential cleanup hitter to a 4/4/3/2/5 potential batboy.
    1B Monzaemon Mizuno pot. 4/3/6/2/6, 6 defender at 1B, 22 years. Mizuno is another failed prospect, as he’s gone from 7/5/8/5/6 to 4/3/6/2/6.
    C Abejundio Davillos pot. 6/7/7/6/10, 5 defender at C, 20 years old, in AA. His potential ratings haven’t changed, and he’s currently 4/7/3/4/5, so he’s slowly advancing towards those potential numbers. I’d say he’s not likely to meet that high avoid-K’s rating, but he’s still only 20, so if he gains 1 point every year, he’d reach those numbers at age 25. Still a good prospect.
    RF Manolito Eribarne pot. 5/3/9/3/3, 10 defender in CF, 21 years old. He wasn’t a great prospect to begin with, but Jeff was hoping for some potential rating bumps that he never saw. He’s a defensive wizard (9/10/10) now. I wish I had logged what his defensive ratings at all three OF spots was back in 2030. All I know is that he was a 7 in RF. He’s currently a 4/3/3/2/3 hitter, so he probably won’t get close to his 9 potential power rating, even if he does get that last contact point, so he’s not going to be worth much.
    3B Yong-Jun Yi pot. 5/8/2/4/5, 5 defender at 3B, 21 years. Now in the Barquisimoto organization, Yi wasn’t really a strong 3B prospect back in 2030, but Jeff didn’t have any better ones. He gained an eye potential point and is currently a 4/8/1/3/2 hitter.

    All told, of the top six hitters listed, which are really the only ones we could argue were “blue chips” or potential All-Stars, two can be projected still as future All Stars (Kwon and Watanabe), two more can be projected as strong everyday starters in the majors (Escamille and Davilos), and two can be now considered utter failures (Rodriguez and Mizuno). That’s not a strong return. If you have a blue chip prospect, can you only count on him to reach his potential 33% of the time, and only count on him to be even useable 66% of the time? I guess that percentage is confused a little because Mizuno probably falls a tad below the “future All Star” moniker, due to his position being 1B, but still, the batting ratings have fallen from generally strong to weak.

    Rodriguez was the only 17-year old of the bunch, and he wiped out. I loved looking back at that discussion I mentioned before, because Moca Man Dan calls Rodriguez “a complete STEAL at #8” of the draft that year. His contact, power, and defensive ratings made him a big time prospect. Kwon, Escamille, and Davilos were all 18 or 19 when I did the analysis, but they were 17 when drafted, and this whole exercise is flashing a “small sample size” warning on every sentence anyway, so the word is still out on whether to just completely avoid the 17-year old draftees or not.

    I’ll check in again in a few years after some of these guys have a few major league at-bats to their names.

  • #23597
     Maracaibo USA 

    August 2, 2032

    17-year olds

    I thought I’d take another look at this. I think in the past, any thoughts/discussions about the value of 17-year old prospects vs other older prospects has obviously been focused on the top talent. Guys with enormous potential ratings in every category, but because of their age, have very low current ratings, making them unlikely to reach those sky-high potential numbers.

    Well, what about the other 17-year olds? The non-elite mid- and late-round guys that we just use to fill up our minor league teams?

    In this year’s Korean draft, I drafted SEVEN 17-year olds. .

    In the last draft sim, rounds 4-10, I ranked all my guys as usual, then moved up the 17-year olds, giving them a priority over older guys with better current ratings. The Korean pool was awful after the first three rounds and I thought I could nab some youngin’s, drop them in A-ball for a half-decade, and maybe some might turn in some potential improvements. I’ll take a look at each of these 17-year old non-prospects and see how their potential values have changed since the draft.

    Remember, it has only been 6 months of WBH time, and some of their potential values are already changing.

    RP Tal-Hun Kim was a potential 586 on draft day and is still a 586 SP (786 RP). No change.
    SP Logoa was a potential 647 on draft day and is now a 747. Stuff + 1.
    C Tsui was a potential 46444 on draft day and is now a 35333. Contact – 1, Gap – 1, Power – 1, Eye – 1, K – 1
    SS Purchase was a potential 44235 on draft day and is now a 44235. No change.
    SP Gagnon was a potential 444 on draft day and is now a 434. Movement – 1.
    C Lafebre was a potential 44334 on draft day and is now a 44334. No change.
    SP Savoie was a potential 344 on draft day and is now a 343. Control – 1.

    So one 17-year old showed a one-point bump to a potential rating, three have shown no change to their potential, and the other three all lost ratings. This isn’t anywhere near a perfect analysis, because we’re not even looking at defense or stamina (I didn’t write those numbers down), and we’re not looking at usage, either (ie. some of these guys haven’t played much while some have been in the lineup/rotation all year, and it is possible the game rewards players who have more reps). Still, it looks like my strategy of putting a priority on getting the youngest players after the first three rounds hasn’t exactly paid off in prospect terms yet.

  • #23626
     Maracaibo USA 

    August 14, 2032

    Its been a devastating two weeks for Jackal Nation. The team came out of the trade deadline 5-7 in its first twelve August matchups and lost its best hitter Juan Luna and its reliever-turned-starter Myong, both for the season.

    Luna’s loss is especially painful, as it was his left-handed presence in the lineup that let Jeff trade away left-handed 1B Porter at the deadline for prospects. Now with both players gone, the team is relying on platoon player C Dequevado and over-acheiving outfielder Octavio Hernandez as its every day #3 and #4 hitters. Luna’s career as a Jackal is over. He was seeking a 21M x 8 year extension before his injury, so it was long-shot to retain him anyways, but in this, his lone season in Maracaibo, he hit to the tune of .291/.400/.538 with 21 HRs, 56 RBIs, and 66 Runs scored in 84 games played.

    The injury to Luna has sent Jeff the Great scouring the waiver wire for any bat that can fit into the team’s 85M payroll while the team prepares for a series at Wuhan before back-to-back-to-back series against its LOD rivals Quebec, Cheju, and Thunder Bay.

  • #23632
     Maracaibo USA 

    August 14, 2032

    Following the injury of Juan Luna and the expansion of rosters for the stretch run, Commander Jeff the Great, Destroyer of Worlds, calls all his lieutenants and scouts into the command tent, with the interns and secretaries being pushed out as the top brass discuss options. “All hands on deck” is the order that went out last night, and curriers are riding at top speed to Maracaibo’s farm teams with instructions for the farm teams’ management, many of whom made the late trek back to Maracaibo to help with the decisions. The players who are getting the call are still unknown to those outside the discussion, but we’ll sneak in closer for a listen.

    “We need lefties,” starts the team’s hitting coach. “Hsia, Porter, and now Luna, all gone. Hernandez and Larriba aren’t enough, and Kim can’t help at all.” The group looks at El Tocuyo‘s manager Hipolito, who was rushed to Maracaibo late last night.

    “We just aren’t holding any strong left-handed bats that can help you, “answers the large old Hipolito. “Silva is already here and Soto and Cisners are on their way, but they’s are all right-handed. If you are keeping prospects off the table, El Tocuyo can’t help you.” Hipolito, the stereotypical grisled old minor league manager, himself a veteran of the minor leagues but never good enough to fight in the hierarchy, commands immense respect even as he simply tells the room what it already knows.

    Jeff pulls away from the table and walks to the wall of the room, from which an immense chalk board, covered in white dust, hangs crookedly, and he starts writing names, repeating the names out loud as he writes them slowly.

    Non-prospects: R 1B Silva, R LF Soto, R 3B Cisners, R SS Liao, R SS/3B Kim“. Then he starts a new line: Prospects: and turns to the group.

    “We don’t need to decide who is ready. We know who is ready and who isn’t. We need to decide who will definitely be in Maracaibo next season, because if they are already 23 or 24, or if they are already at their potential upside, we won’t hurt their development by bringing them up now. Kwon and Watanabe still have work to do in AAA next year, so they are off the list. Them aside, who is coming up?”

    The room is silent for a moment before the system’s fielding coordinator quietly shouts “Richards“. Jeff writes LH CF Richards on the board. “He can help in center field right now”, the coordinator explains. “He’s got an 8.5 zone rating in only 70 games this year, has 12 steals in 15 attempts, he’s left-handed, and although he’s only 21, he’s already reached his potential. He gains nothing by staying down but service time. If you need all hands on deck, he’s on the list.”

    Alvar Archuleta, maybe”, says a local scout. “He can help in left when Barber has a bad day, and Alvar will be 25 next year. No sense leaving him out. He’s got 25 extra-base hits in 324 at-bats. Maybe he’s just bored right now. He hit 33 extra-base hits last year. Maybe he pops a few out out in a pinch-hitting role against lefties.”

    Chavez is probably ready,” says Maracaibo’s hitting instructor, having seen him in action last week following the trade that brough Chavez to AAA. “But he won’t get at-bats around Dequevado and Kim and hasn’t developed all of his potential power yet. I say we leave him down.”

    Yang“, says Hipolito. Heads turn in surprise. Hipolito looks at Jeff and asks, “you were planning him being your Opening Day first baseman next year, weren’t you? No sense holding him down. He’ll be the best left-handed bat on your team the day he shows up.” Yang was the Jackals’ first pick in his year’s draft, so it seems a stretch to see him go from college ball to potentially helping a team fighting for a playoff berth in the same calendar year.

    Prospects: LH CF Richards, RH LF Archuleta, LH 1B Yang

    “All right,” Jeff scribbles the names on a piece of paper, opens the door, and motions to the courier from El Tocuyo standing impatiently outside. “Go tell these guys to get here today,” he says as he hands him the letter. Then he turns back inside and says “let’s talk about pitching.”

  • #23642
     Maracaibo USA 

    August 18, 2032

    Pitching Wins is a somewhat-misleading stat, at least compared to ones like Whip or FIP or Ks/9, but, still being watched by the fans in Maracaibo. With tonight’s 6-3 win, sophomore pitcher Martins has moved into a tie for 2nd-place on the best Pitching Win seasons in Maracaibo history, now 14-2 with four weeks left to play. That gives Martin a good chance at matching, or besting, the Jackal record for wins in a season, 16, a number held by the legend Cesar Anaya, who went 16-3 in that magical 2018 season.

    This win was another typical quality start for the team’s best pitcher in a fashion similar to those thrown many times this year – 7 innings, 3 runs, 8 baserunners, 6 strikeouts. Not perfect, but good enough to get it done. On the season, Martins is now 14-2 with a 3.28 ERA and 1.14 Whip in 131 innings over 20 starts.

  • #23643
     Santiago de Cuba USA 

    Of all the players I gave up in the Ning/Chon trade, Martins was the last one that I thought would come back to haunt me.

  • #23644
     Maracaibo USA 

    I remember in our discussions, he was kind of a throw-in. There must be a big difference in-game between a standard 7/5/5 pitcher (those were his potential ratings at the time; nothing to get very excited about) and the 7/6/5 pitcher Martins eventually turned into. In my park especially, which has a big HR coefficient, that extra point of movement has been the difference between a league-average 4th/5th SP type and a strong #2 SP.

    Edit: He’s also only 24, so I’m curious to see if he shows stronger ratings or stats next year.

    Edit #2: On the other hand, his FIP is a whopping 4.66 compared to his 3.28 ERA. That means he’s getting an incredible number of lucky bounces and/or good D behind him. His BABIP is very low now at .253; if you look at his career in the minors, his BABIP came down from .354 in A-ball to .309 in AA to .268 in AAA before coming down to .253 in the majors. Maybe this ballpark and defense are just a good fit for him.

    Edit #3: He’s allowed 22 HRs, which leads the team by a considerable margin. Jeff Mallandain is 2nd with 12 HRs allowed. If we look at Innings per Home Run, he’s allowing a home run every 5.9 innings. By comparison, here are some other Jackal pitchers (min. 50 IP): Myong every 8.3 innings, Valera every 8.5 innings, the departed Chavez every 8.8 innings, Mallandain every 9.3 innings, the departed Aquino every 9.4 innings, Vigil every 14.2 innings, the departed Albanez every 18.3 innings, and Almestica every 20.6 innings. With a HR rate that high, maybe he’s just getting lucky with the number of men on base when those are hit.

  • #23708
     Maracaibo USA 

    September 1, 2032

    Well, he did it in typical fashion; SP Martin Martin scored his 16th pitching Win in a game in which he allowed four runs on three home runs, but was given enough run support to pull off a 9-5 victory over Busan. The win was his eighth in his last ten games. Over that ten-game stretch, he went 8-0, allowed 30 runs to 75 baserunners, and got 71 runs in support. I’m sure most pitchers in the WBH can pull off a record like that in games when they average 7.1 runs of support, but maybe not when allowing 7.5 baserunners per contest, so it is a little goofy and very lucky (his ERA is 3.44 compared to a whopping 5.00 FIP), but, with the 16th victory, he ties Cesar Anaya for the Jackal record and has a shot at besting it if he can get a win in these last two weeks.

    We’re going to need them. The Jackals lead hated Cheju by one game with 12 left to play, including 6 head-to-head.

  • #23803
     Maracaibo USA 

    October 1, 2032

    <2032 season review>

    Season Results
    Season Record: 71-49 (1st place in LOD) Playoff: 4-0 win over Busan

    All four Korean LOD teams finished over .500, the only WBH division where that occured. The Jackals won their fifth straight LOD title and won their first ever Korean title under Tankersley.

    Team MVP: SP Martin Martin. This was a tough call, as no single player dominated for the Jackals for the whole season, and therefore, no player probably deserves a capital-MVP award. The best hitters like Hsia (traded away), Porter (traded away), and Luna (injured in August) missed big parts of the 2032 season. Steady 2B Kang Yu deserves some consideration for his year-long consistency, hitting 284/373/401 with 34 doubles and 66 walks, atop the Jackal lineup and posting a 30.6 VORP season that ranks as the Jackal offense’s best. But the city of Maracaibo was most-captivated by Martin’s weekly march towards a long-respected pitching record – he tied Legend Anaya‘s 16-win mark, so Martin takes this year’s Jackal “mvp”. Martin struggled in his September starts and couldn’t lock down a 17th win, but, still, for the year, he finished 16-3 with a 3.53 ERA and 1.15 whip in 24 starts over 153 innings, striking out 128 batters.

    Offensive Player of the Year: 2B Kang Yu
    Pitcher of the Year: SP Jeff Mallandain – while Martin put together the most memorable and, arguably, valuable season, it was the old vet Mallandain who posted the best WAR (3.0, which is 3rd-highest in the LOD, versus Martin’s 1.3) and VORP (32.7, which is 2nd-highest in the LOD, to Martin’s 29.4, which ranks 4th) stats. He finished 10-3 with a 3.10 ERA and 1.07 Whip in 139 innings this year.
    Rookie of the Year: SP Roberto Almestica
    Minor League Player of the Year: SS Gwon-Beom Kwon
    Minor League Hitter of the Year: 1B Roberto Silva
    Minor League Pitcher of the Year: SP Ray Hoyt

    Playoff Results
    Game 1: 22-year old SP Roberto Almestica took his place as Maracaibo’s official ace and dominated Game 1 in a rematch of Almestica’s debut, as the Jackals beat Busan’s ace Wilcox (8-2 win).

