Tuesday, December 22, 2009

New York trying to answer critics about recent slide

This was in response to the previous edition of the AL Power Rankings. KUDOS to piratestros for the following post:

The real season has begun. With 25 games to go in the regular season and late season call-ups can be made to help a late season push.

GM Tony Hunter has made some moves.

1st we called up and late season free agent signings(position players) Al Martinez & Geronimo Manto
Late season free agent signings Henry Christiansen & Steve Singleton
also we re-called Abraham Stull
and reinstated from the DL Osvaldo Montero

Pitchers we have recalled from AAA
Tony Blank,Eric Morris & Matty Ozuna

(Tony Hunter) We feel that having these veterns late in the season can show our young kids how to win.

Tony was asked if any other moves would occur after the minor league season was over?? At this time we feel we have a great group of guys we may make 1 or 2 moves in few days but that we are pretty much set on this roster for the rest of the season.

We have had a good season but we(Tony,BC Diego Rosa,HC Deivi Rijo) are, disappointed in 2 guys that has not really helped our team this year Norm Zito & Vitas Quinn. We signed these guys to be leaders on our team and at most point has been a cancer in our locker room.

Norm & Vitas was asked to comment on the comments only N. Zito would say that he had been batteling a hamstring problem all season long and was also disappointed in his play at the plate and in the field.

Tony was asked about the payroll.
We did sacrifice this season on vetern players and didnt go hard for securing our future in the minor league system. With the way the economy is we may have to cut our budget next year,but it all depends on if we make the playoffs and how far we go. Also there significant free agents that if not signed we would be interested in but we are not going to get in a bidding war for 1 superstar that wants 15-20 million a year when we can add 2 or 3 players for that same type of money. As far as international player signing we will not spend more than 8 million on one player no matter how good his projections are. We are not into being a psychic and fighting 31 other teams.
Wewill give and evalution of our team at the end of the season.

One thing before I leave who ever is in charge of the MVP balloting should be shot. Once again Calvin Lee is being screwed!!


With roughly 90% of the season wrapped up, the playoff picture is starting to heat up. Teams are bunching together tighter than white cotton panties on a girl in heat. Below are the rankings going into the final 16 games of the season:

1. Las Vegas Dealers (98-48, 1st AL West) -- This team has gone 22-12 since the last rankings, showing no slowdown evidenced by the recent 10 game winning streak. They did lose RP Javier Gardel for the season to the dreaded shoulder Aneurysm. This hit in depth could be crucial come the playoffs. Despite this loss, it looks as if all roads to the World Series will go through Vegas, Baby, VEGAS!!!!

2. Charlotte Chickens (88-58, 1st AL South) -- Since the last post, Charlotte has gone a lukewarm 18-16. Barring a major collapse, it looks as if Charlotte will have the 2nd seed wrapped up, but this performance will have pjrobb a little skittish going into postseason.

3. Syracuse Comics (82-64, 1st AL North) -- Who needs edwzipper. This team runs just fine with Sim AI running the reigns. Since last post, Comics have gone 23-9 and is now holding the 3 seed in the AL. Not sure what edwzipper has done to 'manage' this team, but I need tips to be able to have that success.

4. Iowa City Independence (80-66, 2nd AL West) -- carlspenard is at it again. A late season push has rallied this team into the 1st Wild Card seed.....AGAIN. Posting a 22-12 record since last post, their latest push included a 6-1 head-to-head record against Norfolk, a sweep of Charlotte, and 3 out of 4 against New York.

5. Norfolk Phanatics (80-66, 1st AL East) -- The only division leader to be BELOW .500 since last post (16-18) it has the disclaimer of being the best underachiever in the AL right now. Losing Al Gandarillas and Alex Dunham has definitely put a strain on the pitching staff. They hold their fate with the season winding down.

6. Cleveland Indians (79-67, 2nd AL North) -- Right now, ajb's squad holds the last Wild Card spot, but it has lost grip on 1st Place to red-hot Comics after posting an 18-16 record since last post. If Cleveland is to make the postseason, they will have to hold their own during the next 3 series (4 @ Iowa City, 4 @ Norfolk, 3 vs. Syracuse). Yikes!

7. New York Mutuals (78-68, 2nd AL East) -- After leading the East for the majority of the season, the Mutuals now stand with no ticket to the postseason party. They have lost their last 7 series, which simply CANNOT happen if you plan on making it to the postseason. They will have to reverse their 13-21 record since last post to have any chance. Key series at home against Charlotte and at Norfolk will more than likely determine piratestros' fate.

8. Richmond Rattlers (74-72, 2nd AL South) -- tafkadave has a slight chance of recording his best season with the Richmond Rattlers (Rattlers went 83-79 in Season 7). Sweeping Cleveland has given this team continued hopes for postseason, but will need to sustain that momentum in series against Norfolk and Charlotte to make that hope a reality.

