Monthly Archives: February, 2016

Los Altos and New Milford (CH 1)

losaltosLos Altos and New Milford Chapter 1BLazers3


New Milford (AP)


New Milford has owned Los Altos in the regular season over the last few years.  Los Altos has repaid the favor in the playoffs over the same span.


Game 1:  Archer @ Kershaw


Los Altos strikes first in the top of the second as the league’s gift, Gutierrez, crushes a ball to left for a 1-0 lead.

Los Altos extends the lead to 2-0 in the third on Brantley and Igleasias doubles.

Bottom 8, New Milford gets some good fortune as Jeff thought Naverson was brought in but instead Archer stayed in the game.  After a Betts RBI single, Choo gives NM the lead with a 2 run bomb.

Top 9, KRod on to close it out, and Turner PH’s a 2 out HR to tie it up.


Bottom 10, with 2 outs and Villanueva on the bump, Betts walks and Choo hits a no doubter to right to give the Blazers a walk off 5-3 win.

WP Thompson (1-0)

LP Villanueva (2-1)

BS KRod (3)



Game 2:  Cole @ Tanaka


A Robinson second inning single and Choo third inning double give the home team a 2-0 lead.

Bottom 5, Tulo doubles to push the Blazer lead to 4-0.

A Seager HR in the 6th puts Los Altos on the board, 4-1.

Panik triples in a run in the 7th to cut the Blazer lead to 4-2.

Top 9, KRod comes on with 2 outs and gives up a double to Panik bringing the tying run to the plate.  Gutierrez grounds out to preserve the Blazer 4-2 win.


WP Tanaka (2-0)

LP Cole (2-2)

S KRod (4)



Game 3:  Iwakuma @ Sale  (series shifts to Los Altos)


A first inning Lowrie sac fly and Maldonado single give the Blazers a quick 2-0 lead.

Second inning, Blazers tack on 3 more on a Raburn 2 RBI double and another Lowrie sac fly.

A McCann double in the 5th gives the Blazers run #6 but Kelby Tomlinson HR in the bottom half cuts the Blazer lead to 6-2.

A Choo HR in the 7th puts the Blazers up 7-2 and a Choo HBP puts the Blazers up 8-2 in the 8th.

Top 9, Gutierrez singles in a run and Iglesias singles in 2 more to bring the tying run to the plate.  O’Day comes on and Panik grounds out and Blazers escape 8-5.


WP Iwakuma (3-1)

LP  Sale (3-1)

S  O’Day (2)


Game 4:  Warren @ Gibson


I have no idea why DMB thinks Kyle Gibson’s first name is Bob.


A first inning Turner RBI double is followed by a Bautista 2 R HR to put Los Altos up 3-0.

Blazers battle back in the second to tie the game on WP and Carpenter 2 RBI double.

A Phegley double in the 4th regains the lead for Los Altos.

A Brantley single and Turner sac fly push the Undertaker lead to 6-3 in the 6th.

Peralta singles in a run in the 7th to cut the lead to 6-4.

Blazers go down quietly in the 9th as Los Altos takes game 4.


WP Naverson (1-0)

LP Warren (2-1)

S Betances (1)


Blazers go to 16-8 on the season.  Los Altos falls to 15-5.




Blazers @ Flamingos (CH 1)



New Milford vs Las Vegas (CH 1)


New Milford starts a home and home series in Las Vegas.

Game 1:  Kershaw @ Haren

The Pink Birds have a team OPS vs lefties of .707.  Clayton Kershaw is the best lefty in the history of baseball.  That would explain the 10 K in 5 IP, but would not explain the 5 ER and WHIP of almost 2.

Butler and Lindor get to Kerhsaw in the first with back to back doubles, but Blazers it at 1 in the second on a Jason Castro HR.


Bottom 4, Wellington Castillo HR’s off of Kershaw for a 2-1 Vegas lead.


Bottom 5, the wheels fall off of the CY train, as Lindor with an RBI double and Castillo with a 2 RBI single push the lead to 5-1.

Vegas takes the opener 7-2. 

WP Haren (2-0)

LP Kershaw (3-2)


Game 2:  Anderson @ Jungmann

A Peralta RBI groundout in the top of the first scores Carpenter for a 1-0 Blazer lead.

Then nothing really happens as Jungmann gives up the lone run through 6 and Anderson scatters 3 H and 3 BB through 6 scoreless.