    Game 2: 16-game winner SP Martins wasn’t masterful by any stretch, but pitched enough decent innings to keep the Jackals in the game. Busan’s manager inexplicably pitched his ace Wilcox again; Wilcox only threw 87 pitches in game 1, but probably shouldn’t have started game 2, and it appears there was some miscommunication between the team’s GM and his manager. The game went 12 innings before pinch hitter Ham singled in the winning run. (6-5 win).

    Game 3: SP Raul Varela pitched great and the Jackal offense did their job. (8-5 win).

    Game 4: Almestica started Game 4 and shutout Busan over eight innings before Vigil locked down the save. (2-0 win).

    Outfielder Rigo Piloto went 10-for-18 with two walks, two runs scored, and seven RBIs in the playoffs and was the Jackals best bat for those four games. Almestica won games 1 and 4, allowing one run in 17 innings.

    Series win 4-0. Your hometown Maracaibo Jackals have finally been able to complete a winning campaign across the Korean Peninsula (after losing in the title game each of the past four years) and are excited to be advancing the fight to Cuba. The competition there will be tough, and we might not survive there for very long, but whatever happens, Jackal Nation will remember these past six years in the Korean LOD as very exciting, discouraging, and rewarding, often all in the same season; we’ll definitely miss our friends in Thunder Bay, Quebec, and hated Cheju next year. It is a new dawn in Maracaibo and we hope we can make a good run in the upper tiers.

    Busan has a great team, and we were scared to death of facing that kid Wilcox twice or thrice in a short series, but the Jackal bats were able to score some runs against him in Games 1 and 2, and wrapped up the sweep before he could pitch again. The Burning Dragons will be right back in the thick of it next year and we wish them all the best.

    Offseason Agenda
    Getting to Cuba was really hard. Staying there is going to be harder.

    The team’s pitching staff is going to be strong, with Almestica ready for a breakout season, and Martins, Myong, Naredo, and Valero ready to contribute in 2033.

    The team’s offense has seen better days and can be improved. The injured warrior Luna is probably Maracaibo’s best bat, and he is departing via free agency. It is possible Jeff the Great brings him back with a new deal, but prospects Archuleta and Richards, along with Hernandez, Piloto, and Barber already form a strong unit offensively and defensively, so it is hard to see how Luna or some other free agent outfielder would fit in.

    Here is the Jackal Trade Block

  • #23817
     Maracaibo USA 

    October 12th, 2032

    Well, the payoff may have come almost five years since the owner first made his pleading demand for a Korean championship, but Jeff the Great’s Maracaibo Jackals finally got it done. The celebration in town lasted two full days and nights before some citizens tried to get back to their everyday lives, only to be tempted into holding continuous parties and events in the surrounding countryside for another week or so as Jackal Nation happily came to grips with its victory.

    The team’s owner is still delirious, even moreso than usual, and reportedly spent more money on hosting the two-day post-win celebration than he spent on his second wife’s wedding reception. Kang Yu and Raul Varela have officially exercised their player options for 2033, meaning they expect to fight again for the Jackals next season, and those Jackals who saw time in the playoff are now treated with reverence and royalty at every turn. Many former Jackal stars like Cesar Anaya and Ezequel Soto, who are now retired but experienced their best days in Maracaibo, have returned for the celebration and are getting their due respect for having helped deliver five straight LOD titles.

    The various celebrations start raucous at first, but as the days go by, they turn more mellowed and nostalgic, a rememberance of the day-to-day living and dieing with the beloved home army. Then the fans start to talk about the future – infrequently at first, but then increasingly at the forefront of their minds. We’ve won Korea. Now what?

    The town’s fans, now a few weeks since the Game 4 victory and the celebration that followed, are settling into a new reality, and the surrounding Cuban countryside is a little different from the one they knew in Korea. It isn’t as familiar, and it is a little scarier. The older folks boast, having been in Cuba, Japan, and the USA before, but the younger parents and children of Maracaibo are apprehensive and guarded.

    The uncertainty and anxiety that now grip Maracaibo as it starts to think about its future are not helped by the fact that the team hasn’t made any official statements about its plans for next season. It has been long-assumed that two more prospects would be lined up for a contribution in Maracaibo this season – 1B Yang, who struggled in a September callup this year, and SS Gwon Beom Kwon – but those promotions haven’t been announced yet, and Jeff might be looking for free agent help to give the prospects one more year to grow in AAA El Tocuyo. There are also now frequent rumors that a franchise-altering trade is in the works that will ship one star, several strong regulars, and two top prospects out of the Jackal Organization. Trade deadline addition Raul Varela is the star most-rumored to be on the move. Varela’s time in Maracaibo was unexceptional, with a 2-5 record in eight regular season starts, and one strong playoff outing in Game 3 (a Jackal win).

    Jeff Mallandain, arguably the Jackals best pitcher during the regular season, but whose skills slightly diminished over the course of the season, had his team option for 2033 declined, so he’s on his way into free agency. If Mallandain’s and Varela’s departures turn out to be true, it looks like Jeff the Great might have some $40M in cap space to spend on free agents this winter, leading many in Maracaibo to wonder what the Destroyer of Worlds has planned for a Cuban campaign.

  • #23946
     Maracaibo USA 

    Well, that was quick. Jeff traded off 30M in salary this week to clear space to go full after one of the big three free agents (Alcivar, Mongome, or Torrentte), but all three signed in the first sim. I put a 12M x 6 year offer on Alcivar hoping it would hold him negotiating through this week when I got my budget room, but Gerry smartly just blew him away with 25M x 6 before I could make an attempt. You guys are too good at this. 🙁

    Jeff is ready to talk salary dumps. Back up your bad contracts to my door, folks. I don’t have any trade chips, but I can do a one-for-one RP for high-priced RP type trade.

  • #23947
     Chihuahua USA 

    Tried to grab Torrentte and Mongome too! With a ~21M payroll right now and about 60M of room for free agents, I regret not offering more, but on the other hand they went for a lot of money.

  • #23954
     Maracaibo USA 

    Dave, this means you and I will probably be bidding up our targets for the rest of free agency and end up paying $30M apiece for guys like Quinteros and Yamanoue 😆

  • #24144
     Maracaibo USA 

    April 1, 2033

    Well, another year passes and the Jackal Army is reporting to camp today to begin training for the coming campaign. Hopes are high in Jackal Nation, and the town is excited for an opportunity to compete in mid-tier Cuba with its newest hero Milagro Arroyos, who came from Thunder Bay via a franchise-altering trade that sent fans reeling. The team’s supporters now watch the team begin to prepare and make bold predictions about how the team will compete for a division crown this year.

    In Jackal camp headquarters, however, the expectations are very low. The past two Korean champions, Wuhan and Brooklyn, who beat Maracaibo in the finals in their Korean championship series, were bounced from the Cuban league their first season after advancing, despite having incredibly-talented squads with strong organizations supporting them. Jeff the Great also failed miserably in his attempts to strengthen the army in the offseason this year, missing out on his top three mercenary free agent targets and not being able to capitalize on “Wuhan’s Purge” because the owner’s cash balance was sent to Thunder Bay in the Arroyos trade. Also, the Cuban draft pool this year was the worst ever seen by current team leadership, so Jeff was unable to capitalize on his best draft position (#4 of 8 ) in six years. Jeff had to settle for a series of “Plan B”-type acquisitions that leave the Jackals struggling to assemble a roster that can survive in its new surroundings.

    One of the “Plan B” type acquisitions, Shiggy Shortstop, was initially believed to be filling the team’s current need at shortstop (last season’s post-deadline shortstop Larriba was dealt to Thunder Bay), but now it appears that Shiggy will be splitting Third Base duties with defensive wizard Blandino the Bland. Prospect Gwon-Beam Kwon will be making the big league roster and starting the season as the team’s everyday shortstop. Kwon hasn’t so much as had a cup of coffee in Maracaibo before now, but Jeff thinks he’s ready and is making the commitment, knowing that Kwon will likely struggle for the first month or two of the season before hopefully improving and contributing a positive WAR and Zone Rating for the full season.

    Among other possible prospects making the team at the start of the season, late-season callup Litchy Jung is stretching out as a starter in Spring Training today with the hopes of making the Opening Day roster, and right-handed slugger Alvar Archuleta is supposed to make the team as a fourth-outfielder. First base prospect Yang will be sent down to AAA after Spring Training and will be the next Jackal to come up when a bat is needed.

    The team is announcing today a two-year extension with 2B Kang Yu, who at 38, still hasn’t seen a ratings drop in the past four years, and hit 284/373/401 in his first Jackal season last year. His excellent contact, eye, and avoid K ratings make him a valuable leadoff or #2 hitter, so having him in pocket for two more years at a decent salary (9.5M x 2 years, with the second year being a team option) is good news for a team whose leadership is looking for good news.

    This writer is scared to make any kind of prediction about success or failure this season, because while I don’t expect to win the LOD this year, it wouldn’t surprise me if our great pitching staff and decent lineup in the 1-5 spots keep us competitive at least until the trade deadline to see where we stand. But it also wouldn’t surprise me if we only won 35-45 games like Wuhan and Brooklyn did in Cuba their first season after advancing and face relegation one year in. I think we can just hope to compete in every series this year and see how it goes.

  • #24177
     Maracaibo USA 

    April 15, 2033

    “Welcome to Cuba.”

    As Chad Doober leaves the Coquis stadium after his hometown Jackals most recent loss, he is confused. The offseason reports and excitement over moving up from Korea to Cuba led him to beg and barter for as many Spring Training match tickets as he could, but after two weeks in Maracaibo’s new league, his Jackals are 2-11 in those contests.

    Some fans from Toa Baha hassle the youngster on his way out and Chad can only smile weakly and keep walking.

    “What have we gotten ourselves into?” he wonders.


    “What have we gotten ourselves into!?!?!?” Maracaibo’s owner screams at his General Jeff the Great. “We look horrible out there!”

    Jeff motions for the rest of the team’s leadership to leave the command tent and gets a beer from the ice bucket before answering the owner’s question-slash-beratement. “We knew Cuba would be tough,” he offers. “And this is only Spring Training.”

    “Oh my God, we spent six years in title contention in Korea, finally breaking through last season, and now you are telling me we are just going to have to go back?!?!?”

    Jeff thinks, “well, no, if things go badly, we might be going to Canada instead” but instead simply says, “don’t panic, the season hasn’t even started yet. We’ll take a look at the battle reports and adjust our gameplan as necessary.”

    If we’re looking for a silver lining, the team’s new hero Milagro Arroyos has slugged six home runs already, leading Cuba in home runs… but he is also leading in strikouts. Its a strange mix of great and bad performance for most of the Jackal roster at first glance.

    Welcome to Cuba.

  • #24178
     Thunder Bay KOR 

    That is tough opening. You know what they say about ST. Hopefully, this is just an isolated thing. It makes me never want to leave KOR.

  • #24159
     Maracaibo USA 

    May 8, 2033

    It was a good start to the Jackals 2033 Campaign for Cuba, as we posted a 4-2 mark with series wins against both Puerto Plata and Toa Baja. But the Jackals’ lack of depth after two big offseason trades has left the team scrambling to replace leadoff hitter Kang Yu, who has been lost for five weeks to injury.

    Milagro Arroyos started the season where his Spring Training left off, smacking four home runs in the first week, but only batting in five runs, leading Jackal management to believe it needs to find some better on-base options to hit ahead of Milagro if it wants to capitalize on his game-changing power. With Yu going down, that search will become even more difficult, but, we can’t complain about starting 4-2. Offseason cheap signing Berera popped three home runs himself, including two in a 15-inning Jackal win this week, and might have earned himself some more playing time with the outburst.

    Ace Almestica won both of his starts, going 2-0 with 15 innings pitched, pacing a motley Jackal rotation that also featured a good performance from last year’s MVP Martins, but poor outings from Jung and Myong. The Jackal bullpen bailed out its starters a few times this week, and several pitchers were used in four or more games; Jeff can’t bank on having that kind of production from his bullpen every week, so some adjustments to his rotation might be needed if Jung and Myong can’t pitch deeper into games.

    This week, the Jackals face Santurce to start the week before hosting out-of-division foe Roswell, who beat the Jackals back in the 2028 Korean championship series.

  • #24231
     Maracaibo USA 

    May 8, 2033

    Prospect Profile: SP Bob Mullen

    Mullen was drafted in a weak 2030 Jackal class in the 8th round, got one start in single-A that year, and looked pretty shabby overall, posting a 4.99 ERA and 1.99 whip in 48 innings as an 18-year old. His potential ratings were pretty weak at 5/4/5, so he basically spent 2031 and 2032 as a low-priority pitching asset, spending some time in the bullpen, some in the rotation, only getting 68 and 48 innings in those years respectively, and not doing much with them as his VORP went from -2.6 in 2030 to -6.5 in 2031 to +0.9 in 2032.

    But when Bob showed up in camp this year, his coaches noticed his potential ratings had increased to 6/5/7 and his current ratings were 6/5/4. Nothing to get too excited about, but Bob is still only 21, so he has plenty of time to improve, and he’s starting the year in double-A. I’m hoping his path follows one similar to Ray Hoyt‘s, who, after starting his Jackal career as a reliever, showed increased pitches and ratings and is now working in AAA with a shot at helping in the major league rotation soon. Both Mullen and Hoyt were coincidentally picked in the 8th rounds of their respective drafts. While both will be given plenty of time to improve in the rotation, even if they don’t work out there, they can probably be used in the bullpen.

  • #24250
     Maracaibo USA 

    May 8, 2033

    Jeff was never certain that Litchy Jung would be a strong rotation candidate, but, after spending a month in the bullpen last season, throwing 22 innings over 18 games with only 3 walks issued, Jeff was confident that Jung’s poor control rating (4) wasn’t going to hurt his chances at cracking the rotation.

    Jung had some mediocre outings in Spring Training as a starter, and made his first official start on 5/5, but in that game, he walked 7 batters. How does a pitcher issue only three walks in 22 innings one year, then issue seven walks in his first start the following season?

    With Molama out until late July and with Vigil being shipped away in a pre-Opening Day deal, the Jackals are hurting for relievers and Jung might be moving back to the bullpen if he doesn’t pitch better this week. We hate to over-react to just one or two bad outings, but, maybe Jung is just not made to pitch as a starter.

