Monday, November 17, 2014

S19 Preview

Arizona Firebirds
Arizona is bringing back most of last year's 97 win team, and hoping to contend again, while trying to integrate some younger players. We let 39 yo SP Sid Richard go in FA, and traded 35 yo CF Trenidad Cervelli away, to be replaced by younger players SP Ruben Castilla and 2B/CF Jeff Mota, who will be called up soon. Also traded for LF/1B Jim Carroll to lead off.

Atlanta Crackers
Atlanta Crackers Season 19 After taking over the team near the end of last season, management was looking to make some changes to the roster. Craig Benson , Sergei Mullin , Glen Swan , Victor Lunar were added to the pitching staff. Carlos Perez , Victor Vargas , Cesar Olivo , Danys Ordonez , Donnie Mattheus , Lance Sheehan , Yoshinori Wang were added to the roster. So all in all quite a turnover from last seasons squad. If the team stays healthy for the most part, we should contend for the division. Once in the playoffs it's a crapshoot.

Charleston River Dogs
The River Dogs contemplated tearing the team down and then went immediately in the opposite direction as the offseason unfolded. We are looking to contend for the NL East division title again.

We decided to go big and get Bruce Casanova to re-sign with us as he tested free agency. He was a little pricier than we thought we were going to spend, but we also never planned on re-signing him. We thought he was going to go for much bigger money so we're happy to have the perennial MVP candidate back in Charleston.

We made three major trades and a couple of them involved the same players. We ended up shipping out SP Nathan May and a host of solid prospects and got back superstar SP Ronnie Willits who will pitching in Charleston for a long, long time and a couple of other nice prospects.

Well have rookies Yuniesky Rosado ($1.5 INTL) and Ramiro Cortes ($6 mil INTL) playing significant roles this season.

Cheyenne Gunslingers
Cheyenne has been mired in mediocrity since the league's inception. Except for a brief period of respectability in season 9 & 10, with a world series appearance, it has been a struggle for the Gunslingers. The reason is not a mystery--the hitting has never matched the high quality staff and bullpen that have been around from nearly the beginning.

The time is now. Former CY winner Shep Blanks signed on for two more seasons. Les Gunderson, who never gets any run support, brings his 3.49 ERA back for another try. They will be joined by Angel Kirk, who should be a CY candidate THIS year, along with several other candidates to fill the rotation. Closer Russell Tomlinson is a fireman candidate every year and will anchor a solid bullpen.

This season's attempt to fix the offense: Mike Shaw is up to take over 2b and let Roger Jensen move to LF. Alex Posada was signed as a FA to help at SS. Benny Olmeda is a nice Rule 5 pick to fill in at a variety of positions. RF Sonny Wilkins has this season to show if he really wants to be here.

Prediction---90 wins and a possible playoff run.

Jackson Mallards
Looking to add some punch with Michel Miro & Pedro Espinosa in the lineup. We'll see what happens...

Louisville Steamboats
After hitting 195 HRs last season, the Steamboats added 102 HRs to the squad this season with new starting LF Michael Rice and rookie 3B Emmett Harris. Hopefully C Alex James can return to his normal form this season, although he won’t get quite the rope he got last season with Marty Walker in AAA. 2B Bey Perez, SS Randy Dawkins, and CF Jorge Garces form a strong core up the middle. RF Eric Beckett & 1B Logan Coulter return as well. This is a team that is going to strike out quite a bit, but should hit a ton of HRs and be exciting to watch. Kevin Yoon, Hector Nunez, and Milton Kramer provide a very strong bench.

The rotation has been remade as we only return 2 SP (42 GS) from last season’s team. We look to improve on the 14th ranked pitching staff in S18. The new staff should contribute to at least keep this team from drowning. The bullpen is improved as well, but remains to be seen just how improved.

New Britain Rock Cats
New Britain changed management if the second half of the season and were invigorated by the changed environment. The team went on a tear and went from 60-67 to end the year at 87-75, going 27-8 down the stretch under the new regime. While they narrowly missed the playoffs, that has raised expectations in New Britain – probably to a level that cannot be attained.

Most of the team returns from last year except for a few key veteran starters. On offense, veteran C/DH Donaldo Rodrigo led the team with a .343 average, but will move to slightly more reduced role to save his legs for the playoff stretch. Young Seth O’Brien will bear most of the burden at C and DH Quinton Rowe was signed to provide a veteran bat when Rodrigo is out of the lineup to hit for average. 1B Ahmad Wagner decided to resign and anchor the middle of the order, while Cesar Cruz spent the offseason making the move from SS to 3B where he will be an asset defensively rather than a liability. SS Keith Mcpherson was signed to take Cruz’s place at SS and with those moves alone, the defense has immediately taken a leap in the right direction.

In the outfield, sluggers David Chavez and Jhonny Manzanillo still anchor the lineup and the corner spots while Mitchell Franco was signed to take over centerfield. Franco was brought in to add range to the outfield defense and the management expects that his bat will only be average. There is still a fight for one roster spot and a veteran free agent may be signed to fill a key backup role. AAA 1B Pepe Padilla and AAA 2B Jair Aybar are also fighting to make the squad and both have the chance to be called up and make an impact early in the season.

From the mound, New Britain will look close to identical to the end of last season though they are still searching for a 5th starter. The rotation will again boast the veterans lineup of Buck Stark (13-9/3.74/1.19), Victor Dasilva (12-17/5.44/1.45), Santo Solano (8-15/3.61/1.26), and Diego Santiago(18-10/4.00/1.25). Dean Wasdin (3-4, 4.88) was called up due to injuries and may hang on as a long reliever. Carlos Salinas was moved to closer late in the season (8 saves/5.71) and had his ups and downs and could get an early hook from the role. Harry Tejada (17 saves/3.51) was moved from closer to be the focus of a revamped bullpen so he could impact a lot more games and throw more innings, so look for him to throw more than 100 innings this season and be the veteran focal point of the bullpen. The rest of the bullpen is made up of youngsters who are looking for a role and a veteran or two could be brought in along the way and push them out. There is one more spot open for a starter/long reliever and no one has stepped up in spring training so currently the team is exploring options outside of the organization.