Top 8, Dietrich PH’s a bases loaded walk, Castro grounds an RBI single, Carpenter hits a 2 RBI single, and Betts hits an RBI single, all with no outs.  Choo spoils the fun with a 6-4-3 DP scoring a run but Blazers go up 7-0 and win by that score.


WP Anderson (2-2)

LP Jungmann (0-1)


Game 3:  Locke @ Quintana

Series shifts to NM and Adonis Garcia gives the Pinkbirds a 1-0 lead in the second on  a long ball.  Betts ties it in the third on a RBI single scoring McCann.

Then a bunch of zeros happen.  Free baseball kind of zeros.


in the 14th, Peralta rounds third on a Lowrie single but was gunned at home.


Bottom 15, veteran Tulo had enough and with 2 outs and Peralta on second he cranks a pitch to left for a walk off  2 run HR.  Blazers win 3-1.


WP Albers (1-0)

LP Bellatti(0-3)


Game 4:  Iwakuma @ Porcello

With both bullpens spent from the marathon the night before, the starters need to go deep.

Flamingos put up a 5 spot in the third on some circus clown shit that I won’t bore you with.


A Choo RBI double in the third, Johnson HR in the 4th and Tulo single in the 5th cut the lead to 5-3.


Bottom 6, Robinson HR’s to cut the lead to 1 and Carpenter hits a 2 RBI double to give the Blazers the lead.  A lead they would not give up as Blazers win 9-5.


WP Iwakuma (2-1)

LP Porcello (0-3)

S O’Day (1)


Blazers take series 3 games to 1 and move into first place in the McGowan at 13-7.


Garrett, Kopech lauded by BBA

~New Milford (AP)

Two starting pitchers of the New Milford A ball affiliate Nestle Kwick were recently honored by Baseball America as being in the top 100 prospects of baseball.  “This is a great honor,” stated NM GM Anthony Peburn.  “After trading away the #2 prospect (Buxton), #8 prospect (Arcia), dropping the # 12 prospect (Snell), trading the #27 and #28 prospects (Williams and Berrios) along with #64 (Ortiz) and dropping #97 (Murphy) this farm system needed some good news.”

Lefty Amir Garrett was named the #73 prospect in all of baseball and young righty Michael Kopech was named the #89 prospect in baseball.  Both pitchers were told of the news boarding a flight headed to New Hampshire.  “It’s great,” said Garrett.  “We have some really good pitchers here and we are a close knit group.  We all hope to make it to the show together someday soon.  It is a big honor to be ranked Blazer pitchers following guys like Greinke, Kershaw, Anderson, Gio Gonzalez, Yovanni Gallardo, Matt Moore, etc.”garrett

Salem @ New Milford (CH 1)

Salem @ New Milford

Salem @ New Milford

Before the game, for the 5th straight year, Salem watched New Milford hoist up the McGowan Division banner.  Exchanging line up cards at home plate before the game, Salem skipper Mike Glander reminded New Milford manager Anthony Peburn that the Blazers had nothing to show for those banners.  Peburn then told Glander that at least he had the banners, as neither team has been able to reel in the big one.  The two shared a fake laugh, and after Connecticut native and The Voice winner Sawyer Fredericks sung the National Anthem,  the home team took the field.

Game 1:  Strasburg @ Kershaw

Only the guys at Elias know how many times these two aces have squared off against each other.  The Blazers seem to have Strasburg’s number, as his career ERA against New Milford must be well over 5.00

After a scoreless top of the first, Carpenter walks and Choo welcomes Stras to Nestle Field in 2016 with a 2 run bomb.

Bottom 3, Robinson laces a 2 out RBI double but is gunned down at third trying to stretch it.

Bottom 4, a Betts IF single to the catcher scores Kershaw and then Choo hit his second HR of the game, this time a 3 run jack, to make it 7-0 Blazers.

Top 5, Salem tries to get something going.  Ramirez lines a single up the middle to start it out and advances to second on a WP.  Castro then hit a single up the middle and with no outs, Ramirez is sent home.  Betts, with a dart to home, gunned Ramirez for the first out.  Soler then hit a single to right and Castro tested Choo’s arm advancing to third.  Bad move, as the second out was made on another spectacular throw.  Zimmerman then grounded to SS to end the threat.  “You get pumped out there when your ace is on the mound,” said Choo after the game.  “You want to do all you can to help your guy.  Playing behind Kershaw for the last few years has been really something.  Those two assists kinda made us feel like we could win the game.”

