Monday, December 29, 2008


I was looking around the league checking out stats and what-not when I ran into a couple surprising statistics. So maybe a couple little helpful tidbits is warranted, especially after the draft review I gave. The first of which is player positions.

To change a players position or add positions to a player, it is done through the GM's Office - Edit Rosters screen. If you want to check out what position a player is best suited for, click on his position. It will give you a screen that shows his current/projected ratings and a list of the ML standards by position. At the bottom it will give you a drop down where you can select his primary position and check boxes for any secondary positions you would like him to be able to play. You can even click on Show Recs and the system will do it for you. The Show Recs is not always a good idea as it will select positions that are sometimes very marginal at best.

*Note: DO NOT assign an infield position to a player that throws left handed except 1B.

I was checking out defense at certain positions, primarily 3B, but also applies to 2B and CF. I was surprised to see that most 3B can't really play the position. Thus I saw a lot of errors and minus plays. For instance the defensive stats of an adequate 3B is:

Range: 65
Glove: 70
Arm St: 75
Arm ACC: 70

I am not saying the these exact stats will produce no errors or minus plays. But 1 point below in any category and they will happen more often. Where as points above will cause increased defense. My ideal 3B is:

Range: 70+
Glove: 75+
Arm St: 75
Arm ACC: 75

In simple terms, it is a player too strong for COF and too weak for another position. Most generally I use a near SS, like Hideki Huang. He was originally picked up as a SS, but after careful consideration, he is too weak for the position and I needed his skills at the ML level. His skills dictated that I could play him at 3B while he developed into his primary 2B position at the ML level. He also allows me to use him as a floater, resting other players while maintaining defensive continuity.

What else does the right defensive position players help? The pitchers of course, fewer errors, less pitches and more innings and better stats which can equate to wins. More games are lost due to errors than most acknowledge. However, there must be a good mix between defense and offense that it could lead to a trade off. I know, in another world I had the best defense that led to the 6th best pitching staff, but my offense was horrible. Though, I think it was more of an under-performing offense more than anything.

A players hitting and pitching are about as elusive as catching a greased pig. It isn't as easy as defensive stats. To me it sometimes just depends on how the sim is feeling that day. I wonder if there is an attitude readjustment button they push to make things seem unreal every once in a while.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Season 10 Draft, The Last 8

25. Lariel Andrus, C, Cincinnati Reds: Not much in the way of good catching abilities, would make a good DH. But his hitting prowess is what the Reds like.

Defense: D
Physical: B
Hitting: A
Organization: B+ - Loading up once again with 3 good players in the first round and a good defensive SS in the second makes the Reds have probably the best draft so far.

26. Al Turnbow, RF, New York Yankees: RF is a good place. Hits very well and has lead-off speed.

Defense: B
Physical: B
Hitting: B+
Organization: C+ - Grabbing 3 good hitters was a plus but the pitchers to help the pen was a bit of a bust.

27. Daryl Duncan 1B, Chicago Cubs: He was listed as a DH on my board but I saw through that and would have been my choice with the 17th pick. Nothing like a power hitting 1B even though his health is a little questionable.

Defense: B+
Physical: B
Hitting: A+
Organization: D - After the first pick things went down hill for the Cubs trying to fill with HS players that just doesn't make the grade.

28. Doug Malloy, RP, Kansas City Royals: Not many RP had been taken and KC cashed in on that detail.

Defense: A
Physical: B
Pitching: B+
Organization: C- - After picking so late, by the time the next pick came around there just wasn't much left, but KC took the best available and they were not too shabby, but as ML players could be a slim chance for too many.

29. Chris House, SP, Louisville Swingers: It is late in the 1st round and SP is just not the greatest thing available. House may make a House call, but it will probably be in relief as the pitches just aren't there to be real effective as a SP. He may make a good QB if he remains unsigned.

Defense: B
Physical: A
Pitching: C+
Organization: C- - Selecting 7 pitchers hoping to come up with something viable.

30. Cecil Curtis, RF, Monterrey Corn Dogs: Unknown and unsigned.

Organization: D - You know you have had a bad draft when the best player could be the DH/1B drafted in the 4th round.

31. Willie Ellis, SP, Las Vegas Slobs: Like the last few SP taken, good, just not quality.

Defense: B
Physical: C
Pitching: C+
Organization: C- - Knowing quality pitching wouldn't be available, Vegas went after RP and a quality PC catcher. If the catcher signs, will raise the overall.

