Sunday, November 21, 2010

Jersey Hall of Fame Doubles to Four

Cooperstown--Jersey League voters added two deserving candidates to the Hall of Fame over the offseason, as reliever Carlos Prieto and 2B/LF Donantello Barker were elected.

Carlos Prieto, the league's first HoF reliever, played in the first 14 seasons of the Jersey League. He was a closer for the first 13, then suffered an injury in season 14 at age 42, appearing in only 3 games before retiring at season's end. Prieto was originally was a Detroit Lugnut, but that team was taken over by Helena in season 2. Prieto then stayed with Helena through season 9 when he was claimed off waivers by the New York Mutuals, which is were Prieto stayed until retirement. Prieto was a 7-time all-star and 3-time Fireman of the Year. Perhaps his best season was in Season 1 when he had 37 saves and a 1.71 ERA and 0.85 WHIP. Prieto unfortunately struggled in the playoffs, saving just 8 of 16 with a 9.97 ERA in 20 games. Hall of Fame voters apparently shrugged the poor playoff performance off in electing Prieto. Prieto made $77M over 14 years.

Donatello Barker played from seasons 1-12 and was one of the Jersey League's finest hitters. Barker played 777 games at 2B and 556 at LF, with the LF mostly in the latter half of the career, where he won two Gold Gloves. Barker was a .310 lifetime batting average and hit 410 career HRs, earning 5 all star appearances and the season 5 AL MVP. Barker was originally with the Toledo Pain Train (the precursor to the Minnesota Peacefrog) but was traded to the Colorado Rockies in season 3, where the thin mountain air put a charge into his hitting totals. Barker was a big free agent signing for Tacoma in season 8, where a big park put a damper on his hitting during seasons 8-10, although part of season 10 was played Norfolk after a waiver claim. Barker then left for Philadelphia in season 11, finishing up after season 12. Barker was an available free agent for season 13, but at age 37, the future Hall of Famer couldn't hook on anywhere. Barker never won a ring, but he saw action in 6 post-seasons, hitting 8 HRs and putting up a .985 OPS. Like fellow inductee Prieto, Barker made $77M, but did it over just 12 years.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Jersey World Season 15 AL East Preview

Are you ready for the holidays? The cold weather got you down? Hopefully, this little slice of fantasy fodder will be enough to wet your appetite for the upcoming season (at least for the 4 teams involved). For the rest of you, I just hope you enjoy the musings that is my sixth installment of the AL East Preview.

Philadelphia Phillies

Owner: bball10 (6th Season, 310-500, 0 Playoff Appearances)

Franchise History: (949-1,319, 1 Playoff Appearance, 0 Division Titles)

Season 14 Recap:

Record: 69-93 (4th Place, 17 GB)

BA / OBP / SLG: .277 / .345 / .448

R / HR / RBI / SB: 846 / 216 / 823 / 99

ERA / WHIP / SO: 6.20 / 1.66 / 1,053

Fld % / CS %: .970 / .316

Fred Waters, RP (Free Agency from Minnesota)
Jimmie Ortega, RP (Free Agency from Rochester)
Billy Bush, RF (Free Agency from Charlotte)
Kyle Hobbes, LF (Free Agency from Salem)
Wilkin Castillo, C (Promoted)
Julio Martinez, 2B (Promoted)

Taylor Everett, RP (Free Agency)
Julio Rincon, RP (Free Agency)
Dave Fox, SP/RP (Free Agency)
Banana Munoz, RP (Free Agency)
Milt Purcell, CF (Free Agency)
Bartolo Maradona, RP (Free Agency)
Fred Miller, SP/RP (Free Agency)
Rafael Borbon, CF (Free Agency)
Tomas Tavarez, SP (Free Agency)

After a fast start last season (I believe he had the best record at 19-6), bball quickly lost composure and swooned down to his normal resting perch at the bottom of the AL East for the 4th time in 5 seasons. Although he did improve to 69 wins last season (up from 65 wins in Season 13), it is easy to see why this team ended up at the bottom. Poor pitching and poor defense was the undoing for this squad. On offense, this team is led by Brandon Fisher and R.J. Benitez. Both are only really capable of playing 1st Base, so they will probably share the 1B and DH duties this season. On the pitching side, they did not do much to improve, as there is only 1 pitching on the current opening day roster that is capable of pitching past the 5th inning on a consistent basis. If they don't improve on their pitching, they will NOT improve on there 69 wins from last season.