With a more watchful eye and improved defense, New Britain is hoping it added a few wins and expects to contend for a division title and wild card spot this season.

New Orleans Zydeco
The New Orleans Zydeco were surprise NL pennant winners last season. Although they have won four straight division titles, their last three teams have faded as the regular season progressed, finishing with 78, 83, and 87 wins after torrid starts in each season. The Zydeco will continue to build around their core of 1B Steve Boyer, 2B Bernie Shermann, SP Shannon Williams, and SP Lance Gardner. They added significant quality depth this off-season, signing seven good free agents. They will probably again be an above-average all-around team. But with no real top-shelf talent, it would be a stretch to predict much more than that.

Thursday, October 30, 2014


Top RF - WAR

  1. Alex Blanco (OTT) - 6.0
  2. Jhonny Manzanillo (NB) - 5.1
  3. Seth Myers (TOR) - 4.9
  4. Ken Melancon (CHR) - 4.9
  5. Alex Zhang (MNT) - 4.7
Most Valuable RF
  1. Sammy Franco (CSP) - $3,118,867
  2. Danny Coy (CLB) - $3,293,216
  3. Alex Zhang (MNT) - $2,766,670
  4. Eric Beckett (LOU) - $2,716,194
  5. Mike Atkins (ARI) - $2,615,244


Top CF - WAR

  1. Willie Rodrigo (FLA) - 7.7
  2. Sven Sherman (PIT) - 6.2
  3. Kazuhiro Kobayashi (LV) - 6.0
  4. Carl Ripken (SEA) - 5.7
  5. Daniel Uribe (CH2) - 5.6
Most Valuable CF
  1. Willie Rodrigo (FLA) - $6,628,353
  2. Tony Sosa (LAA) - $4,651,628
  3. Domingo Rosado (PHI) - $4,263,315
  4. Kyuji Yoshii (CHY) - $3,783,332
  5. R.A. McPherson (ATL) - $3,628,366


Top LF - WAR

  1. Jim Carroll (OTT) - 5.8
  2. Steve Boyer (NO) - 5.8
  3. Hideki Koh (FLA) - 5.3
  4. Jason Tracy (CHR) - 5.2
  5. Shawn Brooks (CLE) - 5.1
Most Valuable LF
  1. Alex Polanco (TEX) - $3,452,428
  2. Jason Tracy (CHR) - $3,140,426
  3. Julian Tejada (RIC) - $3,077,785
  4. Hideki Koh (FLA) - $2,684,389
  5. Carl Reitsma (ELP) $2,398,777



  1. Rigo Rosado (SYR) - 8.4
  2. Phillip Latham (NO) - 6.9
  3. Ollie Byrd (ROC) - 6.5
  4. Randy Dawkins (LOU) - 6.3
  5. Cesar Cruz (NB) - 5.6
  1. Chris Chapman (PHI) - $4,379,899
  2. Randy Dawkins (LOU) - $3,932,907
  3. Royce Fossum (SEA) - $3,919,456
  4. Del Kondou (PHI) - $3,585,841
  5. Kevin Nakajima (LA) - $3,477,432

Monday, October 27, 2014

WAR - 3B

Top 3B - WAR

  1. Ugueth Valentin (ROC) - 7.2
  2. Clay  Swisher (OTT) - 6.8
  3. Jorge James (ARI) - 6.3
  4. Jesus Andrus (FLA) - 6.0
  5. Robert Miller (SEA) - 5.6
  1. Ugueth Valentin (ROC) - $6,177,860
  2. Rolando Cordero (CH2) - $4,292,282
  3. Neifi Azocar (NY2) - $4,017,700
  4. Nick Snow (TOR) - $3,451,065
  5. Hayes Brown (LA) - $3,188,683

Friday, October 24, 2014

WAR - 2B

Top 2B - WAR

  1. Dante Nakajima (CSP) - 11.0
  2. Jayson Allen (CIN) - 6.8
  3. Ed Hall (CIN) - 6.4
  4. Bernie Shermann (NO) - 6.3
  5. Bruce Casanova (CHR) - 6.3
  1. Jayson Allen (CIN) - $5,816,671
  2. Ed Hall (CIN) - $5,442,347
  3. Buck Broome (PIT) - $5,269,447
  4. Donaldo Neruda (TEX) - $4,749,981
  5. Alexei Nunez (LV) - $4,244,701

Thursday, October 23, 2014



  1. Rodney Ford (CHR) - 7.2
  2. Logan Coulter (LOU) - 6.3
  3. Ted Snow (MNT) - 6.1
  4. Lawrence Houston (JAX) - 5.3
  5. Houston Reese (ELP) - 5.1
  1. Rodney Ford (CHR) - $6,148,547
  2. Logan Coulter (LOU) - $5,331,401
  3. Ted Snow (MNT) - $5,139,828
  4. Otto Beckham (PHI) - $3,439,673
  5. Houston Anderson (NY2) - $3,432,109


  1. Emmanuel Sanchez (MNT) 5.8
  2. Donaldo Rodrigo (NB) 5.6
  3. Enrique Canseco (CHR) 5.6
  4. Dennis Bohanon (FLA) 4.9
  5. Rymer Tejada (TEX) 4.5

  1. Emmanuel Sanchez (MNT) - $7,881,468
  2. Rymer Tejada (TEX) - $5,997,291
  3. Ajax Torrealba (ROC) - $5,853,445
  4. Alex Garrido (CLE) - $5,703,779
  5. Richard Kyung (LR) - $5,329,511

Monday, October 6, 2014


I decided to try to adapt Wahoosonfirst's Simple WAR calculator to use to rank players at the end of the season. I know the season's not over yet, but I was curious as to how this worked out and what it said about the league.

