Sunday, December 24, 2017

Chicagoland Summer Draft Preview

We are a long way from the Chicagoland Summer Tournament but the theme has been announced and it is very interesting. Rob Spatz has me thinking....again.

The theme is any carded team, with a catch.  We will be using a forced 4 man rotation and the rotation shakes out like this:

#1 Any grade
#2 No higher than a B
#3 No higher than a C
#4 No higher than a D

Your rotation must follow the above formula.  This presents several demands for the manager including team selection, rotation, and bullpen.

Teams must possess D starting pitchers to qualify for the tourney.  That should not be a huge problem, especially with the J4 rule relaxed and the availability of XC cards.  However, most managers want the best rotation possible so a team with all 4 grades is highly desirable and that narrows the field significantly.   The games featuring D arms will be interesting, at least through 5 innings.  It is very attractive to get a "z" with that D starter or at least an "x".

Team selection is wide-open with many powerful teams qualifying for the tournament.  As I looked them over, the 1927 Yankees (from my GTOP set) qualifies. This is not the tournament to select a weak team just to see how they do, the answer will be "not well."  The two boys below will come to play, and eat up C and D pitching.

The bullpen will play a role in this tournament.  As I see it, most older teams do not have much of a pen and modern teams have good bullpens, with current teams (2015-17) having killer pens.  Can a weaker modern team survive 5 innings of brutality from an older team and then recoup losses under the protection of a powerful pen?

Thus, some of the older teams may have to ride C and D arms deep into games and modern teams will be able to go to the pen in games, this is an advantage for the modern teams and makes them attractive options.   It could be a long 5 innings for some arms waiting for the pen to take over.

This brings us to draft order.  With 30+ managers in the mix it will be a wild draft. I have that dread of pulling 1-4 as the pressure is really on to win and I will be forced to take one of those nasty Yankee teams.

The 1927, 1937, and 1998 Yankees are all solid options for any pick 1-3.  Unfortunately for me, there are no legit Twins teams in the top 10 or even 20 if I really look at it objectively.  A mid-range draft number has less pressure, and of course, the end of the draft sucks.

I can't give away the teams I have been scouting for the draft, but there are many solid choices even if one doesn't have many full sets. One way to look this over and narrow the field is to look at the results of the Neil Ess Memorial Tournament held in Twin Cities. A great tourney run by an excellent group of folks (I actually finished second up there one year). They run an open tournament with all former first and second finishers permenently ineligible.  Check out Jim's APBA Barn blog for all the scoop: link is live at Jim's APBA Barn.  The Neil Ess results will show you how these great APBA teams have done in a live tournament.

The Chicagoland Summer tourney promises to be a lively mix of deadball,

raw power,

starting pitching,



and managerial skill.


  1. Hey Eric, great stuff as always. And thank you for the TCABT mention. BTW, the only teams which are no longer eligible for TCABT play are the previous tournament champions. The 2nd place finishers are still eligible (as long as they did not win a tournament since finishing 2nd). Thanks! - Jim

  2. Thanks! I hope to play in the TCABT again soon.