After starring for opposing teams in the Japan Series, Wei-Yin Chen and Tsuyoshi Wada will try to adjust to life in Baltimore and last place, as the Orioles react to the new CBA by plugging their pitching holes with Asian imports.
On November 12th, 2011, as Major League Baseball recovers from one of the most exciting World Series in recent memory, Nippon Professional Baseball begins its own best-of-seven championship: the Japan Series.
Much like MLB, Japanese professional baseball has two leagues—the Central and the Pacific—and much like MLB, the champions of those respective leagues play each other to determine a final champion for the entire season. As NPB has only 12 teams compared to to MLB's 30, however, the playoffs are structured a bit differently; with only six teams per league, NPB does not bother with divisions or Wild Cards—the best three teams in each league make the playoffs, with the league's top seed getting a first-round bye. The second and third seeds play a best-of-three series, and the winner faces the first seed in a best-of-five “Climax Series” that's roughly analogous to MLB's League Championship Series. The winning club from each league's Climax Series is that league's champion and advances to the best-of-seven Japan Series to determine which is the best club in NPB. The Climax Series format was implemented first by the Pacific League in 2004 and then adopted by the Central League three years later. Previously, there had been no real postseason in NPB: the team with the best season record from the Central would play the team with the best season record from the Pacific in the Japan Series, and that was that.
In the final week of the season, Michael looks at near-term and long-term return for his Value Picks.
As the season (and Value Picks) draws to a close, I’ll look at what my VPs are likely to deliver in the next week, as well as their future for keeper leagues. Every year, one of my league championships has gone down to the final day, so there’s every reason to keep your roster current with fresh blood, even in redraft leagues. If you’re out of the money, keep the leaders honest by playing spoiler, scrapping for one more steal, one more homer, one more point of batting average. Because after Wednesday, it’s six months before fantasy baseball comes around again. Make this last week count!
The team's problems might linger as long as Frank McCourt does
Kiss 'Em Goodbye is a series focusing on MLB teams as their postseason dreams fade—whether in September (or before), the league division series, league championship series or World Series. It combines a broad overview from Baseball Prospectus, a front-office take from former MLB GM Jim Bowden, a best- and worst-case scenario ZiPS projection for 2012 from Dan Szymborski, and Kevin Goldstein's farm-system overview.
As the Phillies jump to #2 in the majors in payroll, the rest of the division plays catch-up.
Spending is up in the National League East, where all five clubs should rank higher on the list of Opening Day payrolls than they did at this time a year ago. Advancing up the list are the four-time defending champion Phillies, whose payroll jumps from fourth in baseball to second in 2011. They’re followed by the Mets (sixth to fifth), Braves (17th to 14th) and Marlins (28th to 24th). Even the Nationals, who project to reduce payroll slightly, move up from 24th in 2010 to 23rd this year. With the usual disclaimer that the numbers are subject to change, let’s break down the projected 2011 payrolls for the NL East.