Bottom 5, Clint Robinson hit his first HR of the year, giving the Blazers an 8-0 lead, and that was all for Kershaw.

Adam Warren pitched the 7th and 8th innings and Blake Treinen pitched the 8th and 9th closing out an 8-0 Blazers shutout win.

WP Kershaw (3-1) (5 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K)
LP Strasburg (0-1)

Game 2:  Fiers @ Quintana

Quintana goes 7.2 giving up 6 H, 1 BB, 3 K and no runs.

Fiers is even better having a perfect game up until a Mookie Betts one out single in the 7th.

Top 7, two 2 out single set the stage for Fiers to play hero with the bat, lining a single to CF, but Betts cut down d’Arnaud at home to preserve the scoreless tie.

Top 8, (Robin)? Givens on to pitch for Salem and Robinson is HBP.  Castro then laces a double to left center and Robinson scores, giving the Blazers a 1-0 lead.

Bottom 9, KRod does the job preserving the Blazer 1-0 win.

WP O’Day (1-0)
LP Givens (0-2)
S KRod (3)
Game 3:  Shoemaker @ Anderson
A Peralta RBI single in the first plates Betts and it’s 1-0 Blazers.
Kelly Johnson launches his 3rd HR of the year in the 4th and Castro again plated Robinson with a double and it’s 3-0 Blazers.
Top 5, Salem FINALLY gets on the board, tying the game with a WP, FC, and Bryant RBI single.
Bottom 5, Tulo lines a single to score Choo for a 4-3 lead.
Bottom 6, Betts lines a 2 out double with Castro stopping at 3rd.  Choo is then IBB’d to have Duke come on and face the lefty Peralta, but somehow Duke is not ready.  Rumor has it that the Blazes intentionally place attractive women by the visitor’s bullpen.  Anyway, Shoemaker stays in to face Peralta and Grand Salami.  8-3 Blazers.
Blazers win 8-4.
WP Anderson (1-2)
LP Shoemaker (1-1)
Game 4:  Iglesias @ Iwakuma
A mismatch on paper, but someone forgot to tell the teams, as Iwakuma is punished and Raciel is masterful pitching 7 innings with 3 H, 0R, 3 B and 9 K as Cowtippers roll to avoid the sweep 6-0.
WP Iglesias (2-0)
LP Iwakuma (1-1)
Blazers move to 10-6 on the season.

Blazers Honor Cust

Blazers Celebrate Jack Cust Day

New Milford (AP)

Today the New Milford Blazers honored former MVP and local icon Jack Cust with a ceremony before the game behind home plate.  Every member of the capacity 58,172 crowd received a Jack Cust bobble head which were reportedly selling on EBay for up to $1,000 each post game.  The ceremony, in which the #32 became the first retired number in Blazer history, was filled with laughs and cheers.

“In 2007, the Blazer organization had a choice with the first pick in the mid season farm draft,” explained GM Anthony Peburn.    “Our guys made a mistake.  We were torn between Jack Cust and prospect Matt LaPorta.  We chose LaPorta.  Fortunately for all Blazer fans around the world, we were able to trade for Cust later that year from Las Vegas and rectify that mistake.”

The story of Cust has been the stuff of legend.  He always had the reputation of a true three outcome player, but not one that anyone wanted to take a chance on let alone build a franchise around.  Cust single handedly turned the New Milford Blazer franchise from laughing stock to contender.  “We were the punchline in every BDBL joke before Cust,” said Peburn.  “Jack changed that.”

In 2008 the Blazers were expected to finish poorly.  Cust hit 35 HR for the Blazers with 120 BB’s, 97 R and 98 RBI.  His 1.057 OPS caught the attention of the league.  “(Cust) is my choice for MVP,” stated Commissioner Glander.  “Where would the Blazers be without him?”  Cust finished second to Prince Fielder that year.

The legend grew in 2009, where again the Blazers weren’t predicted to do much pre season yet ran away with the division thanks to Cust, the MVP Cust this time, and his 49 HR, 118 R, 127 RBI, 136 BB and 1.080 OPS.  “You can point to 2009 where the winning tradition started,” boasts Peburn. “We’ve kept it alive ever since, but you can point to Jack to turning the perception of this organization around.”

