Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Playoff Picture

With it being shortly after the All-Star break the time is upon us to discuss the playoff picture.

AL North - A solid division, there are 3 teams in contention for the division title, and this division is very likely to produce the 3 playoff teams for the AL. The Chicago Black Sox are hoping to maintain a 1.0 game lead over the New Britain Rock Cats while the Rochester Redbirds are lurking from 6.0 games out.

AL East - Not much of a race here as the Philadelphia Freedom has jumped out to an 8-game lead over the Florida Tropics. The consolation prize for the runner-up? A trip home.

AL South - If you want to see the picture of parity, this division is it. You've got the El Paso Sluggers (.499), Montgomery Mavericks (.513), and Texas Wildcats (.491) fighting it out at the top of the division with identical 54-51 records (remaining opponents winning pct is in parentheses). Trouble is, the Jackson Mallards (.511) are only 7.0 games out and their next 2 series against Philadelphia and New Britain will tell whether they have a shot or not.

AL West - The Seattle Pilots hold a 5.0 game lead over the Honolulu Hurricanes and a 7.0 game lead over the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. Those leads are certainly nothing for the Pilots to take for granted.

NL North - This division is the best in the majors with the Columbus Aeros have the best record in the majors while maintaining a 7.0 game lead over the team with the 3rd best record in the majors, the Ottawa Outlaws. The Toronto Beavers are 14.0 out, but hold a 1.0 game advantage for the 2nd wildcard spot. The Cincinnati Battlin' Redlegs would be winning the NL East but are 17.0 games out.

NL East - This is a very sad division that needs put out of its misery. The New York Highlanders are holding a 2.0 game lead over the Louisville Steamboats and Charleston River Dogs, and a 5.0 game lead over the Cleveland Gunners...yet no team has a winning record. The Highlanders are actually 5 games under .500. There are actually 8 teams in the NL that would be winning this division.

NL South - This division race is over as the New Orleans Zydeco hold a 15.0 game lead over the Little Rock Swampfire.

NL West - Close to being over, there is still an outside chance of the Anaheim Knights losing the 9.0 game lead they have over the Las Vegas Bookies or the 10.0 game lead they have over the Los Angeles Tiger Sharks.

Monday, December 27, 2010

All-Star Weekend Recap

HR Derby:
Domingo Soto vs. Ryan Laxton.

This was an epic showdown as Soto hit 22 home runs through 2 rounds, followed by Laxton hitting 21. Soto really took off in the third round, with his 17 home runs outpacing Laxton by 11 in round 3 alone.
Soto defeats Laxton, 39-27.

All-Star Game:
NL 9
AL 3
WP: Roberto Beltre
LP: Willie Oliva
POG: Brian Malloy

The NL got to the 3-time AL all-star Oliva right out of the gate and never looked back. 4 hits in the first gave the AL a 2-0 hole to dig out of before they had even come to bat. The pitching of the NL was solid enough to not allow the AL any chance to come back. The NL abused AL pitching, scoring a run in the 3rd, 4 in the 5th, and 2 more in the 8th. By the time the AL scored its first runs in the bottom of the 8th, the game was already in hand, 9-0 in favor of the NL. A meaningless home run in the bottom of the 9th wrapped the scoring up.


The Futures Game:
US 3
World 5
WP: Fernando Pascual LP: Max Meadows
SV: Ruben Figureoa
POG: Jamie Fujiwara (1-2, 2 RBI)*

This was a well-played, exciting game that really showcased the potential superstars in this world. The US jumped out to a 3-0 lead with a run in the 3rd and 2 runs in the 4th. The World countered with a run in the 5th, and finally took the lead for good with 4 in the 7th.

*I picked my own POG because I disagreed with what the SIM said...Max Meadows did not get shelled, in my opinion.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

At The Break

AL MVP
Chicago SS Eddie Lloyd

AL Cy Young
New Britain LHP Willie Oliva

AL ROY
Seattle LHP J.P. Diaz

NL MVP
Arizona RF Marcus Brown

NL Cy Young
Los Angeles RHP Sid Richard

NL ROY
Columbus LHP Alex Estalella

Revisiting My Predictions - AL

Predictions (Projected Wins*)

AL North

New Britain 96-66 (101)
Rochester 90-72 (96)
Chicago 84-78 (103)
Syracuse 68-94 (75)

AL East
Philadelphia 95-67 (98)
Florida 91-71 (89)
Richmond 81-81 (62)
Pittsburgh 65-97 (61)

AL South
Texas 84-78 (84)
El Paso 81-81 (84)
Montgomery 79-83 (82)
Jackson 76-86 (77)

AL West
Seattle 88-74 (87)
Honolulu 79-83 (78)
Colorado Springs 72-90 (69)
Cheyenne 67-95 (64)

Playoff Seeds
1. Chicago
2. Philadelphia
3. Seattle
4. El Paso
5. New Britain
6. Rochester

*Projections are based on current winning percentage.

Reviewing My Predictions - NL

Thanks to anml34's suggestion, I've decided to look back on my predictions and see how I'm doing...both with the records and the actual standings. We will start in the NL.

Prediction (Projected Wins*)
NL North
Toronto 95-67 (87)
Cincinnati 90-72 (84)
Ottawa 85-77 (100)
Columbus 82-80 (103)

NL East
Louisville 84-78 (70)
New York 79-83 (80)
Charleston 79-83 (78)
Cleveland 74-88 (66)

NL South
New Orleans 84-78 (91)
Little Rock 79-83 (71)
Jacksonville 77-85 (55)
Atlanta 69-93 (55)

NL West
Las Vegas 96-66 (85)
Anaheim 79-83 (98)
Arizona 72-90 (71)
Los Angeles 71-91 (87)

Playoff Seeds
1. Columbus
2. Anaheim
3. New Orleans
4. New York
5. Ottawa
6. Los Angeles

*Projection is based on current winning percentage.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Season 3 Draft Recap

1. Jacksonville Gators - Marino Bautista SS
Marino will be a player who hits for some power, a good average, and will reach base at a good pace as well. He has below average range and glove for the SS position, but his arm is excellent. He has good speed and will play a lot. He's close to major league ready right now.
drichar138 on Bautista:
hurricane384's take: It's hard to argue with this pick although he might not be able to hack it at SS, getting a guy who is going to be a perennial Silver Slugger candidate at 2B or 3B makes this a very good pick.

2. Atlanta Fightin' Peach Pits - Dusty McDonald 2B
A pretty good offensive player, McDonald has power, combined with the ability to make contact and really work the count. He doesn't do a great job of driving the ball. He's got the range and glove for 2B, but his arm strength leaves a lot to the imagination.
mr_gone on McDonald:
hurricane384's take: I really like this pick. He's got the power to be a Silver Slugger without striking out too much. He's going to get on base. Due to his arm strength, he will likely need to move to 1B where he would provide Gold Glove defense.

3. Pittsburgh Crawfords - Kelvim Justice P
Justin has great control, can keep the ball out of the hitting zone, and is a ground ball machine. He also has 3 good pitches and 2 average pitches. Lacks ideal stamina for an ace, but has great durability. He isn't going to strike out a lot of batters as he lacks great velocity.
jeanpaul22 on Justice: Justice has not much stamina but a very good control, good split and 5 good pitches, he should become the Ace of our rotation in 3 to 4 seasons.
hurricane384's take: Any time you can draft a legitimate ace with the 3rd overall pick, there isn't much to say except for simply tipping your hat to the GM.

4. Cheyenne Gunslingers - Shep Blanks P
Shep has 2 great pitches, 1 good pitch, and 2 atrocious ones. He combines that with very good control, and an excellent ability to keep the ball out of the hitting zone. He has good stamina and is a very durable pitcher. He is a flyball pitcher and has very poor velocity for a #1 pitcher.
byers61 on Blanks: He was our top ranked pitcher and when the two superhitters were gone, we were glad to take him. He projects to have excellent control and dominant splits. He has three good pitches and paired with a good catcher will not throw that curveball much. His one drawback is a worrisome health rating.
hurricane384's take: I personally wouldn't have drafted Blanks due to my aversion to flyball pitchers without velocity, but he is a very talented pitcher who should thrive in Cheyenne.

