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

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

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.