Author: Ali Manek

2018 – Week 7 – Reviews

Bucks

The Bucks only played one game this week against the surging Lions who beat them for only their 2nd loss of the season. Still, with a comfortable lead atop the standings, the widely touted best hitter in the league, Ali Raza Nasser, did struggle going 0-2 this week.

Munir Nasser, who had a couple of breakout games last week didn’t show up this week to recover, but a very welcomed appearance by Aman Nasser was a surprise as he went 1-2 in only his 6th and 7th at-bat this season.

This week the Bucks will be hoping to show the rest of the league that their early season success was not a fluke and if guys like Kabir Molu continue to tear it up the way he has been (went 3-3 this week with 2 runs scored and now holds the 2nd highest average on the team) – the Bucks can afford a few weeks off from their batting leader Nadim Rahemtulla who will be off again this week.

Eagles

A 1-and-done for the Eagles this week and good for them for surviving two weeks without Ali Manek – but coming up badly short going 0-3 in his absence.

The Eagles jumped off to a great start vs Asad Nasser and the Owls, putting up 5 runs in the 1st inning. But as has been the case in the past, once Asad Nasser starts trash talking Abbasali Kermalli, it always seems to flip in favour of Asad and the Owls. Abbas, who went 1-3 in the loss this week, has been off to a 2nd straight terrible start to a JMS season boasting a .357 average and now has the 2nd lowest average of 1st Round Draft Picks (ahead of only Moe Abdalla). It was around this time that Abbas got it going last season and the Eagles are hoping it’s not too little too late for them as they have been dropping in the standings quickly.

Some bright spots for the Eagles is that Abbas Allidina seems to have got his groove back going 2-3 in the loss, getting his average up to .280. However, he may have sparked a trend as 5 different players on the squad got RBIs for the team. Abbas Allidina, Ray Noormohamed, Hasnain Kara, Hussein Champsi, and Aqil Najafi all picked up key hits for the team against the Owls and accounted for each of the Eagles 5 runs.

We’re going to be watching to see if this part of the lineup can get it rolling and help the league’s worst offence (64 runs scored) finish the season the way they started – Since going 4-0 to start the season, they are now 5-4 and will need contributions from every part of their lineup.

Falcons

The Falcons finally picked up their 2nd win of the season but it had nothing to do with attendance as they were still without 4 of their players including Raheel Rawjani who has 8 at-bats all season. But a much needed win indeed for the squad that has really yet to find its footing on the diamond.

The come-from-behind victory was dramatic, to say the least, and everyone on the team, except last season’s batting champion Imtiyaz Kara, got a hit. (Imtiyaz went 0-4 in the win and 2-7 on the day)

Aadil Jaffer dominated going 2-3 with two big RBIs to lead the team. He continued his tear into the 2nd game finishing the day 4-6 with 4 RBIs – his first RBIs this season. He also laced a triple in the loss to the Lions picking up 2 RBIs of only 4 allowed by the Lions.

Riaz Champsi was finally back on the mound for the Falcons and although he did exceptionally well in game one throwing 2 strikeouts, 34 pitches for strikes and allowing 6 Earned Runs, he also hit well going 3-4 with an RBI and 2 runs scored. And although he did score 2 runs in game two as well, he totally fell off the mound allowing 20 Earned Runs in a blowout mercy victory for the Lions.

Lions

This week started off looking like it was going to be easy pickings for the Lions who won by getting a mercy over the Falcons to start the day. They moved on to hand the Bucks only their 2nd loss of the seasons but then we unable to get past the Owls in their 3rd game of the day.

Player of the Week honours went to Asad Hussain and deservedly so. The start to his season was relatively slow by the standard he has set for himself but he showed again this week why he is always an MVP candidate and the best player the league has ever had. With 3 home runs and 13 RBIs on an 8-for-11 day, he has climbed atop almost every offensive category in the league.