  • #24309
     Maracaibo USA 

    May 15, 2033

    As the sun came up this morning in Maracaibo, following one last deal that saw a promising power bat leave the fold, the Jackals lineup overhaul is hopefully complete. This team had a collection of excellent bats in the lineup on Opening Day last season, a collection that featured strong hitters like Tom Porter, Juan Romero, Juan Luna, and Hua Hsia, among others. A roster transition from that lineup to the current incantation started in earnest at the trade deadline last season and has seen the Jackals replace seven of those eight position players (only Kang Yu remains).

    The pitching staff behind the rotation’s ace Almestica isn’t great, but Jeff the Great, Destroyer of Worlds, is experimenting somewhat with getting enough production out of a good collection of #4/#5 type starting pitchers, protected by a strong bullpen ready to enter the game in the earliest innings, and future free agent or waiver wire additions to give him innings when needed. Pundits are asking the questions: does a team actually need strong pitching ratings in its pitchers if it has a strong defense? Ignoring the run scoring side of the equation for now, can this team be good at preventing runs with a combination of mediocre SPs, excellent RPs, and an excellent defense?

  • #24328
     Maracaibo USA 

    May 16, 2033

    Shiggy hit a walk-off Grand Slam to end today’s 5-4 win over Oaxaca!


  • #24343
     Maracaibo USA 

    May 22, 2033

    The Jackals sit at 9-9 three weeks into the season. Not knowing exactly what to expect, Jeff can’t decide if he’s pissed or excited.

    Milagro Arroyos leads the LOD in both Home Runs (6) and Stolen Bases (7). His high K-rate will keep him from ever competing for a Batting Average title, but Jeff would love to see a 30/50 season like was predicted by the mysterious Cuban League Prognosticators. That would be awesome.

    The Warden has started four games, but has played poorly in three of those, going 1-2 with a 6.86 ERA and 1.48 Whip in 21 innings. He is headed back to the bullpen.

    Hated Raspaledos has been with the Jackals for a week, is being booed with every step on the field by Maracaibo’s fans, and is a weak 3-for-22 with three singles. His immense power was on display when he hit 29 HRs last season, so Jeff is hoping a power streak can start soon.

    Rookie SS Kwon has been struggling, as expected, in his first taste of big league action, hitting 219/286/314, 14-for-64 with 1 HR and 4 SBs. He’s also commited 4 errors at shortstop, but Jeff doesn’t plan to limit his playing time or send him to AAA any time soon.

    On the farm, a prospect watch has started for the team’s newest and best pitching prospect Colonel Emil. The Colonel has pitched twenty shutout innings in AAA, striking out 24 and only walking 3 in those 20 innings, but, he’s lost a control rating since the trade that brought him to Maracaibo and Jeff is worried he’ll just pan out as a another too-good-for-the-bullpen-but-not-good-enough-to-start arm like Litchy Jung.

    This week, the Jackals host division-leading Santurce and travel to Toa Boa as they look to hang tough in the Cuban LOD.

  • #24368
     Maracaibo USA 

    May 29, 2033

    The Jackals are 12-12 after four weeks, scoring 104 runs and allowing 98. The rotation is still in mix ‘n’ match mode as Jeff tries to find the hottest hands to replace anyone with a few bad outings. Before this week, Litchy Jung was sent down to AAA to work on his control problems, The Warden was put into the bullpen, and new players Jose Moreno (free agency) and Pak (trade) were put in the rotation. Moreno won his outing (7 innings, 1 hit, 2 unearned runs, 3 walks, 4 Ks) and Pak lost his (4 innings, 8 hits, 4 earned runs, 2 walks, 5 Ks). Both will get at least one more turn in the rotation.

    Free agent Yoshida was considered a nice buy-low candidate this offseason by team management hoping to see those strong hitting ratings – 6/9/6/7/6 – in a new environment, but he’s been a wreck at the plate, hitting 211/302/237 in part-time work (a 53 OPS+). Last year’s over-performer-of-the-year Hernandez has also struggled, hitting 173/295/280 in 78 at-bats (a 63 OPS+), a stark contrast with the 274/379/461 line he produced in 321 at-bats last season (a 123 OPS+). Jeff was hoping those two players would make a decent cheap platoon team in right field this year, but, Jeff has already taken to scouring the waiver wires every week hoping to find a better cheap option.

    Some good news: Milagro Arroyos (who needs an awesome nickname – someone help me out) continues to lead the LOD in Home Runs (8) and Stolen Bases (9) and currently sports a 162 OPS+. And free agent addition Velasquez is hitting a strong 315/384/438 (a 130 OPS+) in the 2-hole. Jeff’s excited for Kang Yu to return from injury in two weeks and provide some better offense in the leadoff spot.

    In general, the on-base numbers being put up by Jackal hitters is poor, at .304, with four guys in the lineup every game producing OBPs under .300, so Jeff is hoping that with Yu’s return in two weeks, and with some better performance by those currently under-performing, that number can trend upwards. The Jackals last year had a .348 OBP in Korea, so, the .304 number is a little low for Jeff’s tastes, even if the power numbers and .500 record are about what he was shooting for.

    This week the Jackals face legendary Azua and Rizao with Jackal ace Almestica lined up to face them both.

  • #24378
     Maracaibo USA 

    June 4, 2033

    A strong 4-2 week with series wins over WBH legend Azua and fellow promotee Rizao (who advanced from Canada this year concurrently with the Jackals advancing from Korea) show the Jackals roster coming into form at 16-14, but the owner is officially expressing disappointment with the team’s progress. He thinks we should be winning it all.

    Well, the Jackals are only two games behind the LOD-leading Pumas, so, it isn’t like the season is slipping away or anything, boss. And ticket sales are still through the roof at the highest possible ticket price, so the owner can’t be upset with the financial side of the equation. Jeff’s going to chock this up to a silly moment in the game’s design, much like when a closer is unhappy that he isn’t the team’s official closer even when he’s actually the team’s official closer. Does it even matter if the owner is happy? He can reduce the budget I suppose, but we’re on pace to rack up another $100M revenue season, so this reporter is have trouble believing the owner would reduce the $90M budget to something lower. Maybe he’s just upset about all the roster moves. A team that hopes to compete probably shouldn’t be making as many waiver claims and trades as the Jackals are making.

    This week, it was the pitching staff that played the best, getting five strong outings and winning four of them. The lineup is still hurting for a good leadoff man; defensive wizard CF Carlton Richards started strong and was put in the leadoff spot against righties, but suffered through a miserable week this week, so Jeff is looking again to find another option. 2B Kang Yu is just one week away from returning from injury and will likely jump into that leadoff spot when he returns, but rumor has it his skill ratings against right-handed pitching have dropped some since his injury, which would be devastating to the team’s offensive plans. We’ll see.

    A lot of Maracaibo’s top prospects have been suffering injuries these past few weeks, so our first minor league report will probably be delayed until around the All-Star break when we have a better sampling of info to sort through.

    This week, the Jackals take on division-leading 18-12 Puerto Plata and 16-14 Santurce.

  • #24379
     Maracaibo USA 

    June 5, 2033

    Jackal ace SP Almestica was named the May Pitcher of the Month.

    Maracaibo Starter Named LOD’s #1 Pitcher
    Wednesday, June 1st, 2033
    Roberto Almestica has made fans throughout Cuba Baseball League take notice over the past month with an exceptional 5-1 record. No pitcher in the Longitude Division threw better in May, garnering him the Pitcher of the Month award today.

    In 6 starts Almestica compiled a 2.14 ERA, putting up a 5-1 record, striking out 42 and tossing 42 innings.

    Roberto also earned the Rookie of the Month award. He pitched 85 innings last year, so, I imagine most of us don’t consider him a “rookie” anymore, but, we’ll take it.

    In Cuba, Almestica currently ranks first in Strikeouts (50), tied for first in Wins (5), and second in ERA (2.16).

  • #24397
     Maracaibo USA 

    June 12, 2033

    Following a 10th-inning 5-4 win over Santurce, the Jackals complete their first series sweep of the season and reach a 21-15 record overall. Outfielder Yun clubs a walk-off home run and an impromptu celebration breaks out in the bleachers behind the home team bullpen in left field around the long-ball’s landing spot as Maracaibo takes sole possession of first place in the Cuban LOD. Jackal relievers in the bullpen who didn’t pitch in tonight’s game slowly make their way up the steps among the fans and are given exaggerated pats on the back and celebratory high-fives as Jackal Nation all at once decides to no longer cheer anxiously and tentatively in its new Cuban environment but instead take full confidence that its team will be competitive in the LOD this year.

    Jeff the Great and his staff share handshakes as they leave the battlefield and already start to discuss tomorrow’s gameplan. Kang Yu returns from the infirmary tomorrow and is expected to lead off for the Jackals, but picking a place for him in the field might be difficult. Yu can come in for Disgraced Raspalades, Shiggy, or the red-hot 3B Barera.

    If we ranked them by ratings, we’d bench Barera; if we ranked by season stats, we’d bench Raspaledos; if we ranked by fielding utility, we’d bench Shigematsu because he can sub in at any infield position and Berera is a great defender at 3B. We also need to consider handedness. If the right-handed Yu replaces left-handers Raspalades or Shigematsu, the team will be a little more right-handed in a division that has something like 80% right-handed pitching rosters. Jeff has been batting six left-handed sticks out there every night, and that has to be at least a small factor in the team’s recent success. But Jeff can’t just sub Yu for righty Barera when considering Barera is currently 2nd on the team in home runs and Slugging Pct and has been playing outstanding defense at 3rd base. A Bench-guy Barera would only be a pinch hitter against lefties, which means we’d be trading out his 18-22 at-bats a week for 3 or 4. If Yu were to replace Shiggy in the lineup, Shigematsu could play a fun super-utility type role in a different position every night, which would be fun to try, but, is now the time? What if the upheaval tips this team’s current momentum? What if Shigematsu or Barera react poorly to a move? It leads from this reasoning to Raspaledos being the odd man out, but that Gargantuan Mountain of Cheat has just started coming into form, going 7-for-18 with two home runs and three walks this week.

    It is a nice discussion to have on the heels of a 9-3 stretch, and Jeff will be deliberating about it before submitting his lineup tomorrow.

    The Jackal pitching was strong this week, both in the rotation and in the bullpen and this reporter is going to reserve further comments for a later time, because this weird mix of pitching roles is finally starting to work out and I don’t want to jinx it.

    The team’s owner is no longer voicing displeasure with the team’s performance as he was last week, but he isn’t jubilant either. It is an odd change of behavior for the quirky millionaire; townfolk can’t decide if he’s feigning anger in an attempt to motivate his general staff or if he’s simply ignorant to the difficulties we expected from advancing from Korea to Cuba. He’s quietly pumping his fist and nodding along when the team performs well, but purses his lips and shakes his head solemnly with each missed opportunity in-game, as if he expects all of his hitters to get a hit every time there is a runner in scoring position. The man lovingly referred to by locals as “that old psycho” has become much more reserved and focused. This might just be a phase. Or it might be, that since his life goal in these waning years was accomplished with last year’s conquest of Korea, maybe he just hasn’t figured out what he wants now.

    This week the Jackals face 14-22 Toa Baja and 19-17 Oaxaca.

  • #24412
     Maracaibo USA 

    June 19, 2033

    Weekly results

    After all of Jeff’s mental gymnastical hangwringing last week about where to place 2B Yu in the lineup, Jeff went with a fourth option not mentioned; he shipped rookie SS Kwon down to AAA and simply let Yu, Raspaledos, Barera, and Shiggy all play everyday. The team outscored its opponents 21-18 and notched four wins in order to lengthen its LOD lead to 3 games over new rival Puerto Plata. The Jackals lead the LOD in runs scored and runs allowed and is 25-17 overall.

    Decisions to make this week following some injuries

    The Jackals have suffered another small string of injuries to personnel who could be called non-essential, but it is enough to stretch Jeff the Great’s depth a little bit. We’re hurting for outfielders, which is a little worrisome since it was a team strength before the season (enough so that Jeff traded two outfielders away), but injuries and non-performance are taking their toll.

    But first, in the bullpen, we’ve lost free agent signee Big Time Xiang to a ruptured tendon in his finger that will keep him out 3-4 months. The injury therefore ends Big Time’s first Jackal season with 19 innings in 16 games, 21 strikeouts and 5 walks. Xiang was on Tuluca’s Championship-winning squad here in Cuba last year, so Jeff was hoping for some karmic assistance when signing him to the Jackals, but with a loss in pitching ratings against lefties and hefty salary for a middle reliever ($5M/year for three more years), Jeff might try throwing him into a deal at the deadline this year to a team looking for a good reliever next year.

    In the outfield, rookie CF Carlton Richards has been providing negative value as a hitter, but positive value as a defender (and the two values just about net out, as shown by his 0.1 WAR), but Richards is now on the DL for four weeks after suffering a fractured shoulder blade. This doesn’t appear to be too much of a loss at first glance, but we really just don’t know how much Richards’ defensive 10 rating in CF was helping the Jackal pitching staff. The next-best option is Arroyos, who is an 8 in CF.

    Finally, also in the outfield, last year’s hero turned this year’s bum Orlando Hernandez has “ankle soreness”, which could keep him out of action for 1-2 weeks and might just convince Jeff to cut him outright or try getting him down to AAA for a while.

    The problem now is, who can replace those two outfielders? In AAA, there are two veteran minor leaguers Gamblin and O’Finnigin. Super-prospect Watanabe has been biding his time and producing like a wrecking-ball, mashing 11 HRs so far in AAA and hitting 299/330/516 in 184 at-bats, but he is still only 22 and at least one year from his full potential. Jeff wants to wait that one more year before bringing him up to Maracaibo and pairing him with Arroyos as a long-term lefty-righty 3/4 unit in the lineup.

    Considering Richards and Hernandez weren’t doing all that much with their playing time anyway, Jeff doesn’t need to find a great producer to fill their place, as a league-average player can do the job they were doing. We’ll probably just see Gamblin and/or O’Finnigin come up for a week and perhaps a quick free agent signing or under-the-radar trade to help after that.

    Pitching report

    The Jackal rotation has been pitching very well, leading the LOD in most categories, including runs allowed, and the starters seem to be pitching two good starts for every bad one, which is about all we can ask. Almestica (7-2, 2.24 ERA) is winning the LOD pitching Triple Crown right now, and Martins (5-2, 3.05 ERA), Naredo (3-3, 3.79 ERA), Moreno (3-2, 2.91 ERA), and Pak (2-2, 2.32 ERA) have been keeping the Jackals in most games and the bullpen has been pitching better as well. The team’s offseason emphasis on defense and bullpen options over big bat free agents appears to be paying off so far.

    The Warden has settled into his relief role, and probably for good. After starting the year in the rotation and posting a 6.86 ERA with 18 Ks and 6 walks in 21 innings, he’s got a 2.25 ERA in relief now, with 24 Ks and only 2 walks in 12 innings. He has 6 saves in those 11 relief outings. He won’t be going back to the rotation any time soon.

    Who’s hot?