A little about my methodology versus Wahoosonfirst's.

They rank baserunners on a 1-5 scale and defenders on a 1-7 scale. That would be easy enough to accomplish with what we have available, etc, but I'm not good enough on excel to write a formula to spit out a ranking based on a comparison between the player in question and the average defensive player. Baserunning is the same thing. If someone wants to help out and figure out a way to automatically rank players from 1-7 using the average defensive ratings for each position, that would be awesome and I'll gladly add that information to my data. Same with baserunning.

The second thing is that their formula using plate appearances instead of ABs, but, unless I'm missing something, the only way to get Plate Appearances is to use either the League Leaders page or the Player Statistics page to grab it. I don't have the time or patience to pull that information for 400+ players manually, and the Player Statistics page doesn't list position, so again, ideas for building a better spreadsheet would be greatly appreciated. I have 402 players ranked, so if you want to know where a player currently ranks, let me know. Please let me know if you have any ideas at all. I am all ears on this.

With all that out of the way, here's the top 5.
Pos-Player (Team&Salary) -WAR-Value- Overperforming/Underperforming

  1. 2B Dante Nakajima (CSP/$9,750,000) - 7.4 - $10,528,042 - OVER $728,042
  2. SS Rigo Rosado (SYR/$9,400,000) - 6.9 - $9,866,670 - OVER $466,670
  3. RF Alex Blanco (OTT/$9,500,000) - 6.4 - $9,104,239 - UNDER $395,761
  4. SS Ollie Byrd (ROC/$2,500,000) - 5.9 - $8,353,967 - OVER $5,853,967
  5. 3B Ugueth Valentin (ROC/$343,000) - 5.5 - $7,741,961 - OVER $7,398,961

Message from the Commish

Rule Change Amendment

Hello everyone, I have been considering a slight change to the MWR for quite awhile. A lot of you are already aware of this because of the conversation we've had in NCAA..

Action Required - Please trade chat or sitemail me if you'd like to voice your support or opposition to the rule change. If you'd like to make your thoughts public, please feel free to post a reply to this post and it will appear on the blog.

I feel that the world rules need to evolve as the league and HBD evolves. To be clear, I have ZERO interest in weakening the competitive requirements. I want to provide the opportunity for a good owner to have the choice to stay in the world if they don't hit the MWR and accept strong penalties which will still dissuade any tanking.

The other change I have decided to make after discussing with other commissioners is I am going to take the competition committee out of the process initially when someone hit 200 losses over 2 seasons. Now you'll automatically get probation, however the competition committee will retain the right to review all situations on a case by case basis and if there is documented issues with tanking (ie - throwing out fatigued pitchers for the last 2 weeks of the season to generate losses) then they can still be voted out. The process will be the competition committee voting on the situation and if its severe enough to bring to the world, then the world will vote.

Old Rule - 1. 200 losses or more over a two year period and the owner will be asked to state their case as to why they should be allowed to stay. If allowed to stay the owner must reach 70 wins or be replaced.

New Rule

1. 200 losses or more over a two season period and the owner will go on probation and have to hit 70 wins. If the owner does not hit 70 wins, then the owner has a choice of leaving the world or accepting the following penalties:
- Forfeiture of next season's first round pick by selecting a player chosen by the commissioner
- One season IFA ban on signing anyone for more than $1 million. IFA's under $1 million can be signed as minor league filler.
- If either of these rules are violated, the result is immediate expulsion from the world
- The competition committee reserves the right to vote on each MWR situation and if its severe enough, then the world will vote on the offending owner.

The last benefit to this rule change is it will allow me to set up a very clean spreadsheet on tracking MWR offenders for all of my worlds. Although I go out of my way to be unbiased when the competition committee votes, I felt that I wanted to make the process more objective than subjective and these rules reflect those changes while also allowing the world to retain good owners who want to stay in the world.

Thanks for being a part of this world and community,


Monday, August 18, 2014

S18 Previews

Anaheim Knights
The Anaheim team gets an A; but, only because it is their initial. In every other aspect, the team works hard to earn an F. Dumb moves, aberrant behavior, and decisions that could only be explained if team management were in a constant state of drunken stupor have all been juxtaposed into a hodgepodge of inexplicably dismal talent. The Anaheim team will press their luck to win 50 games this season. The good news is that most of the key players return from last season. The bad news is that most of the key players return from last season. A locust plague has consumed the minors so there is no hope of a Savior Through Promotion. It takes upper management talent to mangle a team so badly and The Anaheim team is currently being directed by Larry, Curly, and Moe. Too bad, too. The teams in their division a collection of low hanging fruit, ripe for easy pickings (just kidding about that).

Arizona Firebirds
Arizona is bringing back most of last year's 106 win team, and hoping to contend again. Added to the bullpen by trading for Bill Bradford and Darby Beirne and resigning Pedro Fuentes. We let Dario Rath go in FA but signed veteran Carlos Jiminez to pick up some of those at bats.

Charleston River Dogs
This was one of the slowest offseasons of the River Dogs existence. We pretty much kept intact the team who won the world series last year. The River Dogs significantly underachieved throughout the season so we are hopeful and confident we'll be able to win the NL East in a more convincing fashion this season.

The only notable change to the ML roster is we brought in Pete Malone to replace Milton Kramer as a backup 1B and pinch hitter off the bench. Cliff Zeile and Enrique Rojo are rookies who will be brought up to the majors this season.

Other than that, nothing too exciting to report!

Cheyenne Gunslingers
This may be the year for the Gunslingers. When Angel Kirk (25-2 with a 1.71 at AA) gets called up, he will join a rotation that may be the best in Billy Beane. Les Gunderson and Shep Blank are already 150+ game winners, and Victor Polonia and Pedro Amaro are up-and-comers. Closer Russell Tomlinson has save 122 games in his first three major league seasons. 2b Roger Jensen stole 50 bases as a rookie and will be joined by Spud Twitchell, taken in the Rule 5. Junior Guerrero has been called up to play 1B and free agent catcher Ralph Sauerbeck was signed for his pitch calling skills to handle the elite pitching staff. Cheyenne has only made one decent run at the world series crown, but this could be the year for another try.