32. Mel Woods, LF, Cincinnati Reds: With the second pick of the 1st round the reds score again with another power hitting fielder, though may be better at 1B than LF.

Defense: C
Physical: B
Hitting: B+

Note: For those of you who are new, I rate the players by their ability. Their scores may lower due to certain factors or raise also.

Defense: scored to the drafted position ability and the ML standards, if the owner has not changed it. If it has been changed, then it is rated to the first assigned position.

Physical: Abilities are assessed and a player may be dinged on weak durability, health, and makeup. Any of those below 65 will drop the grade and patience also if it is well below 50.

Hitting: A power hitter is basically looked at by having a good eye, power and contact, good splits are a plus. A for average hitter, looks at everything but power, power closer to 50 is a plus.

Pitching: It depends on several factors, but the better all of the factors, the higher I rate them. I do not look at FB/GB or velocity. It is mostly based on durability, stamina, control, splits and pitches.

Season 10 Draft, The Third 8

17. Pedro Roque, SP, Cleveland Indians: The Indians, oohh that's me, scores again in the middle rounds with a good SP.

Defense: B
Physical: B
Pitching: B+
Organization: D - Actually it was a good draft for the Indians if you look at the players. But we failed miserably because I wanted position players. There were 6 players available that I would have been more than happy with one that went in the next 15 picks.

18. Clarence Valentin, SS, Detroit Detroit: A very good pick that may be better shagging balls in CF. Decent hitter but may be a while before he makes a ML roster.

Defense: A
Physical: B
Hitting: B
Organization: B - Overall the organization did well picking some good position players.

19. Del Estrada, RP, Milwaukee Brewers: The Suds Buds may be happy that the best reliever on their board was available. Not overwhelming in his pitching style, but should be an every day pitcher in the pen.

Defense: A
Physical: A+
Pitching: A-
Organization: ? Went after pitching, but came up empty? I can't see most so I am not sure.

20. Lonny Sanchez, SP, Austin Fightin' Armadillos: A good quality SP for this late in the draft already.

Defense: C
Physical: A+
Pitching: B+
Organization: B Great quality overall especially if the 2nd pick signs.

21. Jay Richard, SS, Toronto Blue Jays: A little weak to be a SS and his health could be an issue, would make a great 3B or a weak 2B.

Defense: B
Physical: B+
Hitting: B+
Organization: B Getting 5 good players with 6 picks was an outstanding job.

22. Footsie Corsi, SP, Salem Mayhem: The "Red Herring" of the draft, sorry weo49. To add insult to injury, to the DL he went in his first start. I have come to the conclusion that you shouldn't draft a player with a funny first name in the 1st round.

Defense: B-
Physical: A-
Pitching: C-
Organization: C+ - Maybe one of the other picks will pull you out of the duldrums. If you were nice this year, maybe the number 2 pick will sign.

23. Vernon Leach, SS, Atlanta Pork-N-Beans: A stretch for him to play SS as I had him playing 2B or 3B. Good hitting ability with lead-off speed.

Defense: B
Physical: A-
Hitting: B+
Organization: C+ - Going after pitching picking late in 1st round is hard but had a modicrum of success. Bubba should fit in nicely.

24. Edwin Cooper, 1B, Jacksonville Beach Boys: Unknown

Organization: C - With 6 1st round picks, I would have expected more myself, though the position players were pretty good picks, the pitching wasn't.

Season 10 Draft, The Second 8

9. George Obermueller, SP, Tampa Bay Rays: I wasn't exactly smitten with this guy on my draft board. Does have some great qualities and can play 1B in his spare time. Could be a good starter but I would think he would be much better at long relief duty.

Defense: A
Physical: B
Pitching: B
Organization: C- - Looking for pitching, CF and a defensive PC catcher but came up somewhat empty handed. Having a high payroll hurts the most.

10. Curtis Farrell, 2B, Trenton Ball Hogs: A defensive 2B/CF with power hitting, makes him worthy of a first round pick. Probably the best position player in the draft, now if he would just sign on the dotted line.

Defense: A+
Physical: A+
Hitting: A
Organization: C- - Looking for key position help and pitching other than Farrell came up empty.

11. Maverick Duran, P, Dover Dung Beetles: Unknown

Organization: C+ - Interesting picks to say the least. As a whole, the draft needs was filled with players that could be potentially great. However, how close to their potential remains to be seen.