5. Toronto Beavers - Jim Carroll RF - unsigned
mtorabdaddy on Carroll:
hurricane384's take:

6. Montgomery Mavericks - Abdullah Peterson RF
Peterson has tremendous speed, possesses an awesome ability to drive the ball against righties, and can work the count some. He struggles making contact, has decent power, and is decent against lefties. He's got good range, and a decent arm, but doesn't have the glove that one would look for out of a 3B.
tbone66 on Peterson:
hurricane384's take: It seems to me like this was an overdraft...he doesn't have any of the elite qualities one would expect out of a top 10 pick.

7. Arizona Desert Dogs - Ken Saunders P
Saunders has great stamina, good durability, and good control. He has an excellent pitch, a good pitch, and 2 average pitches to combine with very good velocity. He struggles at keeping the ball out of the hitting zone against lefties, and does alright against righties.
jbongo3535 on Saunders:
hurricane384's take: Although not the talent one would typically expect out of the 7th pick in the draft, it is hard to argue with grabbing a solid pitcher when he's available. The biggest issue to overcome is his low vsL split.

8. Little Rock Swampfire - Chris Torres 2B
Torres combines top-level speed with the ability to hit some home runs to form a prety formidable player. He's not going to strike out a whole lot and is going to drive the ball well, while not getting on base a lot. He has good range and a good glove, but lacks arm strength.
lefty32 on Torres:
hurricane384's take: This is a good value pick at 8. While he'll ultimately end up in the outfield, he has the talent to be a contributor and occasional all-star.

9. Charleston River Dogs - Carlton Nelson P
Nelson has ideal stamina and excellent durability to go along with great control. He does a good job at keeping the ball out of the hitting zone against lefties, but really excels against righties. He has top-notch velocity. He possess 5 average to above average pitches, but doesn't have that one "out" pitch.
hopkinsheel on Nelson: The River Dogs were really pleased that Nelson was there for the taking at pick #9. We had him #2 on our draft board. We project him to be a great #2 with really good control and splits (especially vR and velocity. The only thing holding him back from true ace material is he doesn't have a dominating pitch.
hurricane384's take: A solid pick here, he could very well be the anchor of a 4-man rotation for years to come. He has to get to that velocity to outweigh some of the weakness in his pitches.

10. Jackson Mallards - Terry Robinson CF
An excellent defensive player, Robinson has great speed as well. He isn't going to strike out much. He possesses poor power and will struggle making good contact against lefties. He's got a good eye and is above average at making good contact against righties.
quackup on Robinson: Great potential, but needs plenty of work in key areas. I hope his extreme lack of patience won't hinder his development too much.
hurricane384's take: Not a bad player, his vsL worries me a lot. His speed and his ability to put the ball in play will work in his favor. He can play good defense, which is always a plus.

11. Colorado Springs Sky Sox - Geraldo Olivares LF
One of the top hitters in the entire draft, Olivares is also an adept defender at 1st base. He has good speed as well. He won't strike out much, should hit a lot of homers, drives the ball well, and will reach base a lot. He's a very dangerous hitter in the making.
joekendall on Olivares:
hurricane384's take: This is a future HOFer in the making. He will be a perennial MVP candidate.

12. Chicago Black Sox - Skeeter Small SS - unsigned
mamidu on Small: Skeeter Small is going to be a tough sign. Above average defender who should be a more than adequate hitter. Durability is a concern. Hope to sign him soon.
hurricane384's take:

13. Louisville Steamboats - Milton Kramer 1B
Another top hitter in this draft, Kramer is a mediocre first basemen on defense, and has average speed. His real talents are offensive. He won't strike out much, while driving the ball well and hitting lots of homers and reaching base a lot.
hurricane384 on Kramer: I believe that I drafted the top hitter in the draft. He's going to be a cornerstone for this franchise for years to come.
hopkinsheel's take: Really nice pick...surprised he lasted this long. Should hit for great avg, obp, and slugging pct and be a perennial all star candidate at 1B. He won't be the most slick fielding first baseman, but will be able to get the job done.

14. Los Angeles Tiger Sharks - Pepe Acosta 1B
Acosta isn't much to look at defensively and is very slow. He makes up for that with the ability to hit for power. He drives the ball well against righties, but he's average against lefties. He's got a decent eye, and will do better than the average player at avoiding strikeouts.
crb2 on Acosta:
hurricane384's take: Not a bad player for the middle of round 1. He's going to put up some power numbers and won't strike out an abnormal number of times.

15. Texas Wildcats - Todd Minor P
Minor has average control, but tries to make up for that by having great velocity, inducing a lot of grounders, and having 1 good pitch to go with 4 average to above average ones. He's got great stamina which will take him deep into games, and his durability will allow him to avoid missing any starts. His ability to keep the ball out of the hitting zones most of the time will help as well.
kemosabe11 on Minor:
hurricane384's take: I really like this pick. His lack of control won't hurt that much and he's going to be able to use his strikeout ability and groundball ability to get out of trouble when his control problems pop up.

16. Anaheim Knights - Manny Tomlin P
Shocking to see Tomlin last this long, he has the skills to be a #5 in most teams rotation right now. He will have great control to go along with an innate ability to keep the ball out of the hitting zone. He has good stamina and durability. He possesses a great "out" pitch to combine with 3 average ones. His real talents are keeping the ball down and getting strikeouts.
allright on Tomlin:
hurricane384's take: To find a legitimate ace this late in the draft is a huge strike for the Knights.

17. Cleveland Gunners - Larry Medders SS
A mediocre offensive player across the board, Medders projects as average in everything but his eye. He is going to strike out a fair amount, while hitting for a little power. He will struggle to drive the ball at times as well. His real value would lie in his defense, but he lacks the glove or arm accuracy to make any sort of real impact at SS.
mrintegrity on Medders:
hurricane384's take: This is an interesting pick, as he would be a guy I would expect someone to take a flyer on during the compensation round, instead of the middle of the first.

18. El Paso Sluggers - Willie Lamb P
Lamb possesses a unique combination of stamina and durability, and that is a very good thing. He also has great control to combine with being able to keep the ball mostly out of the hitting zone and down in the zone most of the time. He has 1 great pitch, 1 above average pitch, and 1 average pitch. His velocity is top-notch as well which should lead to a lot of strikeouts.
sirius07 on Lamb:
hurricane384's take: Although I'm very leery of starters with only 3 pitches, this guy has everything else one would like in a starter, so I'd be more than willing to overlook that if he was on my team. It's amazing to see another ace this late in the draft.

19. Richmond Rebels - Bryce Hubbard P
With 1 great pitch, 3 above average ones, and one poor pitch, Hubbard is a solid pitcher. He's got great control, and great velocity. He does a decent job at keeping the ball out of and down in the hitting zone, most of the time. Lefties will occasionally eat him for lunch. His stamina is great and his durability is good.
train on Hubbard: Disappointed with my first round pick. I very much liked my top 10, but at #19, I took the eleventh guy on my board. He'll be a decent mid-rotation guy, but I had higher hopes.
hurricane384's take: There are some quality pitchers being taken late in the draft and this is one of them. While he's not an ace, he's definitely got the potential to be a good starter for several seasons.

20. Honolulu Hurricanes - Jay Kinney P
His ability to keep the ball out of the hitting zone on a consistent basis really hurt him. He's got 2 great pitches to go with an above average one. He's got good control and does a good job at keeping the ball down. His durability combined with his stamina means he's going to be an iron man out of the bullpen. He lacks the ideal velocity for a reliever.
bighead34 on Kinney:
hurricane384's take: This was a very good pick. Although his splits are below average, he still has enough other talents that he can contribute.

