Official Clutch Baseball Online League: Early Season Recap

One obvious downside of physical multiplayer card games – you don’t always have someone to play with. However through the marvels of modern technology, we have been able to put together an online league where players across the country can face off every week. Utilizing web cams, dice apps, and more, we have now completed the first two weeks of this inaugural season. This blog will be a recap of those two weeks, breaking down some introductory information, rosters, statistics, and more.

One obvious downside of physical multiplayer card games – you don’t always have someone to play with.  However through the marvels of modern technology, we have been able to put together an online league where players across the country can face off every week.  Utilizing web cams, dice apps, and more, we have now completed the first two weeks of this inaugural season.  This blog will be a recap of those two weeks, breaking down some introductory information, rosters, statistics, and more.

The Format
There are 8 teams in the league, split up evenly into two East and West divisions.  Everyone plays the other 3 teams in their division 2x, and everyone in the other division 1x.  This leads to 10 matches, where each match is a home/away split.  This leads to 20 total games, and when using a standard 5-man rotation each SP will get 4 starts.  Games are played twice a week, either Sunday/Wednesday or Monday/Thursday.

The Participants
Eight Clutch Baseball fanatics signed up looking for glory.  They are as follows:

  • “Ahrensku” representing Missouri in the Eastern Division
  • “MikeTheRed” representing Pennsylvania in the Eastern Division
  • “Catastrophe” representing Maryland in the Eastern Division
  • “Moose148” representing Maine in the Eastern Division
  • “CommunitySalad” representing Washington in the Western Division
  • “MrTentacles” representing Texas in the Western Division
  • “Alacy92” representing Nebraska in the Western Division
  • “Jon M” representing Arizona in the Western Division

The Rosters
There are 8 teams and 8 Uncommon Stadiums in the 2017 base set.  Each team was randomly assigned an Uncommon Stadium and tasked with building their team from there.