El Paso Diablos
The Diablos were very busy this offseason. After a surprising playoff run, the front office decided to make some changes in hopes of going deep into the playoffs again. The team was upgraded primarily via trade with a few signings to fill holes. The biggest move of the offseason was the Farnsworth deal. It was tough to pull the trigger on trading a young power bat, but the Diablos feel they more than made up for that loss by improving several other positions. Key additions: C Gookie Hennessey, C Mateo Aguilera, 1B/LF Dario Rath, 1B/LF Houston Reese, SS Shawn Roth, 3B Al Chantress, CF BC Balboa, SP Vin Julio, RP Jarrod Dellucci Key losses: LF Gavin Farnsworth, SP Gerald Garcia

Jackson Mallards
Hoping for some productive alchemy from our seasoned vets & younger talent...

Jacksonville Gators
The Gators are in re-build mode and have invested heavily in building out their farm system. Despite that fact, they are being mindful of trying to build a competitive major league team due to their 101 losses in season 17. With the 200 loss rule in mind, the Gators signed a couple of sneaky free agents in the offseason. Lawrence Houston and Boesch Reed were signed to shore up the line up. In addition Matt Scott will be looking to follow up his stellar rookie campaign that saw him slash .317/.380/.449. The pitching staff is a “ho-hum” group of over 30 year old hurlers trying to squeeze a few more years out of their careers. The team will look to put a jolt of youth into the staff by promoting RP Nathan Miles and former 1st round draft pick Dale Bryant at some point in the season. The Gators expect to be competitive, but far from being a playoff team.

Louisville Steamboats
Narrowly avoiding getting new management last season, the Steamboats hope to take a major step forward this season. The Steamboats have tons of power in their lineup. We are looking forward to a major step forward from 1B Logan Coulter (.248/.337/.490; 35 HRs, 77 RBIs). RF Eric Beckett (.302/.359/.578; 33 HR, 88 RBI) had an outstanding rookie season. LF Hector Nunez has some large shoes to fill as he looks to replace Houston Reese (45 HRs). The addition of 3B Alan Lombard, CF Mitchell Franco, and SS Randy Dawkins to go with All-Star Silver Slugger C Alex James and 2B Bey Perez should make this team offensively formidable. Former starting CF Vin Davis provides some defense and speed off the bench while OF Roscoe Kelly and Wilson Durbin look to strengthen the bench offensively.

The rotation is where management feels the most improvement was made. P.T. Mesa, Shawn Bergesen, Gerald Garcia, Pinky Wood, and David Romero replace the overpaid underachieving bunch from last season. Newcomers Chris Lukasiewicz and Alexei Cervantes look to anchor the bullpen this season. Hopefully we’re looking to compete for the division crown this season.

Montgomery Hornets
The Montgomery Hornets are hoping to return to the playoffs for the first time since Season 13, and made only minor changes to the team that finished 83-79 last season, fading down the stretch and giving up the division they led for the majority of the year.
The biggest move Montgomery made was trading 21 year old season 15 INT-FA Julian Tejada, whom they paid an $18 million signing bonus to for 25 year old Alex Zhang, another INT-FA who was bonused $21.5 million by Ottawa back in season 11. While the team felt like Tejada would be an OBP monster, he was still a year or two away and Zhang is in his prime now, with a power bat Tejada didn’t possess.
The Hornets also resigned the quietly effective Buddy Shelley to a very economical deal. Shelley won 11 games with a 1.22 WHIP and 3.19 ERA in 32 starts last season. 12 game winner Billy Griffin was signed as a FA to take Brooks Bush’s spot in the rotation. 20 year old phenom, Jimmy Velarde, who was the 3rd overall pick in season 16, is slotted in as the team’s #3 starter. While Montgomery is concerned with Velarde’s undeveloped pitches, his control, and effectiveness against both right handed & left handed batters was too tempting to pass up. Velarde started 3 games in September last season for the big league club and had an impressive 1.11 WHIP and 1.76 ERA.
The rest of the team remains largely intact from last season. The Hornets believe that both catcher Emmanuel Sanchez, and first baseman Ted Snow could compete for an MVP. 28 year old, Flyin Hawaiian Denny Spencer is coming off his best season with 101 runs scored, 104 RBIs and a .910 OPS.
Hornet management reluctantly brought back both Ceasar Olivio and Alex Marquez in arbitration hearings, but both players understand this very well could be their final year with the team if they don’t perform. Marquez thinks his recent move to second base will increase his value to the club, but it remains to be seen if he can hold up defensively at that spot.
The Hornets look like they may be ready to finish 90-72, and compete for the division title or a wildcard spot this season.

New Britain Rock Cats
Season 18 will likely prove a final hurrah for the old guard. On the pitching side both front line starters, Diego Santiago and Santo Solano return from 60 day season ending elbow injuries. Their ratings have fallen but with full healthy seasons, a lot of luck and a repeat Cy Young season for Buck Stark the pitching could hold up. The Rock Cats bullpen remains top ranked in the league.

Last season the Rock Cats were second in the league in OPS. Gus Governale has moved to Atlanta and his DH spot will be filled by Midre Merced who surprised batting .301 with a .576 OPS last year. Merced had become a defensive liability at catcher and the move creates an opening from AAA for either the veteran minor league defensive stalwart, Vinny Ishikawa who battles the young solid hitting Seth O’Brien, acquired in season 16 from Montgomery.

Three Rule V position players are currently on the roster. They occupy backup positions and all will not stick as young Pete O’Keefe seems ready to move up during the season. O’’Keefe could platoon with Albert Guilen who looks to have the second base job at least to start the season. Rob Eaton returns to his natural position at third while Johnny Manzanillo will be given a try in right field. The team appears to be better defensively and still solid on the hitting side.