    In addition to Myong’s incredible 24/2 K/BB ratio in 12 relief innings, Shiggy and Raspaledos have each hit five home runs in the past nine games. The Jackals as a team have hit 62 HRs so far this year; by comparison, Santurce has 44, Toa Baja has 36, and Puerto Plata has 35. Jackal Nation digs the long-ball. The Jackals still only have a .308 team OBP this season, but that seems par for the course. The LOD average is .313 (though it should be noted, the LAD’s is .331).

    The week ahead

    Maracaibo has benefited from an early-season schedule that let us play 24 home games (in which we went 15-9) compared to only 18 away games (in which we went 10-8). This week, the Jackals travel to Roswell and Santurce for some tough road tests.

  • #24433
     Maracaibo USA 

    June 19, 2033

    It’s time for a closer look at SP Martin Martin.

    Towards the end of last season, while he was on his way to a team MVP award and a franchise-best 16-win season, we noted that Martins was sporting a 3.44 ERA, which was decent enough, but not outstanding, and we had trouble accepting even that mediocre number as a true reflection of his talent because we could see he had a horrific 5.00 FIP. The Fielding Independent Pitching number is supposed to show what his ERA would be if the events outside of his control (home-run fly ball rate, babip, etc) were at league-average levels, so, it is supposed to be a better reflection of his pitching talent than ERA, which includes luck-impacted events like a high number of line drives being caught instead of hitting the gap and long balls being blown back into the field of play instead of being blown out by the wind.

    Well, here we are, seven weeks and eight starts into another season, and those numbers seem to be replicating themselves and, in fact, improving. Martins is currently 5-2 with a 3.05 ERA and 4.08 FIP. We have a small sample size consideration here, I suppose, but, 56 innings isn’t nothing.

    So I ask myself the question: Are some pitchers simply able to always outperform their FIP? And is Martin Martin one of those pitchers?

    Maracaibo has a quirky ballpark. It suppresses batting average and doubles, but allows more HRs than a normal ballpark. Therefore, looking at Martin, we’d expect him to actually perform pretty poorly in Maracaibo because he is a fly-ball pitcher, with a 40% GB rate. Fly ball pitchers like Martin, because they are allowing more fly balls should also be allowing more home runs; which we multiply by Maracaibo’s propensity for allowing home runs thus hypothetically making him a bad pitcher here – but the fact is, he’s outperforming his FIP, not underperforming as we’d expect.

    So is he just keeping all those fly balls in the park somehow? Is that how he’s overperforming relative to his FIP is by preventing HRs at a high rate that can be repeated? Well, we have about two years worth of data now, stretching back to 2031 when he first entered the league, and those results don’t answer the question but actually make it murkier. In 2031, he allowed 11 HRs in 67 innings (one HR every 6 innings), in 2032 he allowed a shocking 28 HRs in 153 (one HR every 5.5 innings), and now in 2033 he’s allowed 5 HRs in 56 innings (one HR every 11 innings), so he was allowing a whole lot of balls to leave the park until this season, which explains why his ERA (and FIP) have improved from 2032 to 2033. The current HR rate can revert back to earlier levels, though, and he’d still be overperforming his FIP. I hate to look back at minor league stats, but, if we do, we see some encouraging signs; his Inning/HR ratio is actually closer to the 10:1 ratio he’s showing now than the 5:1 ratio he was showing the past two seasons. Could it be, at only age 25 now, could he actually be improving with regard to home run rate? He didn’t show a ratings bump this offseason, so that doesn’t tell us.

    We should also note that we moved from Korea to Cuba this offseason, which we’d casually point to if his numbers were worse and simply say “harder league”, but, since his numbers are slightly improving, the reason for overperforming his FIP is even more murkier.

    So, after this quick analysis, I keep finding reasons why Martin should be playing worse than his FIP, not better. Maybe the problem is with the FIP calculation itself, but that’s beyond my understanding. I know what FIP is, but not how to calculate it. And I only looked at Maracaibo when looking at ballpark effects; if all the other cities we’ve played in have the same tendencies (for example), then Maracaibo’s doesn’t matter. I also didn’t look at the lineups Martin has been facing – despite moving up from the third tier to the second, I bet Martin is facing fewer “true” power hitters and is definitely facing more righties. In Korea I was facing lefties like Cheju’s Huie and Quebec’s Deacon 24 times a season each, whereas here in Cuba, the lineups are a little more righty-heavy. The Cuban Top 20 Players listing only shows nine left-handed bats with 7-or-better power and only two of those are on other LOD teams (Toa Baja’s Rodriguez and Santurce’s Carrillo).

    Something I’ll be keeping an eye on, and of course, trying to replicate. If I’ve found some secret mix of pitching ratings (7/6/5) and ground-ball rate (40%) that will produce magic FIP-beating results in Maracaibo, you’d better believe Jeff the Great will be hunting those guys down in trades and free agency!

  • #24497
     Maracaibo USA 

    July 1, 2033

    One month after Almestica brought home the LOD Pitcher of the Month award for May, his Jackal teammate Warden Myong wins the honor for June.

    Bullpen Ace Wins Best LOD Pitcher
    Friday, July 1st, 2033
    He was the #1 pitcher in June according to the voters. Jae-hoon Myong completely shut down opposing teams to win the Longitude Division Pitcher of the Month Award.

    Maracaibo’s star reliever held the opposition to a .150 average and put up 7 saves and 30 strikeouts in 16.2 innings with a 2-0 mark and 2.16 ERA.

    This year Myong has 9 saves, totaled 40 innings, allowed 36 base hits and fashioned a 4.50 ERA while racking up 53 strikeouts and a record of 3 wins and 2 losses.

  • #24500
     Maracaibo USA 

    July 3, 2033

    The Jackals are 32-22 one week from the halfway point, in 1st place with a 3-game lead over those scary Pumas. Some more minor injuries and returns from injury and minor trades are forcing some small changes to the back spots on the bench and bullpen, but nothing drastic. Some poor pitching in the rotation is going to lead Jeff to make some changes there (and potentially call up fireballing 20-year old Coronel for his debut this week) as Jeff continues to search for that ever-elusive perfect mix of pitchers.

    Meanwhile, the Jackals now have five hitters who have double-digit home runs – CF Arroyas (15), 3B Berera (14), C Velasquez (12), 1B Raspaledos (12), and SS Shigematsu (10). That means those five guys are all on pace to hit over 20 HRs apiece. The Jackals are still having trouble putting men on base ahead of those homers, and Maracaibo ranks third in the LOD with a .319 OBP, but having that many power options in the lineup every day so far has been nice.

    This week, we face Azua and LAD-leading Oaxaca with the trade deadline looming just weeks away. This year is going fast.

  • #24532
     Maracaibo USA 

    July 10, 2033

    At the season’s midpoint, the 36-24 Jackals have a 3-game lead over new rival Puerto Plata and the rest of the Cuban LOD. Its been a steady season of 2-4, 3-3, and 4-2 weeks, never being swept, but only sweeping an opponent once. That means, of the 20 series played by the Jackals this season, 19 of them were 2-1 series wins for either the Jackals or their opponent. Steady Eddie. The team’s best players have managed to avoid injury so far, so what has started off well could turn sour at any moment. Jeff can only keep his fingers crossed and hope that if some injury befalls a needed regular, the depth in the system can fill in the gaps.

    Jackal fans noticed a week ago that the team released rented slugger Raspaledos, who hit 12 HRs in his 123 ABs in Maracaibo. The Jackals didn’t try to trade him (though they did send him through waivers – unclaimed), so the release came as somewhat of a surprise to Jackal Nation, but now it makes sense why. His salary had to be cut in order to bring on new 1B slugger Chet Waugh.

    Chet Waugh

    Waugh comes via trade from the Canada-killing 43-17 Incheon Inchworms, where he hit 327/451/613 with 12 HRs in 168 ABs. Going to Incheon is the Jackals now-former first-baseman-of-the-future, prospect Myung-Gu Yung, who might help Incheon now if needed, but who is still a year or two away from reaching his high potential ratings. Also heading to Incheon is tweener SP/RP Litchy Jung, who has great stuff, but limited stamina and command that might make him a reliever long-term despite his decent production as a starter in Maracaibo (2 starts, 2.84 ERA, 1.66 Whip, 15 Ks, 12 walks in 12 innings) and AAA El Tocuyo (8 starts, 2.63 ERA, 1.37 Whip with 50 Ks and 24 walks in 41 innings) this season. Also coming back to Maracaibo with Waugh is 18-year old prospect Hei-Feng Zhou, who was a third-round pick last season for Incheon but whose potential ratings have improved since then and who the Jackals are hoping might be a high-dollar lottery ticket that can pay off after several years of time in single-A Las Teyerias.

    Incheon management has commented elsewhere about why the deal makes sense for them, and Yung should be a good low-cost option to replace Waugh in the next few years. It can’t be easy to trade a slugger like Waugh while riding a 43-17 first half of the season, but the salary cap makes it hard to keep everybody so it makes sense to get something for him before he departs for free agency.

    Its a deal that makes a great deal of sense for the Jackals, who have been looking for a good hitter (NOW!) to round out the top-four spots in the lineup behind 2B Yu (324/383/495), C Velasquez (313/372/533), and CF Arroyas (285/348/517). Waugh (327/451/613) will now take the everyday cleanup spot and push overperforming 3B Barera (268/335/505) into the five-hole. Waugh is only signed through this year, but the Jackals have $25M in cap space next year to spend, and they might just decide to use that space to keep Waugh past this season rather than try their luck in free agency (which was a disaster this past offseason). Hopefully the two sides can come to a quick long-term agreement and start thinking about the stretch run.

    Trade Deadline approaching

    It is hard to see the Jackals finding cap room to make any more big deals this season, but you never know. They currently sit at ~85M and have backed off from trading prospects SS Kwon and OF Watanabe recently. Rumor has it Pacora’s CF Rafael Vallarta is on the trade block, but even with Jeff’s propensity towards shooting for big franchise-shaking megadeals, it is hard to see the Jackals being able to make a fair offer for that monster talent.

    Team management is expecting RP Molama and CF Richards back from injury in July, so those two will fill the Jackals current needs for relief and defensive help at the deadline. The rookie SP Coronel went 2-0 with a 1.23 ERA, 0.82 Whip, 12 Ks and 7 walks in his first two Jackal outings this week, so he may be good enough to fill the team’s solid-#3 SP need.

    We could probably use a good right-handed hitter to compliment the left-handed mashers we have in the 2-4 spots in the lineup now, and we have some poor production in our corner outfield spots that can be improved, but with the salary cap limit hampering any attempts at adding salary, we might just have to continue to rely on Yu and Barera to provide right-handed stability to our lefty-heavy lineup.

    This week

    This week the 36-24 Jackals take on 30-30 Rizao and the 34-26 LAD-leading Invaders from Roswell.

  • #24628
     Maracaibo USA 

    July 24, 2033

    Two more 4-2 weeks push your hometown Jackals to 44-28 and a six-game lead on Puerto Plata. Hermoso Molama, who was acquired via trade this offseason but who hasn’t pitched for the Jackals yet because of an injury he suffered in Spring Training, joins the bullpen today as the team’s official capital-C Closer. The team has been doing well with The Warden Myong in that role, but with Myong’s ability to pitch 2+ innings at a time, and rack up strikeouts by the handful, Jeff is going to put Myong in as the 7th-8th inning setup guy and Molama as a 9th-inning only guy.

    Trade deadline approaching

    With the team playing well and no catastrophic injuries to date (knock wood) and with newly acquired slugger Chet Waugh in the lineup, the Jackals don’t see any pressing team needs for the stretch run. Jeff has been trying to get a good right-handed corner OFer on the trade market, but he doesn’t want to trade away any real talent, so other general managers are rightly telling Jeff, “um… no thanks.”

    We’ll keep our eye on the Trade Block this week and look for opportunities to find an opportunity to make a move, as always, but it doesn’t appear that the Jackals will be pushing any talent out the door full force this season as it did in years past.

    Montego Barera hits 3 home runs in a game

    Barera had the game of his life on July 19th, going 4-5 with three home runs and five RBIs. Barera hit another home run three days later and now has 22 on the season, which ranks 2nd in Cuba behind teammate Arroyos. It is a career year for the cheap veteran one-year $850k signing, and team management is now in discussion with the 35-year old regarding a modest multiyear contract extension. Jeff is well aware that rewarding a career year with a big deal for an older player can end up backfiring [see: Victor Martinez 2029-2030], but Barera isn’t seeking more than the Jackals can afford. A 2-year extension at about $1.7M per sounds like a fair low-risk investment.

    The week ahead

    This week the Jackals face the struggling 26-46 Coquis and 34-38 Azua.

  • #24449
     Maracaibo USA 

    July 31, 2033

    Mostly quiet on the trade front today following another good week for the Jackals, who went 4-2 and now hold a seven-game lead over Puerto Plata atop the Cuban LOD.

    The top five hitters in the Jackal lineup are looking very strong. With the exception of Barera in the OBP department, each of them is close to having that optimal .300/.400/.500 type season that statheads drool over.

    2B Kang Yu is hitting .345/.420/.483.
    C Mario Velasquez is hitting .331/.394/.544.
    1B Chet Waugh is hitting .310/.395/.563.
    LF Milagro Arroyas is hitting .314/.378/.587.
    3B Montego Barera is hitting .276/.344/.539.

    Milagro Arroyas also leads Cuba in Home Runs (24) and Steals (31). A 30/30 season is well within reach.

    On the pitching side, Jackal ace SP Roberto Almestica leads Cuba in the Triple Crown stats with 12 wins, 129 strikeouts, and a 2.29 ERA (at 2.29, he’s actually tied with Oaxaca’s Chae Yi, but a tie for first is still first ; -)

    The Jackals best prospect RF Watanabe made his big-league debut last week as the team was hurting for good right-handed bats. While it was probably a dumb move long-term to bring him up before he was ready, flags fly forever, and this team is making a run for it. He went 7-for-26 with one double and one home run in his first week of action.

  • #24712
     Maracaibo USA 

    August 14, 2033

    The 56-34 Jackals have built a strong 11-game lead over 45-45 Puerto Plata in the Cuban LOD. With three-fourths of the season complete, and in the face of several decades of written history that say it is uncool and a jinxable offense to even consider it, Jackal management has started to look ahead to the playoffs.

    The likely opponent in a still-hypothetical playoff match is old foe Roswell, which holds a 10-game lead in the LAD. The Jackals and Invasion have played 12 times this season and have each won six games. If it happens, it should be a fun playoff series.

    Roswell and Maracaibo do have some history- the two met in the South Korean championship in 2028, which the Invasion won four games to two. The playoff loss came on the heels of a tremendously exciting race in the LOD in which Maracaibo and Quebec were tied at 64-55 going into the last day of the season and Maracaibo beat Quebec in the last game to win the division. The championship series had a disappointing end, but with this year’s Jackals playoff chances increasing as each day goes by, many in Jackal Nation are looking forward to a possible playoff match against Roswell and remembering that magical 2028 season that gripped the city.