2010 was a “down” year for Cust, with only 56.8 RC and a 776 OPS.  Dispite 90 wins, the Blazers finished third in the division that year.

Cust bounced back in 2011, with 93 RBI and a 984 OPS, leading the Blazers to a division title.  The Blazers have won the division every year since.

Cust finished his 4 year career with 125 HR’s, 373 BB’s, 370 RBI’s, 325 R, and 422.9 RC with a 281/411/565 triple slash line.

The crowd erupted and Cust shed a tear as New Milford unveiled it’s first monument in the gazebo in center field in Cust’s honor.  Cust was then named the new hitting coach for the Blazers and New Milford made a $100,000 donation to the Jack Cust Hitting Academy.  “I’m overwhelmed,” said Cust.  “I’m honored to be a part of this and to help build something special here.  It’s unreal.”

After the ceremony, TBS announced plans to film “Blazers Rising, The Jack Cust Story.”  No word on who will play Cust in the made for TV movie.

Kansas City @ New Milford (CH 1)


After an 8 game road trip which saw the Blazers go 4-4 to start the season, New Milford returns home to face the Kansas City Boulevards.

Game 1:  Happ @ Kershaw

Both pitchers scoreless through 5.  Top 6, Prado leads off with a walk and Kemp singles him to second.  Ruf then steps to the plate and singles in Prado with Kemp getting cut down at third.  Kershaw then settles down to K Morales and Ozuna to end the threat.
Facing a 1-0 deficit in the bottom of the 6th, Betts lines a one out single followed by a Raburn single and Tulo RBI single to tie the game.  A Lowrie single loads the bases and a Choo double unloads them, giving the Blazers a 4-1 lead.
Top 7, Moustakas hits a solo bomb off of Kershaw to cut into the Blazer lead, 4-2.
Bottom 8, with 2 outs, Blazers add some insurance on back to back to back doubles by Johnson, Dietrich, and Choo extending the Blazer lead to 6-2.
That, my friends, is how this story ends.

WP Kershaw (2-1) (7 IP, 7H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 10K)
LP Happ (1-2)

*Kershaw’s 146th win of his career ties him with King Felix for 15th on the all time wins list.
Game 2:  Lynn @ Anderson
A first inning Peralta RBI double and Johnson RBI single stake the Blazers to an early 2-0 lead.
Top 3, Prado bloops a single to right to cut the Blazer lead to 2-1.
Top 6, a Moustakas RBI single to center scores Ruf to tie the game.
Top 8, a Blackmon 3B, Ozuna 1B, and Moustakas 2B give the Boulevards the lead.  Aaron Barrett wasn’t done sucking, though.  A Holt BB, Prado single, Kemp HBP, and WP give the Boulevards 4 runs in the inning as the Blazers cough up another game late, which seems to be the theme in Blazer losses this season.
Blazers bring the tying run out of the dugout in the 9th, but he never makes it out of the on deck circle, as Boulevards win 6-3.
WP Rivero (1-0)
LP Barrett (0-1)
Game 3:  Kazmir @ Warren
Both pitcher rolling through 4.  Bottom 5, Blazers scratch out a run on a Kelly Johnson HR to right (yes, off of the lefty Kazmir, as Lowrie was lost for the series in the prior game).
Bottom 6, Blazers get a single from Tulo, James McCann reaches on an E5, and then Choo is HBP, setting the stage for Martin Maldonado launching one deep to left to put the Blazers up 5-0.
Top 8, O’Day on and Prado walks, Kemp singles and Morales goes yard to cut into the Blazer lead 5-3.
Bottom 8, Kelly Johnson gets 2 back with another longball, this time off of the righty Grimm.  And the Blazers would win by that 7-3 score.
WP Warren (2-0) (the gift from Salem)
LP Kazmir (0-2)
Game 4:  Danks @ Quintana
Unbeknownst to Blazer management, Quintana went into this game with a brilliant strategy.  Let them get lots of hits to tire themselves out.  This “rope a dope” worked to perfection.
Boulevards score 2 in the first on Ruf RBI single and Ozuna RBI double.
Blazers take a 3-2 lead in the third on a Raburn 2 RBI double and McCann RBI single, Blazers 3-2.
Top 4, a Molina RBI single ties the game for the Boulevards.
Bottom 4, a Carpenter RBI double and Raburn RBI single give the Blazers a 5-3 lead.
Top 5, Prado double, Kemp single, Morales FC RBI, Ruf RBI single and DeAza single make it 6-5 Boulevards.  That was all for Quintana as he gave up 10 hits in 4+ IP.  On comes Tanaka to get out of the inning.  (The FC to Morales was frustrating, as the computer asked if I wanted to throw home on a double play ball to second with no outs.  I clicked NO, yet, Carpenter threw home anyway, where the runner was safe.  WTF!  Has this happened to anyone else?  I think there is a glitch in the game)
Bottom 5, Carpenter hits his first HR of the year, a 2 run shot to give the Blazers a 7-6 lead.
And all the running in the first 5 innings seemed to tire the Boulevards out, as K-Rod comes on in the 9th to nail his second save of the season to match his 2 BS as Blazers take the series 3 games to 1.
WP Tanaka (1-0)
LP Lyons (1-1)
S KRod (2)
Blazers (7-5) sit one game behind the upstart Western Kansas Buffaloes (8-4) and a game in front of the Granite State Lightning (6-6) in the early going of the season.