New York Mutuals

Owner: piratestros (7th Season, 462-510, 2 Playoff Appearances, 2 Division Titles)

Franchise History: (1,152-1,116, 6 Playoff Appearances, 6 Division Titles, 1 American League Championship)

Season 14 Recap:

Record: 79-83 (3rd Place, 7 GB)

BA / OBP / SLG: .269 / .342 / .424

R / HR / RBI / SB: 897 / 191 / 862 / 289

ERA / WHIP / SO: 4.92 / 1.46 / 1,107

Fld % / CS %: .978 / .241

Taylor Everett, RP (Free Agent From Philadelphia)
Willie Wells, RP (Free Agent From Houston)
Geronimo Tatis, RP (Free Agent From Rochester)
Raymond Reese, RP (Free Agent From Trenton)
Aaron Marshall, RF (Free Agent From Honolulu)
Taylor Ramsay, RP (Free Agent From Arizona)
Marino Martinez, SP (Free Agent From Salem)

Carlos Prieto, RP (Retirement)
Norm Zito, 1B (Free Agency)
Johnnie Key, RP (Free Agency)
Miguel Sanchez, RP (Free Agency)
Dennis Daubach, RP (Free Agency)
Nigel Baek, C (Free Agency)
Sandy Milliard, RP (Released)
David Castro, RP (Released)
Harold Koehlert, 2B (Released)

For the first time since piratestros took over the Mutual franchise, they did NOT finish first in stolen bases (that honor fell upon Trenton by 1 SB). They spent the offseason bolstering the pitching, signing 5 relief Pitchers. They will start the season without Darwin McBride, who is on the DL with a shoulder strain. They signed Marino Martinez to cover until McBride returns. On offense, they will be led by speester Calvin Lee, who is currently 4th on the all-time Stolen Base list and has a possibility of being 2nd by season's end, barring any injury or sudden coaching strategy. This team will need to show better on-base presence if it plans to compete for post-season exposure.

Pittsburgh sluggers

Owner: larr100 (8th Season, 527-607, 1 Playoff Appearance, 1 Division Title)

Franchise History: 1,130-1,138, 4 Playoff Appearances, 2 Division Titles)

Season 14 Recap:

Record: 80-82 (2nd Place, 6 GB)

BA / OBP / SLG: .273 / .337 / .457

R / HR / RBI / SB: 847 / 243 / 826 / 145

ERA / WHIP / SO: 4.74 / 1.47 / 987

Fld % / CS %: .983 / .174

Damian Chang, RP (Free Agent From Tucson)
Terry Perry, SP (Rule V from Tucson)
Doc Huckaby, LF (Free Agent From San Francisco)

Buddy Johnson, RP (Free Agency)
Miguel Estrada, RP (Free Agency)
Brendan Harris, C (Free Agency)
Max Rios, SS (Free Agency)
Jayson Caufield, 3B (Released)
Glenn Mitchell, RF (Released)

For the fourth consecutive season, we saw Pittsburgh improve in wins and finished in second place for the first time since Season 9. Pittsburgh re-signed 3-time All-Star pitcher Pedro Tavarez to a 5-year extension, and Mark Woo will take over as closer. On offense, 1B Vernon Ojala and 2B Jose Pascual lead a youthful lineup poised to continue the pressure on the top of the AL East.

Norfolk Phanatics

Owner: ratatat72 (8th Season, 560-574, 5 Playoff Appearances, 4 Division Titles)

Franchise History: (1,056-1,212, 7 Playoff Appearances, 6 Division Titles)

Season 14 Recap:

Record: 86-76 (1st Place, Lost to St. Louis in Division Championship Series, 3-1)

BA / OBP / SLG: .282 / .348 / .432

R / HR / RBI / SB: 871 / 202 / 836 / 163

ERA / WHIP / SO: 4.60 / 1.41 / 1,064

Fld % / CS %: .987 / .250

Ted Borland, SP (Free Agency From Boise)
Michael Norman, 3B (Promoted)
Chuck Casanova, 1B (Promoted)
Moises Chavez, C (Promoted)
Marco Karl, (Claimed Off Waivers From Trenton)

Patrick Ford, 3B (Player Declined Option)
Ron Niekro, RP (Player Declined Option)
Al Gandarillas, SP (Player Declined Option)
Kenny Graham, SP (Free Agency)
Billy Leach, 1B (Free Agency)
Heinie Hamilton, C (Free Agency)
Dale Tracy, SP (Free Agency)

For the second consecutive season, and fourth time in ratatat72's regime, the Phanatics took home the AL East crown. Despite this, the team definitely needs to improve from its pitching performance last season. Brett Henry will need to take his performance to the next level if Norfolk is to continue its success and advance further in the postseason. Norfolk continues to promote from the minors, as Chavez, Casanova, and Norman have been promoted to the Majors. If the Phanatics want to continue their reign on top, the pitching will need to return to form, which will be tough after losing Graham and Niekro to Free Agency.