The Rock Cats have been amazingly consistent with six consecutive post season appearances and winning between 92 and 99 games each campaign. But there has been no World Series appearance and for this to happen a lot of stars will have to come in to line.

New Orleans Zydeco
The New Orleans Zydeco have won three straight division titles. But in the last two seasons, they've hovered around .500 and lost in the first round of the playoffs. The Zydeco front office attempted to sign some big name free agents in the off season, but the bidding was too high on their prime targets. Instead, they added quality depth, signing relief pitchers Jesus Rondon and Shane Riske, catcher Roosevelt Campbell, and utility position player Phillip Latham. None of these signings will make a huge impact. Collectively, though, they may help the Zydeco overcome the fatigue problems they've faced in recent seasons.

The Zydeco will continue to build their lineup around MVP runner-up first baseman Steve Boyer, gold glove and power-hitting second baseman Bernie Shermann, and veteran third baseman Kory Sterns. The rotation will be identical to last season's, and will include a good mix of young and veteran hurlers. The Zydeco's greatest strength will continue to be its defense, with gold glove winners at shortstop (Louis Hynes), second base (Shermann), catcher (Cole Robinson), corner outfield (Arthur Davenport), and with solid fielders at many other positions.

The question this season is whether the added depth will help the Zydeco fend off fatigue and take a step forward. If not, they may be headed for a rebuild.

New York Highlanders
The NY Highlanders expect to be very competitive this season despite a quiet offseason. The everyday players will remain basically the same with the exception that budding star, Neifi Azocar will move over to 3B from short, allowing Moises Cortez and Matt Green to battle it out for the starting SS position. The one key FA addition was starting pitcher Tomas Lopez who should fill a major role in a now stacked starting rotation. The Highlanders are counting on the continued positive development of key players in many roles which include Karl Barfield in the rotation, Berroa and Mark Cho to help close out games, Jeanmar Chavez in RF, Tomo Liang in Center, Houston Anderson at 1B and Javier Martinez at 2B. Waiting in the wings at AAA are can’t miss prospects Brandon Asche and Charles Weiss. IF the young players continue to develop, NY should contend this year.

Philadelphia Freedom
The youth movement in Philadelphia continues this season. Youngsters Don Antonelli, Del Kondou, Domingo Prado and Otto Beckham joined key holdovers Sherm Larson, Kory Mathews and Dante Crummack in Season 17. Look for R.J Mendez, Chris Chapman, Julio Belliard and possibly Wandy Armas to make their ML debuts this season. The everyday lineup will remain strong and relievers Skip Hatteberg and Trevor Cox have been brought in to boost the bullpen. Management is expecting a 10-15 game improvement this season with the outside possibility of the squad sneaking into the playoffs.

Richmond Rebels
At the beginning of the preseason I mentioned I wanted to make a lot of deals ('cane style) and I certainly followed through on that promise. Of the 14 trades so far, I've been involved in nearly half (6).

In those deals, I added an on-base threat (Tejada) who will partner in the corner OF spots with Myers who will be called up at the 20 game mark. I also added a 40/40 threat with the Farnsworth mega-deal, though I gave up a ton of young value in that trade. Hopefully Farnsworth can cut it at 3B (or be passable). He's below avg across the board so it might not work out but we are going to try it at the start of the season.

On the pitching side, I picked up a much needed mid-rotation SP and worked out a 2 for 2 RP challenge trade. My starting staff consists of many 65-ish stamina guys and hopefully that won't tax the bullpen too much.

Only 5 of the 25 guys on the roster are homegrown (4 drafted, one international). So I should probably work on trading those 5.

Last season was the first time in 13 seasons that this team failed to win at least 80 games, and we are hoping all the changes will trigger a rebound.

Rochester Redbirds
Rochester is tired of losing. We went out and spent big dollars on Billy Wilkerson to put in the front of the rotation along with youngster Bart Wolcott and rookie former #7 draft pick William Choi. Bill Hatteberg will continue to close out games in front of a rebuilt bullpen. Ugueth Valentin will be counted on to produce a lot of runs. Ollie Byrd needs to have a great season as well for the season to succeed.

Texas Justice
Modest goals this year in Texas. At least that what GM rozellium is trying to sell to a dissatisfied fanbase and ownership. The rebuilding process in Texas took a big hit last year when the Justice failed to land a big-time International Free Agent. The Justice have continued to shed payroll and long-term commitments and only have one player (Rick Burkhart) signed beyond this season.

What might keep fans interested in what will undoubtedly be a tough season? The Justice will have two rookies in the starting line-up, both of whom the organization hopes will be part of the solution once the team is turned around. Chan Ishikawa is a strong-armed 3B whose interesting back-story as a war refugee from Afghanistan should keep people checking in. Peter McGowan will start for the Justice in CF after having played his minor league career at short. The Justice hope he’ll be a fixture in the lead-off slot for years to come. And all eyes will continue to be on Alex Polanco who toiled in AAA for 5 seasons before breaking out with 41 home runs last season--the only bright spot last year in the dismal Justice line-up.

One interesting piece of gossip is that the owner has set a very clear goal for the Justice. They had better win at least 65 games or rozellium will be gone. There have been some reports of a countdown clock in the GM office.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Previews S16

New York Highlanders
The Highlanders look to rebound this year on the backs of some solid veterans that will be with the team for a full year, some expected improvement from some of their young stars and with the addition of a couple of key pitchers to the starting rotation. Carlos Jimenez at 3b and Ceasr Olivo (moving to CF) will be with the team for a full year and (along with vet Bryan Glynn in LF) should provide both solid offense and defense for the squad. Big years are expected of all 3. Blossoming young stars such as Houston Anderson (1B), Javier Martinez (2B) and Jeanmar Chavez (RF) provide a combination of speed and power that should make for a very potent Highlander lineup. The SS duties will be shared by Alex Posada and slick fielding rookie Matt Green. The starting rotation will be centered upon emerging stars Karl Barfield and Carson Gardner who will benefit by the FA additions of Brett Parish, Malcom Wright and Nigel Cho. The ever-steady gene Marshall will be around as usual as an excellent spot starter or long relief man. The bullpen may be a work in progress, but the Highlanders should have enough talent to make some noise in their division this year over and above the booing we heard from the stands last year.