9. Boise Bats (72-74, 3rd AL North) -- renrog's squad has posted a 20-14 record since last post, including imressive series wins over New York and Charlotte. Despite that, it looks as if the Bats will be seeing their 4th consecutive downward trend in standings barring a spectacular finish (will need to finish 13-3 to finish better than last season's 84-78 finish).

10. Salem Argonauts (71-75, 3rd AL West) -- Playing in the west is tough enough with Las Vegas and Iowa City constantly in your way. It makes it tougher when your team ERA is over 5 after 146 games. Expect this team to look for some serious pitching help in the offseason.

11. Tampa Bay Crowns (70-76, 3rd AL South) -- Going 18-16 since last post, deaconsoule had a good season once Prince was put back into the rotation. Unfortunately, it was too little, too late for this squad as they will also see a 4th consecutive downward trend in standings.

12. Monterrey Cucarachas (61-85, 4th AL South) -- It looks as if mgdtiger will avoid the late season fatigue factor and finish off the season with some fight. Since last post, the Cockroaches have posted a 14-22 record. Don't let that fool you though. This team is dawg-tired on the offensive side (5 starters are less than 100%, and 2 of those are less than 90%).

13. Pittsburgh Sluggers (58-88, 3rd AL East) -- larr100 has shown some life since the last post, going 17-17 and winning some decent series against Las Vegas, Syracuse and Salem (twice). Hopefully this will be something for the Sluggers to build off of for next season.

14. Seattle Pilots (57-89, 4th AL North) -- Since the last post, it seems that the Pilots have gone missing. Going 12-24 since last post, they have not won any of the last 9 series (2 4-game series were split). The highlight for Hextall is that this team has already matched last season's win output, so anything in the last 16 games will be gravy.

15. Philadelphia Phillies (53-93, 4th AL East) -- bball10 will need to hire a fielding GENIUS next season to improve on this team. Expect to see bball be a mover and shaker in the offseason.

16. Vancouver Asteroids (53-93, 4th AL West) -- brooklypunx looks to be starting the process of cleaning house. Trading future HOF Bernie Gongora back to Houston, losing Willis Munoz to Pittsburgh via Waivers, along with other trades made earlier this season, he saved himself $42MM. However, he will need to continue to wheel and deal if he is to have any chance of a quick turnaround from this season.

That is all for now. The NL Power Rankings will be out either later today or tomorrow.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

AL Power Rankings

With 2/3 of the season history, it's coming down to crunch-time for some of the teams that are fighting and jockeying for position. Some teams seem to be in cruise control, and other teams are scratching their collective heads wondering 'What the hell do we do NOW?!?!?!' With that said, below are the AL Power Rankings:

1. Las Vegas Dealers (76-36, 1st Place West) - jcallali once again has this team primed and ready for another WS run. Their BA is 2nd worst in the league, but don't let that fool you into thinking you can outslug them to victory. They are 2nd in the league in HR and SB, so they know how to score runs when they do get on base. They also lead the AL in Pitching ERA with 3.56, which is pretty astounding considering where they pitch and that they are an AL team. The pitching is also aided by the best defense in the league, boasting an excellent .992 fielding percentage.

2. Charlotte Chickens (70-42, 1st Place South) - Probably the best competition Las Vegas has at the moment. They are 2nd in the league in ERA at 3.59. However, unlike Las Vegas, they also know how to play a little offense as well, sporting the 2nd best BA in the league. Ideally, the ALCS matchup would be ideal to see these 2 teams square it off.

3. New York Mutuals (65-47, 1st Place East) - The turnaround continues in New York. piratestros continues to improve this team in every category. This season, the biggest turnaround has been fielding, as players are playing positions they are more comfortable at. The result? Leading the East for the better part of the season. Looks to be a 2 team race for this division with Norfolk and should be fun to watch for the rest of the season.

4. Norfolk Phanatics (64-48, 2nd Place East) - This team has the best record percentage in ratatat's 4 seasons, yet stands 2nd place in the division. Have to give this team credit for doing so well despite the loss of Chip Huson to Vancouver. Youngsters are playing their part and, hopefully, the pitching doesn't fall apart.

5. Cleveland Indians (61-51), 1st Place North) - Another team who will actually be battling for the crown until the end, barring his competition doesn't stay in hiatus and the fatigue factor sets in. ajb's squad is producing good offensive numbers, but can the pitching improve to guide them to postseason play? Stay tuned....

6. Syracuse Comics (57-55, 2nd Place North) - If edwzipper was ACTUALLY paying attention to this team, he might be in 1st and could argue being the 3rd best team in the league. Hope all is well and he returns soon. Otherwise, this could be Cleveland's division to lose.

7. Iowa City Independence (58-54, 2nd Place West) - The last 2 seasons, IC has finished in 3rd place in the division, yet represented the final WC in the playoffs. That shows the competition level in the West. The Independence has been the most consistent non-winner in this league the past 3 seasons. He is poised once again to grab one of the 2 Wild Card spots and will do so with their pitching and defense. A better offensive performance wouldn't hurt either.