21. Syracuse Orange - Red Austin P
Austin will struggle mightily against righties while dominating lefties. He lacks any sort of velocity, but is a groundball machine. He's got a good stamina/durability combination. He has above average control. He also has 1 great pitch, 1 above average, and 2 average pitches.
mcbain10 on Austin:
hurricane384's take: I'm not sure what to make of this pick...his vsR is low enough to almost eliminate him from consideration for the bigs, but he's just intriguing enough to give him a shot.

22. New York Highlanders - Scott Leonard P
He is going to be a workhorse as he has tremendous stamina to go along with good durability. He's got great control, combined with good velocity, 2 good pitches, an above average pitch, and 2 terrible ones. He does a good job of keeping the ball down in the zone while avoiding righties' hitting zones for the most part...he struggles with lefties tho.
abesmem on Leonard:
hurricane384's take: A surprise that he lasted this long, Leonard should prove to be a good #2 starter in the future Highlanders' rotation.

23. Las Vegas Bookies - Bruce Hatteberg SS - unsigned
tk21775 on Hatteberg: Will be converted from SS to 3B, liked the power and speed that he projects to although his batting eye and contact could be better. He was our #8th guy so was happy to get one of our top ten guys with the 23rd pick.
hurricane384's take:

24. Felipe Benitez P
Another surprise for lasting this long in the first round, Benitez has great control to go along with doing a good job at keeping the ball out of the hitting zone. His stamina and durability will allow 34 starts and 190 innings a season. He doesn't have good velocity and allows a lot of flyballs. He has 3 excellent pitches, and an above average pitch.
hopkinsheel on Benitez: We were pleased that Nelson dropped to us at 9 and ecstatic Benitez was there for the taking at #24. We had him 4th on our board. We project him as a solid #2/#3 starter and helps fill out the SP prospect cupboard. Fantastic control, above average splits, and 4 above average pitches. We are really excited about this pick. It was tough to lose Ray Sisk, but this was definitely worth it.
hurricane384's take: Another savvy pickup by hopkinsheel, Benitez will definitely be a good pitcher and may even end up as an ace in the Bigs.

25. Florida Tropics - Erubiel Valbuena P
He doesn't possess the dominating ability to keep the ball out of the hitting zone consistently, but he does possess good velocity and a good control. He can get some groundballs, although that isn't his specialty. He has 2 above average pitches, an average pitch, and a terrible pitch. He's got good stamina and good durability.
ajwalton on Valbuena:
hurricane384's take: Not a terrible pick, although his ceiling might be a fourth starter in an average rotation, this late in the draft that's ok.

26. Seattle Pilots - Harry Barcelo - unsigned
gerald007 on Barcelo: I decided to be aggressive and take a chance with higher talent players that might not sign. Barcelo could throw an inning or two every day. We will see.
hurricane384's take:

27. Cincinnati Battlin' Redlegs - Jim Teut - unsigned
cmthieme on Teut:
hurricane384's take:

28. Rochester Redbirds - Douglas Figueroa P
Figueroa is going to struggle against righties, but dominate lefties. He's got solid control to go along with a good durability/stamina combination. He has 4 above average to great pitches to combine with tremendous velocity.
bonk36 on Figueroa:
hurricane384's take: I typically don't care for guys with low vsR and low groundball but his peripherals are enough to make me not question this pick.

29. Seattle Pilots - Tyrone Leach (P) - unsigned
gerald007 on Leach: I decided to be aggressive and take a chance with higher talent players that might not sign. Leach should be a back of the rotation ML starter.
hurricane384's take:

30. Philadelphia Freedom - Germany Tracy (P) - unsigned
TheJester74 on Tracy:
hurricane384's take:

31. Ottawa Outlaws - Harry Toregas CF
Toregas has decent power to go along with a good ability to make contact. He can drive the ball against righties well enough and lefties don't bother him either. He lacks a great eye, but should make up for that with being able to reach base because of his speed. He has good range and a great glove.
mlhutch on Toregas: Picking so low in the 1st round is always such a crap shoot but I was surprised by the depth of this draft. Toregas will be a fine CF, solid D, adequate bat, and nice speed. You can't really ask for more so late in the draft. Overall, I was quite pleased with my draft. I think we netted 3-4 ML caliber players.
hurricane384's take: This is a great pick as he can play high quality defense and hit.

32. Pittsburgh Crawfords - Jack McDill CF
McDill has great speed to go along with a good ability to put the ball in play. He's a great baserunner with a great eye. He might not drive the ball well, but he has a little power and will benefit by just putting the ball in play. His defense isn't awesome, but it won't be a liability either.
jeanpaul22 on McDill: is a speedy CF that could eventually move to left field, good contact and great speed could earned him a leadoff spot in the ML.
hurricane384's take: This is a good pick. He can leadoff, steal some bases, and play good CF for the Crawfords.

Monday, December 6, 2010

$10.0 M + Internationals

$23.0 M - Harry Colon - Atlanta
This unfortunately named player is currently toiling in AA. He is developed enough to contribute at the major league level now, but Atlanta has decided to allow him to further develop in the hopes that he can be a major contributor next season. Harry definitely has the talent to be a middle to top of the rotation big-league pitcher...what holds him back from being a potential ace is his control and lack of dominance at keeping the ball out of the hitting zone.

$20.0 M - Al Chantres - Anaheim
A big contract for a guy with a big bat, Chantres is plying his trade as a SS in LoA. He's got good range and a strong arm, but doesn't have the glove or accuracy to be a big-league SS. He also lacks the ability to consistently drive the ball, but he does have a good eye and makes contact with some power as well. He's going to make an impact, just not at the SS position.

$17.8 M - Carlos Rosales - Colorado
Rosales combines amazing range with a below average glove to make the CF of the AA Sky Sox a very, very interesting and exciting place. He's got good speed to go along with decent contact and solid power to make him well worth the investment. He's got the eye and the ability to drive the ball against righties that should allow him to lead-off and perform admirably down the road. Once he's fully developed, he's going to be a good player.

$15.3 M - David Romero - Rochester
Although Romero's splits are not top-notch, he makes up for that by having tremendous control, 3 exceptional and 1 good pitch. He should develop into a very good #2 or #3 starter. He keeps the ball down in the zone which should limit the damage that comes with not being able to keep the ball completely out of the hitting zone.

Friday, November 19, 2010

NL Predictions

NL East
Louisville 84-78
New York 79-83
Charleston 79-83
Cleveland 74-88

NL North
Toronto 95-67
Cincinnati 90-72
Ottawa 85-77
Columbus 82-80

NL South
New Orleans 84-78
Little Rock 79-83
Jacksonville 77-85
Atlanta 69-93

NL West
Las Vegas 96-66
Anaheim 79-83
Arizona 72-90
Los Angeles 71-91

Playoff Seeds
1. Las Vegas
2. Toronto
3. Louisville
4. New Orleans
5. Cincinnati
6. Ottawa

Comments:
The NL North is absolutely loaded, as the defending NL Champs, Columbus, are rated as the worst team in the division. They would be competing for the division in the East or South, but the North is tough. Toronto has the second best pitching staff in the NL, and Cincinnati and Ottawa are not far behind. The team that could disappoint here is Louisville as they are very dependent on their pitching this season.

AL Predictions

AL East
Philadelphia 95-67
Florida 91-71
Richmond 81-81
Pittsburgh 65-97

AL North
New Britain 96-66
Rochester 90-72
Chicago 84-78
Syracuse 68-94

AL South
Texas 84-78
El Paso 81-81
Montgomery 79-83
Jackson 76-86

AL West
Seattle 88-74
Honolulu 79-83
Colorado Springs 72-90
Cheyenne 67-95

Playoff Seeds
1. New Britain
2. Philadelphia
3. Seattle
4. Texas
5. Florida
6. Rochester

Comments:
New Britain and Philadelphia are heads and shoulders better than anybody in the world, much less the AL. New Britain has a great offense and very good pitching, while Philly has a better balance, but still is very good. Seattle, the defending World Champions, can barely crack the top 5 this season. The team that could disappoint is Texas as they are skewed very heavily towards pitching.