Charleston River Dogs
The River Dogs primary goal will be win the NL East for the 3rd season in a row and hopefully earn a first round bye. We are one of the top hitting teams in world, but were only average in team pitching and fielding. We think our pitching under performed slightly. Fielding probably won't get much better as we sacrifice some fielding to get the best bats on the field.

Former first round pick Ken Small will be promoted this season to be our backup C and spot starter since Canseco doesn't have great durability. Milton Lankford will also be promoted to help anchor one of the top bullpens in the world. Former 1st round pick, Henderson Rodgers, was acquired for former International Bonus Baby Kevin Nakijima. Our SP is pretty loaded right now so even though he has ML experience, he might spend another season at AAA.

Anaheim Knights
Too bad underperforming is not a medal event. If it were, the LAA would have won gold last season. Two pitchers and three position players with a history of Major League quality performances had seasons so dismal that they had to wash their own uniforms. Was that an aberration? Were they exposed for what they really are? The bad news is that no major changes were made. On paper, the LAA should compete for a playoff spot. Though not top notch, it is no stretch that the LAA are second notch.

Philadelphia Freedom
The makeover of the Philadelphia Freedom continues this season. Most of the bad contracts have expired and the youth movement moves forward. The free agent period was spent on upgrading the pitching and left the lineup pretty well in tact. Rule 5 selections Gio Gonzales and Domingo Rosado join holdovers Esteban Perez, Dante Cummack, Lonnie Tice and the Mercado Brothers (Pasqual & Maicer) in an upgraded defense. Prospects Don Antonelli, Del Kondou & Malachi Bowker are all scheduled to make their ML debut and boost the lineup. The pitching staff continues to change as FA’s Allen Seaver & Wille Lamb join holdovers Kory Mathews & Sherm Larson and Rule 5 selection Davey Rosa in an upgraded rotation. FA additions Jesus Rondon, Victor Lunar & Justin Ross join Henderson Davenport and Ted Farrell in an attempt to bolster the bullpen. Look for Domingo Prado and Julian Estrada to join the pitching staff at some point during the season. The Freedom expect improvement this season with an outside chance of playoff contention.

Richmond Rebels
Hoping for a bounce back season from several guys this year. Admittedly we over-performed in season 14, but I did not expect to regress by 20 wins after adding a HOF SP1 in Estalella. He was a principal culprit for our down season, as his 4.24 ERA was 1.5 runs higher than his career average and was his worst season by a mile.

Some positive regression from him will help greatly, as will some expected improvement from my sp2, Luis Cortes. His rookie season could only be described as a disaster - 7-13, 5.42 ERA. HIs ratings would lead me to believe he's a much better pitcher than that.

The big move in the offseason was to move Cervelli, my long time CF masher, for a prospect. Risky move, since I've long counted on his 40+ homers and GG defense in center, but its about time for age to catch up with him so I opted to move him.

I'm probably holding on too long to avoid a rebuild, and if things start the same as they did last year I will probably give in and look to move some of the vets.

Jackson Mallards
Let's just say it's a rebuilding year & leave it at that... :-/

Louisville Steamboats
The Steamboats franchise is a franchise in transition. Moving towards a building from within philosophy, the Steamboats placed themselves in the unfortunate position of having to go 64-98 to avoid 200 losses in 2 seasons to stay off of probation. This team was pathetic last season. Couldn’t pitch, couldn’t knock in any runs, and definitely was not good in the field. We added 3 pitchers to take over the top spots in the rotation as well as fielding 7 new starting position players. In fact, only 9 players return from last season’s team. The pitching staff should be much improved, but the offensive side of things is going to be a tough situation.

Chicago Black Sox
We're looking to break the streak of 3rd place finishes in the tough AL North. With the additions of FA Andres Santos & the arrival of Rolando Cordero & Paterson Buck, we hope to do not just that, but win the darn thing this year. We should have the right mix of veterans and young stars to make some noise this year as long as the starting pitching holds up.

Arizona Firebirds
Arizona is coming off a disappointing 79 win season, but has an interesting mix of young power hitters and veteran arms. I made a number of deals to bolster the team, including one to acquire a good leadoff hitter in Dario Rath and other deals and signings to acquire additional pitching. Arizona hopes to contend for a playoff spot if my veteran pitchers don't fade on me.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

World Series Preview

#1 Seattle Redhooks (99 – 63) vs #2 New Orleans Zydeco (96 – 66)

How they got here.

Seattle – After Seattle’s first round be they went and swept a very good New Britain team. In the American League Championship series Seattle beat a good Florida team in 6 games. Now as they take on New Orleans one has to wonder if there continued poor post season hitting will come back to haunt them.

New Orleans – After a first round bye New Orleans came out and they swept Atlanta in the 2nd round. New Orleans appeared to be overmatched in the National League Championship series as they dropped the first three games. Then New Orleans pulled off the unthinkable breaking the hearts of fans throughout Ottawa as they decisively won Game 7 to move onto the World Series.

Tale of the Tape

#1 Seattle Redhooks (99 – 63)

Regular Season>

Offensively Seattle hit .266 for the season as a team which put them above the combined League average of .256. The team ERA for the season was 3.44 which was the best of both Leagues and well below the combined League ERA average of 4.14

Post Season

Offensively Seattle has been terrible in the Post Season hitting a paltry .223, 3rd worst in the entire post season. On the other end of the spectrum is the pitching as Seattle brings in the best Post Season ERA at 1.78.

