From 2010-14, Warning Track Power had one playoff appearance. Now, under the leadership of General Manager Mark Peterson, the team has two straight postseason appearances and the two best win-loss records in franchise history.
Warning Track Power struggled with continuity as the team had four general managers in six years. Now, under the guidance of Peterson, the team is a legitimate contender for the league championship.
Warning Track Power went 141-109-14 in ’15, earning a playoff berth and finishing fifth overall. In 2016, the team won its first West Division pennant with a 147-109-8 record. They were upset in the semifinals by the Menehunes, their West Division rival, but finished fourth in the overall standings, their highest finish ever.
The draft was a key to the team’s success. The players drafted by Warning Track Power finished the season with an average value of 348.61, which is the second best mark in team history. The only teams that drafted better last year were the Lower Haighters and High Cheese.
Third baseman Josh Donaldson, pitcher Chris Sale, and second baseman Jason Kipnis were all protected by Peterson in the Keeper Draft and and they all returned keeper value (Top 80). Reliever Zach Britton, chosen in the eighth round, and starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks, chosen in the 15th round, also returned keeper value.
The team was largely healthy and productive in 2016 so Peterson added just 16 free agents during the season. Reliever David Phelps was added on May 1 and finished the season ranked 63rd overall. Veteran shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera joined the team on May 31 and ended the season ranked 188th, or essentially the value of a 12th round draft choice.
Warning Track Power enters 2017 with a strong nucleus and Peterson has proven himself as a top-flight GM. Anything short of a championship will be disappointing.
The Vicious Fishes took the field in 2010 under the leadership of General Manager Vanessa Hodge. Prince Fielder, Troy Tulowitzki, Derek Jeter, Kendrys Morales and Curtis Granderson were the team’s top five picks in the first draft but the team also included Adam Jones, James Shields, Johnny Cueto, David Price, and Max Scherzer.
The Vicious Fishes alternated series wins and losses for most of 2010 but in Week 10 they slumped, losing eight of their next 10. As their playoff hopes faded, the team rallied, winning their final four to secure a winning record and the league’s final playoff spot. They finished 126-121-29, 18.5 games behind the East-West Challenge Division champion Lower Haighters. They lost their consolation semifinal series to Give it a Yankee and were defeated by division rival A-Rod’s Mirrors in the seventh place game.
Veteran first baseman Paul Konerko earned team MVP honors. Konerko (.393 OBP, 89 Runs, 39 HR, 111 RBI, 0 SB, 110 Ks) was the league’s fourth-rated first baseman and ranked 15th overall. David Price (208.2 IP, 25 QS, 188 Ks, 2.72 ERA, 1.19 WHIP) was the team’s top starter while Darren O’Day (62 IP, 22 Holds, 45 Ks, 2.03 ERA, 0.89 WHIP) led one of the league’s worst bullpens.
The bullpen struggles led Hodge to trade Tulowitzki to the Muckrakers for reliever Matt Capps. It still ranks as one of the most lopsided trades in league history. Hodge also released Max Scherzer in May to add reliever Alfredo Simon. In addition to the trade, Hodge added nine free agents during the season.
Hodge resigned as the team’s general manager in the offseason and Nikhil Dinesh became the new GM for the Vicious Fishes. Dinesh protected Konerko, Price, Fielder, Cruz and Hiroki Kuroda during the Keeper Draft.
The Vicious Fishes played .500 baseball for the first half of the season before the wheels fell off. The team won just one series in the final 13 weeks. They finished 106-150-20 and won the Wooden Spoon as the league’s worst team. The Vicious Fishes finished 60 games behind the West Division champion Lower Haighters.
Fielder earned team MVP honors. Fielder (.415 OBP, 95 Runs, 38 HR, 120 RBI, 1 SB, 106 Ks) was the league’s second rated first baseman behind Miguel Cabrera and ranked 13th overall. Price (224.1 IP, 21 QS, 218 Ks, 3.49 ERA, 1.14 WHIP) was again the team’s top pitcher while the team’s bullpen, always the Achille’s Heel, was led by Andrew Bailey.