12. Steve Ruffin, 2B, St. Louis Barracudas: May not be an All-Star 2B or a GG winner, but adequate as his arm is in question along with his range. Hitting abilities are not in question.

Defense: B-
Physical: A-
Hitting: A-
Organization: C- - Was looking heavily to find a 2B and CF for the future and came up empty handed for a CF.

13. Vicente Estrada, San Diego Dirt Bags: Totally unknown, talk about my scouting not doing their job. It says he was drafted as a RF, I can't even confirm that.

Organization: C- - My guess would be San Diego went for the best hitter available then addressed pitching needs. The pitching may be a bit of a let down except they may do well in San Diego.

14. Lynn Newson, SP, Salt Lake City Multiple Spouses: Not real impressed with his SP abilities but could become a good reliever.

Defense: A
Physical: A
Pitching: C
Organization: B - Needing pitching desperately, actually did a good job snaring adequate future pitching. I assume playing it very conservatively all the way around as the good players came with much added baggage somewhere along the line.

15. Howie Drabek, CF, Pittsburgh Pirates: Too bad this guy is left-handed as he would make a great 2B also. Probably the only power hitting CF in the draft and was only available because he wasn't on the Barracudas board or it was a tough choice?

Defense: A-
Physical: A-
Hitting: A
Organization: B+ Having only 4 picks, did a grest job getting a good position player and bull pen help with the 3rd and 4th picks.

16. Terry Bones, SP, Scottsdale Pepperjackets: The need for a safe signable SP was a tough find and this pitcher fit that category. Although not of great quality could be adequate.

Defense: C
Physical: A
Pitching: C
Organization: C- - Looking for quality pitching was tough and Scottsdale epitomizes that problem.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Season 10 Draft, The First 8

1. Ivan Johnson, P, Santa Fe Heat : To be selected Number 1 is an honor. This kid has the tools and is very versatile. How to use him depends on whose point of view you look at. A two pitch starter? A long reliever? A two inning closer? Now to get him signed.

Defense: D
Physical: A+
Pitching: A+
Organization: C - Went very young with the first 5 picks and most I would consider possible ML prospects but mostly in the interesting possible category.

2. Torey Caminiti, SP, Philadelphia Athletics : Possesses some great pitching skills and will be a fine addition to the pitching staff in the future. Now to get him signed.

Defense: B
Physical: B
Pitching: A+
Organization: D - Having 6 picks and not getting good value hurts. IMO the 5th round pick is the best of the bunch.

3. Brendan Hartman, SS, Arizona Splashlogs : Unknown


4. Pepe Crespo, RF, New York Mets : His health could be a cause for concern due to his weak legs. Will probably end up a 1B because he just doesn't have the side to side movement. Has the skills for a contact lead-off hitter.

Defense: D
Physical: C
Hitting: B+
Organization: C- - With 6 picks and looking to bolster the offense and defense but came up pretty empty. The 2nd round pick looks real nice though.

5. Phil Houston, 2B, Vancouver Canadians: The way I see him currently is that he won't play 2B with a pretty poor glove and about the only thing left is COF/1B. Has the skills to be a good lead-off hitter however. Now to get him signed.

Defense: D
Physical: A+
Hitting: B+
Organization: B - The idea was to get the best available position player then address the bull pen which was accomplished for the most part. Hope the 4th round pick can play hockey, he sure can't pitch.

6. Murray Ramsey, 1B, Washington D.C. Senators: Power hitting and defensive 1B. A very good combo if his health doesn't do him in.

Defense: A
Physical: B
Hitting: A+
Organization: C- - Looking for a power 1B and address the pitching was the idea, the 1B part was covered but the pitching just wasn't found.

7. Alex Manzanillo SS, Oklahoma City Kevin Durants: One of the hardest things to lay one hands on is a power defensive SS and here is one. Hopefully his career won't be cut short due to injury.

Defense: A
Physical: B+
Hitting: A
Organization: C+ - Hoping to find two quality key position players then hope for some pitching in the later rounds. For the most part was successful.

8. Bart Ross, C, Huntington Good Will: There are usually two kinds of catchers in the draft, power hitters with no defensive skills or weak hitting wonders with a defensive attitude. Although not a premier PC defensive catcher is highly adequate behind the plate. Overall the best catcher I have ever seen in the draft here.