East West
MikeTheRed Ahrensku Moose148 Catastrophe ALacy92 CommunitySalad MrTentacles Jon M
Seattle Cincinatti Washington Pittsburgh Colorado St Louis Philadelphia Atlanta
C Tucker Barnhart C Jason Castro C Jason Castro C Yasmani Grandal C Tucker Barnhart C Cameron Rupp C Brian McCann C Chris Iannetta
1B Chris Carter 1B Mark Trumbo 1B Chris Davis 1B Mark Trumbo 1B Mitch Moreland 1B Joe Mauer 1B Freddie Freeman 1B Yonder Alonso
2B Neil Walker 2B Jean Segura 2B Joe Panik 2B Cesar Hernandez 2B Jedd Lowrie 2B Matt Carpenter 2B Dee Gordon 2B Eduardo Nunez
3B Javier Baez 3B Nolan Arenado 3B Justin Turner 3B Jung Ho Kang 3B Nolan Arenado 3B Anthony Rendon 3B Jung Ho Kang 3B Adonis Garcia
SS Jean Segura SS Adeiny Hechavarria SS Addison Russell SS Manny Machado SS Didi Gregorius SS Andrelton Simmons SS Carlos Correa SS Andrelton Simmons
LF/RF Nelson Cruz LF/RF Adam Duvall LF/RF Corey Dickerson LF/RF Curtis Granderson LF/RF Giancarlo Stanton LF/RF Nick Markakis LF/RF Carlos Beltran LF/RF George Springer
LF/RF Jarrod Dyson LF/RF Carlos Gonzalez LF/RF Brandon Moss LF/RF Adam Eaton LF/RF Wil Myers LF/RF Hunter Pence LF/RFTravis Jankowski LF/RF Travis Jankowski
CF Ken Griffey Jr. CF Ken Griffey Jr. CF Billy Hamilton CF Starling Marte CF Marcell Ozuna CF Billy Hamilton CF Leonys Martin CF Leonys Martin
DH Yunel Escobar DH Chris Carter DH Chris Carter DH Khris Davis DH Justin Upton DH Dexter Fowler DH J.D. Martinez DH Shin-Soo Choo
BN Ryan Flaherty BN Ryan Zimmerman BN Ryan Flaherty BN Ryan Flaherty BN Marwin Gonzalez BN Chris Owings BN James McCann BN Jed Lowrie
BN Ryan Zimmerman BN Chris Ianetta BN Chris Iannetta BN Ryan Zimmerman BN Chris Iannetta BN Ryan Zimmerman BN Chris Owings BN Chris Owens
BN Chris Owings BN Ryan Flaherty BN Ryan Zimmerman BN Chris Owings BN Melky Cabrera BN Ryan Flaherty BN Chris Iannetta BN Ryan Flaherty
BN Chris Owings BN Ryan Zimmerman
SP1 Garrett Richards SP1 Corey Kluber SP1 Clayton Kershaw SP1 Garrett Richards SP Jose Fernandez SP1 Max Scherzer SP1 Kenta Maeda SP1 Clayton Keyshawn
SP2 Jose Quintana SP2 Marcus Stroman SP2 Rich Hill SP2 Jeff Samardzija SP Chris Archer SP2 Jameson Taillon SP2 Marco Estrada SP2 Johnny Cueto
SP3 Yu Darvish SP3 Jeremy Hellickson SP3 Masahiro Tanaka SP3 Kyle Hendricks SP Gerrit Cole SP3 Jeremy Hellickson SP3 Michael Fulmer SP3 Marcus Stroman
SP4 Anthony DeSclefani SP4 Drew Smyly SP4 Brandon Finnegan SP4 Cole Hamels SP Robbie Ray SP4 Ivan Nova SP4 Lance McCullers SP4 Luis Severino
SP5 Brandon Finnegan SP5 Shelby Miller SP5 Tyler Skaggs SP5 Drew Smyly SP Jon Gray SP5 Tyler Skaggs SP5 Drew Smyly SP5 Robbie Ray
RP David Phelps RP Michael Tonkin RP Sean Doolittle RP Raisel Iglesias RP Will Harris RP Tyler Thornburg
RP Andrew Chafin RP Luke Gregerson RP Jordan Lyles RP Justin Wilson RP Brad Hand RP Sean Doolittle RP Hunter Strickland RP Darren O’Day
RP Justin Wilson RP Xavier Cedeno RP Brad Boxberger RP Brett Cecil RP Tommy Layne RP Sergio Romo RP Will Harris RP Hunter Strickland
RP Hansel Robles RP Raisel Iglesias RP Kevin Quackenbush RP Mike Morin RP Zach Putnam RP Brad Hand RP Luke Gregerson RP Tony Sipp
RP Kevin Quackenbush RP Kevin Quackenbush RP Brett Cecil RP Zach Putnam RP Jumbo Diaz RP Jake McGee RP Liam Hendriks RP Tanner Scheppers
RP Danny Farquhar RP Jordan Lyles RP Luke Gregerson RP Tony Cingrani RP Jonathan Broxton RP Brad Boxberger RP Jonathan Broxton RP Brad Hand
RP Michael Tonkin RP Tony Cingrani RP Will Harris RP Michael Tonkin RP Tanner Scheppers RP Michael Tonkin RP Jordan Lyles RP Jordan Lyles
CP Edwin Diaz CP Craig Kimbrel CP Aroldis Chapman CP Edwin Diaz CP Adam Ottavino CP Jeruys Familia CP Fernando Rodney CP Seung Oh

As you can see there was great variety to the players chosen by the different managers.  However you do see some favored players, either due to their dominance or being a great bargain.  In CF you see two Ken Griffey Jr’s (Only 4 Icon player) and also two Billy Hamilton’s (+5 Defense, 20(A) Speed, SB Icon for 160 Salary).  Clayton Kershaw (Only 7 Command SP) gets the nod on two teams, even though those two teams both lost their opening game in which he was on the mound.  For RP you see a lot of specialists and bargains, including Tonkin, Quackenbush, Lyles, Hand, Boxberger, and Doolittle.  And then of course there was the most selected player, Ryan Zimmerman (lowest Salary in game), chosen to ride the bench on 6/8 teams.

The Standings

East West
Ahrensku 5-3 MrTentacles 5-3
MikeTheRed 4-4 ALacy92 5-3
Catastrophe 3-5 CommunitySalad 4-4
Moose148 2-6 Jon M 4-4

With everyone 8 games in the books, things are pretty tight.  The Eastern Division has a nice and even spread, from 5-3 in 1st place to 2-6 in last place.  The West is a complete shootout, with every team being at or above .500.  The top two teams from each division make the playoffs in a 4-team, 2-round, Bo3 format.  Tiebreakers are: head to head record, run differential, runs scored, and finally runs scored at home.

That’s how things have shaken out thus far.  Look forward to another blog in 3 weeks when the regular season has concluded and we preview the upcoming playoff matches.