Ali Kara has also started to contribute in a big way for the Lions picking up 5 huge hits this week and now has one less hit than Muhammad A. and Salman Jiwan combined. However, the bigger story here is that if the Lions have found a way to make Ali Kara a threat, then this team literally has no holes especially after the coup-d’état in landing the 2nd overall draft pick, Miqdad Jaffer. (Miqdad went 6-for-12 with 3 RBIs this week.

This week, we are going to have our eyes on Hussein Jiwan who started the day on fire going 3-for-3 with 2 RBIs but then slowed down finishing the day 5-for-9 but his 6 RBIs were 2nd highest on the team this week. If Hussein Jiwan can put up numbers like these, then this team is going into the final weeks as the best team in the league.

Owls

The Owls needed to rebound quickly after a devastating 17-1 loss to the hottest team in the league, the Tigers, on Friday night. And they did exactly that as they came into Sunday dominating their games going 2-0 against the Eagles and the hard-hitting Lions.

The best part about the two wins this week for the Owls is that captain Kumail Meghani only played a small role and it really was a team effort. Almost every Owl got a hit with the exception of Hassan Abbas Kara who went 0-for-7.

Shane Nasser was having a great day at the plate going 5-for-6 in the two wins with an RBI and 2 runs scored as he now leads the team in batting average, OBP, and is 2nd in slugging. It’s expected that he will be here for the rest of the season and good timing as his 13 at-bats might be too small of a sample size to know if he’s going to be able to maintain the hot start.

1st round pick, Irfahn Khimji is certainly proving his worth now as he went 3-for-6 with a massive triple and 3 runs scored in the two victories. He has now leapt above many of his teammates with a batting average of .552 however with only 3 RBIs on the season, we might see some lineup adjustments going into this week to try to give him a chance to be a run producer.

One of the most exciting stories this week was Abbas Fazal who got his 2nd career home run this week and won player of the game honours in the big win against the Lions. Although Abbas is hitting below his career average of .550, he is still in that range this season and this week added to that going 5-for-7 with 4 RBIs and 3 runs scored.

Tigers

We have to hold our breath because the Tigers are ON FIRE. Winners of their last 4, the Tigers are the hottest team in JMS and they are doing it in dramatic fashion. They absolutely annihilated the Owls 17-1 on Friday night and then beat the Wolves twice to close out their weekend with a total score of 26-15.

Mahmood Kara is now 3rd in the JMS for batting average after dominating the opposition going 10-11 in the three games. And that level of play is clearly contagious as almost every player on the Tigers squad, with one very noticeable exception being Azmatali Mehrali, got a hit in the three games this weekend.

Bobby Bharwani went 5-for-8 this weekend with 6 RBIs to up his season average to .500 to put him at 4th on his team. Umair Ali dominated this week with a massive grand slam against Mikael Ratansi and the Wolves. He finished the weekend 8-for-10 with 8 huge RBIs leading the team to victory.

Nabeel Naqvi is the guy we are watching this week as he had a great weekend going 6-for-10 with 4 RBIs and 7 Runs scored. The hottest team in the league might have developed Naqvi’s game into one where he can create runs for the team and unlike some of the others who may have just had a hot weekend, Naqvi is currently 3rd in the league in at-bats.

Wolves

Even though the Wolves lost all three games this weekend and sit with a record of 3-7, they are still the team no one wants to face in the playoffs. On Sunday they lost two games by a total of 4 runs and made a total of 8 errors in their three losses.

Said Samater had a great day on Sunday going 5-for-8 driving in 2 runs to bring his season average up to .407. But the Wolves traditionally draft players with massive upsides and currently they boast a lineup with more rookies than anyone else in the league.

Said and fellow rookie Alla Al-Salem, who is batting a respectable .429, are starting to show signs of why they were selected to this squad. However, some of the other rookies, like Abid Kara and Kaunain Taki are struggling as they sit at the bottom of the team in average. And while Abid has 8 hits so far this season, the team really does need its experienced guys to start leading the way as both Samir Damani and 1st round pick Muzammil Jaffer have been disappointing with a combined 14 hits all season.

2018 – Week 1 Review

The 4th season of JMS is finally under way and we want to extend a very special thank you to all of the Admin Team. They have spent countless amount of time, personal resources, and effort to help make this league the best with an unreal amount of awesome JMS SWAG this season. Thank you to each and every one of you.