The second half of the 2012 season was again painful for the Vicious Fishes. The team lost 15 of its last 18 series to finish 119-142-15. They were last in the West Division, 23 games behind the pennant winning Lower Haighters, and 14th overall.
Dinesh protected Fielder, Cruz, Konerko, Price and Tommy Hanson. Dan Haren, Rafael Betancourt and Alex Gordon were added with the first three picks in the Regular Season Draft. The Vicious Fishes added 12 free agents to the roster during the season and made a trade, sending Ricky Romero and Neftali Feliz to the Lower Haighters for relievers Henry Rodriguez and Drew Storen. Dinesh was desperate to improve the bullpen.
Fielder (.412 OBP, 83 Runs, 30 HR, 108 RBI, 1 SB, 84 Ks) was the team’s MVP for the second consecutive season. He was the league’s third ranked first baseman and finished the season ranked 13th overall. Price nearly captured MVP honors with Fielder, as the young starting pitcher finished 14th in the player rankings. Price (211 IP, 25 QS, 205 Ks, 2.56 ERA, 1.10 WHIP) was the league’s fourth rated starting pitcher. Pedro Strop and Matt Belisle improved the bullpen but it was Betancourt (57.2 IP, 32 Saves/Holds, 57 Ks, 2.81 ERA, 1.13 WHIP) who led the team. He ranked 138th in the final player rankings and was the only Vicious Fishes reliever in the Top 150.
Dinesh protected the team’s MVP, Fielder, along with Price, Gordon, veteran shortstop Derek Jeter and young starting pitcher Chris Sale. Betancourt and Konerko were added in the Regular Season Draft.
The front office was extremely active in the first month of the season, adding 13 players by May 1. A total of 24 free agents would be added by season’s end. They included third baseman Josh Donaldson, shortstop Brandon Crawford, veteran pitcher John Lackey and relievers Junichi Tazawa and Kevin Gregg.
The 38-year-old Jeter was a liability as an ankle injury and other ailments limited the veteran to just 63 at-bats. In August, Betancourt, the team’s closer, suffered an elbow injury. He pitched just 28.2 innings. Starting pitcher Clay Buchholz was superb but his season was also cut short due to injury.
The Vicious Fishes lost just two of their first eight series and looked like a playoff team. As the injuries mounted, the team managed just four wins over the final 15 weeks. They finished 132-148-19 and in last place in the West Division. They were 11th in the final league standings.
Sale (214.1 IP, 23 QS, 9.49 K/9, 3.07 ERA, 1.07 WHIP) was the team MVP, ranking ninth among starting pitchers and 18th overall. Alex Rios (.324 OBP, 83 Runs, 18 HR, 81 RBI, 35 NSB, 17 GIDP, 108 Ks) led the team at the plate while Luis Avilan (65 IP, 25 NSVH, 5.26 K/9, 1.52 ERA, 0.95 WHIP) was the top reliever. The Vicious Fishes finished another season without a reliever ranked in the Top 100 players.
Dinesh was out as general manager in 2014 and Donna Hood, previous GM for Emmy’s Hoods/The Machine, ran the team. Renamed the Marauding Schnoodles, Hood protected Fielder, Sale, Donaldson, Rios and Price in the Keeper Draft. She drafted Yasiel Puig, Jean Segura, Jeff Samardzija, and Brian Dozier in the Regular Season Draft.
Hood added 11 free agents during the season, including second baseman Joe Panik. A neck injury sidelined Fielder and he finished the season with just 150 at-bats. Starting pitcher Derek Holland was injured in a freak home accident and pitched just 37 innings in 2014.
