Friday, April 30, 2010

Organizing Minor Leagues During the Pre-Season

Here are a few tips for newbies on organizing your minor leagues. Your goal is to have 5 viable teams that don't get overtired, and to develop prospects with potential.

Why is it important? To develop prospects properly you need to give them proper playing time, have them at proper positions, and give them orderly promotions. If they don't play enough or don't get promoted, then they won't develop. If they play too much and tire they are more likely to be injured and if you put them at the wrong position their defensive ratings won't grow properly.

Also, if you ignore your minors, you'll irk your fellow owners because it throws off the realism of the league.

To do list:

Resign all of your minor league free agents. You'll need them and its easier then finding free agents

#2: Identify your key prospects. (The team depth chart under World Office: Reports is handy for this; sort by projected ratings) Who is projected to be major league quality or at least close? For a pitcher they should have a vs. R and control of at least 50, preferably 60. Like MLB, hitters are much more dependent on positions, if someone gets to recommended defensive levels at CF, 2B, SS, C, they can make the majors even with a weaker bat....but everyone else has to hit very well to make it.

#3: Promote key prospects. Development can be stunted by staying at the same level two years in a row, so if you see a potential future major leaguer, be sure he's not at the same level as last year.

#4: Check defensive positions. On your edit rosters page if you click on the defensive position (i.e. "2B") it will show you recommended fielding levels. Hit the "show recs (proj.)" button and save that. If your team wasn't well run, you'll have guys listed as SS and 2B who really have no business playing there. If I was taking on a new team I'd do this for everyone in my system, but at least do it for key prospects.

#5: Assign your "needing assignment" (resigned free agents) guys where it looks like they will be needed. See below for what is needed.

#6: Promote your "non-prospect" prospects a level if you need them at the level above.

#7: Clear out Rookie League if you need them at higher levels. Rookie League doesn't start 'til after the draft so you can empty out your roster down there if you need fillers.

#8: Sign minor league free agents to fill spots.

At the end, your goal should be to have the following:

AAA and AA: 1 per defensive position + 3-5 subs (at least 1 of those needs to be a C and 1 should be able to play SS). 13-15 pitchers, at least 5-6 should have stamina at 65 or so plus so they can start. This many players means you should start with a couple inactive players, who should be the weakest guys.

HiA and LoA: 1 per defensive position + 4-6 subs (especially C and infield). 14-17 pitchers. You should have 2-3 inactive pitchers at all'll need them during the year when your guys tire and get hurt. You need more guys at A ball since stamina is lower and injuries more frequent.

Any questions? Post them on the chat board or ask a veteran.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Can Blaine Prince win 300 games?

St. Louis Cardinals
Blaine Prince

The Jersey League's all time wins leader is Blaine Prince, with 212 wins, 38 more than the closest rival. Before last year, few thought that Price had a shot at 300, but his age 33 season changed expectations, as Prince put up a stellar 23-4 record and won his second AL Cy Young. Prince, a tall skinny lefty, also kept himself in great shape over the off-season, showing virtually no ratings drop off as he enters his age 34 season. This ratings maintenance, along with his top-notch health, indicates that Prince might have several more Cy Young caliber years in him.

Prince, who hails from Bath, Maine, has never hit the free agent market, signing two long-term extensions with the same team (but now on 4th owner). He was an original ML player at league creation and he's only spent 15 days on the DL.

Can he win 300? The odds are still against him. Here is a projection of what I see happening:

Season 13 (age 34, SP1): 19 wins, total 231. Prince is in top form but needs help from offense and relief pitching to hit 20 wins again.

Season 14 (age 35, SP1): 17 wins, total 248. Prince is still near peak effectiveness but his stamina starts to wane, so he leaves games a bit earlier, losing a couple wins.

Season 15 (age 36, SP3): 14 wins, total 262. Prince's effectiveness starts to fade, but he's still a very good pitcher.

Season 16 (age 37, SP5): 12 wins, total 276. Prince is still a good arm, but he's really a soft tosser now and doesn't stay in games past the 5th or 6th inning.

Season 17 (age 38, SP5): 10 wins, total 286. Prince has lost a lot in key ratings, but is still a solid arm.

Season 18 (age 39, LRA): 7 wins, total 293. The tank is running empty but he's making a contribution out of the pen. Low health rating is a worry.

Season 19 (age 40, LRB): 5 wins, total 298. Its the end of the line here, barely hanging on to a roster spot.

Season 20 (age 41, LRB): 2 wins, total 300. A kindly owner gives Prince a few starts at a cut-rate salary to get him up to 300.

Season 21 (age 42, Retired): Prince retires back home to a life of leisure in Maine.

Key Variables: #1 the training budget, key to maintenance of veteran player ratings, #2 injury luck, #3 team quality, can't get wins on your own

Welcome New Owners

The Jersey League welcomes 5 new owners for Season 13. Four are newbies, although two of them have one other team so have some experience with the game. This is the most newbies we've had in a while, so let's help them out and keep on eye on them.

To the new owners, I think you'll enjoy this game and the Jersey League, we have a reputation in this league for looking out for new guys and helping them along. I was a newbie in this league in Season 3 and received lots of help. You should know that the reason we pay a lot of attention to newbies is that there have been new owners in that past that have really wrecked their teams due to bad trades and bad contracts, and then left after one season. Bad trades throw off the league's balance, and its hard to recruit owners for teams saddled with large unwise contracts. So, for those of us in the league for the long haul, it's in our best interest that we help you out.