    This is a position that Jeff didn’t really expect to be in, but isn’t going to cough up some “us against the world” underdog storyline because we really had no idea if this team would be competitive or not. Coming in, I thought I assembled a good roster, but after so many years living game to game in the Korean quagmire, I wasn’t sure if the same roster would play well against tougher talent in Cuba. It’s been a fun year (so far) and I get the sense that we arrived here in the LOD at just the perfect time to make this playoff move while the other LOD teams were in a slightly weakened position looking at their long-term competitive arcs.

    Now with roster expansion upon us and with a big lead, Jackal management can perhaps let off the gas a little bit, and is tasked with finding a good mix of talent to not only maintain a nice lead but also try to give some guys some time off; a big injury would take the shine off a future playoff berth really quick. For example, two prospects who might help the team in the playoffs, RF Watanabe and SP Coronel, have been sent back down to AAA for now to hold their service clocks in check while the team hopefully coasts through August and September. I’m sure we’ll be seeing both of them back in Maracaibo in a few weeks to dust off the cobwebs before October.

  • #24716
     Maracaibo USA 

    August 21, 2033

    2033 Farm System Progress

    At the conclusion of the 2033 minor league season, the Jackal organization appears to be pretty strong but ready to suffer a drop this offseason as top prospects RF Watanabe (#1 below), SP Coronel (#2), and SS Kwon (#4) are probably going to be on a postseason roster if the Jackals can hold their pace, and will definitely be on the Opening Day roster next year, so they’ll soon fall off the list.

    All three minor league squads were competitive this year and the morale among the prospects was strong as a result. The AAA Pulverizers went 47-43, the AA Armageddon went 42-48, and the A Slam went 52-38.

    1) LF Inejiro Watanabe (#9 in Cuba), has recently spent some time in Maracaibo and is pegged for a playoff roster spot if the Jackals can lock it down. He hit 293/328/502 in AAA with 13 HRs this year and is taking home this year’s Jackal Minor League Player of the Year and Hitter of the Year Awards.

    2) SP Emil Coronel, Jr. (#11 in Cuba) was acquired in a pre-season trade with Oaxaca and dominated in AAA before coming up to help the Jackals in July. He is this year’s Jackal Minor League Pitcher of the Year.

    3) 1B Hei-Feng Zhou (#15 in Cuba), 18 years old, is the team’s newest best hitting prospect, acquired in the Waugh deal and hit 274/287/429 in a small 87 at-bats after the trade in single-A.

    4) 23-year old SS Gwon-Beom Kwon (#21 in Cuba) started the year in Maracaibo but was sent back down to AAA in June and got hurt. When he returns from injury in a week’s time, he’ll be called up to Maracaibo so the team can see if he’d be useful on the postseason roster.

    5) OF Manolito Eribarne continues to struggle with the bat, but his defense and base-stealing abilities keep him ranked highly, currently sitting at #24 in Cuba because of his amazing defensive abilities. He suffered a concussion mid-season and was only able to play 24 games in AA and 19 games in AAA. The raw power is there (9 potential), but at 22 years old (with 4 current power), his time remaining to meet that potential is starting to slip away.

    6) 3B Carlos Tobenas (#25 in Cuba), 18 years old, hit 238/294/381 with 36 steals in 328 at-bats in single-A. His future remains very bright and the Jackals are excited to see how he progresses next year.

    7) C Abejundio Davilos (#31 in Cuba), 21 years old, had some big ratings bumps this preseason and went nuts this year in AA before a promotion to AAA. He still lacks in the power department (3 current vs 7 potential), but if he makes advances there, he’ll be an outstanding major leaguer as soon as 2035. Once Watanabe and Kwon are officially added to the big-league roster, Davilos becomes the Jeff the Great’s best prospect, whether ranked that way by the experts or not.

    8 ) RP Cheol-kyun Chong, 21, pitched 37 single-A innings this year with 34 Ks, 11 walks, a 1.18 whip and 2.17 ERA. Jeff is kicking himself for not pushing a greater workload for the reliever, and Chong might be moving up to AA next year.

    9 and 10 ) Outfielders Alex Florido and Eduardo Collantes will be forever linked since they came to Maracaibo in the franchise-changing Arroyos-Varela deal with Thunder Bay, and the two outfielders played well enough but might not be more than 4th-outfielder pinch-hitters if they advance to Maracaibo in the next few years. They will have value, but don’t have the upside that Zhou, Tobenas, and Davilos above have.

    Two years of mostly weak draft classes have hurt the Jackal system, but no more than everyone else. This year’s top pick SS Pernillo is a good example of the middle-ground 2nd-tier talent that Jeff hopes to add in future drafts. There’s a good chance Pernillo, with enough time in the system, can develop into a decent major leaguer.

  • #24730
     Maracaibo USA 

    August 21, 2033

    Triple Crown Watch

    Two of Cuba’s best hitters are currently in a battle for the Triple Crown. It is likely neither will win it, but, with four weeks to go, you never know.

    Toa Baja’s 1B Fernando Rodriguez is 1st in Cuba BA (.359), 2nd in Home Runs (29), and 1st in RBIs (80). This gives Rodriguez the inside track on the Triple Crown, as that BA and RBI lead over Arroyos is significant.

    Maracaibo’s CF Milagro Arroyos is already at 32 HRs and 42 steals and is on pace for a 40/50 season. He is 2nd in all of Cuba in BA (.331), 1st in Home Runs (32), and 2nd in RBIs (69).

    In the Pitching categories, Maracaibo’s SP Roberto Almestica currently leads in all three Triple Crown categories with a 2.25 ERA, 13 wins, and 141 strikeouts.

    ****Self-contratulatory alert – don’t read further if you don’t want to see a non-humble brag****

    Team Performance

    A quick look at the Cuba League page in-game shows the Jackals leading in all six of the highlighted team stats: Runs Scored (472), Team BA (.267), Home Runs (146), Runs Against (333), Defensive Efficiency (.716), and Starter ERA (3.37).

    The Jackals (60-36) are up 13 games on Puerto Plata with four weeks to play. I’m patting myself on the back pretty hard here. Very proud of the group I’ve assembled.

  • #24801
     Maracaibo USA 

    September 11, 2033

    The Jackals have wrapped up a playoff spot with a strong 5-1 week. Jeff the Great was humble and conciliatory with the post-game press conference as his warriors celebrated in the stands with Jackal Nation, speaking in understated media bites that don’t mean much.

    Some quick notes to point out:

    – At 71-43, this is the winningest team from Maracaibo since the 2029 squad went 76-44, and we still have six games to play. I’m surprised this team performed so well after the recent seasons in Korea, where we won the LOD each year but only won 67, 68, and 71 games the past three seasons.

    – The 71-43 Jackals also have a five-game lead over likely playoff opponent 66-49 Roswell. The Jackals winning % at home is .667, on the road .579. Having homefield advantage for a playoff series could be significant.

    – The team went 5-1 its first week after losing big bat Waugh for the season. We loaded the team with decent infielders this year and they are all healthy (except for Waugh) so, perhaps the Waugh loss might not be a playoff-chance killer.

    – Jeff has some tough decisions to make when it comes to deciding his playoff rotation. SP Almestica (158 IP, 2.21 ERA, 1.12 Whip, 163/60 Ks/BBs) is an easy #1, and we think SP Martins (159 IP, 3.04 ERA, 1.31 Whip, 126/63 Ks/BBs) is a good bet at #2, but then we have a small glut of candidates for that third and fourth rotation spots. Roswell’s team, like most of Cuba, actually has a losing record against left-handed pitching, which might give lefties SP Naredo (98 IP, 4.04 ERA, 1.26 Whip, 69/37 Ks/BBs) and SP Poulin (40 IP, 3.98 ERA, 1.40 Whip, 20/18 Ks/BBs) a leg up on right-handed options like SP Moreno (117 IP, 3.06 ERA, 1.24 Whip, 97/65 Ks/BBs), SP Pak (108 IP, 3.58 ERA, 1.32 Whip, 71/56 Ks/BBs), or SP Coronel (in AAA and WBH, 84 IP, 2.68 ERA, 1.21 Whip, 84/34 Ks/BBs).

    – A quick note to any of the 3rd-tier teams who might be coming up to Cuba next year (and to the US team that comes down) – Stock up on left-handed pitching! Here are the 8 teams’ records against LHPs this year: Puerto Plata 12-10, Santurce 16-15, Maracaibo 15-15, Azua 14-15, Oaxaca 11-12, Roswell 13-15, Rizao 10-18, Toa Baja 8-16.

    – There was a funny OOTP press announcement for the contract extension just signed with RP The Warden (bold emphasis mine, caps emphasis OOTP’s): “The Jackals opened their pocketbook and persuaded Jae-hoon Myong to continue his career in front of the fans who have grown to appreciate his talent and contributions. The agreement was for $13,500,000 over 6 years. “Myong just wants to get paid. If YOU don’t wanna pay Myong, Myong don’t wanna play for YOU.” So he said today at the press conference when asked about the details of the negotiations.”

    I didn’t know the Warden talked like that. 😆

  • #24819
     Maracaibo USA 

    September 17, 2033

    In today’s win in the final game of the season, Milagro Arroyas did what he could to make a final run at a 40/50 season and Triple Crown, but, while he did hit his 39th home run and steal his 56th base of the season, he was walked three times and ends the year 1st in Home Runs with 39, tied for 1st in the whole WBH (with the USA’s Tsutsumi), 2nd in Cuban Batting Average (.342, to .346 by 1st place Rodriguez), and a distant 4th in RBIs (81, to 96 by 1st place Rodriguez). After the last four week scramble, Rodriguez finished 1st in BA, 1st in RBIs, and 4th in Home Runs (34). The MVP Race was a tight one, but Toa Baja’s Rodriguez pulled home the honor in Cuba.

    SP Almestica takes home the Pitcher of the Year award by winning the pitching Triple Crown.

    Next up: A playoff match with Roswell, which we’ve been expecting for some time. Should be a fun series.

  • #24850
     Maracaibo USA 

    October 1, 2033

    The playoff was tight. It went the full seven games, and five of those games were decided by one run. Here’s how the Jackals did:

    Game 1: 23-year old Triple Crown ace SP Roberto Almestica struck out a Cuban playoff record 12 batters for the Jackals in an otherwise mediocre performance, allowing 4 runs in 6 innings. Leadoff hitter Kang Yu went 4-for-5 with a home run and three ribbies in the Jackals 5-4 victory (5-4 win, Jackals lead 1-0).

    Game 2: SP Martins and the Jackal bullpen blew an early 6-0 second-inning lead as Roswell came back and evened the series with a big game 2 win. (8-7 loss, series tied 1-1).

    Game 3: SP Jong-Your Pak got the start, and the Jackals again got out to a 6-0 lead in the fifth, but he melt down in the seventh and the Jackal bullpen didn’t stop the bleeding. Roswell’s Emilio Rosa suffered an injury while running the bases. The Invasion don’t have a ready replacement, so his loss could impact the rest of the series, but they won this one 9-7 (9-7 loss, Invasion lead 2-1).

    At the series midpoint, two bad losses for the Jackal bullpen spurred Jeff the Great to turn to his ace Almestica in Game 4 on three days rest and also line him up to pitch in a potential game seven. Roswell turned to catcher Consuelo Contrevas to take over at second place for their injured Rosa.

    Game 4: Almestica started Game 4 and pitched seven innings, allowing just one run, and The Warden pitched two perfect relief innings to close out a game that wasn’t really close after the third inning. Roswell’s Contrevas committed an error at second, but it didn’t factor into the end result. (5-1 win, series tied 2-2).

    Game 5: With the series tied at two wins apiece, Game Five earns “pivotal” status, and it was a heartbreaking loss for the Jackals. The Jackals led 3-1 in the seventh, but the Invasion scored one run in bottom of each of the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings to earn a tight 4-3 win in its last home game of the season. SP Jose Moreno got the start for Maracaibo and pitched okay, allowing 3 runs in seven innings, but the bullpen once again couldn’t hold his lead, and it is aggravating for Jeff to look at those three innings in the recap and not marvel at Roswell’s ability to plate runs in each of those innings. (4-3 loss, Invasion lead 3-2).

    Game 6: Back in Maracaibo for game six, the Jackal manager pulled out all the stops, on the brink of elimination, using eight pitchers and five pinch hitters in a game that Kang Yu won for the Jackals with a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth inning. LF Milagro Arroyos went 4-for-5 with another home run and three RBIs. Jackal starter Martins got bounced in the third inning of a second-straight poor playoff start, earning 8 runs in only 7 innings between games 2 and 6, but with this dramatic win, the Jackals and Invasion were headed for a Game Seven finale with the Cuban Triple Crown winner Almestica lined up to start one more game for the Jackals. (6-5 win, series tied 3-3).

    Game 7: Almestica came back again on three days rest and pitched great, allowing one run in seven innings, but the offense didn’t put up many runs. The bullpen again had trouble holding things together, allowing two runs in the final two innings, but the Invasion fell one run short. Jackal setup man RP Alex Freitas entered the game in relief of closer Molama who had allowed a home run to the first batter he faced in the ninth. Frietas fared better than Molama, got three quick outs, and the Jackals are the 2033 Cuba Champs. (4-3 win, Jackals win series 4-3).

    In the playoff, Jackal MVP Arroyas (more below) went 10-for-30 with four home runs, five steals, and nine RBIs. Kang Yu had 12 hits (including three doubles) to lead the team, but the team’s ace Almestica is probably our Playoff MVP after pitching 20 innings with 20 strikeouts in three close Jackal wins. Maracaibo had seven different hitters hit home runs in the series, and Kang Yu and Arroyas were busy on the basepaths, scoring 13 playoff runs between them.

    Series win 4-3. All three of Roswell’s wins were of the “monumental comeback” variety. It was fun to look through the game logs.

    Roswell has a great team and I’m happy to have pulled this one off, but Jackal Nation knows things easily could have gone the other way. I’ll save the recaps because the five close games in this series were all amazing. I can imagine that the long Game Six might have passed the 4-hour mark in real time with all the pinch hitters and pitching changes on both sides. If not for the performance of Almestica, Arroyas, and Yu, and without home-field advantage and Rosa’s injury, this series might have been a sweep for Roswell. I’ll take it.

    <2033 regular season review>

    Season Results
    Season Record: 74-46 (1st place in Cuban LOD) Playoff: 4-3 win over Roswell

    The Jackals took advantage of some rebuilding/restocking teams in the Cuban LOD upon elevating from Korea in 2032 and ran away with a division title fairly easily, as all three of the other LOD teams finished under .500. The Jackals probably got lucky with their timing, but still managed to win 74 games in an upper tier, which is an accomplishment the team’s crazy owner is very proud of. Throw in the classic seven-game fight with Roswell for the Cuban title and we can call this a very successful Jackal season. Jeff is excited about taking it up to the USA to see what we can do.