8. Salem Argonauts (56-56, 3rd Place West) - The Argonauts lead the league in HR, Runs, RBI, SLG, and OPS. They HAVE to considering that they are near the bottom of the league in giving up HR, Runs, RBI, SLG, and OPS.

9. Tampa Bay Crowns (52-60, 3rd Place South) - You may see this originally and think to yourself 'Why is this team ranked ahead of Richmond?' I think that Tampa Bay's record had a lot to do with not having Blaine Prince at the beginning of the season. Prince missed approximately 8 starts, which would have probably converted into a few more wins. TB started the season 12-29, which is roughly the span the Prince did not play in. Since he has returned to the lineup, TB has gone 40-31. Not merely a coincidence.

10. Richmond Rattlers (58-54, 2nd Place South) - Richmond stands tied with Iowa City for the final Wild Card spot with 50 games to go. Can Richmond's offense wake up in time to provide ANY help to the pitching that has been productive so far this season? They will need to in order to keep pace.

11. Boise Bats (52-60, 3rd Place North) - Question: What do you get when you have a below average offense, a below average defense, and below average pitching? Answer: Boise Bats.

12. Seattle Pilots (45-67, 4th Place North) - We begin the bottom quarter of our standings with the only team that seems to still be effectively managing his squad and avoiding the End of Season fatigue factor. Barring any rash of injuries, this team will be rebuilding quite nicely and probably boost themselves by the final ranking.

13. Monterrey Cucarachas (47-65, 4th Place South) - Seems the Mexican sun is wreaking havoc on the players' fatigue. Unless the fatigue is managed better, don't expect many more wins from this squad for the rest of the season.

14. Vancouver Asteroids (41-61, 4th Place West) - A Wild Card team last season, it's hard to believe the fall from grace this team is experiencing. Not saying it isn't easy to understand (overspending on older players, no farm system to help fatigue, no money to help relieve situation). Unless brooklynpunx can perform a miracle, this squad may be near the bottom for seasons to come.

15. Pittsburgh sluggers (41-71, 3rd Place East) - Unlike Norfolk and New York, this team has been tailspinning to the bottom since larr100 has taken over this team. They did lose 3 of their starters to major injuries (Bartolo Lee, Jeff Richard, and Red DiSarcina).

16. Philadelphia Phillies (39-73, 4th Place East) - bball10 made a plethora of FA signings before the season began, and what looked to be an improving squad had all the makings. However, the worst defensive fielding percentage in the league (averaging 1 error per game), has deterred this team from making the strides to improve over last season. This has led to 71 unearned runs so far this season -- tied with Monterrey for that dubious mark.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Jersey League IFA Market

Just like in the MLB, international players are a big part of HBD for some but not all owners. The decision to play in the IFA market or not is a key strategic decision for HBD owners, a fork in the road reached every budgeting day. Competing in the IFA market is expensive and it means sacrifices must be made elsewhere. In the Jersey League, several recent World Series champs (Helena, Las Vegas, Tuscon) have signed multiple marquee (+$10M bonus) IFAs over the years, while two-time World Series champ Houston has not, showing that either path can lead to glory.

The signing bonus for an IFA varies widely based on factors besides the player's projected ratings. The biggest factor is how many other teams with available money scout the player. Huge bargains can be had when a player is only spotted by several teams with available money, and conversly teams pay more when a prospect is widely known.

Signing bonus size also varies widely based on timing. Early in the season when many teams have available cash, IFAs can be very expensive. Late in the season, only a few teams may be left in the market, allowing for bargains. There are exceptions to both rules: some teams are gun shy before the amateur draft. Also, in the final weeks of the season, even mediocre IFAs can provoke bidding wars if several teams are sitting on cash that could be lost at rollover. This makes it hard to judge other team's signings, because the answer to the question "Why did he spend so much on THAT guy?" might be, "He was sitting on money at the end of the season."

Another factor in bonus size is the willingness of owners to sign a MLB contract with young IFAs. While this allows owners to stretch their prospect budget and can make the difference in a bidding war, it can also cause problems in future years when those players reach the high minors without any options left, limiting roster flexibility.

Ten years in (this year isn't included), here is some data on the Jersey League IFA market and the top ten bonus babies:

IFAs Signed by Bonus
$25M+: 1
$20-25M: 6
$10-15M: 31

Top 10 IFA bonuses:
#1 Felipe Sierra (age 18, 2B): Season 8, $25M (MILB), Helena Vigilantes. Spent just two full seasons in the minors before being called up last year when rosters expended. Sierra then made the playoff roster for the eventual World Series Champs. This year Sierra is a strong hitting 3B though he could also see time at 2B and RF. This was a great signing--future all-star and possibly Hall of Famer, but for $25M it better be a great signing!