**To come to these rankings, I took the overall ML pitching and hitting talent, added them together to come up with a value for the team talent. I used the "franchise rankings" page to get my numbers. This is just for fun, and I don't mean to offend anyone.**

Top RP

Full of good players, the reliever position is one of the most talented in the world.

1. Spud Clarke
Spud pitched in 69 games last season, posting a 2.11 ERA in 98.1 innings. He can close, he can be a 2 or 3 inning set-up man...he's versatile, and good. He's got great control, great velocity, a great pitch (along with 3 above average ones) and he does a great job of keeping the ball out of the hitting zone and down in the strike zone.
2. Caleb Duran
Caleb appeared in 72 games, last season, posting a 2.08 ERA in 138.2 innings. He was 7-1 with 4 saves. Another 2-inning closer, or 2-inning setup man, Duran has a lot of talent as well. He's got great control, great velocity, and a couple good pitches. He does a good job keeping the ball out of the strike zone, but isn't as adept at keeping the ball down in the zone as one would like.
3. Robb Stahoviak
Robb made 40 appearances last season, recording 11/13 saves while posting a 1.85 ERA in 43.2 innings. At 25 years old, Stahoviak has the potential to be one of the greatest, ever, but his current ratings make him a good pitcher. He's got good control. He's got 3 above average to good pitches to go along with great velocity. He does an excellent job of keeping the ball out of the hitting zone while also getting tons of groundballs. His durability could be an issue and could limit him to appearances of no more than an inning.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Top SP

There are some very good pitchers in this world, but after the top 20 or so, the talent level really drops off.

1. Kenshin Ogawa
Two-time all-star and the season 2 AL Cy Young winner (34 GS, 15-7, 255.1 IP, 2.04 ERA, 183 K), Ogawa really cranked up his performance last season, leading Philadelphia to the ALCS. He's a workhorse, as he has ideal stamina/durability for an ace. He has top-notch control, dominates right-handed batters, has 2 great pitches, 2 good pitches and a fifth pitch that is slightly below average which allows him to mix it up while on the mound. Does a good job of keeping the ball down in the zone. Doesn't have high-end velocity, but that hasn't prevented him from striking out his fair share of batters.
2. Willie Oliva
Oliva had a down season in season 2 (34 GS, 14-6, 224.2 IP, 3.53 IP, 207 K) but it didn't stop him from making the all-star team. He's an equal opportunity dominator as he does a great job keeping the ball out of the hitting zone. He's not going to hurt himself with walks as he has very good control. He's a flyball pitcher which has led to him giving up a fair amount of home runs in his career. He has solid stamina and great durability to go along with with 3 good pitches, an average pitch, and a below average pitch. He has great velocity which helps to offset the fact that he doesn't have a dominating pitch. He is currently #2 on the career strikeout list.
3. Julian Tejeda
Young Mr. Tejeda mad his big league debut in season 1, where he struggled. He picked up the pace in season 2 (34GS, 15-10, 224.2 IP, 3.41 ERA, 169 K) and had a solid season. He's 23 years which means he has some room to improve. He has the ideal stamina/durability combo to get 35-40 starts, 220-260 innings each season. He is lacking in velocity, but does a great job keeping the ball down. He is good at keeping the ball out of the hitting zones and isn't going to walk many either. He has a great pitch, a good pitch and 3 above average pitches to go along with his other talents.

Top RF

A solid group, there is definitely some talent at this position.

1. Hal Thompson
A very good player, Hal had a down season in season 2 (.288/.363/.572, 39 HR, 98 RBI). Only 25 years old, there is still room for improvement. As it stands now, he makes good contact, has great power, and a decent eye. He can really drive the ball well and has speed to stretch singles into doubles and even get the occasional triple. He's got good range and a good arm, and the only real weakness is his glove isn't even average for a RF.
2. Jamey Petkovsek
Another youngster with room to improve, Jamey did not have a good season in season 2 (.260/.344/.453, 30 HR, 74 RBI). He has solid contact, good power, a good eye, and sees the ball really well against righties, while not being a liability against lefties. Doesn't have the ideal speed, but just enough to get a few extra-base hits. Decent range, and a good arm do not make up for the fact that his glove is below average for a 1B, much less a RF.
3. Matty Bailey
There must have been something about RF and season 2 as Matty had a down season as well (.279/.394/.487, 22 HR, 82 RBI). He did win his 2nd straight NL RF Gold Glove, and that is no surprise given that his range and glove are more suitable for the hot corner than RF. To go along with this great defense, he has great speed, although coupled with mediocre baserunning ability, doesn't provide quite the help one would expect. Makes great contact and sees the ball well against righties while not struggling against lefties. Has a great eye. Good power.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Top CF

This is a top-heavy group, with only 9 players in the world considered to be good players, but 4 of the highest rated players at any position.

T-1. Clarence Canseco
Canseco made the All-Star team and won the All-Star MVP in season 2 (.295/.659/.525, 29 HR, 102 RBI). He's got very good range, a great glove, and has excellent speed (28 SB). While he doesn't have any "elite" ratings, he doesn't have any rating that scares you away offensively. He's got good contact, power, drives the ball well, and has the ability to work the count and reach base a lot. He's a very good and very dangerous player to have to face.
T-1. Jaime Pierre
The season 2 AL silver slugger, Pierre (.301/.398/.616, 38 HR, 100 RBI) has no real weaknesses. His range is below average for a CF, but he has the glove to help make up for that. In addition, his offensive abilities make pitchers run for cover. While not the greatest at making contact, he makes up for that with elite power, the ability to drive the ball, and a great eye. On top of all of those talents, he also has top-not speed (22 SB).
3. Dummy Merrick
Dummy won the season 2 AL MVP to go along with the gold glove. He hit .311/.366/.631 with 41 HRs, and 122 RBI. While not as well-rounded as the top 2 players on this list, he has better top-end ratings than they do. He has great range to go along with a good glove. Season 2's batting average was an anomaly as he normally won't hit for a high average or much against lefties, but he has power to spare and combined with his ability to drive the ball exceptionally well against righties, he's a dangerous player. He'll work the count for walks and has speed to steal some bases but not the knowledge.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Top LF

This position is skewed upwards by having a top 5 hitter in the group.

1. Livan Bocachica
Livan made is a very strong player, putting up some solid numbers (.333/.430/.610, 35 HR, 112 RBI) while winning the Silver Slugger in Season 2. Better suited for 1B, his OF defense is atrocious. He has good speed and a great eye. He makes good contact, has good power, dominates lefties, and is no slouch at hitting the ball hard against righties. Although he has good speed, he has no baserunning ability of which to speak.
2. Brian Malloy
A Silver Slugger RF in Season 2 (.268/.346/.490, 31 HR, 111 RBI), Malloy makes the switch to LF mostly due to his glove. He has solid range and a good arm for LF though. He is another one with good speed to go along with good abilities across the board. He makes good contact, has a good eye, good power, and is great at driving the ball against righties, while being merely good against lefties. Has produced a 30/30 season and a 30/25 season.
3. Bud Sobolewski
Bud had a solid season 2 (.283/.387/.451, 19 HR, 75 RBI) but could be so much more. He's a solid defender in LF. He is a bit of a health risk, although he has no DL stays in 2 seasons. No speed whatsoever. He makes great contact and does a good job driving the ball. He knows the strike zone very well. He has some power. He's a unique player in that he's performed well, but not as well as I'd expect, given his ratings. Spending his whole career in Florida isn't helping things either.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Top SS

This is the second highest rated position group in the world. Although each of the top 3 have a wart defensively, I can't find many arguments against the talent.

1. Charlie James
The best overall SS in the world, James can play the position, although he struggles with making all the throws that are needed. He's got great speed, but he really shines offensively (.294/.363/.547, 28 HR, 104 RBI). He makes solid contact with good power. He has a good eye and can really drive the ball against lefties. He doesn't see the ball as well against righties, but he definitely doesn't get dominated by them.