New this year, we wanted to provide a quick summary for the week that just passed, with some key stats and also MVP and Pitcher’s of the day. Additionally, if you go into each game’s box score you’ll see that we have indicated the player of the game with a star. On to the updates

Notes
  • 41 Innings Played (5.86 per game)
  • 104 Total Runs Scored
  • 35 Strike Outs… Men’s slow pitch softball… 35 K’s…ARE PITCHERS THAT GOOD?!
  • 48 Walks
MVP of the Day

Ali Manek – 5/6 3HR, 6 RBI, 2IBB

Pitcher of the Day

Hussein Allidina – 12.0 IP, 2W, 2.67 ERA, 11H, 4BB, 7K

Wolves

Like 2017, the Wolves got off to a slow start this season, however with the championship Pedigree they already have, there isn’t a lot to prove this early on. They were without their 2nd pick, Mikael Ratansi, but already have one of the best one-two pitching combos in the league with Mohamed Walli clearly able to handle the mound.

Muzammil Jaffer started the season very strong hitting a homerun however he finished the day with a .167 average and with the inability to get on base, this run producing 1st pick will have to step it up. Imran Virji who is playing through significant injuries showed very little signs of being hurt as he continued to hit the ball exceptionally well finishing the day 5 for 6 with a double and triple to his credit.

Next up for the Wolves is the Falcons and Tigers – both teams coming off losses so it would be a great time for them to rebound. This week rookies Said Samater went 1/6 and Kaunain Taki 2/6. For the Wolves to get a victory this week, some of the risky picks they drafted have to shake off first-week-jitters and hit better.

Lions

The regular season undefeated record for the Lions has ended with lucky number 14 as they were unable to continue their regular-season dominance in week one of 2018. They took out the Wolves in game 1 to start the season in very “Lion” like style with stellar defence as they only made one error. However, in the second game they hit a wall called Hussein Allidina.

Altaf Champsi pitched a gem of a game against the Wolves before totally being left out to dry in game 2. The Lions were shutout in game 2, held to only 2 hits all game and committed 8 errors. Of the 11 Eagles runs scored, only 2 were charged to the former pitcher of the tournament.

Next week will prove to be interesting as they will be facing the Owls and then the Eagles for the 2nd time in as many weeks. If guys like Damien Ramnauth can continue to play a strong outfield, expect the Lions to make some shifts to their outfield to start to reward players who made the fewest mistakes on the field.

Eagles

After what some considered a public outcry for an apology after our season preview about the Eagles, we are not ready to apologize just yet. The first week of the season is more than likely just an outlier to what we anticipate for an Eagles team that seem to have had all things rolling in the right direction on Sunday. Even with 3 home runs, first overall draft pick Ali Manek is still not leading the league in any offensive category other than Home Runs and to be frank, we have seen this show before. He has one good game and rides that stat line for the season. But credit where credit is due, he did get this week’s MVP of The Week honours.

One area that our initial projections may have been off was the outfield for the Eagles. Even more impressive is that they held the strong hitting Wolves to 5 runs with only 3 outfielders all game. The combination of 3rd-4th-5th-6th round picks for the Eagles is a solid group. Hussain Habib, Aqil Najafi, Hussein Champsi & Hasnainali Walli made zero errors in the outfield in their two games.

But none of the offence matters when you have a pitcher who pitched a game of the ages. In game 2 of the afternoon for the Eagles, captain Hussein Allidina pitched a 2-hitter against the Lions on his way to his second complete game and first shutout of his career. Only 4 earned runs in 12 straight innings. This is a pitching performance we don’t think we will ever see again in a slo-pitch softball league. The bad thing is that the Lions who are being ridiculed for their lacklustre performance will have another shot at the bucket next week when the two teams lockup for a rematch. We will be keeping a close eye on co-captain Abbas Allidina who went 0/6 this week and will need to bounce back if the Eagles are going to be considered a contender.

