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

Chicago SS Eddie Lloyd

AL Cy Young
New Britain LHP Willie Oliva

Seattle LHP J.P. Diaz

Arizona RF Marcus Brown

NL Cy Young
Los Angeles RHP Sid Richard

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.