2. Corey Byrd
Byrd had a good season 2, hitting .289/.377/.503 with 28 HRs and 89 RBIs and is still developing. He makes great contact with good power to go along with a great eye. He drives the ball really well against lefties, but really struggles against righties. His ability to make contact and play great defense are what keeps him on the field against righties for the Redbirds. He has been known to lose foot races against tree sloths.

3. Jorge Marichal*
Marichal is New Orleans' second SS on this list, but since he's listed at SS, we will discuss him here. 26 years old, he has solid range, although it is below average for a SS. He makes decent contact with average power, can drive the ball really well against righties and is no slouch against lefties either. He's got a tremendous eye, great durability, and above average speed. He is a potential 20/20 guy. Even though his offense doesn't make up for his below average defense, I'd imagine that he makes the move during the season to 2nd or 3rd where he can compete for both a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger.

* In the interest of full disclosure, Marichal would be ranked #3 in the 3rd base rankings and #4 in the 2nd base rankings.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Top 3B

This is another weak positional group, with a large gap even between the top 3 players in this group. This position is really a "pick your poison" talent-wise.

1. Philip Chase
Gold gloves in both leagues to go along with a Silver Slugger in season 1 make Chase the top third baseman in the world. He had a down season last season (.247/.330/.451, 29 HR, 116 RBI) after a tremendous season 1. His talent-level is such that last season is the anomaly. He is a great defender, hits for a high average with above average power. He drives the ball really well. The major weakness for him is his eye as it is below average. Has great durability and 162 games in a season is not a stretch.
2. Glen Theriot
A converted 2B and RF, Theriot will be playing his third different position in 3 seasons. His offense (.285/.343/.524, 37 HR, 84 RBI) warrants a team finding a position for him no matter what. He is solid across the board offensively, having no real weak spots while not having any skills that really drop your jaw. He's just a very solid offensive player who deserves to see the field. His defensive skills are above average as well.
3. Steven Griffin
Griffin is coming off a down power season (.255/.316/.418, 18 HR, 66 RBI) that saw him still make his second straight all-star appearance. He's a top-notch defender at the hot corner, but his offense is not world-elite. He struggles making contact and doesn't have great command of the strike zone. When he does make contact, he does a great job of driving the ball against lefties and a decent job against righties. Has some power, but doesn't stand out as a top power hitter either.

Top 2B

A weak positional group, once you get past the top 3, the talent drops considerably.

1. Brian Ma
The season 2 silver slugger (.314/.389/.616, 44 HR, 106 RBI) is also one of the top 3 hitters in this world. Ma has great power, contact, and a very good eye to go along with the ability to really drive the ball well against righties. He does not struggle driving the ball against lefties either. He's a solid if not spectacular defender. He's got good speed so he's going to steal some bases. He was a 20/40/20 guy last season (doubles, homers, stolen bases) and looks to improve on those numbers this season.
2. Glen Monroe
Monroe is a 2-time all-star and the defending AL silver slugger (.338/.424/.511, 22 HR, 85 RBI) and comes in second on this list. He's good at making contact, has solid power, dominates lefties, and has a great eye. He does not run the bases well. He's got great durability and is not a health risk. Has solid range and a good glove, and an adequate arm. Decent speed.
3. Heath Harris
The Season 1 AL Silver Slugger looks to return to that form this season after a somewhat dissapointing season 2 (.305/.372/.534, 24 HR, 107 RBI.). Harris is very versatile offensively, able to hit for a high average, drives the ball really well against righties, has good power, and a good eye. Great speed and good baserunning should lead to a large amount of stolen bases each year. He is a very weak defender.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Top 1B/DH

This position group is by far the highest rated group in Billy Beane world. A group of dangerous hitters, these guys will dominate the world for another couple of seasons.

T-1. Manny Raben
Despite playing in only 127 games last season, Raben was dominant. .303/.409/.606 with 45 HR and 123 RBI is an amazing number for so few games. He has tremendous power, a great eye, and dominates lefties. He projects to be a serviceable catcher, but remains the starting DH for New Britain. Should win the silver slugger for a third straight year.
T-1. William Randall
Randall was awesome in season 1, but season 2 was not kind with him as injuries really limited his season. 2 separate stints on the DL will do that to a guy. He only hit .265/.352/.512 with 26 HR and 67 RBI in 93 games. He has the ability to be dominant. Makes great contact, hits with great power. He drives the ball well, and has a good eye. He can play 1B adequately as well.
3. Harry Darwin
Another player who had a down season, Darwin only hit .265/.364/.437 with 24 HR and 77 RBI. He does not have elite power, but when combined with eye and contact ability, he should be putting up numbers that are much greater than what he has in his career. Playing in El Paso leads to a suppression of his HR numbers, but he should still be able to produce 35+ HR and a .300+ average over the course of a season. He's dangerous against lefties. I would expect him to bounce back in a big way this season.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Top Catchers

The talent at the catcher position is the second weakest in the world, but there is still some top-notch talent. Even better is the fact that 2 of the top 3 are 25 or younger.

1. Mel Mays
Mel makes his appearance in the Bigs having only 42 career at-bats. In 833 minor league at-bats, he hit .340/.433/.673 with 72 home runs and 223 RBI. He has the power and splits to really make a difference in the bigs this season. He won't make contact as often as some of the other guys, but he has huge power. His weakness, and it is a big weakness is his lack of arm strength. He's got decent accuracy and he's decent at calling a game, but he will really struggle with baserunners. Cheyenne has a rookie of the year candidate right here.

2. Morris Evans
Evans split time at the C position due to his weak game-calling ability. Other than that, he is about as close to an overall dominant catcher as we have in the league. He hit .378/.461/.674 in 347 ABs last season with 28 HR and 87 RBI. He's go a good eye, and can hit for power and average. He has really good durability for a catcher.

3. Andres Tabaka
Tabaka is a man of contrasts...he hits for a high average, but doesn't have elite power. He makes life miserable for lefties, but is rather average against righties. He's got a great eye. He hit .307/.431/.511 with 24 HR and 88 RBI. He's not good defensively, as he struggles with calling a game and does not have a great arm. He's still a very good catcher and should compete for another all-star appearance and another silver slugger.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Top Free Agent Pitchers

  1. SP Hiram Sanders (13-10, 190.2 IP, 2.97 ERA, 0.95 WHIP)
    Sanders is the closest thing to an ace in this free agent class. He has great control, 4 good pitches, and good velocity. Doesn't have top-notch splits, but he still does a good job of keeping the ball out of the hitting zone. Average at recording groundball outs.
  2. RP Vin Tresh (1-1, 25.2 IP, 3.51 ERA, 1.05 WHIP)
    While it may seem weird that Tresh is up this high after only pitching 25 innings last season, he has great pitches, control, and does a great job at keeping the ball out of the hitting zone. Used as a single-inning closer or setup man, he can be very good.
  3. RP Jim Phillips (3-9, 78.0 IP, 2.88 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 35/39 SV)
    Compared to season 1, season 2 was a struggle for Phillips. He'll bounce back. He's dominant against righties, no slouch against lefties. Has 2 good pitches and good velocity to go with good control. Definitely strengthens the back-end of the bullpen for whoever signs him.
  4. SP Ray Sisk (14-13, 203.0 IP, 3.28 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, CG, SV)
    A good pitcher, Sisk suffers some in these rankings due to the fact that he only has 3 pitches and one of those is below average. He's not good at inducing GBs and doesn't have top-notch velocity. Great control and the ability to dominate righties more than off-sets his struggles against lefties.
  5. SP Valerio Cruz (16-10, 188.2 IP, 3.86 ERA, 1.38 WHIP)
    The senior citizen of the group, Cruz has begun to decline already. That said, he still has 2 good pitches and 2 average pitches to go along with great control. He definitely can get hitters to put the ball on the ground. He won't dominate any batters on a regular basis, but can definitely keep the ball out of the hitting zone more times than not.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Top 5 Free Agents - Position players