#2 Pascual Flores (age 18, SP): $23M (MILB w/STI): Season 5, Nashville Men of Sorrow (now Richmond Rattlers) . Flores, now age 24, pitched in just 34 minor league games and quickly developed into the ace of the Richmond staff and one of the best pitchers in the game. He's a horse that has thrown over 200 innings three years in a row and now has 68 big league wins, with a 3.51 career ERA. Again, a super signing, this kid already has two Cy Youngs on his mantle and is probably on his way to the Hall of Fame if he stays relatively healthy.

#3 Pedro Tavarez (age 18, SP): $22.7M (MLB), Season 6, Washington D.C. Freedom (now Pittsburgh Sluggers). Now age 23, spent about 2 years in the minors. Tavarez hasn't had quite the success as Flores, in part due to three DL stints (despite good health rating). Still, through about 500 MLB innings, he's 35-21 with a 3.89 ERA. Despite the slower start, could close the gap with Flores as time goes by. Imagine someone spending $23M on an IFA and then leaving the league!

#4 Karim Espinosa (age 21, 2B): $22.5M (MILB) Season 4, Vancouver Roses (now Iowa City Independence but still same owner). Espinosa held the record for highest signing bonus at the time and was the oldest at signing of any of the top 10. He spent 3 full years in the minors, not reaching MLB until age 24, a fairly ripe age for a marquee IFA. Espinosa is a very solid player and a key reason for the recent success of Iowa City, yet with a career OPS of .741 and no all-star appearances he hasn't broken out as a star yet. Admittedly, the Iowa ballpark stunts his offensive stats, and he's a very solid all around player: one gold glove, steals about 40 bags a season, and has the high makeup and durability that should provide for a long successful career.

#5 Tomas Calles (age 20, SS): $21M (MLB), Season 7 Louisville Slugs (now Nashville Gryphons). Calles spent just 1/2 of a season in the miors before hitting the majors at age 20, the year of his signing. I wonder if that rush job stunted the growth of his glove? Calles is similar to Espinosa in that he hasn't put up eye-opening stats (career OPS .797) but is a solid all around player with good speed, good health, durability, and makeup. In season 9 he was wisely switched from a SS to CF, after he made a dreadful 55 errors at SS in season 8. I expect a long and successful career.

#6 (tied) Mariano Lima (age 18, P): $20.8M (MLB) Season 4, Tuscon Hohokams. Lima has perhaps been the biggest disappointment of the top ten. He spent a lengthy apprenticeship in the minors, not cracking the big leagues until mid-season 9. Since then, he's racked up just a 22-18 record with a 5.53 ERA. Lima has been held back by his control, walking 238 in just 400 ML innings.

#6 (tied) Fernando Fernandez (age 18, CF): $20.8M (MLB), Season 4, Helena Vigilantes. Fernandez is off to a great career, with 3 all-star appearances and 3 silver sluggers before his 25th birthday. Fernandez spent 3 seasons in the minors and then quickly established himself as one of the all-around best centerfielders in the game. He plays good defense, has good speed, and hits for power and average. He's unfortunately notorious for poor baserunning though, and his health is always a worry, with 2 trips to the DL already.

#8 Vincente Martinez (age 18, 2B): $18M (MILB), Season 10, Minnesota Peacefrog. Martinez is younger than the others on this list and is still just a prospect--but a damn sweet prospect. Martinez was assigned to HiA last year after being signed and is in AA this year. He has played mostly CF but may need to move to 2B or even LF in the majors. Will hit for outstanding average, some power, and will be a baserunning threat.

#9 Pascual Rodgriguez (age 18, 2B): $17.4M (MLB), Season 7, Tuscon Hohokams. Rodriguez has also not hit the big leagues yet, but he could be ready any day. He's been brought along slowly, with two years in LoA, and a full year each in HiA and AA, before landing in AAA this year. He might also be a bit of a disappointment for that large bonus, but Rodriguez does project as an every-day ML player, probably a 2B with a bit of a weak glove. He's a good hitter though, and hit 48 HRs with a 1.133 OPS in AA last year.

#10 Esteban Gardel (age 18, LF): $16.8M (MILB), Season 7, Iowa City Independence. Gardel, a RF, is the only one in the top 10 to have been traded, in a season 8 blockbuster. Gardel spent 4+ years in the minors before a recent promotion to the ML. He's made an impressive debut, with 8 HRs and 8 SBs in just 17 games. Gardel is an outstanding offensive performer, with great speed and baserunning, huge power, and a good eye. He's weak defensively though, and while he's at RF now he's already made 3 negative plays there and is more suited to LF, 1B, or DH.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

NL: Hot and Not

The hot:

1. Helena Vigilantes. The defending champs are out in front quickly with a 10-4 record.

2. Los Angeles Dodgers. Trying for a worst-to-first turnaround in the NL West, also starting at 10-4. They've given up 39 runs, the least in the league.

3. Boston Red Caps. Rookie owner cspring is pushing all the right buttons and opening with a 9-5 mark. This group leads the league with 113 runs scored.