New Milford @ Granite State (CH 1)


Blazers @ Lightning

New Milford continues their early season road trip with a venture up north to visit Granite State.
Game 1:  Kershaw @ Gray
The home team notches single tallies in the first, second and third innings courtesy of a Herrera RBI single, Gray RBI double and Herrera RBI single.  Yes, hitting stars Osdubel Herrera and Sonny Gray drove in 3 runs off of Clayton Kershaw.  Meanwhile the Blazers get 5 baserunners in the first three innings and score bupkis.
All in all, Blazers get 11 baserunners and score 0.  Lightning win 3-0.
WP Gray (1-1)
LP Kershaw (1-1)
S Jackson (1)
Game 2:  Tanaka @  Miller
Tanaka gives up a HR to Encarnacion to lead off the home half of the first.  That was Tanaka’s only baserunner for the 7 innings he pitched.
Top 6, Betts doubled and scored on a Choo single.  Choo stole second and scored on a Peralta single.  2-1 Blazers.
Bottom 9, K-Rod in for the save.  Yan Gomes PH’s for the pitcher to lead off the inning and HR’s to tie it.
Free Baseball.
Blazers get runners in the 10th, 11th and 12th innings but fail to capitalize.
Bottom 12, Furbush on and after a groundout, Frazier HR’s to left to walk off the Lightning 3-2.

WP Shreve (1-0)
LP Furbush (0-1)
BS KRod (2)

Game 3:  Warren @ Gonzalez

A Tulo GIDP in the first stake the Blazers to a 1-0 lead.

Bottom 2, hitting star JJ Hardy singles to tie it up.

Top 4, a Tulo solo shot, Choo RBI double and Carpenter RBI single make it 4-1 Blazers.

Top 6, a James McCann HR makes it 5-1 Blazers.

Lightning cut the lead to 5-2 in the 8th on an Encarnacion GIDP.

Bottom 9, with KRod having thrown 23 pitches in game 1, O’Day comes on and gives up a 1 out double to Bruce.  Thornton comes on and Flores singles bringing the tying run to the plate.  Marwin Gonzalez crushes one to left that is caught by Peralta.  Blazers escape 5-2.

WP Warren (1-0)
LP Gonzalez (1-1)
S Thornton (1)

Game 4:  Iwakuma @ Millone

Bottom 2, Marwin Gonzalez singles for a 1-0 Lightning lead.

Blazers score 3 in the third on a Mookie Betts 3 run bomb.

A Matt Carpenter single in the 4th pushes the Blazer lead to 4-1.

Top 5, Robinson rips an RBI double, Choo crushes a 3 run HR, and Betts launches his SECOND THREE RUN HR OF THE GAME to break it open.  11-1 Blazers.

Top 7, Betts hits his third HR of the game, this one of the solo variety.  Blazers win going away 12-1 to secure the split.