    Team MVP: LF Milagro Arroyos. Arroyos led the whole WBH in Home Runs (39) AND Stolen Bases (56). In Jackal history, Arroyos’ amazing season ranks 2nd all-time in VORP (91 – Javier Chumil had 101 VORP in 2023), 4th all time in Slugging (.642), 1st in Home Runs (39 – tied with Alebrado Parra’s 39 HRs in 2009), 3rd in Stolen Bases, 8th in OPS, 7th in hits, and 6th in Runs. The 23-year old still hasn’t reached his potential ratings, so it is fun to dream on what his future holds.

    Offensive Player of the Year:LF Arroyos
    Pitcher of the Year: SP Roberto Almestica – while Arroyos’ season was outstanding, Almestica may have actually put together a better season. He won the Cuban Triple Crown and finished 16-5 with a 2.10 ERA, 166 Ks, and a 1.10 Whip in 166 innings this year. In a spirited internal competition of one-ups-man-ship between Roberto and teammate Martins, the 23-year old Almestica tallied 16 wins just one season after the 25-year old Martin made the same run at the Jackal win record that they now share with Legend Anaya (16 wins in 2018). While Almestica climbed his way to 16 wins, Martins himself stayed apace and won 14 games this year, which is good enough for 4th place in Jackal history. It is also quite funny to consider that Martins, after only 2 1/2 seasons in Maracaibo already has 34 wins, which makes him the 11th-winningest SP in Jackal history… but I digress.

    Almestica’s 2033 season also puts him 1st in single-season ERA (2.10), 1st in Ks (173), 7th in Whip (1.10), and 3rd in VORP (50.7).

    Rookie of the Year: SS Gwon-Beom Kwon
    Minor League Player of the Year: C Abejundejo Davilos
    Minor League Hitter of the Year:RF Inejiro Watanabe
    Minor League Pitcher of the Year: SP Emil Coronel

    With the deals and extensions put in place before and during the 2033 season, this Jackal club doesn’t have the financial room to make many changes, but doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses either. Around superstars Arroyos and Almestica, young SPs Martins and Coronel, veterans 1B Waugh, closer Molama, relief ace Myong, SS Shiggy, C Velasquez, and 3B Barera, with rookies SS Kwon and RF Watanabe – all signed to long-term contracts – Jeff thinks he’s assembled a strong mix of talent that would stay competitive in 2034 if we were still in Cuba, but the elevation to the USA puts the team under greater scrutiny. We’re hoping that improvements among the team’s younger stars will offset the expected regression of its veterans. We’ll probably approach 2034 in the USA like we approached 2033 in our first year in Cuba – cautiously shoot for .500 at the start of the season, then add or subtract pieces if we have a shot at a division title, or fall out of contention, over the course of the season. My #1 goal is to avoid relegation. I want to stay in the U.S. for a while. Cap_PDT_01_18

  • #24851
     Santiago de Cuba USA 

    Congrats and welcome to the first tier!

  • #25026
     Maracaibo USA 

    @Santiago de Cuba (USA) wrote:

    Congrats and welcome to the first tier!

    Thanks Bob!

    March 1, 2034

    As Jackal management navigates its way through an interesting free agency period this offseason, a few under-the-radar signings were made that the Maracaibo faithful are pretty happy about. CF Lorenzo Acevedo and RF Buintin Llanez aren’t superstars, but they bring some outstanding CF defense and right-handed thump, respectively, to a Jackal roster that really didn’t have cap space to improve much. The low-cost RP Dinky Rodarte deal was another free agent signing, all three totaling about $3 million.

    Jeff the Great also viewed the free agent landscape with its accelerating contract demands in the starting pitching market and finally came to terms with young Martins on an extension that will buy out his coming arbitration years and first three free agent years for a team-friendly $1.6M/season for six years.

    Even with slugger Waugh on the disabled list to start the season, the Jackal lineup should be strong.

    Batting leadoff: R Kang Yu – 6/7/3/7/9, 9 defense at 1B.
    2nd: R Gwon-beom Kwon – 7/6/2/6/10, 7 defense at SS.
    3rd: L Milagro Arroyos – 9/6/9/5/4, 10 defense in LF.
    4th: L Mario Velasquez – 7/6/7/7/7, 5 defense at C.
    5th: R Montego Barera – 5/5/7/5/4, 8 defense at 3B.
    6th: L Teruo Shigematsu – 7/7/6/3/6, 9 defense at 2B.
    7th: R Buintin Llanez – 5/5/6/7/7, 6 defense in RF.
    8th: Platoon R Lorenzo Acevedo – 5/5/7/4/7 vs lefties, 10 defense in CF; platoon L Carlton Richards – 6/5/1/3/8 vs righties, 10 defense in CF.

    Bench bats: R Catcher Pak 5/6/3/6/8, R Infielder Blandino 5/6/6/8/5, R Outfielder Ch’ae 5/5/4/6/10, L Outfielder Sedulveda 5/6/2/6/5.

  • #25103
     Maracaibo USA 

    March 11, 2034

    2034 will be Maracaibo’s first chance in the Jeff the Great Era to bring its forces to the battlefield in the highest tier, the USA, and Jackal Nation is hopeful. While the offseason mercenary signings have been minor, the faithful full-season (“there is no offseason!”) fans have still been paying close attention to rumors and rumblings in their new surroundings while trying to get better-accustomed to the new world. Advancing from Korea to Cuba after 2032 was one thing, as an apprehensive wishfulness eventually turned into a confident acceptance as the team marched victoriously through the regular season, then to a furious finish atop Cuba in its first try. But now moving from Cuba to the USA after 2033 has given the fans tremendous hope and excitement instead of timid nervousness, a stark contrast to its feelings last year. And team management is saying in public that Maracaibo is committed to winning the USA in its first season there since 2021.

    On this day, most of Jackal Nation has gathered in Maracaibo’s town square to enjoy an afternoon meal served by the town’s crazy owner, who has planned the night’s festivities as a way of introducing Maracaibo to the USA, with American eatings and table trinkets and flags and music all over the grounds. As the sun sets and torches are lit, the evening arrives and music starts to slow down, and the children have mostly moved to the outer grounds to play among themselves while the adults in town have taken their seats to the center of the square where a large stage and chalkboard have been set up. Jeff the Great’s Advance Scout team, having presented their detailed reports to Jeff earlier this week, have put together a summary synopsis of the American battleground to present.

    The team’s head scout, who spends most of his time dealing with major league talent, starts to discuss the overall positional strength overview of the USA, and a national baseball writing’s top position player report as some assistants pass out flyers with the information written for all to read. As the scout speaks and the crowd follows along, some heads nod in agreement and others shake in disagreement on nearly every point. CF Milagro Arroyas is listed as the tier’s top talent, with the injured 1B Chet Waugh and veteran C Velasquez listed at #8 and #16 on that list, respectively, among hitters. Among pitchers, Jackal ace Almestica fits in at #6, surrounded by such world-reknowned names such as Little Rat Ramos and former Jackal Number T.

    Maracaibo is in the USA LOD, so the fans are noting with interest how many of defending Champ Hukuoka’s, Santiago’s, and Boca del Toro’s soldiers are also listed on the rankings.

    As the head scout moves to the Positional Strength overview, Jackal Nation notices that its sons Arroyos, Waugh, and Velasquez are rated the top USA centerfielder, first-baseman, and catcher respectively. Shortstop Shiggy and second-baseman Yu rank second among their peers.

    While the scout speaks at length of these hitters strengths in perhaps justifying the high ranking on his list, the crowd grows restless and a heckler shouts “but what of the pitching?”

    The scout looks about, shrugs his shoulders, and says “I honestly don’t know. This is the best Jackal staff I’ve seen since 2018. Our pitching was a legit strength of ours in Cuba and Korea, and we could run out a bad lineup with good defenders and have a chance to win because of our pitching. But here in America, EVERY team has strong pitching. I mean, look…” he says, pointing at his top players report. “Even Roberto, who won the Triple Crown in Cuba, and who dominated that island from Opening Day all the way through Game Seven, is only the sixth-best pitcher here, and he’s our only player on this twenty-name list!”

    “We’ve assembled a strong defense, once again, and we’ve improved the bullpen. But we honestly don’t know if we’ll finish closer to 1st or 4th in the LOD pitching stats when the year is up.”

    The conversation then turns to the future, and the prospect watchers in the crowd listen closely as the team’s Minor League and Amateur Scouting Director passes out some more literature, this time, the preseason top systems report.

    “This report will change on May 1st when Baseball America releases its annual Top Prospects listing, but right now, we are sitting at #4 behind division-mates Bocas and Santiago.” The crowd scans the lists and looks at some of the scouting reports on the players provided. “We’ve promoted some guys in the past few years and haven’t had good draft position because we were picking 8th in Korea for so long, but I like our system. We have good bats, defenders, and pitchers.”

    “Unfortunately, we are picking 6th this year. Usually teams moving to higher tiers get a good pick in their first year, but, we won too many games in Cuba last year!” The crowd laughs, then eases back and takes some time to read through more of the literature provided by both the team’s major and minor league scouting teams, and asks more specific questions about team strategy and positional alignments – a rare glimpse into the inner-workings of the Maracaibo leadership machine. Jeff the Great says a few more words, thanking the crowd for its support, before admitting his own excitement about fighting on a new frontier.

    “We are going to try and stay longer this time.”

    Next up, the Jackal delegation departs on its long trip to Amateurville, USA, where all of the American teams will gather for its coming soldier draft, then Spring Training starts on that final stretch towards the most glorious of baseball celebrations … Opening Day.

  • #25105
     Santiago de Cuba USA 

    Nice writeup. I wish Jeff the Great would’ve picked the LAD.

  • #25308
     Maracaibo USA 

    April 1, 2034

    Word reaches Maracaibo to great acclaim that local hero Milagro Arroyas won the 2033 Hitter of the Year award after his fun 9.9-WAR season in Cuba last year. The award was actually won a few weeks ago, but Jeff the Great’s historian forgot to record it for posterity.

    At this year’s draft, the Jackals used their sixth pick to grab the very talented, but very risky probable reliever Dave McLannon, whose 687 potential ratings look really nice, along with a possible third pitch, but his low stamina mean the Jackals will probably only give him a few years as a starter before converting him to relief to see if he gets a stuff jump. He’s only 17, so they have plenty of time to figure it out. In the second and third, the Jackals land another starter-but-probable-reliever SP Thum and a possible utility middle infielder SS Serrano. The draft pool thinned out from there, and Jeff landed three more bats and four more arms to round out a pretty sorry-looking class. All told, Jeff’s scouts only see the one probable major leaguer (McLannon) and two others who might help the squad in a RH-specialist bullpen or utility infielder role (Thum and Serrano).

    Finally, in other news, some silly scribe in the U.S. has predicted that the Jackals will finish 59-61 in its first season in the USA. When told of this at a local tavern and while heavily intoxicated, Jeff the Great started a rambling diatribe about “that Warren guy” overlooking all the awesome new Jackals who signed on this offseason. When asked which players he was talking about, Jeff dazed off into the distance, puzzled, and couldn’t think of any…

  • #25417
     Maracaibo USA 

    May 1, 2034

    The Jackals went 12-12 in Spring Training this year and reigning WBH Hitter of the Year Milagro Arroyos went homerless in the entire spring session, but we never really care about games in April because…

    It’s OPENING DAY!!! The yearly tradition of a weeklong celebration in Maracaibo began this year with the surprise signing of aged mercenary Dave Arkell. Arkell is a 14-year veteran who spent the first 11 of those fighting for the Colon Cougars while they were in Venezuela and whose career on base percentage is about .425. Jeff the Great shrugged his shoulders when discussing the contract with local reporters, calling it “an impulse buy.” It creates kind of a logjam at first base, but seems to be a good fit for now, as Arkell now gets his first chance at competing at the WBH’s highest stage, the USA, and Jackals get a good bat to fill Waugh’s spot in the lineup until he returns from the Disabled List.

    The Jackals have now committed $36 million of its $89 million Opening Day payroll to first basemen:

    Lefty Chet Waugh 87685, making 21.5M, is on pace to return to action in about four weeks. He suffered a ratings drop this offseason in what looks like a potential harbinger of problems to come, as he is in the first year of a four-year extension (the fifth is a team option) signed late last season. Still, he’s got a good left-handed bat and should impact the lineup immediately upon his return.

    Righty Kang Yu 67379, making 9.5M, is going to start the season at 2B, but is seen as a 1B-only going forward. His career OBP around .400 and his outstanding performance as table-setter for the Jackals past two Championship lineups gives him a leg up on 2B Shiggy and 1B Arkell for now, but with a decline in this first season in this USA, he’d be a potential cut.

    What’s left to be seen is how mercenary Arkell 76597 responds to Jeff’s lineup maneuvering. Arkell will be the Opening Day 1Bman for Maracaibo, but as soon as Waugh returns, Dave will be moved to a full-time pinch-hitting role. He’s been used in left- and right-field by previous employers in the past, but he shouldn’t be getting more than one start a week in the outfield as a way to rest a regular.

    One thing is for certain: whoever the Jackals play at 1B this season will have a high on-base percentage.

    Pitcher lost for the season
    On a sadder note, Jeff’s prediction of a ‘season-long injury to a starting pitcher’ in the second week of Spring Training came true when Jose Naredo went down with a radial nerve compression. The Jackals will fill his spot with one of its other fifth-starter candidates like Poulin or Moreno and will be scouring the waiver wire and trade blocks for SP help all season long.

  • #25437
     Maracaibo USA 

    May 7, 2034

    The first week of the season didn’t go great, but we’ll take it. The Jackals scored 32 runs but allowed 28 and went 2-4 with three one-run losses. Jeff is positively surprised this team scored so many runs, given it was supposed to have trouble on offense, and is negatively surprised it allowed so many opposing runs to score, given this team’s strength is its pitching staff. Losing the three one-run games was NOT a surprise, however, since the team’s closer Molama was traded in the Maracaibo-shattering Opening Day blockbuster deal with the Santiago De Los Caballeros.

    The trade shook up the team’s bullpen (Molama), lineup (#2 hitter and starting catcher Mario Velasquez), and farm system (the USA’s #7 prospect 1B Zhou and #41 prospect RP McLannon).

    The return, however, could be worth the massive investment – 27-year old ace SP Alberto Beneca comes from Santiago to Maracaibo with a high-velocity arm and skillset that should work great in Jackal Park. He and youngster SP Roberto Almestica now make up a formidable 1-2 punch at the top of the Jackal rotation. This team has playoff dreams.