Defense: B
Physical: B
Hitting: A++
Organization: B - A value seeker taking chances that paid big dividends. Sneaking in to take an excellent overpriced SP in the 2nd round and a possible quality starter in the 3rd helps even if the 4th and 5th round picks don't sign, the rest make up for it very well.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Draft Thoughts

This years draft pool was something else entirely. When I first looked at it I was happy to say the least. The past drafts I had been focused on the deep need for pitching, this one I wasn't in that deep need. The first thing on my shopping list was an All-Star power hitting defensive PC catcher. That in itself is the toughest thing to get other than a true number one starting pitcher. Well, the one available was a power hitter, but my scouts actually showed me he was only a DH in disguise. The best DH could actually play 1B, not well but adequate. Now what does one do. The next thing to look at was a SS of course, well, their there are some hitters, but not even close enough to play the position, CF the same way. Next was 2B, yup, the best player on my board and can play CF to boot. Odds of falling to 17th is slim and none. Then there was of course some 1B and COF of questionable defensive abilities available that are power hitters. So this is my top players that were 80 and above and my thoughts on them.

1. Ivan Johnson - Wow, surely the scouts are fibbing, a player like this doesn't exist. I kicked him because of that, if they were telling the truth he would go in the first 5 picks anyway. I was right, number 1.
2. Torey Caminiti - A number two starting pitcher at best but still real good. A top 5 pick anyway. Went number 2.
3. Alex Manzanillo - A power hitting SS. Defensively not a SS, but a real strong 2B or 3B and good hitting skill. Another top 5 pick. Went number 7, maybe not on a lot of upper boards.
4. Curtis Farrell - Best position player on my board in my opinion, so what if he is a little weak against lefties, he is a GG 2B or CF. Went number 10.
5. Steve Ruffin - Decent hitting, can't play 2B well enough, so it would be 1B/LF. To me is is overrated so down the list he goes. Went 12th.
6. George Obermueller - A pitcher, are we sure? Come on scouting. Doesn't really have the pitches for a SP, could this be the "red herring" player? Kicked him out. Drafted 9th.
7. Clarence Valentin - Can hit some and play 2B but not SS as listed. Drafted 18th.
8. Murray Ramsey - What a power hitter! And can play 1B! Too bad he has the health of a grasshopper in winter and got kicked out. Drafted 6.
9. Willie Thompson - Listed as a LF but can only play 1B. A little light on contact maybe for an outstanding power hitter. Drafted 49th. Not sure why he fell so low myself.
10. Phil Houston - Listed as a 2B, not in my books, RF at best. Good non power hitter. Drafted 5th.
11. Daryl Duncan - Hmmmm, Listed as a DH but may be a weak 1B, but what a hitter. Drafted 27th.
12. Jay Richard - Listed as a SS, maybe as a backup, better qualified as weak 3B and even better 2B. Not the greatest hitting ability. Drafted 21st.

Well, I didn't end of with any of those players and probably should have. Why not? Because I started with the best 3 pitchers on my board. Low and behold I got one of them. Funny this draft, I only had five pitchers in my top 25 and got two of them with the first 2 picks. The second one an accident, I forgot to drop him down lower. But then it wouldn't have mattered, would have picked him regardless of how far he got moved down with my 2nd pick.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Fire's Power Rankings #1

Just when you thought it was safe to read the blog, here comes something that will leave you scratching your head. These power rankings have nothing to do with the standings but overall team play. Factors that can effect these rankings is the schedule, ball parks, injuries and team speed. Should a team use this to rush out and fix an area? The answer only depends, because fixing one area could break another. The number in the parents is the teams overall score.

1. Tampa Bay Rays (34) - Defense could be hurting the teams chances.
2. Huntington Good Will (38) - Outhitting teams on the road.
3. St. Louis Barracudas (43) - Pitching, not much else happening.
4. Las Vegas Slobs(44) - Pitching and defense goes a long way sometimes.
5. Monterrey Corn Dogs (46) - Pitchers try to fake injuries at home.
6. Kansas City Royals (52) - Pitchers play "Please Mr Custer" at home.
7. New York Yankees (53) - Plays well for the most part but could be better.
8. Detroit Detroit (58) - Gets out hit at home.
9. Austin Fightin' Armadillos (59) - Nothing goes right at home.
10. Salt Lake City Multiple Spouses (63) - Duck and cover at home.
11. Toronto Blue Jays (64) - The team bus left for the airport, the pitchers stayed home.
12. Dover Dung Beetles (70) - Hitting is even, defense is good, not sure what to make of the pitching.
13. San Diego Dirt Bags (76) - Hitting? I can understand at home, but worse on the road.
14. Philadelphia Athletics (77) - Defense or lack of it.
15. Arizona Splashlogs (85) - Goes on vacation and doesn't tell anybody?
16. Washington D.C. Senators (90) - Once we find some pitching we will win.