WP Iwakuma (1-0)
LP Millone (0-1)

Blazers are now at 4-4 and are 2 games behind the upstart Buffaloes who are 8-4.  At the post game press conference, GM Anthony Peburn was asked if he was concerned about the recent bullpen meltdowns and if there was a closer controversy in New Milford.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, it is 8 whole games into the season,” stated Peburn.  “We should be 6-2 but are 4-4.  We got a little unlucky.  It happens.  We are 4-2 leading after 7, but have been leading after 7 in six of the eight games we’ve played.  We are 0-3 in 1 run games and 0-2 in extras.  On the bright side, we’ve outscored opponents by 14 runs, are averaging over 4 runs a game and have a team ERA of only 2.18.  We will be OK.  K-Rod is still our guy.  We will play some home games soon and turn this around.”

The Blazers are scheduled for a Sunday night tilt at home with the Kansas City Boulevards.

New Milford @ Western Kansas (CH 1)



For the first time in forever, the Blazers open the season against someone other than the Cowtippers.
Game 1:  Kershaw @ Kohler
Teixeira gets the home team on the board in the bottom of the first with a solo shot to left.
In the 4th, a Kershaw RBI groundout and Carpenter RBI single make it 2-1 Blazers.
Top 5, Kelly Johnson rips and RBI double and it’s 3-1.
Bottom 8, a Pollock single pulls the home team within one, but K-Rod comes on to get Conforto to end the threat.
Top 9, a Peralta double makes it 4-2 Blazers, and K-Rod gets the Buffs in order preserving the Blazer’s 4-2 win.
W Kershaw (1-0)
L Koehler (0-1)
S KRod (1)

Kershaw goes 7 giving up 5 hits, 1 ER, 1 BB with 8 K’s and wins his 145th game of his career taking sole possession of 16th place all time.

Game 2:  Tanaka @ Hammel

A rain delay of 67 min stiffens up Tanaka’s arm and he hits the showers after 1.1.  Warren comes on and goes 4.1 keeping the Buffs scoreless.
Meanwhile Hammel pitches well giving up an unearned run on a Choo single.
Bottom 9, a tired K-Rod on for the save and Ryan Goins, of all people PH’s and singles to left to score Pollock and tie the game.
Free baseball.
Bottom 12, with no other pitchers available, thanks to Tanaka, game 4 starter Anderson is on the bump and All Star Goins single, Conger double and Odor single gives the Buffs a walk off win.
W Kontos (1-0)
L Anderson (0-1)
BS KRod (1)
Game 3:  Quintana @ Kennedy
Blazer bats wake up in the second on a Betts 2 RBI single and Choo RBI single and WP scoring Betts making it 5-2 Blazers.
Meanwhile, this time it’s the Buffs turn for misfortune as Kennedy lasts just an inning due to injury.
A lot of other innings were played, with Kelly Johnson doubling in Choo as the only other real action.  Blazers win 6-2.
WP  Quintana (1-0)
LP Smith (0-1)
Game 4:  Anderson @ Wood
Anderson, who threw 16 pitches in game 2, starts off rough giving up 4 runs in the first highlighted by a Chirinos 3 run bomb.
A McCann solo shot makes it 4-1 Buffs in the third.
Top 7, a Raburn single scores 2 and its 4-3 Buffs.
Paplebum on in the 9th and after a Peralta 2 out single gets the save and preserves the split for the Buffs.
WP Wood (1-0)
LP Anderson (0-2)
S Paps (1)
After the game I contacted Bill James and told him about a new stat called losses per games started (L/GS).  He LOVED it and it will be a new stat.  He also ran a quick projection and told me Brett Anderson would KILL IT in a sim league.  So far he is correct.  He predicted that he will run away with this stat in our league.  So far, so good.

2016 Season Preview

2016 Season Preview


2016 Blazers Preview

New Milford (AP)  After a disappointing end to the 2015 season with yet another loss in the OLCS to the Los Altos Undertakers, the New Milford Blazers are primed to win the McGowan Division again and return to the playoffs for a 6th straight year.  “We have to get this OLCS monkey off of our backs,” says NM GM Anthony Peburn.  “We’ve had a great run over the last 7 years, with 7 straight seasons of 90 wins or greater, 5 straight division championships, 4 straight 100+ win seasons, and absolutely NOTHING to show for it.  We think this could be the year, but we’ll need to make a few deals to do it.”