Owls

In his captaining debut, Kumail Meghani did not disappoint going 3-3 with 4 walks and a Home Run. The captain was impressive but it seemed as though opposing pitchers were scared to pitch to him. We’ll see if the trend continues on into next week. While he may have performed well, the Owls lost two games in walk-off fashion. They’re at the doorstep but weren’t able to hold the lead in the game against the Tigers or get the lead in the game against the Falcons.

The Owls started game one against the Tigers without their pitcher – rumours are that Asad Nasser was still asleep and will struggle with those 12 PM starts. Ready to take the mound was Sarfaraz Karmali – acquired in a trade with the Falcons. Karmali struggled to get it going but eventually found his groove. The Owls put up two mercy innings in a row to get their young season started led by their two captains Kumail MeghaniSalim Chagani, and 5th round pick Abbas Fazal who swung a hot bat for most of the day. With most of the lineup pitching in where they could. Everyone thought this was going to be a powerhouse of a team, but they only mustered 1 additional run for the rest of the game.

In the second game of their day they started the opposite way, in a hole, but eventually chipped away and held the Falcons at bay with their defence to eventually tie the game at the end. However, closing seems to be a problem that this team will have to focus on.

This week they have early morning games against the undefeated Eagles and recently shutout Lions – both teams that are eager to prove. The question is which version of Irfahn Khimji will show up this week.  The one who was projected to get drafted 3rd overall or the one who showed up last week and went 1-5.

TIGERS

We anticipate the Tigers to be hovering around the top of the league all season and if we can see more performances out of captain Vick Vij like we did last week, they are in for a heck of a year.

Vick hit two home runs and drove in 5 as the Tigers edged out the Owls in dramatic fashion in game one.  However, a much stronger and balanced Bucks team took the Tigers to school in game 2.

Azad Najfi, who was playing his first JMS League game this week didn’t put up the numbers we expected after seeing him at Al-Wahda.  But a lot of the Tigers success is on his shoulders and his 69% strike rate was 2nd only to Sebastian Gianino (76%).  So it will be up to the defence who committed 6 errors in the first two games of the season to hold it down for Azad who came into the season touted as the best available pitcher in the draft.

This week if Abbas Chagani continues to swing a hot bat (batting .600) and more importantly, continues to drive in runs (4 RBIs), then the Tigers have really got themselves a huge chance to win two more this week. If teams continue to nullify powerhouses Mahmood Kara and Co-Captain Umair Ali, then they will struggle.  The two stars went a combined 1-5 with 3 RBIs and 5 walks.

BUCKS

Unlike the Eagles who are also 2-0, we don’t think the Bucks finishing the day 2-0 was a fluke. They are clearly much more well rounded and the importance of pitching was on full display as the Bucks overcame 10 total errors on route to their two victories.

Sebastian Gianino threw 76% of his pitches for strikes on route to 5 strikeouts but that kind of accuracy is going to prove costly for the Bucks if their defence doesn’t control balls in play.

Having Nadim Rahemtulla in the lineup on opening day was a big boost for sure as on draft day it was rumoured he wouldn’t be available until August.  And while it was exceptionally impressive that every single member of the team got a hit this week, without the 10 RBIs from Co-Captain Imran Nasser and former MVP Ali Raza Nasser, the team had a total of 5 RBIs.

While Kabir Molu didn’t get a star next to his name this week, it was clear that his impact was felt on offence. He leads the team in Average (.600) while going 3-5, he leads in Runs Scored, walks and on-base percentage.  Granted it is only week one, but this 18th overall pick is looking like a huge steal if he can keep up the solid performance at the plate.

We are going to be on the lookout to see if shades of 2015 Minhal Jaffer emerge and they seem to be.  He only went 3-7 however all three went to the fence and after visibly playing more free for the first time without sharing the field with his Jaffer brothers, we’re looking to see if that was what has held him back from the monster season he had in year one.