1. Chicago Cubs (35) - Hitting isn't really that good, but the pitching and defense is.
2. Cincinnati Reds (43) - Defense? and away hitting...
3. Louisville Swingers (45) - Defense and hitting, pitching is 2nd rate and maybe worse.
4. Vancouver Canadians (46) - Something goes astray on the road.
5. Jacksonville Beach Boys (50) - Play better than record indicates.
6. Atlanta Pork-N-Beans (51) - Defense and home field hurts.
7. Houston Astros (52) - Team isn't broke, it's the Juice Box.
8. Pittsburgh Pirates (53) - If we could just hit.
9. Cleveland Indians (56) - Hitting just isn't coming around.
10. New York Mets (62) - Hitting, what is that?
11. Milwaukee Brewers (64) - Everyone else hits at home, why can't we?
12. Trenton Ball Hogs (68) - Start out like a house on fire, then realization sets in that we can't play defense or hit on the road.
13. Salem Mayhem (75) - Forgot to buy gloves, but the corked bats are working. Now if I could just find some pitching above little league.
16. Santa Fe Heat (81) - It is the stadium I tell ya.
15. Scottsdale Pepperjackets (83) - The mist for dry air, that didn't help either.
16. Oklahoma City Kevin Durants (88) - We are learning and getting better and you can take that to the bank.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Combating Minor League Pitching Fatigue Update

I was asked a question as what to do if you can't check your teams three times a day. I put a lot of thought into what I would do to for that situation. First I think I would change the lineup to only 10 players, the bench person would need to be a decent player that could cover about every position in case of injury. Position players then would be held in inactive status and changed out every few games. This would take longer because you would need to change the depth charts every time one makes an adjustment. A six man rotation would be the best course of action because you could increase the TPC and MPC by 10 to 15 pitches so they could go longer. The pitchers would all need to have a stamina of at least 68 so the TPC could be set to 90 and MPC of 105 (recovery rate should be in the mid 20's also). The pen would be about the same but their TPC and MPC should be lowered even further along with their fatigue pull level. I would go with more pitchers and set the TPC and MPC so they only cover 1 inning. This will allow more actual Setup A pitchers in the loop, but would still need about 3 or 4 long reliever types. The call pen should still be a 1 or a 2 in any case.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Combating Minor League Pitching Fatigue

There is probably more than one way to do it. But this is how I do it. For one, I could care less if a minor league team actually wins or losses. It is more how they play the game. I do prefer them to win by the way. I either run 12 or 13 pitchers active depending except rookie where I run 17. I normally have 2 to 3 pitchers or more inactive at each level. Unlike some, if a pitcher fatigue level isn't at 100%, I rest him. If his recovery doesn't restore him to 100% the next day then I deactivate him and activate another that is rested. It doesn't matter if a pitcher stays active the entire season as some would say they must. I haven't seen any progression difference whether they are active or inactive. The entire key is getting them innings pitched. So I shuttle the pen in and out after every game where needed, yeah it may take a couple minutes but it is worth it.

The biggest thing is the starting pitchers. Put their TPC at no more than plus 10 of their stamina, then add 15 for their MPC. The catch at doing this is to set the bull pen call to 1 or 2. I usually use 2. If you have health risk pitchers, do not use 1 on the call pen, use 2 or 3 for them (I use 3). This ensures that the rotation is not overly burdened and I don't have to change it unless I want to use a different pitcher or one gets injured. They also usually pitch around 6 innings per outing or more. If the rotation is not getting overly fatigued then increase the TPC by 5 after awhile and see if fatigue holds acceptable levels on the rotation.