Back are many key players from the 2015 division champs including perennial CY contender Clayton Kershaw to lead the staff.  “Coming in top 2 in the CY race is fun and all (which is all Kershaw has done in his short career), but I would trade it all in a heartbeat for a trophy,” he states.  “I think our starters are as good as ever.”  Returning from part of an epic rookie class is #2 starter Masahiro Tanaka.  He will be followed in the rotation by newcomers Adam Warren and Hisashi Iwakuma to form one of the best front four in the BDBL.  Mainstay Jose Quintana and a healthy Brett Anderson give the Blazers plenty of depth in the rotation.

The bullpen is anchored by Francisco Rodriguez.  K-Rod will close games and looks to break Pat Neshek’s one year old save record.  Matt Thornton and Darrin O’Day return to set up K-Rod from the left and right side respectively.  Charlie Furbush and Matt Albers are a second dominant lefty righty combo.  Aaron Thompson was brought back to the organization which drafted him out of high school to pair with Blake Treinen to form a third, albeit less imposing lefty righty combo.  Aaron Barrett will return to be the other arm in the pen.  “We will look during the season to improve one or two spots in the pen for the playoffs,” explains Peburn.  “Because the rest of the division punted, we have time to find the right deal.”

The offense is lead by returning captain 2B Matt Carpenter and super sophs Mookie Betts and David Peralta.  “Carp will reprise his role at the top of the line up and Peralta and Mook will start in center and left respectively, as they have earned that right. The departure of Werth and Pearce were OK with us as these two dynamic youngsters are top of the order bats.”  Shin Soo Choo will regain his starting RF spot which he lost mid season to Werth last year.  Big 2015 FA signing Troy Tulowitzki will man SS and Kelly Johnson will platoon at 3B with Jed Lowrie who was brought back on a FA deal.  Clint Robinson has the first shot at the 1B gig in a platoon role with FA Martin Maldanodo.  “We will also look to upgrade at 1B, but feel Clint and Maldy can get the job done in the short term.  We also like having a third guy who can play C on the roster, and one with a VG arm.”  Speaking of catcher, Jason Castro returns in a platoon role with promising rookie James McCann.  Derek Dietrich returns as a big lefty bench bat and Blazer fan favorite Ryan Raburn will be the big RH batter off of the bench.

“This team has goals,” states Peburn.  “We are trying to win 90 games for a (BDBL record) 8th straight year, the McGowan division for a (BDBL record) 6th straight year, 100 wins for a (BDBL record) 5th straight year, and then hopefully advance to the World Series.  We realize these are lofty goals, but we are on a plateau as an organization.  Eventually plateau’s end, so we are either going to go up or down.  We hope like hell we go up before we go down.  But we do it one game at a time.”  Only time will tell.

2016 Farm Draft Report

New Milford Farm Report 2016

New Milford Farm Report

Coming into the 2016 season, the New Milford Blazers have a jam packed AAA farm team.  “We may not have the studs that win you “Best Farm Team,'” explains NM GM Anthony Peburn, “but we have a bunch of gamers that can just play baseball.  Our farm traditionally isn’t rated as the best farm system, but we keep churning out guys such as Jose Quintana and  David Peralta.  You know, guys who can just flat out play.  We believe we have quite a few guys just on the cusp of helping out the big club next season.”

The Blazers will need all the help they can get, as most of the veterans on the team are going to chew up the bulk of the 2017 salary leaving very few dollars for the remaining roster spots.  At the moment, it appears the Blazers will have needs at first and second base and left field with quite a few players ready to contend for those spots. “With 6 starting pitchers on the big club under contract, our AAA Hartford Illuminati club has a focus on ML ready hitting. ”

Hyun Soo Kim, is a 27 year old left handed hitting LF who is projected to hit second in the order for the Illuminati in 2016 and then step in for Shin Soo Choo for the big club in 2017. The first round pick of the 2016 pre season draft is a projected top of the order bat with high on base skills for the ML club.

One of the most promising prospects ready to step in is power hitting Richie Shaffer.  Shaffer is a 25 year old 1B/3B who was acquired by the Blazers in the first round of the mid-season farm draft in 2015.  He is currently projected to hit 4th in the Illuminati line up. Shaffer is projected to be a middle of the order power bat for the Blazers as early as 2017.

Kyle Kubitza, 25, who was drafted in the first round of the pre season farm draft in 2015, is a left handed hitter who is trying his hand at 2B due to organizational need.  “He’s a pretty athletic kid and a hard worker”, says Peburn.  “We think he can become our regular 2B in 2017.”  K squared will hit third for the Hartford squad and is a projected bottom of the order platoon bat for the big club.