#2 New Orleans Zydeco (96 – 66)

Regular Season Offensively New Orleans hit .258 for the season which put them slightly above the combined League Average of .256. The team ERA for the season was 3.67 which was below the combined League ERA average of 4.14.

Post Season

Offensively New Orleans is hitting .251 which isn’t too far removed from their regular season average. The team ERA for the Post Season is a respectable 3.60.

Edge: New Orleans. Yes, I realize that I’m going against my belief that pitching is what wins the in play offs. Seattle is living proof of that concept but their meager batting average throughout the playoffs is my biggest concern. Can their bats wake up and finally compliment their awesome post season pitching staff and if not can their pitching staff continue to pitch them to victory? I’ve got to believe that if their bats can’t wake up then New Orleans will take the series.

New Orleans on the other hand just came back from an 0-3 deficit to get here which didn’t do any favors for the fatigue that the team has been dealing with. If New Orleans can continue to hit and their pitching staff can pitch like they did the last 4 games they have a solid shot of taking the series. New Orleans has to avoid poor start to the series because should they go down 0-2 or even 0-3 and Seattle finds a way to start hitting and magic in New Orleans may come to abrupt end.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

National League Championship Series

#1 Ottawa Outlaws (99 – 63) vs #2 New Orleans Zydeco (96 – 66)

How they got here.

Ottawa – After a first round bye that collective sigh of relief you heard around the baseball world was Ottawa’s fans after being taken to 5 games by Los Angeles. Ottawa went up 2 games to nothing and all appeared to be well in hand and then Los Angeles stormed back winning the next 2 games forcing the 5th and decisive game 5 which Ottawa won 3-2 to move on to the League Championship.

New Orleans – After a first round bye they swept Atlanta in the 2nd round giving their players much needed extra rest. I thought fatigue might be an issue in that series but New Orleans won each game by at least 2 runs.

Tale of the Tape

#1 Ottawa Outlaws (99 - 63)

Offensively Ottawa hit a National League leading .273 for the season as a team. The team ERA for the season was tied for the National League lead at 3.46

#2 New Orleans Zydeco (96 – 66)

Offensively New Orleans hit .258 for the season which put them above the National League Average of .253. The team ERA for the season was 3.67 which was below the National League ERA average of 4.01.

Edge: Ottawa. This team was the best hitting team in the league and tied with LA for the league in team ERA. How can you pick against that? I can’t in good faith but I wouldn’t be surprised if New Orleans finds a way to win the series. I think this could be a series for the ages with a lot of close games and in the end one fan base will be heartbroken while the other moves on to the World Series.

American League Championship Series Preview

#1 Seattle Redhooks (99 – 63) vs #3 Florida Tropics (94 – 68)

How they got here.

Seattle – Seattle had a first round bye. In the second round they had a surprising sweep of a very good New Britain team and made it look easy in the process as none of the games were decided by less than 2 runs.

Florida – Florida breezed through the first round with a sweep of Colorado. In the second round they took care of Syracuse in 4 games rattling off 3 straight wins after dropping the first game.

Tale of the Tape

#1 Seattle Redhooks (99 – 63)

Offensively Seattle hit .266 for the season as a team which put them above the American League average of .260. The team ERA for the season was 3.44 which was the best in the American League and well below the League ERA average of 4.28

#3 Florida Tropics (94 – 68)

Offensively Florida hit .260 for the season which put them right at the American League Average. The team ERA for the season was 3.66 which was below the American League ERA average of 4.28.

Edge: Seattle – Both teams are well rounded and evenly matched. The beauty of a 7 game series is that anything can happen and that is sure to be the case in this series. During the regular season Seattle only finished 4-6 in head to head match ups against Florida. Florida has been extremely hot during the play offs but I’m still a firm believer that pitching, with timely hitting, wins in the playoffs and I think at the end of the day Seattle’s pitching puts them over the top. Would I be surprised if Florida came away the winner of the series? Not at all because if the playoffs have shown anything, it's that regular reason records are not indicative of playoff success.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

National League 2nd Round Preview

#1 Ottawa Outlaws (99 – 63) vs #4 Los Angeles Entertainers (84 – 78)

After a first round bye Ottawa takes on Los Angeles who won their series in 4 games. Los Angeles now gets the task of facing the best team in the National League.

Tale of the Tape

#1 Ottawa Outlaws (99 - 63)

Offensively Ottawa hit a National League leading .273 for the season as a team. The team ERA for the season was tied for the National League lead at 3.46

#4 Los Angeles Entertainers (84 – 78)

Offensively Los Angeles hit .254 for the season as a team which put them slightly over the National League average of .253. The team ERA for the season was tied for the National League lead at 3.46

Edge: Ottawa. This team was the best hitting team in the league and tied with LA for the league in team ERA so it’s hard to pick against them. Los Angeles has a chance in the series because they do pitch so well but they’re going to have to figure out how take a game or two from Ottawa on the road and not give up any more than a game at home.

#2 New Orleans Zydeco (96 – 66) vs #6 Atlanta Peaches (92 – 70)

New Orleans got to rest up during the first round and take on an Atlanta team that won their series in a 5 game dramatic series. New Orleans certainly needed the rest and still face some fatigue issues which could work in Atlanta’s favor

Tale of the Tape

#2 New Orleans Zydeco (96 – 66)

Offensively New Orleans hit .258 for the season which put them above the National League Average of .253. The team ERA for the season was 3.67 which was below the National League ERA average of 4.01.

#6 Atlanta Peaches (92 – 70)

Offensively Atlanta hit .256 as a team which is slightly above the National League average of .253. The team ERA was 3.64 which is under the National League average of 4.01.

Edge: Atlanta – Atlanta was a slightly better pitching team during the regular season but not enough to give them a clear cut advantage. I think Atlanta’s biggest advantage is that they aren’t facing some of the fatigue issues that face New Orleans. I think Atlanta will extend the series to the point that New Orleans fatigue issues could decide the series.