The pen is also tough. You don't want no more than three actual relief pitchers and one should be the closer. Sometimes I don't even run a closer, but if you have one that is to be a closer, it is always real nice to put him there and set it so he only pitches the 9th inning. You can run with two setup types and the rest should be starting pitchers that you really could care less about as starters or middle relievers. The setup guys run their TPC and MPC to equal their stamina without going over. The other starting pitchers..errr..long relievers, set their TPC and MPC to half their stamina plus 5. I don't really make any distinction as to Long Relievers and Setup A in the minors, I call them all Setup A. That way I don't have to look as to what they are. The simmy will bring in the right one when needed it seems. I may run a Mop Up pitcher if I am really mad at one of them for not being able to pitch well. The actual Setup guys I shuttle back and forth from active to inactive when needed.

One thing about a closer is that I rarely take him out of the closers role and rest him unless his fatigue level goes below 50 or recovery is more than 2 days, he is the only exception as they are seldom called on two days in a row.

I rarely have minor league fatigue problems using this formula, but it does take about 5 minutes to make sure things are all set and nobody is fatigued. My fatigue problems usually occur when one gets injured in an early inning and then I have to fight to right the ship for a day or two.

Analyze Analyze Analyze

So your having trouble and your not sure what the problem is. The answer could be a couple clicks away without realizing it. Remember in the previous post I talked about having a notebook with an encyclopedia of information? Well that notebook is available by the way, one just has to analyze what it is telling you. Analyzing the information is the tough part. At the beginning of the season it is useless until about the 25th game, that gives time for players to settle down to most of their norms. Well, it is game 30 and it is time to start using the info and the part of your brain that seldom gets used.

I just came off a very tough 6 game schedule. At Santa Fe and a home series against the Cubs. It is always tough to play against the Heat in their home park, especially when your team is not hitting well. I was surprised that my pitching staff held out in the first two games. The 3rd game I had the wrong starting pitcher, my fault, well, not really, I was out of options, because I had to prepare for the Cubs. The Cubs actually got ambushed at the Jake. It should have been a sweep and a hit by Jackson or Dong would have provided that. But, alas, the game went to extra innings and with no bench the inevitable occurred in the 10th, thankfully.

Now I have 3 games at Scottsdale and 3 games at Pittsburgh. What is the first thing to look at? The ballpark itself of course. Davis park is for hitters, got that covered I hope. Is the defense set for the park? Not really, but it is time to rest a player here and there so I am kind of giving up a little defense at 2B. How about pitching? Well it is set accordingly, whether that turns into wins is another story.

So what do I use to fine tune the pitching staff? Statistics and brain power, ok, so the last part may be a little But the info is there if you just take the time to look for it. Those stat pages are there for a reason, it is time to look those over the day before playing to align your team and just don't look at totals, you need to look at home and away. What batters do I need to be aware of? Angel Maduro, Lou Forest and Quilvio Martin for the most part. And what about your own? Do you need to adjust the lineup to take advantage?

For the opener in pitching he is throwing Yankee Redneck Bobby Ray Fox at me. He is a decent GB pitcher but his stats at home are undesirable and my offense should eat him alive. Notice, I said should, doesn't mean it will happen. I am pitching Hub Strange, also of dubious quality, especially over rated. But why? As his name implies, he is a strange one. He doesn't pitch all that great at home where things are rather neutral, but tends to do well in hitters parks. I tend to think it may have something to do with control, but it is only a guess. This is where a PC catcher comes in handy. What will happen is only a guess.

But who will he pitch the next game? You can get that by looking at the depth charts most generally. Accordingly it will be the young Tomas Valdez, whom I will have more trouble with than Fox in my opinion then Vic Lee. Now it is back to the stats again to determine if I can change the rotation to try and match up better.

More to the point also, time to analyze the minors also. Are you looking for a certain type of hitter? Maybe you need a defensive player? Maybe a pitcher. Time to use those stats and see if one can help your ML team. I have a short bench, actually I have an open slot. Hasn't really caused much of a problem as of yet, well that loss to the Cubs was a direct result. But I am waiting on two players in the minors. I am just not sure which one or if any will actually help. I really don't want to bring Max back to the majors, but may have to in the end. I am kind of waiting for inter-divisional play to make my choice. Or maybe a trade, maybe Max and one of those two young guns for a defensive SS...hmmm

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Catcher/Pitcher Thoughts

Ever wonder how you could simulate pitching in this game? I have wondered this myself as to what formula they use, it is a big secret by the way. I have read the forums and at first I didn't believe the actual pitches were window dressing. But then after thinking about the biometric programming behind throwing one pitch would be ludacris, so it is in all reality window dressing. So I figured I would take a stab at how it would be done and came up with two possibilities.