#ClutchMoment

Can’t Miss Clutch Cards: Mid-Season Set

What a difference a few months can make. Who could have predicted the April that Eric Thames would have? Or like we talked about earlier, the turnaround that Starlin Castro and Ryan Zimmerman have both made? Obviously we were all eager to see Andrew Benintendi earlier this year, but he just didn’t have enough at-bats to create what we thought was an accurate card (spoiler alert: I’m glad we waited). I was eager to have an Aaron Judge card (Yankee fan here), but last year his 80 plate appearances (with 40 strikeouts) would have been one of the worst cards in the set! Personally, I would have been ecstatic if Judge had a .260 30+ hr, 80+ RBI season. I only could have dreamt of him becoming our mid-set cover athlete. Judge-mania aside, there are plenty of other stud cards in our mid-season set. Let’s do a quick run down on some facts about this set:

What a difference a few months can make. Who could have predicted the April that Eric Thames would have? Or like we talked about earlier, the turnaround that Starlin Castro and Ryan Zimmerman have both made? Obviously we were all eager to see Andrew Benintendi earlier this year, but he just didn’t have enough at-bats to create what we thought was an accurate card (spoiler alert: I’m glad we waited). I was eager to have an Aaron Judge card (Yankee fan here), but last year his 80 plate appearances (with 40 strikeouts) would have been one of the worst cards in the set! Personally, I would have been ecstatic if Judge had a .260 30+ hr, 80+ RBI season. I only could have dreamt of him becoming our mid-set cover athlete. Judge-mania aside, there are plenty of other stud cards in our mid-season set. Let’s do a quick run down on some facts about this set:

  1. There is a new AS icon.
  2. Alex Wood’s salary is a whopping 575.
  3. Gary Sanchez got better, after some internal debates earlier this year if his base set card was “too good” given his limited at-bats in the big leagues.
  4. The highest salary legend in this set was traded for the highest salary reliever in the set 10 years ago (D-Train for Andrew Miller).
  5. Marcell Ozuna (sent back to AAA two years ago this July) now has as much power as Giancarlo Stanton (richest contract in sports history).
  6. Jason Vargas is a certifiable ace.
  7. Salvador Perez’s card became even cheaper.
  8. Corey Seager became the highest salary Clutch card without a natural home run.
  9. Joey Votto has a 1-2 out chart.
  10. Aaron Judge’s card is the 5th highest batter’s salary (670) behind both of Trout’s cards (800/760), David Ortiz 2007 (745), and Ken Griffey Jr [1997] (715).

And then there’s the Albert Pujols six-hundred homerun club card. Based off of his career statistics, The Machine carries an impressive on-base 13, 19+ homer, 1-4 out, and +2 clutch. This card should bring back fond memories with the St. Louis backdrop where Albert brought home 2 World Series Titles, 3 MVP’s, 6 Silver Sluggers, and 2 Gold Gloves in his 11 years spent there.  How’s this for a factoid – more people have walked on the moon than hit 600 MLB homeruns.

Now let’s get to the good stuff. The first thing I always look for in a brand new set are all the best “deals”. We’ve already had some speculation about which new cards are going to be “must-use” on your team. Here are my top 7 recommendations:

#7: Salvador Perez
Somehow, Salvo’s card became an even better bargain in the mid-season set. His chart is slightly weaker, and he did lose the GG icon. Yet he makes up for it with the AS icon and a +2 clutch. The only other thing he’s useful for is his defense. If you thought he was a bargain with a 230 salary in the base set, I’m sure this card will be nearly impossible to resist with a 185 salary. That is… unless there is a better bargain catcher in this set?

#6: Chase Anderson
A starting pitcher with a 355 salary is about average. But let me sell you on Chase Anderson. 1. 4 L+1. Now, I know what you’re going to say: “There are 4 other SP with a 4+1 for the same salary, or CHEAPER!” This is true. But none of them possess these next qualities. 2. A 1-X mistake zone. This is EVERYTHING to me. I’d rather have a command 4 with an 1-X mistake zone, than a command 5 with a 1-3 mistake zone. 3. Top it all off with a +4 defense, and solid chart. If you have a deep bargain bullpen like me, the 5 innings limit shouldn’t scare you. 

#5: Eric Thames
There’s something that draws me to the idea of an on-base 13 with a 19+ homer against a right-handed pitcher for 350 points. I would love to supplement him as a 1B/DH with another high on-base 1B (300 salary or less). Essentially he’s the rich man’s Chris Carter. Except I have a feeling that 1-7 out is going to be frustrating like our old pal Chris’s 1-8 out chart.  