    The Jackals now have two immediate needs to fill, but one isn’t pressing. C Park will step into the everyday lineup at catcher until uber-prospect Davilos is ready next year or the year after. The bullpen is another matter, though. Besides the Warden and mercenary signing Dinky Rodarte, the Jackal bullpen lacks strong relievers and could be on the market for a new RP or closer. Jeff the Great always pushes his bullpen arms to the limit, knowing (and probably causing) some injuries are likely to happen and the Jackals might as well get some good innings out of the arms before they do. Rodarte claimed closer duties this first week, but we’re not sure if that’s a full-season assignment.

    Very happy with the first week of action. This week we get Santiago and its rookie ace Agular before visiting Toluca for a series.

  • #25545
     Maracaibo USA 

    May 14, 2034

    Weekly results
    The Jackals went 4-2, winning series against both Santiago and Toluca this week, improving to 6-6 overall, and are now two games back of the 8-4 defending champ Hawks in the US LOD. It’s early, but we’re pleased. 57 runs scored, 50 runs against.

    Roster moves due to injury and waivers
    The team’s depth is being tested for two reasons this week. First, injuries have sidelined new ace Beneca after a strong beginning to his Jackal career (8 innings, 1 earned run, 8 Ks, 3 walks), and lefty outfielder mercenary Kumagae, who was being used sporadically as a platoon bat / pinch hitter. The two will be out of action for four weeks and three weeks respectively.

    Second, the team’s activity on the waiver wire will result in the departure of outfielder Sung-Il Ch’ae, who gave the Jackals some good at-bats late last year when he hit 294 / 364 / 436 in 163 at-bats. Jeff the Great tends to overuse the wavier wire in frequent attempts marginally improve the lineup without thinking too much of exposing talent; sometimes it doesn’t work out, but, with these maneuvers, the team’s options in the outfield should be enough to make Ch’ae’s loss a non-factor. He’ll get one more week in the Jackal lineup in place of the injured Kumagae before he’s moved to a new team via waivers (he’s already been claimed).

    Who’s Hot?
    The Warden has started off this season strong, pitching in nine of the Jackals twelve games and giving them 9.2 shutout innings, allowing only three baserunners and striking out ten.

    Lefty infielder Shiggy hit five doubles last week and has cemented his place among Jackal Nation’s favorite players to watch every day.

    Who’s Not?
    On the other side of the coin, last year’s 35-VORP-producing monster Big-faced Barera has started off the season with a 1-for-14 line against right-handed pitching, losing a point of contact against them, and is not being started in games against righty starters, instead being reserved as a first bat off the bench to face left-handed relievers.

    The third baseman did have a game-winning moment in the May 9th win against Santiago. Barera crushed the first pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning off Manny Vinelles in walk-off fashion to give the Jackals an exhilarating 2-1 victory.

    Money Talk
    The Opening Day deal for SP ace Beneca shipped 23M in yearly salary out the door, but brought back 22M. Then Jeff dumped the 2-year 15M/per Rio contract, which freed up 15M in cap space in the current season, but cost 30M in current year funds. It was an expensive move that has set the Jackals back a little bit in the money department, but, if the team makes 105M in revenue this year like it did last year, it will at least break even. Jeff has peddled some prospects for cash in recent deals to address the shortfall and possibly give the Jackals room to add salary at the trade deadline if an opportunity presents itself. The Jackals have been playing playoff baseball each of the past six seasons and the resulting commitment from its fanbase (selling out every game at the maximum ticket price) makes expensive deals like this one possible. If the Jackals ever start losing, it might be a quick decline.

    Next up
    Next up, your hometown Jackals host the 6-6 Obeliscos and 5-7 division foe Bocas in back-to-back series.

  • #25583
     Maracaibo USA 

    May 22, 2034

    The Jackals went 2-4 this week, losing series to both Barquisimeto and division-rival Bocas. We’re 8-10, tied with Bocas for last place, one game back of 9-9 Santiago, and three games back of 11-7 Hukuoka.

    Milagro Arroyos hit three more home runs (he now leads the US with seven) and was named Player of the Week.

    Relief ace The Warden is up to 15 innings pitched with no earned runs and 18 strikeouts. It is a heavy workload (he’s pitched about five innings appearing in five games every week) and Jeff is hoping to lighten it a little as the season wears on.

    The Jackals two best infielders both suffered injuries. 3B/SS Shiggy will only be out about five games and won’t go to the disabled list. SS Kwon‘s injury status is unknown and he’s still being evaluated to determine a return. In the meantime, declining 3B Barera (discussed last week above) and rookie SS Chae-ho Kim will move into the everyday lineup. The Jackals now have six injured major leaguers.

    The team keeps losing one-run games. While the injuries to the rotation and lineup are surely a contributing culprit, Jeff the Great made a trade with Hong Kong to add Woo-suk Choo and Pops Graces to the bullpen. Jeff is hoping those two can compliment The Warden, Rodarte, and Frietas in the 6th-9th innings.

    On the Farm
    In AAA, LF Eduardo Collantes has crushed seven home runs and has reached 9 power. He’s ready for the majors, but is only 21, and Jeff doesn’t have room for him yet. Team management hasn’t decided if it plans on using him in right field (where top prospect Watanabe has already been penciled into a lineup spot next year) or as a bench bat or trade bait, but the clock is ticking and Collantes will probably start openly pining for the majors soon. Jeff has put him on the trade block to see what kind of value another GM might see in him.

    This week
    This week, the Jackals face 9-9 Santiago and division-leading Hukuoka. With the depleted lineup against those two good teams, we’ll probably go 2-4 or worse this week before Big Man Waugh returns to the lineup around May 29th. Here’s hoping that Kwon’s injury isn’t a significant one.

  • #25499
     Maracaibo USA 

    June 5, 2034
    USA be tough

  • #25500
     Santiago de Cuba USA 

    @Maracaibo (USA) wrote:

    June 5, 2034
    USA be tough

    Welcome to the big leagues, kid.

  • #25654
     Maracaibo USA 

    June 12, 2034

    Recent results
    It’s been a pretty rough two-week stretch in which the Jackals went 2-10 with series losses against division foes Bocas and Santiago. At 14-22, Maracaibo sits five games back of 19-17 Santiago in the US LOD.

    In Arroyos’ absence, the team has been struggling to score runs.

    We’ll start with the bad this time, because some of these signs of trouble are addressed in the good section.

    The Jackals are 3-9 in one-run games. That usually means a problem in the bullpen holding close games, but I think it is more a problem with the lineup being unable to score. We’re also 2-8 against LH SPs, a product of our over-reliance on lefty monster Arroyos at the start of the season and the disintegration of our best right-handed bat Barera (more below).

    Maracaibo ranks 1st in the LOD in HRs and Slugging %, but 4th in extra-base hits, which is strange. Maracaibo ranks 2nd or 3rd in most of the other hitting and pitching categories, so we’re not getting murdered out there, we just can’t break through in the close games. Our Pythag is 17-19. With all of the injuries we’ve been dealing with, I would take a 17-19 record if I could.

    Lineup problems:
    Among last year’s heroes having poor performances this year are 2B Kang Yu (a 149 OPS+ last year, 77 this year), 3B Montego Barera (a 133 OPS+ last year, 68 this year), and SS Shigematsu (a 133 OPS+ last year, 80 this year). Those declines in production have left the now-injured Arroyos as the Jackals’ only regular above-average hitter. Mercenary additions like CF Acevedo and RF Kumagae, and utility players SS Kim and CF Richards were supposed to provide depth support this year but are all performing worse than replacement. Also, C Yeon-Kyu Pak has been the regular catcher for the Jackals since the Opening Day trade of C Velasquez, which basically substituted a hitter who provided a 149 OPS+ last year for one who is providing a 92 OPS+ this year, but I have a feeling that Velasquez, at age 31 and struggling somewhat in Venezuela with a 104 OPS+, wouldn’t be faring much better than Pak now if we had not made the trade.

    Pitching problem:
    Second-year supposed future ace Coronel went 0-5 with a 6.11 ERA and 1.61 Whip to start the season and has been sent down to AAA to just stop the bleeding. He’s reached his potential ratings (975), so we don’t know what kind of improvements are even possible, but maybe he just needs a month off and can return to help later.

    Despite all that above, Jeff isn’t worried.

    The Warden Myong is up to 27 innings pitched in relief with a 0.59 Whip and a 38/4 K/BB ratio. He’s awesome.

    In the rotation, Roberto Almestica and Jose Moreno turned in good outings this week; they are 6-2 and 3-2 respectively with 3.14 and 2.88 ERAs.

    Rookie LF Eduardo Collantes made his major league debut when Arroyos was injured and has hit a strong 270 / 349 / 541 with three home runs and two stolen bases in twelve games.

    Hope on the horizon
    1B Chet Waugh returned from his 9-month absence and played well enough in six games in AAA on a rehab assignment to be deemed ready for WBH action, so he’ll be coming back to Maracaibo this week. It is a welcome addition, but not one to be over-stated. He’ll be replacing fill-in David Arkell in the Jackal lineup; since Arkell has been the Jackals second-best hitter this season, improving on his lineup spot doesn’t really fix any problems.

    SP Beneca also returns from the DL and will make two starts in AAA this week. SS Kwon will return from the DL in one more week and might just go straight to Maracaibo because it was a short DL stint.

    And finally, future star RF Watanabe returned to AAA this week after an injury and went off, hitting 13-for-29 and 459 / 500 / 554 for the season. He’s having fun in what should be his last year in AAA before coming to help the Jackals in August, if not sooner.

    Short-term outlook
    Despite the poor start to the season, Jeff likes his chances at finding a way to at least avoid relegation if Arroyos can return at full strength in a month’s time. And in the current LOD, any team that can avoid relegation also has a shot at the division, because the team in last is currently only five games back.

    In another month, teams will be able to trade offseason free agent additions, and since Waugh is back, Arkell will be expendable and owns an OBP over .400 in the USA this year. Jeff is hoping he can peddle him for a contender for minor league depth at the trade deadline.

    The lineup in August could have lefty Arroyos hitting third, righty Watanabe hitting fourth, and lefty Waugh hitting fifth. That should provide enough stability to stay afloat, and leave open the potential for a run at the playoffs if Kwon, Yu, and Shiggy can get back on track.

    This week
    This week, the Jackals play defending champs Hukuoka (17-19) and Barquisemoto (20-16).

  • #25709
     Maracaibo USA 

    July 10, 2034

    At the season’s mid-point, Jackal Nation is outraged with Maracaibo’s performance and some recent trades. For the first time in six years, not only is the team sporting a losing record (20-40!), but attendance at the home stadium has fallen below 40,000 and the team is reducing its ticket prices as a result. The team’s crazy owner is furious and many of the team’s stars are angry.

    This week, the Jackals were outscored just 26-22, but went 1-5. The top four bats in the lineup are hitting the ball well, and the team’s best pitchers are pitching great. The run differential shows this is a team with some ability, but just isn’t putting it together. And now, another injury, as struggling rookie starter Coronel has been lost for the rest of the season due to shoulder inflammation.

    Some deals were made recently that show Jeff the Great is just trying to clear some salary. Fan favorite Shigematsu has been traded to Baracoa and mercenary signing Dave Arkell has been traded to Vancouver. Rumor has it Jeff has been trying to deal the team’s biggest contract Chet Waugh, who is also extremely popular with the fanbase and whose departure would crush Jackal Nation if it ever happens.

    Arroyos, Kwon, and Waugh are all back from their early injuries and are hitting well, and rookie Watanabe has provided a definite spark, hitting .328/.384 /.642 with 6 HRs in his first three weeks in the lineup, but it just hasn’t been enough.

    Jeff is apprehensive about changing any of the team’s strategy settings. They’ve been exactly the same for several championship seasons, and this team’s roster has the same skillset at prior teams.

    The bullpen is still a question mark. The Warden has been amazing, with 48 innings, 60 Ks, 10 walks, a 0.58 whip and a 0.37 ERA (!), but all the other arms are pitching poorly; despite Myong’s huge workload and performance, the bullpen still ranks 4th in the LOD in bullpen ERA.

    So now the question is: Is Maracaibo just this bad in the USA and unable to compete? Or is it simply underperforming? A look at the team’s Pythag (24-36) is misleading because of all the injuries early in the season. Now that Becena, Arroyos, Waugh, Kwon, and Kumagae are back, the team should be playing better.

    The good news is that division rival Bocas (21-39) is similarly having a bad year, and is only one game up on Maracaibo in the relegation fight.

    Next up, the 20-40 Jackals take on 33-27 Akashi and 24-36 Toluca.

  • #25837
     Maracaibo USA 

    July 17, 2034

    Minor league roundup.

    With the major league team struggling through another 1-5 week, Jeff the Not So Great has decided to just leave his stupid team alone for a week and take a fun trip through the minor leagues. In the past in this space, we’ve reviewed each of the top ten or so prospects and how they were doing, with some smaller comments for prospects of interest, but this time, we’re going to look at each minor league club and note which of their prospects show promise.

    AAA El Tocuyo Pulverizers

    At 41-31, the Pulverizers are having a fun season – a stark contrast to the foibles exhibited by their major league betters. Corner outfielder Eduardo Collantes (ranked #9 in Maracaibo, #55 in the USA) has hit .289/.340/.636 and whacked 17 home runs in AAA so far, despite spending about four weeks in the big leagues. Other top prospects C Davilos (#2 in Maracaibo, #17 in USA) and SS Pernillo (#7, #47) are the only other AAA players with future star hopes, as a few of the prospects that finally made it this far are either getting too old to dream on (SS Estape #8, #51) or have just not progressed beyond their limited potential (3B O #13, #87). One prospect who has been discussed before, OF Manolito Eribarne (#3, #18), continues to puzzle the Jackal scouting department, as he still shows outstanding defense and baserunning ability, but is still having trouble improving to his incredible raw power potential, which has dropped from 9 to 8. He struggled so much in AAA that Jeff recently sent him back down to AA. His ratings aren’t that strong, but the game’s scouting system has always had him at the top of the Jackal prospect rankings, and still has him ranked as the 18th best prospect in the USA.

    Because the Jackal system had so many outfielders on Opening Day, Jeff moved OF/P Alroy Corrujedo back to the mound, where he has 8 stuff, but fringe command and movement. He’s settled in as a decent AAA 8/4/4 SP with 5 stamina and two great pitches, striking out 78 in 75 innings, and a 4.14 ERA in 13 starts. He probably won’t get a look in the bigs, but he’s a nice player to keep in AAA to rack up strikeouts and keep the squad competitive. At 26, he doesn’t figure to improve further.

    Also just before the season started, Jeff sent $14M cash and a relief prospect to acquire a lottery ticket pitcher Jose Mebrano from Wuhan; Jeff liked Mebrano’s leader ability and work ethic after he was used by Wuhan in the major leagues in 2033 and thought that the now-21 year old might be a good stash in AAA, to see if his ratings improved. Instead, his ratings have dropped, he was moved from the rotation (where he struggled) to the bullpen (where he struggled), his ratings dropped again, and he has now been demoted to AA Moron.