4. Buffalo Beagles. Trying to return to the playoffs in a tough division, and Trenton's already breathing down our necks. 9-5

5. Minnesota PeaceFrog. Starting 9-5, this is my dark horse to return to the playoffs after a four-season absence.

The not:

1. Rochester Desperados. With a 3-11 mark, Rochester is struggling to be competitive. They've given up the most runs in the league and are being outscored 2-to-1.

2. Nashville Gryphons. A 2-8 division mark is pushing this team down to a 4-10 start.

3. Ottawa Awatto. 14th in the league in OBP, 15th in the league in OPS leads to a 5-9 start.

4. Tacoma Sasquatches. Near the bottom of the league in hitting and pitching, contributing to a balky 5-9 start.

5. Scranton Backyard Groove. Last in the league with a .233 average, first in the league in strikeouts. Not a good combination

AL: Hot and Not

The first 10+ games.

Now that we are past the first few games, here are the teams that are off to a hot start, and those that are not.

Hot: AL

Cleveland Indians (12-1)- Team BA: .275 / 20 HR. Team ERA: 3.08

New York Mutuals (9-4) - Team BA: .317 / 22 HR. Team ERA: 4.70

Norfolk Phanatics (9-4) Team BA: .282 / 10 HR. Team ERA: 4.17

Charlotte Chickens (9-4) Team BA: .288 / 22 HR. Team ERA: 4.54

Vancouver Asteroids (8-5) Team BA: .310 / 21 HR. Team ERA: 4.54

Las Vegas Dealers (8-5) Team BA: .251 / 24 HR. Team ERA: 4.35


Seattle Pilots (2-11) Team BA: .239 / 17 HR. Team ERA: 5.75

Sunday, October 25, 2009

AL West Preview

The West was the strongest AL division during season 10. Both AL wild cards came from the division, along with the ultimate AL champ Las Vegas Dealers. With all 4 owners returning and a strong off-season, it will be no surprise if the division is the strongest once again. Any of these 4 teams could be flying the Season 11 World Series flag above their stadium next spring.

The Las Vegas Dealers are bidding for a fourth AL title, relying again on strong starting pitching and home-grown young bats. With the recession felt deeply in Vegas, and young starting pitchers nearing arbitration, owner jceffali demanded payroll be cut to $67M this year, forcing several key players to depart. SS Jacob Raines, a life-long Dealer, is out and William Hyun a light-hitting but rifle-armed SS takes over until a key SS prospect is ready. Outstanding RF Frank Woo also departed, his services no longer required with the emergence of young corner OFs Quilvio Castro and Esteban Gardel. Castro hit 5 HRs in the Dealers post-season run last year and will start with the big club. Gardel may start in AAA. The loss of the two free agents brought Type A and Type B draft compensation, and the Dealers spent heavily on amateur scouts to replenish the prospect pipeline. Still, the key for the Dealers is keeping their stellar starting rotation healthy, with Max White, Lance Ward, Luis Rincon, Darwin McBride, and Rigo Franco making up the rotation again.

The Vancouver Asteroids finished second last year and went all-in this year in a balls-to-the-wall effort to bring the franchise its first championship. The franchise has a stellar regular season record with 7 playoff appearances in 10 seasons, but has never advanced past the ALCS. This year, owner brooklynpunx has jacked payroll up to $122M while the minor league system will endure another year without signing a legitimate prospect. Key signings included Chip Huson who probably got a bit of a generous contract, and Max Bennett. Of course the team still features all-time Jersey League HR king Bernie Gongora, who at age 30 hasn't lost a step. The big questions on the pitching staff are Perry Ruth, who suffered a tough injury last year and the aging but still effective William Takahashi. If those two stay healthy and can provide one last big year, the Asteroids fans should be in for a treat. After that, it could be a long ride down, as the Asteroids will need to wait for several giant contracts to run off before rebuilding.

It has been a nice ride up for the Iowa City Independence. The team was dreadful back in the day, with two straight sub-60 win seasons back in years 4 and 5. But owner carlspenard stuck with it, learned the game, and has built a winner, with two straight playoff appearances and 91 wins last year. Iowa was quiet in the off-season, bringing most of last year's team back with the exception of back end starter Julio Seguignol and long man Ray Workman. Like Vegas, Iowa also boasts an outstanding young rotation led by Spike Chase and Luis Santos, who will be joined this year by pre-season Rookie of the Year candidate Hipolito Padilla. The big story last year was Rookie of the Year Mickey Fikac, whose 46 dingers in pitcher-friendly Iowa opened many eyes. Many scouts are predicting a sophomore slump for Fikac, but maybe he really is that good? The pressure also continues to be on Karim Espinosa, who has performed reasonably well, but never seems to live up what scouts--or his salary--projects.