American League 2nd Round Preview

#1 Seattle Redhooks (99 – 63) vs #5 New Britain Rock Cats (95 – 67)

After a first round bye Seattle gets New Britain in the second round. New Britain had to go 5 games to get past El Paso after dropping the first 2 games so can they carry that momentum in against Seattle.

Tale of the Tape

#1 Seattle Redhooks (99 – 63)

Offensively Seattle hit .266 for the season as a team which put them above the American League average of .260. The team ERA for the season was 3.44 which was the best in the American League and well below the League ERA average of 4.28

#5 New Britain Rock Cats (95 – 67)

Offensively New Britain hit .264 for the season as a team which put them slightly over the American League average of .260. The team ERA for the season was 3.79 which was below the American League ERA average of 4.28

Edge: Seattle – While both teams hit well and pitch well, Seattle did both better during the regular season and it’s hard to pick against the team that lead the league in team ERA. One thing New Britain did prove is that even with faced with elimination they will not quit and go quietly. The biggest concern for New Britain is will there be a letdown after their dramatic series come back or can they use that momentum to propel them to the Conference Championship.

#2 Syracuse Orange (99 – 63) vs #3 Florida Tropics (94 – 68)

Syracuse had a first round bye and now take on Florida, who swept their way into the second round. Both teams won 90 plus games and neither team has a glaring weakness.

Tale of the Tape

#2 Syracuse Orange (99 – 63)

Offensively Syracuse hit .264 for the season which put them right at the American League Average. The team ERA for the season was 3.87 which was below the American League ERA average of 4.28.

#3 Florida Tropics (94 – 68)

Offensively Florida hit .260 for the season which put them right at the American League Average. The team ERA for the season was 3.66 which was below the American League ERA average of 4.28.

Edge: Syracuse Orange – It’s hard to pick against a 99 win team who does everything so well and tied for the League lead in wins. Florida has a well-rounded team so it’s not going to be a cake walk for Syracuse but I think the edge for Syracuse is how well they play at home as well as the road.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

National League 1st Round Preview

#4 Los Angeles Entertainers (84 – 78) vs #5 Cleveland Force (92 – 70)

This is an interesting matchup as neither team has much playoff experience. This is the first time since season 3 that LA has made a post season while Cleveland did make the post season just 2 seasons ago.

Tale of the Tape

#4 Los Angeles Entertainers (84 – 78)

Offensively Los Angeles hit .254 for the season as a team which put them slightly over the National League average of .253. The team ERA for the season was tied for the National League lead at 3.46

#5 Cleveland Force (92 – 70)

Offensively Cleveland hit .256 for the season as a team which put them slightly over the National League average of .253. The team ERA for the season was 3.77 which was below the National League ERA average of 4.01

Edge: Los Angeles. I'm going with the team that has better pitching even though Cleveland took the regular season series 6-4. Both teams hit about the same during the season but the pitching edge has to go to LA and I think in a short playoff where the majority of the games are going to be pitcher friendly LA, they move on to the second round.

#3 Charleston River Dogs (93 – 69) vs #6 Atlanta Peaches (92 – 70)

Both teams come into this series with playoff experience and nearly identical records. Neither team has a glaring advantage or disadvantage.

Tale of the Tape

#3 Charleston River Dogs (93 – 69)

Offensively Charleston hit .269 for the season which put them well above the National League Average of .253. The team ERA for the season was 3.99 which was a shade below the National League ERA average of 4.01.

#6 Atlanta Peaches (92 – 70)

Offensively Atlanta hit .256 as a team which is slightly above the National League average of .253. The team ERA was 3.64 which is under the National League average of 4.01.

Edge: Charleston – Both teams went 5-5 in head to head regular season play. Charleston has the advantage in that they were the second best home team in the NL. Combine that with solid pitching and their hitters and I think that’ll be enough to get them into the second round.

American League 1st Round Preview

#4 El Paso Diablos (85 – 77) vs #5 New Britain Rock Cats (95 – 67)

This is a battle of two completely different teams. New Britain is no stranger to the play offs having made them 3 out of the last 4 seasons. El Paso completed the worst to finish turn around while winning the most games in franchise history and only making the play offs for the 2nd time in team history.

Tale of the Tape

#4 El Paso (85 – 77)

Offensively El Paso hit .257 for the season as a team which put them slightly under the American League average of .260. The team ERA for the season was 3.94 which was below the American League ERA average of 4.28

#5 New Britain Rock Cats (95 – 67)

Offensively New Britain hit .264 for the season as a team which put them slightly over the American League average of .260. The team ERA for the season was 3.79 which was below the American League ERA average of 4.28

Edge: New Britain Rock Cats – while El Paso has had a good season I don't envision them getting past New Britain unless they figure out how to win a couple of home games. While home advantage would seem to be a good thing El Paso was the only playoff team in the American League to post a losing record at home during the regular season.

#3 Florida Tropics (94 – 68) vs #6 Colorado Springs Sky Sox (84 – 78)

Another battle between one team with plenty of playoff experience and another with relatively no playoff experience. Florida has made the playoffs 6 seasons running while this is Colorado’s first trip to the playoffs for just the second time in the last 6 seasons.

Tale of the Tape

#3 Florida Tropics (94 – 68)

Offensively Florida hit .260 for the season which put them right at the American League Average. The team ERA for the season was 3.66 which was below the American League ERA average of 4.28.

#6 Colorado Springs Sky Sox (84 – 78)

Offensively Colorado hit an American League high .271 for the season as a team. However the team ERA was 4.69 which is over the American League average of 4.28.

Edge: Florida Tropics – While Colorado is a great offensive team they have the worst team ERA of all the American League playoff teams. Colorado faces another issue in that they are just under .500 on the road and the only team with a losing road record. All in all for Colorado to continue their season they need their pitching to come together and learn to win on the road.