FALCONS

The Falcons, who drafted 2nd overall for the 2nd straight season took Miqdad Jaffer who came out to try to prove his doubters wrong this week.   Miqdad went 4-6 with a double and triple showing off his opposite field power this week. But more importantly, he was able to step in, in relief, to help a struggling Riaz Champsi on the mound.  Miqdad pitched just over 1 inning in total, however, was able to secure the victory again proving the importance of pitching in JMS.

We predicted the Falcons to be balanced and they were – allowing and scoring 15 runs apiece this week. The pleasant surprise for the Falcons was Tanveer Husnani who racked up a team-leading 3 RBIs in his first week in JMS.  The rookie was spraying the ball across the field all day long and although he is only hitting .333, he does have his first career triple.

10 Errors for the Falcons really didn’t help however a couple of timely hits from their stars is what was necessary to win.  If Shane Worthington and Arif Hirji can’t get it together after a 2-11 performance, the Falcons will not be able to win.

2017 – Week 7 Preview

To end the season, we are examining the 2nd and 3rd rounds of the JMS 2017 Draft. 

 

16 – Lions – Damien Ramnauth (Traded for #17 Imtiyaz Kara)
13 – Bucks – Sarfaraz Karmali
8 – Falcons – Irfahn Khimji (Traded for #12 Hussain Habib)

The Bucks came into the season hot off the trade market that many thought on paper put them ahead of the pack and landed them one extra 2nd/3rd round pick. However, flipping 1st and 3rd round picks in both cases have not worked out for them at all. Abbasali Kermalli’s spiral to insignificance has been well documented this season but as Imtiyaz Kara has flourished with the Lions, the same cannot be said for trade partner Damien Ramnauth. Defensively, he has found it hard to find a home and has moved around both infield and outfield. He even dabbled into pitching where he has a 17.78 ERA. However, with a .409 Average places him 11th on the Bucks.

With their own 13th pick, the Bucks banked on a strong pre-draft performance in Sarfaraz Karmali and while he has been a solid pitcher, he has been the least effective offensive player on the Bucks. His average of .353 has him at the bottom of the Bucks roster but with a potent offensive team, he wasn’t needed for that. His pitching record of 5-2 has him 1 win shy of the league lead. He’s tied for 1st in Strikeouts and has a respectable 3.28 WHIP. His 7 Home Runs allowed is solid and minus 4 in one game from Ali Manek, he would be leading the league in this category for a pitcher with nearly 40 innings of work.

Irfahn Khimji was picked up by the Falcons to play the infield however after acquiring Ali Manek, getting Hussain Habib from the Bucks already packed outfield gave the Bucks one of the biggest steals of the season. 2nd in the league and leading the Bucks in RBIs (15) and Doubles (7), Khimji is 1st or 2nd in all major offensive categories for the team and amongst the top 7 in the league in all major offensive categories. He has proven to be a key cog in the Bucks offensive that currently leads the league with 113 runs scored and they will finish 2nd in the standing this season. Defensively he has proven to be versatile as he has moved around the field and played strong defensive around the field. At 12th overall, he is easily the best draft pick of 2017.


11 – Eagles – Hussein Allidina

The Eagles eventually lost their 3rd round pick in the trade that brought Miqdad Jaffer to reunite with his brothers. So with only one pick in the 2nd and 3rd round, they went with Hussein Allidina. With Allidina representing both picks, he has not lived up to the expectations. Although he has been a solid 1st baseman, at that part of the draft, teams are looking for impact bats or strong pitching – neither of which Allidina has provided the Eagles. With only 2 wins on the season, there are many fingers to be pointed however a lot of them are at #11 overall. His .385 Average and .407 OBP are 7th and 9th on the Eagles. However, the predictions have all been that the Eagles will be playoff ready and going 2-5 in his last two games, maybe Hussein is climbing back up to prove he was a worthy investment in the 2nd round.


7 – Tigers – Nadim Rahemtulla
18 – Tigers – Mehdi Nasser

Going into the last week of the season, the Tigers are looking to secure 3rd place – a feat that was unthinkable a few weeks ago as they struggled out of the gate. #7 draft pick Nadim Rahemtulla leads the team with a .619 Average and is 2nd on the team in Hits (13), OBP (.652) and Slugging (.762). Defensively he has always proven to have a strong glove at Shortstop and this season has been no different.