Newcomer Cristhian Adames,  is a 24 year old switch hitting SS who will lead off for the Illuminati.  Adames was recently acquired via trade with the Bear Country Jamboree for Roenis Elias. He projects as a bottom of the order solid average starter for the Blazers in 2017.

Colin Moran is a left handed hitting third baseman who will hit 5th.  Moran was acquired in the second round of the 2016 pre season farm draft.  “Moran is another kid we have high hopes for and is the heir apparent to Carpenter at third base.”  He is a projected top third of the order hitter for the Blazers.

Keon Broxton will man CF for the Illuminati and hit 6th.  The 26 year old right handed hitter was acquired in the 30th round of the free agent draft in 2016 and is projected as a 4th outfielder or platoon hitter on the big club.

Garin Cecchini is a 25 year old corner IF who was selected in the 31st round of the 2016 free agent draft. The left handed slugger will play a bench role for the Illuminati in 2016 and is projected to be a bench corner IF bat for the Blazers in 2017.

Luis Sardinas is a 23 year old switch hitting utility IF who projects as a utility guy on the big club. Sardinas was acquired in a 2016 pre season trade with Kansas city for Chris Hatcher.

Colin Walsh is another utility IF.  The 26 year old switch hitter was acquired by the Blazers in the 6th round of the 2016 pre season farm draft and his high on base percentage could make him a utility/platoon player on the big club with an outside chance of being a starting 2B.

With all the pitching that the big club has, it really has not been an organizational priority to have dominant starting pitching in the upper minors. When the third round of the 2016 pre season farm draft rolled around, it was impossible to pass on Mike Matuella. The 22 year old righty has TOR stuff.  He won’t be ready as quickly as the hitting is, but expect to see him step in when Kershaw departs after 2018.

Following Matuella in the rotation is lefty Matt Krook. The 21 year old 2016 pre season 4th round farm pick is probably 2-3 years away and projects as a #2 starter.

All 9 hitters have a chance at cracking the 2017 Blazers roster, but for now, they will form one of the best AAA farm teams in the BDBL with dreams of a rookie class that will rival the 2015 BDBL Blazer class of Betts, Peralta and Tanaka.

Also rehabbing in AAA at some point this season will be Michael Saunders and Brandon McCarthy who also hope to make an impact in 2017.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is the pitching heavy New Milford A ball affiliate the Nestlé Kwick.  Because the pitching on the big club is locked in for a few years, the pitching on the farm is further away to hopefully step in when the ML pitching contracts run out in the next few years.

Kodi Medeiros is one of the headliners of this group. The 18 year old lefty was drafted in the first round of the 2014 pre season draft.  “The sky is the limit for this kid,” beams Peburn. “He has major league stuff.  The question is whether it is in the back of the bullpen or the top of the rotation.”  Medeiros projects as a top of the rotation starter for the big club as early as 2019.

Taylor Guerrieri is a 21 year righty with the longest tenure on the farm drafted in round 2 of the mid-season 2011 draft. He has #2 starter potential and is projected to make his BDBL debut in 2018.

Michael Kopech is a big 18 year old righty drafted in the 9th round of the mid-season 2014 draft. The #3 starter for the Kwick projects as such for the big club.

Amir Garrett is a 23 year old lefty drafted in the 5th round of the 2015 pre season draft. The Kwick’s #4 starter projects as a mid rotation starter in New Milford as soon as 2017.

Tomohiro Anraku is an 18 year old righty from Japan. Acquired via trade with Granite State in chapter 1 in 2014, he has ace potential but is many years away.

The big bat for the Kwick is 19 year old catcher Chris Betts.  The sweet swinging 2016 5th round pre season farm draft pick is projected to be a middle of the order bat for the Blazers by 2020.

The Kwick have a dynamic duo in the middle infield in 22 year old 2B Andy Ibanez and 20 year old SS Malquin Canelo.  Both are right handed batters drafted in the 6th round of the 2015 pre season draft and 9th round of the 2015 mid-season draft respectively. Both project as plus defenders and solid average hitters.

After a bumper crop of prospects in 2015 including Mookie Betts, Masahiro Tanaka, David Peralta,  and Aaron Barrett, followed by catcher James McCann this year, all these kids aspire to one day don Blazer green.