I have taken a look at all of the free agents in the world, and have ranked them. These are my top 5.
  1. 1B Jerry Fischer (.328/.409/.622, 48 HR, 163 RBI)
    Fischer is the top Free Agent available. He won the MVP in season 2 and is able to play either corner outfield spot or gold-glove 1st base defense. He's got solid speed as he stole 30 bases in 39 attempts.
  2. LF Paulie Williams (.289/.376/.401, 13 HR, 57 RBI)
    Williams confounds me. He lacks average speed, but to me, he should have about 15-20 more extra base hits than he does. He's going to make contact, not strikeout and work the count. He's not going to hit a lot of home runs, but should hit some doubles and be able to knock in some runs if the guys ahead of him reach base.
  3. SS Charlie James (.294/.363/.547, 28 HR 104 RBI)
    Season 2 silver slugger, James does not have the arm strength one looks for in a SS, but you can't argue with the range, glove, and offense. Anybody signing him gets a top-flight player who has a few years left before he declines. The nice thing about a SS like this is that he can switch to 2B, 3B, or COF when his range declines.
  4. 2B Geovany Manto (.247/.316/.462, 32 HR, 81 RBI
    Manto is more of a COF player than a 2B as he lacks the range, glove, and arm that one looks for in a MIF. He has good power, good contact, and can hit righties and lefties. Decent speed and a decent eye lead me to believe that last season was an anomaly and he should produce closer to his season 1 production than season 2. Not a bad pickup here. Already on decline, so much more than a 2-year deal would be asking for some trouble.
  5. 3B Tony Davis (.292/.363/.452, 19 HR, 60 RBI)
    He's a very good defensive 3B. He has poor speed. Not the greatest contact or power, but he can drive the ball very well. He had 30 doubles last season. He will definitely work the count and you can rely on him to have professional at-bats every time he's at the plate. He will strikeout some too.
Coming soon...top

Sunday, October 31, 2010

World Series 2 - Game 7

SEA 5
CLB 3
WP: Iago Lewis (2-0)
LP: Arhur Swift (0-1)
SV: Geraldo Morales (1)
POG: Troy McMurtry (1-5, 2 RBI)

Summary:
Game 7 definitely did not disappoint the masses this season. Columbus struck first with an RBI double by LF Jerry Fischer and an RBI single by 1B Arthur Boyd to put them up 2-0 after 1. An RBI single by 1B Mitch Harris cut the deficit in half in the top of the 4th. Seattle's 3B Reid Brooks tied the game at 2 with a tape-measure job to LCF in the top of the 6th. LF Ross Anderson made the score 3-2 with a single to RCF in the top of the 8th. With 2 outs in the bottom of the 8th, Seattle's chances looked good, until they made another error (8 in the last 4 games) and allowed Piper Cambridge to score to tie the game at 3. Going into extra innings, Seattle strings together 2 hits and an intentional walk when McMurtry came to the plate to deliver his career-defining single to put the Pilots in the lead, 5-3. Geraldo Morales came on to secure the victory.

Seattle wins, 5-3.
Seattle wins the series 4-3.

Series MVP: Brandon Good (5.2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K)

Congratulations to Seattle!!
Season 2 World Champions!!

World Series 2 - Game 6

SEA 4
CLB 7
WP: Harry Caballero (3-2)
LP: Jumbo Masato (1-1)
POG: Harry Caballero (9.0 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 6 K)

Summary:
Looking to force a game 7, Columbus chooses game 2 loser, Caballero while Seattle runs game 3 winner Masato to the mound for the clincher. Scoring started early for Columbus with home runs by P Harry Caballero, 3B Philip Chase, 1B Arthur Boyd, and SS Bernie Mendoza in the 3rd to put the Aeros ahead, 6-0. They chose to play small ball in the 4th, with a single and a stolen base by CF Dean Crawford. 2B Piper Cambridge hit a sac fly to move Crawford to 3rd, where Chase knocked him in to put the Aeros up, 7-0. Seattle C Stretch Lloyd hit a lead-off home run to CF in the 7th to make the score 7-1. Caballero got into a little trouble in the top of the 9th, walking the leadoff hitter and giving up a double to 3B Reid Brooks and a home run to RF Hal Thompson to make the score 7-4. Caballero settled down to get back-to-back strikeouts and a fly out to end the game.

Columbus wins, 7-4.
Series tied, 3-3.

World Series 2 - Game 5

CLB 6
SEA 1

WP: Kevin Kohlmeier (1-0)
LP: Nolan Gabriel (2-2)
POG: Kevin Kohlmeier (6.0 IP, 5 H, ER, BB, 7 K)

Summary:
Yet another "must-win" game for the Aeros ended in disappointment for Seattle fans. The scoring began in the top of the 5th when, with 2 outs, C Scott Kraemer singled to LCF to knock in a run and CF Dean Crawford followed that up with an RBI single to RCF to give Columbus the lead, 2-0. Seattle answered to cut the deficit in half on the strength of a single by 2B Troy McMurtry and a double by 1B Louie Guiel. Columbus put the game out of reach in the 8th, scoring 4 runs with 2 outs on the strength of a triple by 2B Piper Cambridge, and singles by 1B Jerry Fischer, RF Eddie Black, and an error by McMurtry.

Columbus wins 6-1.
Seattle leads series, 3-2.

World Series 2 - Game 4

CLB 6
SEA 2
WP: Victor Duran (1-1)
LP: Geraldo Morales (0-1)
POG: Victor Duran (6.0 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K)

Summary:
Facing elimination, the Aeros stormed back in grand fashion, assisted by 5 errors committed by the Pilots. CF Dean Crawford (2-5, R) reached on an error to open the game, stole 2nd base and came around to score on a double by 3B Philip Chase (1-5, 2B, R, RBI). 2B Piper Cambridge (1-5, R, RBI) singled to score Chase. Cambridge stole 2nd, then advanced to 3rd on the C's throwing error. A single by Jerry Fischer (2-3, RBI, BB) scored Cambridge. The Pilots answered in the 2nd with a homer by Mitch Harris (2-3, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI) to lead off the inning. Seattle's Geraldo Morales (3.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 K) didn't last long for a starter and was relieved by Jason Minor (4.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, ER, BB) who was also let down by his defense. Aeros' 1B Nolan Hammonds (2-4, HR, R, RBI) homered in the 4th to make it 4-1, Seattle. Harris answered with his 2nd homer in the bottom of the inning to make it 4-2. Columbus scored twice more in the 6th to wrap up the scoring, 6-2.
Columbus wins, 6-2.
Seattle leads the series, 3-1.

Friday, October 29, 2010

World Series 2 - Game 3

CLB 2
SEA 6

WP: Jumbo Masato (1-0)
LP: Russell Herrmann (1-1)
SV: Jim Phillips (4)

Summary:
The Columbus Aeros are in a bad way now, having fallen behind 3 games to none to the Seattle Pilots, a team I gave no shot of even winning game this series. 3B Philip Chase (1-4, 3B, R) opened the scoring with a triple in top of the 3rd and scored when 2B Piper Cambridge (1-4, RBI) singled to left to give Columbus their first lead of the World Series, 1-0. This didn't last too long as Seattle's 1B Louie Guiel (1-4, HR, R, RBI) homered in the bottom of the 4th to tie the game at 1. The wheels fell off for Aeros' starter Russell Herrmann (4.1 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 4 K) in the 5th. He walked 3 of the first 4 batters he faced to load the bases. Pilots' LF Ross Anderson (1-4, R, RBI) singled to left to drive in the first run of the game. RF Hal Thompson (1-2, HR, R, 4 RBI) followed that up with a wall-scraping grand slam to left-center to break this game wide-open, 6-1. Roy Jones (3.2 IP, H, BB, 5 K) made sure that no further damage was done by the Pilots for this game. Meanwhile, Jumbo Massato scattered 5 hits over 6 strong innings, striking out 8. His only mistake was the run in the 3rd. The Seattle bullpen did its job, pitching 3 innings of 2-hit, 1-run ball to preserve the win.