Mehdi Nasser on the other hand drafted at 18th overall is being considered a draft bust. He’s only got 7-at-bats this season and while it’s clear that when he is there he is good, but because he isn’t, he’s just isn’t contributing. While the Tigers can’t blame an absentee for their start to the season, if he returns to form for the playoffs, nothing else to this point will matter. This week the Tigers need to tie or win to secure their 3rd place finish.


10 – Wolves – Mikael Ratansi
15 – Wolves – Muzammil Jaffer

Many assumed that Mikael Ratansi was drafted as a pitcher however that was a trick up the sleeves of the Wolves captains. When he started the season at shortstop, there were a lot of questions and he delivered. Defensively he was solid and the Wolves picked up former Ramadan Tournament MVP Aman Nasser to pitch so Ratansi was able to settle in. However, the Wolves quickly spiraled towards the basement of the league in some part to Ratansi’s .407 average and .467 OBP. With Aman and Ali Merali not getting the job done pitching, they have brought in Ratansi to finish off the season so the book is still out on the decision to take Ratansi at 10th.

Muzammil Jaffer was a surprising choice as a rookie to go 15th however he has proven to be a solid pick at that spot. His power was a total unknown but he is tied for the team lead in Home Runs (3) and is in the top 5 of each offensive category. His spot at Rover has proven to be perfect for him as he’s taken away a lot of base hits from players with stellar defense in a very potent defensive outfield. Safe to say he was a steal at 15th overall.

 


12 – Bucks – Hussain Habib (Traded for #8 Irfahn Khimji)
14 – Eagles – Salim Chagani (Traded for Abbas Chagani)

The Falcons didn’t draft either of their 2nd or 3rd round picks but a series of trades landed them two solid contributors. The Habib/Khimji trade made a lot of sense for both clubs. Habib’s average is too low for someone drafted so high (.400), but he has played some solid defence all season as he and Chagani quarterback the outfield – and he did show his power with a no-doubter home run two weeks ago. He is also 2nd in the league in triples (2) this season. If he has found his swing going into the playoffs, this pickup could be vital for the Falcons. Salim Chagani came over

Salim Chagani came over in to help balance out the widely regarded, lopsided trade involving Ali Manek and Miqdad Jaffer. Salim has been a great defensive player for the team, however, his .333 average and .481 OBP has been a disappointment for a guy who many are saying was drafted based on how well he dresses as opposed to how well he plays. Despite his low OBP, he’s still batting in the heart of the order and has the opportunity in the next week to prove that his pickup at #14 was well warranted. The Falcons end the season as the last obstacle for the Lions to finish the season with a perfect record. We expect them to leave it all on the line this week as a victory and a Tigers loss would put the Falcons in 3rd place.


9 – Lions – Riaz Champsi
17 – Bucks – Imtiyaz Kara (Traded for #16 Damien Ramnauth)

Clearly, with a chip on his shoulder, Imtiyaz Kara has been playing like a man possessed this season. One of the big reasons the Lions remain undefeated going into the last week of the season. He currently leads the league in average with .750 and an .OBP of an insane .846. But despite the crazy OBP and average, he is still 3rd on the Lions in runs scored and RBI’s leaving no question as to why the Lions have been so dominating. Defensively, he has regressed from his Gold Glove days and shifted to 2nd base this season where his ability to manage the infield and outfield is still in full effect.

Riaz Champsi getting picked at 9th overall surprised a lot of onlookers but with a perfect season in tow, the Lions clearly knew what they were doing. Solidifying pitching in the early rounds has proven to be a tremendous asset at Champsi leads the league with a 6-0 record, 10 strikeouts and a WHIP of 2.32. But the biggest stat is his 16 walks in over 38 innings pitched which is by far the lowest walk ratio in the league this season. Offensively he is a liability and but, because he like so many other Lions, is not afraid to “not” swing the bat in men’s recreational softball, his OBP is respectable at .600. However, his grade comes from his pitching and the Lions seem to have done everything right.