I thought how it is done in the real world. Ever notice watching TV that every now and then you see a pitcher looking at a binder of notes? What would this book contain? I would think it holds almost an encyclopedia of knowledge. For one, there is probably one for every team home and away that contains more biometric information you can imagine on each batter and their tendencies and personal notes. I am wondering when gloves will have the back band that is actually a computer to tell players this information so they can adjust accordingly. Ballplayers may actually have to have a real IQ one of these days. A lot of times the pitch to be thrown is signaled into the catcher from the bench and this might be more of how it will done in the future. Usefulness of a PDA, egads, baseball and the information age combined. I wonder if advanced scouting may play a role.....

Anyway, after much thinking and drawing my own conclusions to how this is done, doesn't make sense all the time. There are too many factors involved to completely catch them all and this is only a guess. As I said, I came up with two possibilities.

First some things that everyone can find out using the extended function. Just about every plate appearance a batter gets about 3 to 4 pitches on average, but that is a little deceiving in all reality. Pitchers throw the same number of pitches also. I was even amazed that the great Pulido threw an average of 3.71 pitches per batter. Of course that can be a little deceiving also. Using Yamil as an example though tells me that a pitcher throws more pitches later in a game due to tiredness. So it would seem this is tracked also and abilities do deteriorate over the course of a game. It is also possible that this actually lends a hand in the effectiveness come playoff time, something they call dead-arm syndrome these days. And then there is an assumption to be made of course, a pitcher throws a maximum of 5 pitches to any batter per plate appearance. There is one other thing I can't account for accurately is the different type of pitchers in velocity.

Possibility 1: The first is the aggregate way, which I understand was the original concept in the beginning. However, was just the pitches added up or was all the stats combined to one score for a pitcher? My feeling is that it would have been just the non-zero pitches. Then add in the catchers PC ability to come up with a total aggregate score. Notice, I said non-zero, so if a pitcher has non-zero pitches, what would the zeros contain. I would assume, they would repeat the other pitches until all five pitches are populated. They could also be populated with the pitchers best pitches also regardless of where they fall. Then pitches would be thrown until the batter made contact, walked or struck out. Other factors, control, splits, GB/FB, velocity and ball park, wouldn't come into play until the batter determination is made.

Possibility 2: I kind of think this is how it is done currently. Once again, since I assume that a pitcher only throws 5 pitches in the resolution of an AB. The non-zero pitches are populated with either repeating the pitches until they are filled in some manner. Each pitch is then given a modifier based on the PC of the catcher. If 50 PC is ML level then that would be a 0 modifier, the modifier wouldn't really amount to much until it reached 75 (under 50 would be negative but wouldn't really hurt until under 40). But then again, the PC of a catcher may not be involved until after the AB is resolved. Since the PC of a catcher helps a pitcher in both ERA and OAV (OAV is a little more important to me), I think it comes more into play of what happens when contact is made.

The part of a PC catcher is two fold in my books. First, it will not help to have a PC catcher unless his PC is 75 and above. I prefer 80 and above myself. Second, the PC catcher is actually next to useless if his defensive capabilities are not above ML standards. The reason you ask, 99% of good PC catchers come with a big negative, they can't hit. One thing about any ML player is, he must be able to do two out of three things well at any position. A defensive PC catcher will stop base thefts, throw runners out and cover the bunt as well as help the pitchers stats. But if your infield defense is lacking, a defensive PC catcher isn't going to help a pitcher all that much. As alluded to in possibility 2, there will be more ground balls by a GB pitcher, the defense will need to field those and turn the double play. Yes indeed, there are more DP's with a PC catcher if the defense is there. The same applies to a FB pitcher also, actually they can get a few more ground balls thrown in. I am not sure that a PC catcher helps a strike out pitcher as it comes up inconclusive.

Passed balls by the way appears to based on glove more than anything. I thought maybe it could be an extremely weak pitch and/or control that might cause one. But after doing some heavy research, it is the glove rating that causes most of them and could happen at any time to any catcher. Of course they are only reported in the box score at the worst possible times. Ask sjr, he lost 2 games to Louisville that could be a direct result of a weak gloved catcher.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Impact of Pitch Call Rating

To determine if a catchers pitch call rating impacts a teams era.