Here is the new competition, boys:

zeg723L: Florida Oranges, AL South. New owner, has one other team in the Berra league.

missouridawg: St Louis Cardinals, AL South. Also a new owner with one other team. His other team is in Buckner, and sports an 88-69 record, so either he inherited a nice team or he knows what he's doing!

shnele: Tampa Bay Water Moccassins, NL East. A bit more experience here, shnele has 5 seasons under his belt and has made the playoffs twice. .456 career winning percentage. Two other teams besides Jersey, in the Griffey and F.Y.C. league.

headpirate: Texas Lone Stars, NL South. Total newbie here, this is his first and only team.

tschol: Honolulu Otto's. (I'm curious about this team name and the use of the possessive...does someone named Otto own the team?) Another newbie, first and only team here.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Potentially Available Teams--Season 13

The Jersey League will be recruiting for Season 13 and it looks like we'll have 5 teams available. Contact Commissioner Feamster if you're interested. The five teams include:

Oklahoma City Pikes (AL South, 94-68). $35.6M in salary committed next year to 6 players. $7.5M is to the 33 year old Blaine Price, one of the best pitchers in league history with 212 wins. He was 23-4 in season 12 and with great health and good makeup, he might get to 300. **TEAM TAKEN**

Monterrey Cucarachas (AL South, 68-94). Should pick 9th in upcoming draft. Should be a good turn-around project. Pre-rollover I see two Ps projecting in the 80s (overall) and 5 in the 70s. Also a AAA 2B projects to 81. $37.5M in salary committed next year to 6 players. **TEAM TAKEN**

Chicago Curse (NL East, 53-109). #1 Draft pick alert!!! This team also had the #1 picks in Season 11 and in 12 and to show for it has a SS (age 22 pre rollover) with a 78/92 OVR and a (age 18) 2B with a 82/97. Someone take these marquee prospects and turn this organization into a winner. $24.5M in committed salary next year to 4 players.

Santa Fe Lobos (NL South, 80-82). $53M in salary committed next year to 10 players. This team has the 15th pick in the draft. Historically a well run team, won 89 then 80 games the last two years, but only 3 playoff appearances. Salary load is decent, mostly pitchers in their early 30s who are solid.

Vancouver Totems (NL West, 84-78). $19M in salary committed next year to 4 players. 18th pick in the upcoming draft. This team has been good, winning 90 and 84 games last two years. The contracts are to 3 SPs and a Catcher.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Beagles Take Series in 7; Buffalo Rocks

The City of Buffalo held its first championship parade in decades as the Buffalo Beagles, led by psanders84, finally broke through to the World Series in his 8th year of ownership. Buffalo won in an oustanding 7-game World Series over the heavily favored Las Vegas Dealers.

World Series MVP
Julio Mercedes

Buffalo surged to a 2-0 at Las Vegas' home field, quickly putting the Dealers behind the 8-ball after demolishing the Dealers bullpen in both games. Game 1 was tied 3-3 in the 11th when the Beagles errupted for 5 runs in the top of the 11th. The Dealers held a 5-2 lead going into the 9th of game 2, but the Beagles put 7 runs up in that inning, led by a 3-run bomb from Erick Webster. The losses stunned Dealers fans, who had enjoyed a solid bullpen all year, which operated on a successful "closer by committee" that converted 51 of 62 save chances. Game 3 was in Buffalo, and the Beagles never got to the Dealers' bullpen, as Rigo Franco tossed a 3-hit complete game shutout. Buffalo stormed back to win game 4 by a 10-3 score, as the Dealers defense had a sloppy game and Beagles took advantage behind leadoff hitter Ed Boyd who had 3 hits and 3 RBIs.

With the Dealers' backs up against the wall they won game 5 by a 4-3 score, as 8 strong innings by Lance Ward and a 3-run homer by Rick Lennon were enough to survive a 2 run homer off the Dealers bullpen in the 9th. Las Vegas took game 6 by a 5-0 score behind 6 shutout innings from Max White and (finally) some solid work out of the bullpen. The entire season then came down to game 7 in Las Vegas, with the Dealers sending Rigo Franco to the mound, hoping for a repeat of his game 3 shutout and Buffalo sending Randy Matthews for his 3rd World Series start. The day belonged to Matthews, who turned in 6 innings of one run ball, while Franco gave up a 3-run bomb by future free agent 2B Julio Mercedes in the 5th inning. That HR was the game winner, and Buffalo won game 7 by a 4-1 score, ending the Dealers' dream.

Buffalo's Julio Mercedes was named World Series MVP, an honor sure to drive up his free agent value. Mercedes was 10 for 29 during the World Series, scored 6 runs, hit 3 HRs, knocked in 11 runs, was 3 for 3 in SBs, and reportedly visited every strip joint, casino floor, and buffet table in Vegas during the long World Series.

The NL playoffs featured two big upsets, as top seeded Helena was denied its 3rd NL penant after being upset in 5 games by 5th seeded Tuscon, while 2nd seeded Tacoma was knocked off by Buffalo in 4 games. Buffalo then took down Tuscon in a 6 game NLCS.

The AL playoffs played more according to expectations, as the #1 seed Dealers stormed to their 5th AL penant in 7 years without a single playoff loss. #2 seeded Syracuse made it to the ALCS, only to be blown out in 4 straight by Las Vegas.

In the minors, Vancouver took the AAA World Series, Las Vegas won in AA, Boise won in HiA, LoA, and the Rookie League. Either Boise has some ringers down there or they are a year or two a way from dominating the Jersey League!

Congratulations to Buffalo and to everyone else: Wait til Next Year!