Seattle wins, 6-2.
Seattle leads the series, 3-0.

World Series 2 - Game 2

SEA 7
CLB 1

WP: Nolan Gabriel (2-1)
LP: Harry Caballero (2-2)
SV: Bengie Tavarez (1)
POG: Ross Anderson (3-4, 2B, HR, R, 4 RBI)

Summary:
Columbus had better do something about their offense, and do it quickly or they risk making this pundit look like a fool. MVP runner-up Harry Caballero (6.0 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, 5 BB, 5 K) was hit around pretty good and it started in the first inning. A ground-rule double to 3B Reid Brooks (4-5, 2B, 3 R, RBI) was followed two batters later by a home run to left field by LF Ross Anderson. Caballero was an out away from escaping the 4th inning unscathed when, with 2 on, C Stretch Lloyd (1-4, R, RBI) singled to LCF to score 2B Troy McMurtry (1-4, R), who had led off the inning with a single. Brooks singled into CF to score CF Ricardo Fransisco (1-3, R). A walk to RF Hal Thompson (2-4, BB) loaded the bases. Anderson walked to score Lloyd, and then Harris walked to score Brooks before McMurtry grounded out mercifully to SS to end the inning. The Pilots' Nolan Gabriel held the Aeros to 3 hits and 0 runs over the 6 innings he pitched, striking out 7 and only walking 2 before he was pulled for Bengie Tavarez (3.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 K) who managed to pick up the save. It took Columbus 16-2/3 innings before they finally cracked the scoreboard. A single by LF Nolan Hammonds (1-1) in the bottom of the 8th, followed by a strikeout and a fielder's choice put a runner on second for 3rd place MVP 2B Piper Cambridge (1-4, RBI) who managed to double in RF Eddie Black (1-3, R) for the only run of the game for the Aeros. Of course Seattle was not finished as 3 straight hits yielded a run in the top of the 9th.
Seattle wins 7-1.
Seattle takes a 2-0 lead.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

World Series 2 - Game 1

SEA 6
COL 0

WP: Jason Minor (1-0)
LP: Rob Barker (0-1)
POG: Troy McMurtry (2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI)

Summary:
Once again proving that I know not of what I speak, the Pilots dominated the Aeros to the tune of 6-0. A solo HR by 2B McMurtry in the 3rd opened up the scoring for the Pilots. In the top of the 4th, 1B Louie Guiel (1-4, R) led off the inning with a single to right and 3B Reid Brooks (1-4, HR, R, 2 RBI) followed that up with a 2-run shot to RF. 3 batters later, McMurtry hit his 2nd homer in as many innings well over the left-center field fence to give Seattle a 5-0 lead after 4. Seattle's Troy O'Donnell (3 H, 3 BB, 5 K) succumbed to a torn forearm after facing one batter in the 5thand gave way to Jason Minor (5.0 IP, 1 H, 3 BB, 3 K) in the 5th. Columbus' Roy Jones (2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 1 K) pitched the 8th and the 9th walked in the 6th run in the top of the 9th. He replaced a largely ineffective Rob Barker (7.0 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 5 BB, 3 K, 3 HR) who picked up the loss.

Seattle defeats Columbus, 6-0.
Seattle leads the series, 1-0.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

World Series Preview Season 2




Seattle Pilots (92-70) vs. Columbus Aeros (114-48)


Seattle Pilots - gerald007
The Pilots saw their record get worse, but still managed to win their second straight AL West title as well as their second straight AL Pennant.

Offense (.260 Avg – 12th; 704 RS – 14th)
The Pilots had 1 player hit over .300 (Ross Anderson) and didn’t have a single player knock in more than 100 runs. Offensively-challenged, they did have 4 players hit 20+ home runs and had 7 score 55+ runs during the course of the season. All-Star RF Hal Thompson did the heavy lifting for this offense as he batted .288/.363/.572 while hitting 39 home runs and knocking in 98 runs and scoring 99 times (led the team in all 3 categories).

Pitching (3.36 ERA – 2nd; 1.22 WHIP – 2nd)
Led by Cy Young candidate, Alex Vizcaino (19-10, 236.2 IP, 2.47 ERA, 1.05 WHIP), this team relied on their pitching to carry them. In a crushing blow to their chances, Vizcaino suffered a torn labrum in Game 6 of the ALCS. Nolan Gabriel (17-11, 214.1 IP, 4.03 ERA) and Troy O'Donnell (16-10, 200.0 IP, 3.74 ERA)are going to have to carry this team. Going with mostly a 4-man rotation (with a rotating 4th), they had 3 players with 38+ starts and 16+ wins, while pitching 200+ innings. Averaging just over 5 innings per start, their bullpen was led by All-Star closer Jim Phillips (3-9, 35/39, 78.0 IP, 56 G, 2.88 ERA, 1.14 WHIP) among others. Nap O’Connor, Rudy DeRosa, and Brandon Good all pitched 94+ innings without ever starting a game (a combined 3.38 ERA).

Defense (.987 Fldg – 3rd; 409 DP – 11th)
Their only gold glover was C Stretch Lloyd, but they still managed to be the third-best team in fielding percentage. CF Ricardo Franscisco was nothing short of sensational recording 19 great plays during the season and contributing 6 assists.


Columbus Aeros – anml34
After qualifying for the playoffs on the strength of the wildcard last season, the Aeros dominated the opposition, securing best record in the world by game 150 to win their first division title.

Offense (.273 Avg – 1st; 851 RS – 1st)
With 3 offensive All-Stars and 2 MVP candidates, is it a wonder that this team dominated the statistical standings on the offensive side of the diamond? MVP candidate #1 1B Jerry Fischer (.328/.409/.622, 48 HR, 163 RBI) was just dominant during the season, nearly cracking the 200 hit mark. MVP candidate #2 2B/3B Piper Cambridge (.316/.377/.508, 20 HR, 84 RBI, 24/36 SB) was pretty good as well. 8 players hit double digit homers, 6 scored 60 or more runs, and 6 had 22 or more doubles.

Pitching (3.34 ERA – 2nd; 1.24 WHIP – 2nd)
With 3 all-stars and 2 Cy Young candidates, this team is stacked pitching-wise as well. 6 pitchers had 12+ wins during the season. They were led by Cy Young candidates Harry Cabellero (20-6, 241.2 IP, 2.98 ERA, 1.13 WHIP) and Ezdra Cruz (17-5, 192.0 IP, 2.81 ERA, 1.15 WHIP). Their bullpen was led by Fireman of the Year Arthur Swift (1-4, 48/51, 61.2 IP, 65 G, 2.19 ERA, 0.97 WHIP), Pasqual Romero, and Rob Barker.

Defense (.989 Fldg – 2nd; 460 DP – 1st)
3B Philip Chase was the Aeros only Gold Glove winner this season, but that didn’t stop them from putting up some solid numbers. SS Bernie Mendoza made 21 great plays while having a hand in 114 double plays. In a ridiculous manner, the team as a whole made 102 great plays against 9 poor plays. They were also #2 in the NL in throwing out would-be basestealers.

Even before the Vizcaino injury, this was going to be a tough series for Seattle. With the injury it is looking like a lost cause. In order for Seattle to make this into a series, their offense has to produce better than it has in the postseason and the pitching has to be better too. I believe, that for Columbus to win this, they only need 2 of the 3 components mentioned above to produce like they did in the regular season. Seattle's only chance is for their pitching to shut down the Columbus offense and Columbus' pitching to fail to perform.