Its hard to believe that the Salem Argonauts finished last in season 10, barely missing the playoffs with 89 wins. This is a good team from top to bottom and owner hooner65 was active with several free agent signings, including slugging 1B Cameron Lewis, as well as two big trades, both of which sent away prospects. The first trade brought Dealer farmhand Wade Jefferies, a fine 2B or CF that was stuck in the Dealers system in exchange for SP prospect Hooks White. The second was a blockbuster, bringing solid 3B Taylor Payton and CF Weldon Flores. Shipped away were prospects Vince Mercedes, Louie Kaufman (wow, that kid can hit!), and Angel Ramirez. Unfortunately for pitchers everywhere, big 1B Karl Shea will return for the Argonauts this year, as will slugger Sergei Hackman.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

AL East Scouting Report, Part 5 (Projections Sure to Go Wrong)

After displaying the scouting reports for each of the teams in the AL East for Season 11, I now provide the projections where I think they will finish this season. Due to my biased stance as GM and owner of the 2-time defending champs, I will probably be way off, so if any other impartial owners care to give an opinion, please feel free to do so:

In reverse order of finish:

4. Philadelphia Phillies -- I think that this team has improved a LOT since last season, and they will not lose 100 games, but the pitching staff is still too young and inexperienced to get the job done compared to the rest of the division.

3. Norfolk Phanatics -- This team is developing into a good farm system producer, with the likes of Brett Henry, Mateo Flores, and Bucky Gates. I just don't think they have done enough to make this team better. With what the Mutuals and Sluggers have done during the offseason, I just can't see this team making the necessary run to make it 3 in a row. I hope I am wrong.

2. Pittsburgh sluggers -- The team's 3rd place finish I think is more an underachievement by the team than any other explanation can fit. This team will rebound with a better record this season, but just will lose out on the trophy.

1. New York Mutuals -- The emergence of Calvin Lee plus the addition of Vernon will be enough for this team to win the division. If they can decrease the errors on the field and limit the ERA down to under 5, then this team will be dangerous.

AL East Scouting Report, Part 4

Norfolk Phanatics
GM/Owner -- ratatat72 (4th Season, 226-260 Record, 2 AL East Crowns)

Season 10 Recap
Record: 81-81 (1st Place, Lost in Division Play-in Series to Vancouver, 3-1)
BA/OBP/SLG: .279/.343/.437
R/HR/RBI/SB: 900/206/863/207
ERA/WHIP/SO: 4.60/1.45/1,031
Sv/SvO: 47/67

Key Additions
Roosevelt Hernandez (DH)
Sticky Patterson (1B)
Woody Ross (P)
Chili Satou (P)

Key Losses
Chip Huson (3B, FA)
Benito Pelaez (P, Released)
Richard Priest (P, FA)
Buster Phelps (1B, FA)
Donatello Barker (LF, FA)
Clarence Gwynn (P, FA)

Projected Starters

C Heinie Hamilton
1B Sticky Patterson
2B Bucky Gates
3B Ugueth Castillo
SS Mateo Flores
LF Ross Hart
CF Rafael Borbon
RF Steve Oliver
DH Edgar Telemaco / Roosevelt Hernandez

SP Brett Henry
SP Dale Tracy
SP Allen Chapman
SP Al Gandarillas
SP Chili Satou
CL Ron Niekro

Compared to the rest of the division, ratatat72 seems to have held the cards he has and is hoping that he can win (again) with what he has. He decided to let go of perennial All-Star Chip Huson to FA in hopes of getting draft picks to build for future success. With the last of the horrible salaries that was inherited to him winding down after this season, ratatat72 will finally begin to get some freedom to make some more serious moves beginning next season. For now, though, Phanatic Phrenzy will have to make due with the same bunch that has carried them to the last 2 titles, with some minor tweaks made to cover up some losses (Castillo claimed off waivers last season to offset the loss to Huson, Niekro claimed off waivers to supplant Dunham for Closer). When asked what direction he plans to go this season, ratatat72 simply replied, "Ask me that question again as we approach the trading deadline."

AL East Scouting Report, Part 3

New York Mutuals
GM/Owner -- piratestros (3rd Season, 125-199 Record)

Season 10 Recap
Record: 76-86 (2nd Place, 5 GB)
BA/OBP/SLG: .271/.344/.456
R/HR/RBI/SB: 916/246/880/313
ERA/WHIP/SO: 5.50/1.69/1,066
Sv/SvO: 43/67

Key Additions
Jerry Halama (P)
Jacob Raines (SS)
Don Vernon (P)
Gabe Eaton (P)

Key Losses
Pete Lorraine (P, Declined Option)
Tony Hara (P, FA)
Jake Leon (P, FA)
Sam Bell (2B, FA)
Paul Hayashi (P, Released)
Endy Hume (P, Released)

Projected Starters

C Ramiro Seanez / Ray Hogan
1B Rickey Prince
2B Calvin Lee
3B Patrick Reagan
SS Jacob Raines
LF Tony Ibarra
CF Norm Zito
RF Vitas Quinn
DH Edgar Abreu

SP Karim DaSilva
SP Don Vernon
SP Kirk Gardner
SP Jerome Damon
SP Ken Buck
CL Carlos Prieto

