It's that time of year again, when sites (not unlike this one) unveil themed tournaments that coincide with the NCAA Basketball Tournament termed March Madness. It just so happens that a themed tournament fits very well with baseball's preseason. Starting Wednesday February 19, 2014, 64 players will begin going head-to-head in 63 voting matchups to determine who is the TCB Astros Fan Favorite March Madness Tournament Champion. Which will be announced March 31, 2014.
Like last year, each match-up will feature a short description of the player, highlighting some of the positive things he's done in his professional career. For the first three rounds a poll will be available for 24-hours to vote on your favorite player or the player who you think should advance to the next round. Rounds four and five will have two voting days and the final matchup will be three voting days. The winner of each match-up leading up to the final will be determined by the player who gets the most votes. The player with the most votes advances; the player with the least amount of votes exits the tournament.
The guidelines for voting are your own, i.e. vote how you want to vote: the best current player; the best future player; the most talented player; the funniest player; your own personal favorite player; the player with the best intangibles; the player with the best statistics; the most proven player; the grittiest player. Again, vote how you want to vote this is supposed to be fun. If you make a compelling case for a player in the comments I just may use that in the next round should that player advance.
Methodology for Players and Rankings
I took an objective approach to deciding which players made it into the tournament and how they were ranked. I started with the 40-man roster and ranked each major league player on the roster by FanGraphs WAR. Next I added both Rule 5 selections and ranked by selection round after the 40-man roster. Finally, I added prospects to the list and ranked them by our own TCB prospect rankings. Any prospect on the 40-man roster made it into the tournament, which is why Luis Cruz (47th) made the tournament and someone like Kyle Smith (28th) did not.
I've made some changes for this years tournament. This year there are two major league divisions and two minor league divisions. On the left side of the bracket you will see the Feldman and Fowler division, which is the two major league divisions. And on the right you will see the West and Wojo division, which is the two minor league divisions. Both Aaron West and Asher Wojciechowski are the number one seed for their respective division because they both made it to the finals last year.
Also, I had 35 players with major league experience, so Chia-Jen Lo and David Martinez were put in the prospect division and flipped with West and Wojo due to having the least amount of major league experience. Max Stassi is the other guy with major league experience that is in the prospect bracket. He came in at 11 on our Top 30 prospect list and I decided to keep him on the prospect side due to only having eight plate appearances at the big league level.
The first round will be February 19 - March 2, 32 match-ups, three posts a day, one day to vote.
The second round will be March 3 - March 11, 16 match-ups, two posts a day, one day to vote.
The first sectional round will be March 12 - March 16, 8 match-ups, two posts a day, one day to vote.
The second sectional round will be March 17 - March 21, 4 match-ups, one post a day, two voting days.
The semi-finals will be March 22 - March 26, 2 match-ups, one post a day, two voting days.
The finals will be March 27 - March 31, this vote will last three days with the winner being announced Monday March 31, 2013.