Saturday, March 28, 2009

Dealers take Vigilantes in Epic Seven Game Series

In a thrilling World Series, the Las Vegas Dealers defeated the favored Helena Vigilantes in 7 games, winning the American League's first ever Fall Classic. The series featured 3 extra inning games, including the 18 inning game 4, which the Dealers won on a 3AM walk-off HR by 3B Tom Justice. Game 7, played in Helena, was the highest scoring game of the series as the Dealers won 10-7 after both starting pitchers failed to make it through 3 full innings. The Dealers were led in the finale by Curtis Graham who homered and knocked in 3 runs, and by 5.1 innings of 1-run relief from young righty Luis Rincon, who was the Dealers Game 1 and Game 5 starter.

To reach the World Series, the AL #5 seed Dealers knocked off Pittsburgh 3 games to 1 in the opening series, #1 seed Kansas City 3-1, and then #2 seed Portland 4-2. Helena, the #1 seed in the NL defeated #4 Buffalo 3-2, and #3 (and defending World Champ) Houston in an epic 7-game NLCS to reach the World Series.

In the minors, Richmond beat Colorado for the AAA crown, Helena beat Boise in AA, Las Vegas took Helena in HiA, Colorado Springs defeated Syracuse in LoA, and Vancouver beat Colorado Springs in Rookie.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Potentially Available Franchises for Season 9

Los Angeles Kingz
This is a once-proud franchise that has fallen on harder times, but is ripe for a rebound. The Kings (then known as the Santa Cruz Redwood) won four straight division titles, but by season 8 had faded to 63 wins. The team has the 6th draft pick this year and signed the fifth overall draft pick last year, the sweet CF prospect Walter Charles. The team has $63.5 million of payroll committed next year, including to stud SS Rafael Borbon and big RF Omar Torcato.

New York Bums The Bums won a disappointing 73 games in season 8 and have the 11th draft pick. The team isn't too far from competing, it had won 90 games in season 7. $49 million in salary is committed for next year, with $7M to big LF Esteban Marquez. Key prospects to build around are two former first rounders: 20-year old Achilles Ramirez, who finished the year in AA and 18-year old Andy Comer who finished the year in LoA.

Tampa Bay Orphans
The Orphans won 72 games last year and have been a perennial 3rd or 4th place team in the AL South. They will have the 9th spot in the draft. Last year they signed Jody Washington with the #6 overall pick. Salary committments aren't bad at all, with no player making more than Kirby Pote's $4.9 million.

New Orleans Bagg-pipes revenge TEAM TAKEN
Grab this squad and have the #2 pick in next year's draft! This is a franchise in need of a high-quality owner that will stick with it, and it is very ripe for a big turnaround--only has $19 million in payroll committed for next year. Last year's owner didn't do much, but he did sign four first round draft picks including the #1 overall Glenn Benson, a SS who projects to a 93! Properly run, this could turn into a very successful dynasty in 3-4 years.

Durham Associates TEAM TAKEN
The associates had a respectable 80 win season last year and have been a historically successful franchise with 6 first place finishes and 2 second place finishes in the NL East. This team has an older core and the new owner will have the choice of resigning some FAs to make one more run or rebuilding. This includes (owed $10.5M this year, team option next year) Gabe Lemke, still a great SP who won 15 games last year and Vin Wengert who is owed $9.5M this year with a mutual option next year. Two other key pieces may be let go: Travis Sandberg is a free agent this year, and Wes Hornsby has a mutual option for the new owner to decide on.

Boston Royal Rooters TEAM TAKEN
This is a storied Jersey League franchise that has mostly been managed by stalwart owner themehl. The Royal Rooters won 87 games in year 8, missing the playoffs for the first time in 5 years. The team is led by allstars 2B Bernie Izquierdo and 3B Max Bennett and has about $44 million in payroll committed next year. This squad shouldn't need much of a turnaround.

Kansas City Rumpshakers TEAM TAKEN
Another great franchise available, as owner dwilli91 departs after 8 very successful seasons. The Rumpshakers won 99 games this year and have been in the playoffs all but one year. The squad has $61 million in payroll committed for next year, including to 29-year old Jersey League all-time wins leader Blaine Prince. Can he make 300? This is a great franchise, hard to believe it has come open.