#4: Andrew Benintendi
This guy is the whole package. You won’t find many (potentially) on-base 13 guys for an affordable 365 salary. Obviously I say potentially because of the 12 R+1 on-base, but most pitchers are right-handed anyway. Additionally, he has that smooth 1-5 on his chart with the 15 (B) speed. Actually, this card will probably be an understatement at some point in the near future. This dude is batting title material. I think one day we will see on-base 13 R+1 from Benintendi.

#3: Alex Avila
I absolutely love this card. If you can live with a -3 clutch, this card is a steal. Avila rocks the high affordable on-base (12), 1-5 out, and solid +6 defense. The only catchers with a higher on-base than Avila are Buster Posey and Gary Sanchez. Unless you have hometown bias to one of these stars, save yourself the 200+ points and slot Avila in your lineup.

#2: Ben Gamel
This guy is a speed 20(A) away from giving a manager no option but to place him into their lineup. As a Yankee fan, this card infuriates me. Ben Gamel hasn’t exactly “appeared from nowhere”. In 2016, Gamel played for the SWB RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) and won the International League MVP. He was also the International League Rookie of the Year in 2015. In 2016, the Yankees traded him to Seattle for 2 minor league pitchers. Now, in his debut card, Gamel is a Billy Beane prodigy with an on-base 12, 1-3 out, speed 15 (B), and +1 clutch for 295 salary. If Gamel can turn on a few (ding-dongs) this second half, his card may be extremely intriguing come 2018.

#1: Chris Devenski
This is the ultimate set up man. Honestly, he may even be better than your closer. Chris Devenski is the perfect example of how baseball is adapting and changing. Devenski has developed into a closer-esque relief man that goes multiple innings, much like Mariano did while setting up for Wetteland in ’96. Recently, Devenski just got tagged for 4 runs in 1 IP against Toronto, which sent his ERA up a bit. Yet, Devenski still has a sub 3.00 ERA pitching for an average of 2 innings per appearance. He has a devastating 6/R+1 Command, and a dominating 1-X mistake zone. Then you can top it all off with a 1-18 out chart, and +3 defense. Think of it as two 155 salary RP pitchers with a +6/R+1. Everyone would use them. The 2 IP secures this card’s spot at #1 on my list.

Check out the Card Database and click on “last name” to sort the players. You can find the Mid-Season Set cards starting with ASG17 (followed by their name). Tell us which stars you think we missed, or which players are already penciled in on your lineup card! Don’t forget to switch tabs to check out new Pitchers, stadium cards, strategy cards that have all been added to the database.

The Mid-Season Set cards were updated within less than 1-week of the All-Star game, and have already been sent to print.  The Mid-Season packs are LIMITED, and won’t be available for long.
Go snag a 4-pack or 9-pack bundle before these all-stars, legends, and STUDS are gone!

Mid-Season Set 2017 Official Card List

It was slightly difficult picking Florida legends because the team wasn’t in existence for very long, and they had a habit of trading all their best players despite winning two World Series.  Castillo, Conine, and Willis were no-brainers, but we left the last vote up to the fans on Twitter. 2003 World Series MVP Josh Beckett beat out Josh Jackson, Rob Nenn, and Livan Hernandez to claim  the last spot. These cards will feature any icons that they achieved during the year the card is based on, including the AS icon when applicable. The last player we’re keeping a secret until you guys open up some packs and figure it out. It’s based on a career accomplishment this year but that’s all we can say.

Boys and girls, Clutch Baseball fans of all ages, I present to you the Mid-Season Set 2017 Official Card List!
*Bold = Holographic

Legends (Ultra-Rare)

  • Josh Beckett [2005] (FLA)
  • Luis Castillo [2003] (FLA)
  • Jeff Conine [1995] (FLA)
  • Dontrelle Willis [2005](FLA)
  • MYSTERY

It was slightly difficult picking Florida legends because the team wasn’t in existence for very long, and they had a habit of trading all their best players despite winning two World Series.  Castillo, Conine, and Willis were no-brainers, but we left the last vote up to the fans on Twitter. 2003 World Series MVP Josh Beckett beat out Josh Jackson, Rob Nenn, and Livan Hernandez to claim  the last spot. These cards will feature any icons that they achieved during the year the card is based on, including the AS icon when applicable. The last player we’re keeping a secret until you guys open up some packs and figure it out. It’s based on a career accomplishment this year but that’s all we can say.