    AA Moron Armageddon

    Moron has gone 38-34 this year and lacks any high-ceiling prospects aside from perhaps the demoted Eribarne and recent bullpen convert Lierro (#12, #70), who sports a 10/7/5 potential as a reliever but who has struggled since his promotion to AA a few weeks ago. OF Alex Florido (#5, #31) has been the team’s best hitter, going 285/345/454 with six homers in 200 at-bats, but his ceiling remains limited. SS Yi (#4, #26) suffered a season-ending injury early in the season, which sets back his development a bit, but at 20 years old, he still has a bright future.

    A Las Teyerias Slam

    Las Teyerias is 50-22 and playing great ball on offense and defense. With a lack of clear-cut elite prospects, aside from young Tobenas (#1, #5), the local populace have taken up another hobby – an off-the-field letter writing campaign regarding the team name.

    Early last season, team management came to realize that most local fans don’t think “Slam” best represents what Las Teyerias’ minor league franchise is all about. The name also doesn’t really fit the style and sinister substance of the names of the AAA and AA teams (Pulverizers and Armageddon). After a few years of “we should change the name” complaints, team management started thinking about what kind of name would better fit. It would have to be a name that fit the style exhibited by the other two teams, but also perhaps one that held special meaning to Jackal fans, as a way of tying the lowest minor-league club to its parent franchise.

    A Las Teyerias businessman decided to throw his weight behind the name “Sins” and is campaigning for the change. The Sins would be a sort of double-meaning team name that would not only fit the other Jackal franchises with their scary evil-related nicknames, but also pay tribute to the team’s representative on this year’s Hall of Fame ballot, catcher Chi-eun Sin. It is true that Sin never played in Las Teyerias (he was acquired by the Jackals after he made it through the minors), but he spent 14 of his 17 HOF-caliber seasons in Maracaibo and the fans in Las Teyerias always held a special place in their hearts for the constant warrior.

    Jeff the Great would like to do it right and take his time with a name change – perhaps get a new logo behind the capital-L in the team logo that shows a catcher (Sin was a catcher) behind the L instead of a pitcher, but hasn’t worked with team logos in OOTP before and isn’t sure where to start or if it is even worth the effort. Getting WBH approval would be required, too, of course.

    In any case, the Jackals on the farm are obviously faring quite well, all with winning records, and despite the team’s horrible performance in the USA this year, Jeff likes the way his farm system is regularly turning out good talent.

  • #25910
     Maracaibo USA 

    July 31, 2034

    Trade deadline activity

    Following a potentially-devastating season-ending injury to Maracaibo’s reigning WBH Hitter of the Year Milagro Arroyas five days ago, Jeff the Great, Destroyer of Worlds, and General Manager of the Maracaibo Jackals, sent and received trade inquiries to and from the world over as he desperately tried to salvage the season. The team made a flurry of transactions that added some short- and long-term bats, dealt away eight of the team’s top twenty prospects and an injured future ace, and shipped the much-loved, high-paid, and heralded 1B Chet Waugh to Hong Kong in a cost-cutting measure.

    After factoring in the Arroyas injury and these trades, the lineup on 8/1 will be different from the 7/24 lineup at five positions.

    C Charlie Southcott – trade with Busan
    C Neto Aragon – trade with Tocumen
    1B Manu Cloutier – trade with Busan
    1B Takiashi Suzuki – trade with Hong Kong
    3B Shi-Kai Yang – trade with Hong Kong
    LF Marcos Rafal – trade with Tocumen
    RF Avar Diago – trade with Hong Kong
    RP Tong-kyu Yi – trade with Hong Kong
    RP prospect Paco Roman – trade with Hong Kong

    1B Chet Waugh – traded to Hong Kong
    RF Sixto Hernandez – traded to Cancun
    LF Shintaro Kumagae – traded to Hong Kong
    OF Eduardo Collantes – traded to Busan
    SP Emil Coronel, Jr – traded to Busan
    RP Jorge Melendez – traded to Hong Kong
    RP Dinky Rodarte – traded to Chihuahua
    OF prospect Axel Florido, SS prospect Pablo Pernillo, RP prospect Guo-qing Thom, RP prospect Roberto Lierro, RP prospect Jorge Logoa all traded to Hong Kong
    RP prospect Xing-yun Shaw and RP prospect Sancho Rivero – traded to Tokumen
    C prospect Paul Dryden – traded to Busan.

    Major League Impact
    The major league lineup, which has been having trouble scoring runs this entire season, should be improved with the added bats, and a few of them have team options next season that will give the team some decisions to make regarding next year’s lineup, too.

    The rotation remains untouched, unless you count the addition of Huo-to Bian last week, but the bullpen will see some changes as three underperforming regulars (Chu last week, Rodarte and Melendez today) were shipped out, Myong moved to the rotation, and flamethrower Yi arrives from Hong Kong. These moves in concert leave the bullpen in worse shape from a talent standpoint than it was a week ago.

    Therefore, on this day after, Maracaibo’s chances of staving off relegation now mostly depends on its new bullpen’s ability to hold close games, and Jeff is kicking himself for not pushing harder to acquire some more bullpen arms at the deadline.

    Farm System impact
    The farm system was hit hard. The system purge of prospects that, in fairness, started this past offseason in the Becena deal, was increased markedly on deadline day.

    Jeff was able to hold on to his four top rated prospects, 3B Tobenas, C Davilos, OF Eribarne, and SS Yi, but the Jackals system is now void of overall depth in:

    – the outfield,
    – corner infield,
    – starting rotation, and
    – bullpen.

    SP Coronel’s departure further hurts the pitching staff next year, but losing a potential future ace is to be expected when adding two long-term assets like Cloutier and Southcott.

    What’s Next?
    I’ve already written too much, so I’ll dodge an analysis of the long-range implications of these deals (shedding the Waugh contract, and what to do with catching prospect Davilos now that the team has Southcott behind the dish, in particular) right now. Its time to settle in for the stretch run.

  • #25986
     Maracaibo USA 

    August 12, 2034

    As ‘Pops’ Graces strode to the mound in the bottom of the 11th inning, the Jackal faithful already knew how this game would end. Closer Frietas blew a save opportunity in the 9th, then the Jackal offense went scoreless in the 10th and 11th, and a general acceptance of another loss settled in before Graces even threw a pitch. Two Toluca doubles ended the game and the team walked off the field after yet another extra-inning loss.

    10 extra-inning games this season for the Jackals – zero wins. At 32-57, the embarrassing team that averaged 47,624 fans per game last season only drew 32,900 in the last home game. The team’s stars are angry and the team’s owner is furious.

    It has been a disappointing season for Jackal Nation, but hope springs eternal. In the two weeks since the wild trade deadline, the Jackals have gone 6-6 and picked up a two-game lead on Bocas for relegation. The Jackals have only been outscored 408-363 this season; when factoring in the team’s injury-plagued May and July, followed by the season-ending injury to WBH MVP Arroyas, we’d probably be okay with a 40-50 season. But this team has underperformed that Pythagorean record by seven games.

    The minor league season has ended, and all of Maracaibo’s farm teams finished above .500. And despite the trade deadline deals that sent away 8 of the team’s top 20 prospects, Maracaibo still ranks fourth on the Top Systems list…

    …. so if the Jackals’ underperformance versus the Pythag can be chalked up to mere “bad luck”, then when Arroyas returns, with a system full of potentially-helpful-or-tradeable(-or-both) prospects, this team could be more competitive in the USA. We just need to hang on through five more sims.

  • #26139
     Maracaibo USA 

    September 18, 2033

    Jeff the Great breaths a sigh of relief as Jackal Nation relaxes following this very strange and disappointing season. Going into a season-ending series with Bocas, tied with Bocas for last place in the LOD, we swept the series to finish three games up and avoided relegation. For now. Excited about surviving but not excited about probably going through all this again next year.

    We went 20-21 after the trade deadline, and that was without our uber-warrior Arroyas. We only plan on losing 1B Suzuki‘s 48 at-bats to free agency this offseason, and will be keeping all the same guys that went 20-21 in this last two-month stretch. Add Arroyas to the mix, and this team should be competitive.

    But I’ve said that before.

    We have team options on C Aragon (9.9M) and 3B Yang (12.3M) for next season. Yang hit .298/.371/.606 in these two months and his option will definitely be exercised. Aragon’s is a little more complicated. He would be an automatic keeper if we didn’t also have C Southcott in place, so if we exercise Aragon’s option, it will only be to shop him this offseason. If anyone has need for a great defensive contact-eye catcher on a one-year contract, let me know. I don’t know if I should exercise his option and trade him for a little value or if I should just decline the option and let him go to free agency.

    More from Jackal Tales after the dust settles a bit.

  • #26144
     Maracaibo USA 

    September 18, 2034

    <2034 regular season review>

    Season Results
    Season Record: 48-72 (3rd place in USA LOD) Pythag: 54-66 (-6)

    The Jackals got mauled in its first season in the USA, but eked out a season-ending series with Bocas that kept the Jackals in the USA for at least one more season.

    Team MVP: SP Roberto Almestica. Almestica’s rate stats fall below Beneca’s (below), but Almestica’s presence in the rotation every start was vital to staying alive through the turbulent injury-plagued season. He went 14-11 with a 3.47 ERA and 1.20 whip in 181 innings, finishing second to Beneca in LOD WAR with 4.3.

    Offensive Player of the Year:CF Milagro Arroyos. It’s hard to believe, but, despite missing more than three months of the season with two separate injuries, Arroyas still managed to lead the Jackals in WAR (2.2), Home Runs (13), and Stolen Bases (18) this season. He hit .310/.367/.553.

    Pitcher of the Year: SP Alberto Beneca. Beneca went 9-4 with a 1.97 ERA and 0.93 Whip in 127 innings after missing the first month of the season with an injury. He struck out 137 and walked 34 and led the LOD in WAR with 4.6.

    Rookie of the Year: RF Inejiro Watanabe
    Minor League Player of the Year: 3B Carlos Tobenas
    Minor League Hitter of the Year:OF Eduardo Collantes (traded mid-season)
    Minor League Pitcher of the Year: SP/RP Alroy Corrujedo

    Pitching and defense has always been Maracaibo’s bread and butter, and this year again we’ve led the division in most pitching categories, but without Arroyas to hold the lineup together, we had trouble scoring runs. Beneca, Almestica, and Myong finished 1st, 2nd, and 4th respectively on the LOD pitching WAR ranking and ranked 2nd, 3rd, and 1st respectively in LOD pitching VORP.

    For fun, I thought I’d look back at last year’s “Offseason Agenda” and see how it turned out:

    @Maracaibo (USA) wrote:

    October 1, 2033
    … this Jackal club doesn’t have the financial room to make many changes, but doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses either. Around superstars Arroyos and Almestica, young SPs Martins and Coronel, veterans 1B Waugh, closer Molama, relief ace Myong, SS Shiggy, C Velasquez, and 3B Barera, with rookies SS Kwon and RF Watanabe all signed to long-term contracts … We’re hoping that improvements among the team’s younger stars will offset the expected regression of its veterans. … My #1 goal is to avoid relegation. I want to stay in the U.S. for a while. Cap_PDT_01_18

    For those keeping score at home, of the twelve names mentioned, six were traded or released and four spent more than a month on the DL. We did manage to avoid relegation, though 😆 Now that we’ve all had a good laugh, Jeff isn’t going to make an offseason plan and is just gonna see what happens. Good luck to those teams that made the playoffs.

  • #26416
     Maracaibo USA 

    March 15, 2035

    On Jackal leadership’s last day in Maracaibo before departing for the Amateurville, USA, the team’s owner and some local business owners and politicians requested a review of the team’s offseason transactions and a plan for the 2035 season from Jeff the Great himself. The owner’s invite to his home for dinner in a tight setting among some unhappy stakeholders was a stark contrast to last year’s townwide celebration and open forum discussion. As the team now starts to assemble for the draft and then Spring Training, Jackal Nation is anxious to be more competitive in its second year in the USA, and Maracaibo’s leaders are now unashamedly combative about the team’s outlook. The Jackals went 48-72 in its first season in the USA, and a vast improvement is expected.

    The presentation Jeff made that evening did not go well, judging from the rumor mill’s synopsis of the evening’s events, which contained mentions of several shouting matches, some curses thrown and names called, and a slammed door / broken door pane that effectively ended the meeting well past midnight.

    The next day, Jeff the Great, Destroyer of Worlds, and his team of scouts from Maracaibo depart for the amateur draft city, where representatives from the other armies of the USA are slowly arriving. Many of the nervous soldier prospects who will be drafted, ranging in age from 17 to 23 years, are also milling about the town ahead of the draft. Most of these prospects are simply hoping to be chosen by a team that fits their playing style, or that they cheered for as a child, or perhaps they are at risk of not being chosen at all. But a very select few are hoping for more – to be the first pick in the draft. The Jackals own the first overall pick for the first time in Tankersley’s tenure, and as soon as the draft pool was released, he whittled that #1 spot on the pref list to only three potential names. He’s widely known to be indecisive and fickle in trade and draft settings, so Jeff will probably hold that top selection close to his vest until the last possible moment, and will probably change his mind about who he wants to select a few time before that.

    Also of note, the Jackals major league scouting department usually accompanies the scouting contingent to the draft site when the draft happens every year, because the team is usually still active in free agency or trade talks with other clubs and Jeff wants them available for quick decisions. But this year, all of Jeff the Great’s focus is on the draft. The team has been quiet in free agency thus far, and doesn’t have cap room to make any big signings, so the major league scouting crew is still in Maracaibo, mostly twiddling their thumbs and holding some impromptu outreach meetings with the town’s leaders, trying to ease their worries and drum up interest in the coming season. Jeff also neglected to argue for any of the Jackals on this year’s Hall of Fame ballot, though C Chi-Eun Sin deserves enshrinement and some other recent Jackal mercenaries Roswell nominee SP “Fiasco” (a true part of modern Jackal lore) and La Habana nominee SP Joseph Martel are hoping to garner some votes this year.

  • #27061
     Maracaibo USA 

    June 12, 2035

    As the Jackals struggle to turn the season around at a 15-21 tally (after starting 10-17 in June), Jackal Nation’s prospect fans are daily checking in on the action in single-A Las Teyerias where the top pick in this year’s USA class is dominating both at the plate AND on the mound.

    ‘Bird’ MacNevin was selected with the top pick in this year’s draft and Jeff the Great immediately sought help in figuring out how to handle the two-way prospect. Bird’s potential pitching ratings were an 878 with 4 stamina and three good pitches, but his potential hitting ratings were an equally-impressive 75965 as a center fielder. Jeff decided to go ahead and let the kid play both ways with a pitching start every five days followed by four days in th