It's becoming no surprise that the Mutuals are quickly becoming a rising force in the AL East. After starting his GM career with a 49-113 record, piratestros couldn't wait to start the next season (who wouldn't). But last season saw quite possibly the biggest turnaround by a squad this reporter's ever seen. Finishing at 76-86 and contending for the AL East crown up until the last 14 games of the season where it seemed the wheels fell off, it seems as if this New York team made a statement -- this division better get tougher, because we are. The addition of Calvin Lee via the Rule 5 draft was a gift from above, and had arguably ROY (and some might say, AL MVP) were it not for the team's demise and his defensive liabilities. He stands to only get better, as does the rest of this squad. The only question will be whether the pitching can be better. Don Vernon has been added to supply a little improvement to the rotation. If anything, this team will be fun to watch as they run, run, run towards the shot at the division crown.

Last Chance for the Aging Patriots?

Trenton- Manager Darren Lloyd took a long drag before flicking his cigarette across the room..."I don't know how much we have left in the tank-We've won 93 games each of the past two seasons but can't seem to play well come the play-offs." Clubhouse comedian Terry Barkett interrupted Lloyd's interview with his own conjecture. " What we's be needin' is some balls", alluding to the manner in which the Patriots folded once the national spotlight shown on the Trenton ballclub.The Patriots have averaged 95 wins per season since their inception- but have come up small during the post-season.

Louie Hiro , the club's senior spokesman, added his own opinion, " We not getting younger, we getting older"..."We tired of roosing and now we need some better ruck"
They may need more than better luck. Their minor leagues being barren, the cash-strapped franchise will find a difficult time improving upon what they already have. Their rotation is solid, and is led by Robb Yarnall who may be the best pitcher in the entire Jersey League- if he can go deeper into ball games.

Robb Yarnall has the arm of a young Roger Clemens, but unfortunately its attached to the body of an old Jamie Moyer- he can go about 5 innings before fatigue sets in. This puts pressure on the Patriot bullpen- and those are not players that can deal with pressure. Banana Munoz enters his third season with Trenton. "At first I loved this place- and I could pitch forever. But now after two years of eating nothing but pizza and whatever other fattening Italian food they got down there in Chambersberg, I can go about one inning per game"

So there you have it- The Trenton Patriots are a diverse bunch- but a diverse bunch with similar traits- they smoke, eat poorly and are generally in no shape to play a full nine innings of competitive ball. With no help on the horizon it will be up to the 25 man roster to stay healthy and push each other- or they will all soon be looking for a job in another town.
Posted by Feamster at 8:49 PM 0 comments

Friday, October 23, 2009

AL East Scouting Report, Part 2

Pittsburgh sluggers
GM/Owner -- larr100 (4th Season, 240-246 Record, 1 AL East Crown)

Season 10 Recap
Record: 71-91 (3rd Place, 10 GB)
BA/OBP/SLG: .256/.323/.426
R/HR/RBI/SB: 775/231/747/53
ERA/WHIP/SO: 5.04/1.54/1,012
Sv/SvO: 39/58

Key Additions
Jacque Chiasson (P)
Milt Purcell (CF)
Brendan Harris (C)
Keith McDonald (P)
Tony Santos (P)
Phil Boggs (P)

Key Losses
Bobby Ray Hamilton (SS, FA)
Miguel Matos (P, Released)
Damon Prince (P, Released)
Jimmie Ortega (P, Released)
Antonio Woo (P, Released)

Projected Starters

C Brendan Harris / Bill Dougherty
1B Jeff Richard / Danny Walsh
2B Bartolo Lee
3B Rodney Mulder
SS Red DiSarcina
LF Steve Clayton
CF Milt Purcell
RF Esteban Johnson
DH Bill Dougherty

SP Pedro Tavarez
SP A.J. Cannon
SP Max Winchester
SP Dave Fox
SP Jacque Chiasson / Miguel Morales
CL Phil Boggs

Pittsburgh was last in the division in BA, OBP, SLG, Runs, RBI, SB (luckily, they were 2nd in HR -- go figure). Although there pitching was more respectable than their Pennsylvania counterpart, it still was well below what can be expected to win a division, especially with porous offensive showing that Sluggers showed. The signing of Milt Purcell gives this team a much needed offensive spark for this season, but will be yet to be seen if this alone will be enough to push the team over the top. The top of the rotation is still young and developing in Tavares and Cannon, so the future definitely looks to be improving for Pittsburgh for seasons to come. New closer (for now) Phil Boggs is actually a Rule V pickup that Philadelphia let go -- should be interesting to see how he handles the Closer Role in his 1st season in the Majors.

AL East Scouting Report, Part 1

This is the first of a 5 part series where I will be analyzing the AL East. As a member approaching my 4th season, I hope this provides a good read and provide present and future readers of this blog a good idea of the quality of ownership we have. I will be posting each of the teams separately in order of reverse finish in standings last season (Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York, Norfolk), followed by a final projection of all the divisions and perpetual World Series winner.