Prediction: Columbus in 4.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Division Series' Odds by tk21775

With the S2 Divisional Championship Series ready to get underway, the sports books have had a flurry of wagering activity going on. Lines going into the evening are:

American League
El Paso Sluggers +250
Philadelphia Freedom -300

Seattle Pilots +150
New Britain Rock Cats -200

National League
Ottawa Outlaws +110
Columbus Aeros -120

Las Vegas Bookies +120
New Orleans Zydeco -130

To Win World Series:
El Paso Sluggers +2000
Las Vegas Bookies +1500
New Orleans Zydeco +1400
Seattle Pilots +1200
New Britain Rock Cats +1000
Philadelphia Freedom +950
Ottawa Outlaws +400
Columbus Aeros +250

What Division Will Win World Series:
AL: +150
NL: -200

Monday, October 18, 2010

Record-Breakers

HITTING STREAK (Tied)
Jerry Fischer (CLB) batted .408 during his record-tying, 25-game hitting streak this season. He had 6 doubles, 1 triple, and 13 home runs during this period while knocking in 41 and scoring 21 runs himself.
Publish Post

ERA & WHIP
Kenshin Ogawa (PHI) recorded a 2.04 ERA and 0.92 WHIP in 255.1 innings pitched. He won 15 games while losing 7 and struck out 183 batters against 65 walks.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Playoff Update (through 154 games)

NL North
Columbus Aeros (109-45) - clinched #1 seed; 1st division title

NL East
New York Highlanders (83-71) - 2nd straight division title

NL South
New Orleans Zydeco (85-69) - 1st division title
Currently the front runner for the #2 seed, New Orleans' magic number is 7

NL West
Las Vegas Bookies (83-71) - 1st division title

NL Wildcard
Ottawa Outlaws (96-58) - clinched wildcard (magic number is 4 for wildcard #1)
Cincinnati Battlin' Redlegs (91-63) - clinched wild card

As it stands now...
#6 Cincinnati vs. #3 Las Vegas
#5 Ottawa vs. #4 New York
#1 Columbus
#2 New Orleans


AL North
New Britain Rock Cats (96-58) - magic number is 4 for their 2nd division title
Magic number is 7 for the #1 seed

AL East
Phladelphia Freedom (94-60) - magic number is 2 for their 1st division title

AL South
El Paso Sluggers (75-79) - magic number is 5 for their 1st division title

AL North
Seattle Pilots (86-68) - magic number is 1 for their 2nd division title

AL Wildcard
Rochester Redbirds (91-63) - clinched wildcard (magic number is 5 for wildcard #1)
Florida Tropics (87-67) - clinched wildcard

As it stands now...
#6 Florida vs. #3 Seattle
#5 Rochester vs. #4 El Paso
#1 New Britain
#2 Philadelphia

**Just a quick note, but in the wildcard rounds in both the NL and AL, the lower seeds are likely to be favored in the series.**

Monday, October 11, 2010

American League Playoff Picture (through 142/143 games)

AL North
New Britain Rock Cats (19) 88-55
Currently fighting toe-to-toe with Rochester for their second straight division title, they are also fighting with Philadelphia for the top seed in the playoffs and home-field advantage. Should be a lock to make the playoffs, but could end up as a #1, #2, or #5 seed.

AL East
Philadelphia Freedom (11) 88-55
A 9.5 game lead over Florida means that the Freedom will likely win their first division championship and make their second straight playoff appearance. The only question is whether that will be with home-field advantage or not.

AL South
El Paso Sluggers (20) 68-74
Jackson Mallards 68-75
Texas Wildcats 67-76
Montgomery Mavericks 62-81
This is an ugly, ugly division. El Paso finished second last season, and Montgomery went 81-81 to win it. This season could see the winner of the division at well below .500. At least the winner isn't likely to make the playoffs instead of a team with a winning record.

AL West
Seattle Pilots (9) 81-61
Last season's #1 seed is unlikely to earn a bye this time around, but with a magic number of 9, it's only a matter of when, not if they clinch a second straight division title. The road to the World Series is tougher this season.

AL Wild Card
Rochester Redbirds (4) 86-56
The Redbirds look to be a lock to make their second straight playoff appearance. They still have a shot at their division as they trail New Britain by only a game and a half.
Florida Tropics (12) 78-64
Despite being 9.5 games out of first in the East, Florida has a 9 game lead in the race for the second wild card spot. Should see them in the playoffs for the second straight year.

The story this season is the fact that there will likely be a team that is below .500 make it to the playoffs. The only positive is that they will not make it over a team that is above .500 since, as of press time there were only 5 teams with a better than .500 record in the AL.

National League Playoff Picture (through 142 games)

NL North
Columbus Aeros (8) 101-41
After a wildcard appearance last season, the Aeros appear to be well on their way to winning the division. They have a 12.5 game lead on Ottawa and should win the NL's best division. They have all but clinched the best record in the NL and a first round bye.

NL East
New York Highlanders (14) 76-67
The Highlanders have a 6.5 game lead over Louisville and should very well earn their second straight division championship. They trail New Orleans by 2 games in the bid for the second bye. Barring a dramatic run by Louisville, you will see the Highlanders in the playoffs.

NL South
New Orleans Zydeco (6) 78-65
The smallest magic number of all the division leaders belong to the Zydeco. They have already matched their win total from last season and hold a nearly insurmountable 14 game lead over Little Rock and should earn the first playoff appearance in the franchise's history.

NL West
Las Vegas Bookies (13) 77-65
The Bookies have an 8.0 game lead over Anaheim as they attempt to reach the playoffs for the first time in their history. A magic number of 13 with 20 games to go means that they should be in the playoffs...the only real question is whether or not they will have a first-round bye.

NL Wildcard
Once again, the NL North provides half of the playoff field in the NL.
Ottawa Outlaws (1) 89-54
A victory clinches Ottawa's second straight playoff appearance as the defending world champion is likely to improve upon last season's record, but need the wild card bid to get into the playoffs.
Cincinnati Battlin' Redlegs (7) 83-60
Cincinnati is going to make an appearance into the playoffs for the second straight year. They didn't get out of the first round, will have a better record than last season, yet need the second wild card to get in.

The National League race is all but decided, with seedings and byes all that are left to be determined. The National League currently have just 6 teams above .500 but only one team below .400. Ottawa would be leading every other division in Billy Beane but will likely finish 10+ games behind Columbus. Cincinnati would be leading 5 of the other 7 divisions, but will have to settle for the second wild card.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Single Season Batting Record Watch (through 131 games)

BATTING AVERAGE .374
Stretch Lloyd (SEA) .286
CONTENDERS
Morris Evans (CLE) .378
NOTES
There is a very good chance that this record could fall. Evans has the talent and is a catcher, so he’ll likely get another 15-20 games. The only question is if he has enough plate appearances at the end of the day to qualify.
75%

HOME RUNS 59
Yorman Chavez (RIC) 22
CONTENDERS
Ching-Lung Dong (FLA) 43
Ronn Estes (CIN) 41
Jerry Fischer (CLB) 41
Manny Raben (NB) 40
Mark Casey (TEX) 40
NOTES
With only 31 games left in the season, I don't see any breaking this record.
0%

RBI 168
CONTENDERS
Jerry Fischer (CLB) 138
NOTES
Fischer is really the only guy with much of a shot to break this record. He would need 30 RBI in 31 games. While possible, it’s unlikely.
5%

HITS 219
Philip Chase (PIT) 116
CONTENDERS
Glen Monroe (NB) 173
R.A. Summers (ARI) 169
Stephen Risley (SYR) 168
Jerry Fischer (CLB) 166
Lonny Bolivar (PIT) 165
Luther Bichette (TOR) 165
NOTES
These guys are facing an uphill fight to break this record. It's possible, but to do so, they would have to hit better than .370 over the remaining 31 games...provided they get 124 ABs during those 31 games.
5%

STOLEN BASES 81
CONTENDERS
R.A. Summers (ARI) 67
NOTES
14 more stolen bases in 31 games while playing for a team that likes run should leave little doubt that I expect this record to be broken. As long as Summers continues to make his plate appearances and get on base, this should be a foregone conclusion.
85%

HITTING STREAK 25
CO-RECORD HOLDER
Jerry Fischer (CLB) 25
NOTES
Jerry Fischer has tied this record, but his streak is over. I don't see this record falling since the longest streak right now is 12. There isn't anything telling me that any of the players with double-digit streaks now will keep it going for at least 14 more games.
5%