All-Stars (Rare)

  • Yonder Alonso (OAK)
  • Jose Altuve (HOU)
  • Nolan Arenado (COL)
  • Cody Bellinger (LA-N)
  • Dellin Betances (NY-A)
  • Mookie Betts (BOS)
  • Charlie Blackmon (COL)
  • Michael Brantley (CLE)
  • Starlin Castro (NY-A)
  • Michael Conforto (NY-N)
  • Carlos Correa (HOU)
  • Zack Cozart (CIN)
  • Nelson Cruz (SEA)
  • Yu Darvish (TEX)
  • Wade Davis (CHI-N)
  • Corey Dickerson (TB)
  • Michael Fulmer (DET)
  • Avisail Garcia (CHI-A)
  • Paul Goldschmidt (ARI)
  • Zack Greinke (ARI)
  • Brad Hand (SD)
  • Bryce Harper (WSH
  • Josh Harrison (PIT)
  • Greg Holland (COL)
  • Ender Inciarte (ATL)
  • Kenley Jansen (LA-N)
  • Aaron Judge (NY-A)
  • Clayton Kershaw (LA-N)
  • Dallas Keuchel (HOU)
  • Craig Kimbrel (BOS)
  • Corey Kluber (CLE)
  • Corey Knebel (MIL)
  • DJ LeMahieu (COL)
  • Francisco Lindor (CLE)
  • Carlos Martinez (STL)
  • Lance McCullers (HOU)
  • Andrew Miller (CLE)
  • Yadier Molina (STL)
  • Daniel Murphy (WSH)
  • Pat Neshek (PHI)
  • Marcell Ozuna (MIA)
  • Salvador Perez (KC)
  • Buster Posey (SF)
  • Jose Ramirez (CLE)
  • Robbie Ray (ARI)
  • Chris Sale (BOS)
  • Gary Sanchez (NY-A)
  • Miguel Sano (MIN)
  • Ervin Santana (MIN)
  • Max Scherzer (WSH)
  • Corey Seager (LA-N)
  • Luis Severino (NY-A)
  • Justin Smoak (TOR)
  • George Springer (HOU)
  • Giancarlo Stanton (MIA)
  • Stephen Strasburg (WSH)
  • Mike Trout (LA-A)
  • Jason Vargas (KC)
  • Joey Votto (CIN)
  • Ryan Zimmerman (WSH)

All-Stars were pretty straight forward.  First off a moment of silence for Jake Lamb, Jonathan Schoop, and whoever the 2 final vote-ins end up being.  There was only room on the ship for 60. Second, we chose 10 players to feature as holographic cards.  There were a few pre-requisites: 5 from AL and 5 from NL, evenly dispersed between region, evenly dispersed between batter/pitcher, and didn’t already have a 2017 holographic card.  We’re very happy with the 10 players we came up with, and feel they are extremely deserving while meeting our requirements.


New Players (Uncommon)

  • Chase Anderson (MIL)
  • Alex Avila (DET)
  • Andrew Benintendi (BOS)
  • Jerry Blevins (NY-N)
  • Alex Bregman (HOU)
  • Chris Devenski (HOU)
  • Ben Gamel (SEA)
  • Matt Holliday (NY-A)
  • Mike Leake (STL)
  • Lance Lynn (STL)
  • Nomar Mazara (TEX)
  • Scott Schebler (CIN)
  • Antonio Senzatela (COL)
  • Eric Thames (MIL)
  • Alex Wood (LA-N)

Again, we tried to find a nice balance of leagues, batters vs. pitchers, and regions.  These are players that didn’t make our initial 2017 roster, either due to performance or just not having enough at-bats.  These cards will feature the classic red/blue color scheme.


Updated Strategy Cards (Uncommon)

  • Chin Music 2.0
  • Coming In Hot 2.0
  • Blooper 2.0
  • The One Who Knocks 2.0
  • Road Rally 2.0

Old dogs with new tricks.  These cards are based on the concepts of the originals, but with some different twists and implementation of the AS icon.  Note: these cards share the same 2 per deck rule as always.  So you can have a Blooper and Blooper 2.0, but not 2 Blooper and 2 Blooper 2.0.  Rulebook will be updated to reflect this.  These cards will also feature the classic red/blue colors.


New Strategy Cards (Ultra-Rare)

  • Got His Number
  • In His Head
  • Twist Of Fate

Three brand new strategies featuring the Miami-themed look and AS icon.  Some powerful momentum cards and another clutch moment card at the fan’s requests.


New Stadium Cards (Ultra-Rare)

  • Florida Park
  • Miami Park

Finally, we have two new stadiums again featuring the updated look.  One of these cards is our first stadium card to feature icons!

Pre-orders go live Friday, 7/7/17.  Expected delivery date is early to mid August.