Philadelphia Phillies
GM/Owner -- bball10 (2nd Season, 58-104 Record)

Season 10 Recap
Record: 58-104 (4th Place, 23 GB)
BA/OBP/SLG: .278/.344/.430
R/HR/RBI/SB: 809/201/789/133
ERA/WHIP/SO: 6.26/1.63/1,038
Sv/SvO: 26/40

Key Additions
Vladimir Hernandez (2B)
Luis Estrada (C)
Norm Mantei (P)
Donatello Barker (LF)
Junior Lee (P)
Christopher Lockhart (1B)
John Wang (P)
Nash Ponson (P)
James Robbins (P)

Key Losses
Orlando Guerrero (P, Released)
Eddie Brinkley (P, Released)
Gus Burkett (P, FA)
Don Jensen (P, FA)
Ken Spencer (LF, Released)
Bobby Sherman (2B, FA)
Travis Sandberg (3B, FA)
Miguel James (1B, FA)
Ron Niekro (P, Claimed off Waivers)

Projected Starters

C Henry Foster / Luis Estrada
1B Christopher Lockhart
2B Eduardo Miranda
3B Walt King
SS Al Clifton
LF Achilles Ramirez
CF Vladimir Hernandez
RF R.J. Benitez
DH Donatello Barker

SP William Woods
SP John Manning
SP Junior Lee
SP Russ Schneider
SP ????
CL John Wang

Taking a look back to Season 10, there wasn't much doubt as to why this team finished 4th in the division. The Phillies tried 10 different pitchers in the starting rotation, with little success to find a consistent rotation throughout the season. There best pitcher last season (Ron Niekro) was claimed off waivers by division rival Norfolk. GM bball10 didn't keep it a secret that the Phillies would be big players in the FA market, and they did NOT disappoint. Going into Spring Training, they have signed 9 new players that were not on the club last year, putting a big focus on Relief Pitching (4 out of 9 signings).

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Vancouver: Win Now, GM says.

Vacncouver GM brooklynpunx made a few splashes in this off season's FA market. New DH Chip Huson is reunited with former teammate Bernie Goongora. In the past they have combined for more than a few 100+ HR seasons. Also added, Max Bennett, who brings a power bat to this already potent offense. Lastly, Willis Munoz will round out the rotation as the No. 5 starter. Munoz was the winner of 16 games last year and an all-star.

GM, Brooklynpunx has a message for the AL: West this season, "get out of our way, Vancouver will plow down its opposition."

Vancouver fans have to be excited for the added HR power.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Jersey League All-time Leaders: Hitting

After ten seasons, its time to take a look at some of the Jersey League's all time record holders. First, offense.

Home Runs:

#1 Bernie Gongora 621 HRs, age 30. Could he hit 1,000 before its all over? He's got a shot, with good makeup, good health. Scouts say his power has declined a bit over the last few years, but still among the best in the league. Plays in an average hitters park now after time in Houston padded his totals a bit. Betting is that Gongora holds the Jersey League mark for many, many years.

#2 Erick Webster, 529 HRs, age 32. His power hasn not dropped off one bit at age 32, but two years older than Gongora so likely won't catch him.

#3, Julius Costello, 482 HRs, age 38. Not much gas left in the tank here for this two-time AL MVP. Can he get to 500 before the wheels fall off? Or have they already fallen off?


#1 Bernie Gongora 1,469 RBI, age 30. Yup, him again.

#2 Erick Webster, 1,361 RBI, Age 32. Probably won't catch Gongora here either.

#3 Louie Hiro, 1,303 RBI, age 31. Two-time MVP, check out those early years he had with Colorado back in the glory days of deandg.

OBP (min. 2510 plate appearances)

#1 Dave Gardner, .440, age 36. Interesting player, amazing OBP, but never heard of him. Mediocre defensive catcher, slow, and not much power. But man, can he hit! .351 lifetime BA and plenty of walks. Free agent this year, will anyone sign him?

#2 Jeremy Richard, .435, age 35. Another catcher, similar to Gardner.

#3 Richard Whithem, .427, age 31. The big 1B! Two-time MVP. He gets on base but also has plenty of power, should get to 500 HRs.

Stolen Bases

#1 Braden Bynum, 665, age 31. Those big SB years in Memphis (season 5-6) really goosed his totals. He's still got plenty of speed, should get to 850 SBs, maybe even 1,000 if his other attributes hold up well enough to justify the playing time for a 1B/LF/DH type. In any event, I don't think Bynum holds this record 10 seasons from now.

#2 Felipe Barcelo, 444, age 32. How did this guy not get at least signed to be a pinch runner for a contender last year? Maybe he was asking for too much money. Still a free agent, but if he didn't get signed in season 10, doesn't look good in 11.

#3 Laurel Feliz, 421, age 32. Hooray, here is an ex-Dealer! This guy has 4 CF gold gloves and was a superb bargain signing for Colorado Springs two years ago. Never a great hitter, or he'd have more bags.