The Schnoodles won their first two series but would win just three of their next 15. They finished 114-148-25, last in the West Division, 40.5 games behind the pennant winning Lower Haighters. The franchise failed to make the postseason again, finishing 13th overall.
Sale earned team MVP honors, finishing fifth in the player rankings. Starting pitchers took the top five spots in the 2014 player rankings. Sale (174 IP, 21 QS, 10.76 K/9, 2.17 ERA, 0.97 WHIP) had now matched Fielder as a two-time team MVP. Pat Neshek (67.1 IP, 27 NSVH, 9.09 K/9, 1.87 ERA, 0.79 WHIP) became the team’s first reliever to crack the Top 100 player rankings. He ranked 30th at season’s end. Dozier (.345 OBP, 112 Runs, 23 HR, 71 RBI, 14 NSB, 8 GIDP, 129 Ks) was the team’s top hitter, ranking 37th.
Mark Peterson became the team’s fourth general manager in six years but he inherited a team that had talent. He protected Puig, Donaldson, two-time MVP Price, Sale, and Samardzija. He did allow his former two-time MVP, Fielder, to go and he was drafted by A-Rod’s Mirrors, a West Division rival.
Peterson added 16 free agents during the season, including Kendrys Morales. Puig suffered a hamstring injury in April and managed just 282 at-bats in 2015. Starting pitcher Jered Weaver struggled through 2015, suffering his first losing season, as his velocity plummeted.
Despite the setbacks, Peterson led Warning Track Power to their first winning record since 2010. They finished 141-109-14, a franchise best, and finished just six games behind the pennant winning Mirrors in the West Division. The team won just two of its first six series but then won eight of nine from Weeks 10-18. They lost to the JetSetters in the quarterfinals but defeated the Monkeys in the consolation semifinals. They went on to defeat Home Run 101 and finish fifth overall, the highest finish in team history.
Donaldson (711 PA, .939 OPS, 122 Runs, 123 RBI, 6 NSB, 133 Ks) was the team MVP and the league’s top-rated third baseman. He finished fourth in the final player rankings. Sale (208.2 IP, 23 QS, 11.82 K/9, 3.41 ERA, 1.09 WHIP) was again the team’s top starter, ranking 18th in the league’s final player rankings. Kevin Siegrist (74.2 IP, 30 NSVH, 10.85 K/9, 2.17 ERA, 1.17 WHIP) was the top reliever and ranked 98th in the final player rankings.
Through the first two-and-a-half months of the season, it looked like Warning Track Power was having a power outage. The team won just three of its first 10 series. Then, in Week 11, a 7-5 series win over Home Run 101 sparked a pennant-winning run. Warning Track Power went on to win nine of its final 12 series and clinch the West Division flag.
Donaldson (700 PA, .953 OPS, 122 Runs, 99 RBI, 6 NSB, 119 Ks) earned team MVP honors for the second consecutive year and finished 2016 as the 10th rated player in the league. He led the team in plate appearances, runs scored, RBI, and OPS. Donaldson is the one hitter that is indispensable for Warning Track Power.
As valuable as Donaldson is at the plate, Sale (226.2 IP, 23 QS, 9.25 K/9, 3.34 ERA, 1.04 WHIP) is the same on the mound. Sale led the team in quality starts and finished second in innings pitched as he finished the season ranked 35th overall in the final league player rankings. Sale earned team MVP honors in 2013-14.
Surprisingly, Kyle Hendricks (190 IP, 20 QS, 8.05 K/9, 2.13 ERA, 0.98 WHIP) was the most valuable pitcher on the staff. Chosen in the 15th round of the draft, Hendricks finished the season ranked 13th and was one of the league’s top values.
Closer Zach Britton (67 IP, 47 NSVH, 9.94 K/9, 0.54 ERA, 0.84 WHIP) was one of the most dominant relief pitchers in the league in 2016. He finished the season ranked 24th overall. Only Andrew Miller and Kenley Jansen were more valuable.