To be included in the list a team needed to have 2 catchers who caught for at least 300 innings. The catchers had to have a difference in their pitch call rating of 10 or greater. If a team used more than 3 catchers during the season the catchers with the best and worst pitch call rating were used to determine the effect on the teams era. Essentially the middle catcher was ignored. The stats are based on season 9. No teams were left out intentionally I just got tired of doing it.

The first number after the catchers name is the pitch call rating, the second is the number of innings they caught, and the third is the team era.

There appears to be some correlation between a catchers pitch call rating and the teams era. Generally a teams era improved when using a catcher with a higher pitch call rating. Obviously there are numerous variables that were not taken into account.

Of the 15 teams 6 teams experienced significant improvement (.50 improvement or greater) in the teams era when using a catcher with a better pitch call rating.
Of the 15 teams 5 teams experienced marginal improvement in the teams era (.01 to .49) in the teams era when using a catcher with a better pitch call rating.
Of the 15 teams 4 teams experienced marginal worsening in the teams era (.01 to .49) in the teams era when using a catcher with a better pitch call rating.
No teams experienced a significantly worse team era when using a catcher with a better pitch call rating.

Rock Long - 35 - 738 - 5.09
Lawrence Plant - 79 - 692 - 4.92

Wascar Sanchez - 40 - 875 - 5.19
Hector Campbell - 81 - 550 - 4.80

Rigo Mateo - 43 - 373 - 7.44
Boots Cannon - 65 - 897 - 5.85

Tommy Mailman - 79 - 897 - 4.40
Neifi Padilla - 89 - 551 - 3.28

Corn Dogs:
John Broome - 43 - 362 - 4.61
Vin Wilkins - 48 - 317 - 3.80
Ariel Serra - 56 - 775 - 4.70

Bey Lynch - 35 - 637 - 4.39
Hideo Yang - 52 - 353 - 5.89
Quilvio Martin - 91 - 451 - 4.68

John Swann - 55 - 434 - 4.53
Jim Lee - 77 - 374 - 5.36
Wesley Garcia - 96 - 595 - 4.86

Multiple Spouses:
Don Lee - 66 - 990 - 5.40
Stone Denham - 81 - 447 - 5.07

Mayhem :
Rickey Andrews - 32 - 788 - 5.20
Reggie Kreuter - 54 - 652 - 4.38

Ball Hogs:
Kelly Rivers - 43 - 349 - 4.58
R.J. Izquierdo - 69 - 580 - 4.85
Ryan Holtz - 73 - 442 - 3.82

Vicente Unamuno - 59 - 992 - 4.13
Achilles Shannon - 71 - 461 - 3.95

Pork N Beans:
Max Lima - 50 - 1025 - 4.72
Vince Fyhrie - 61 - 418 - 4.38

Joey Wilson - 33 - 476 - 7.13
Vic Grudzielanek - 79 - 944 - 6.29

Braden Myers - 44 - 469 - 5.86
Braden Myers - 58 - 989 - 5.07

Hector Ramirez - 67 - 954 - 4.31
Louis Hume - 86 - 487 - 4.78

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Power Rankings

1. Cincinnati Reds - Last seasons WS champs got better this off season with the acquisition of two veterans from the Deuce Droppers (Fightin Armadillos). They could be in a good battle for the North title though. All 4 teams in that division have the potential to win 90+ games.

2. Las Vegas Slobs - Quite possibly the best team in the AL. The Slobs have 8 division titles, and 1 WS championship in 8 seasons, but is this the season the Royals displace the Slobs atop the AL West. The AL West should be one of the best races to watch this season.

3. Kansas City Royals - Since the acquisition of veterans Ramon Dong, Chad Sanders, and Louis Bunch from the Deuce Droppers (Fightin Armadillos) this offseason the Royals should be better this season than last. Last season they won 101 games.

4. Houston Astros - The Astros are running out of excuses. They quite possibly have the most talent of any team in the league. They have more depth at pitching than any team in the league. Their offense is as good as anyone's in the NL. They did a good job of improving their bullpen with the addition of Danny Hennessey.

5. Louisville Swingers - You have to wonder how the loss of Cam Anderson is going to impact them. They still have one of the best SP in the NL in Paulie Sanders. They also have the leagues highest rated player in Albert Johnson.

6. Chicago Cubs - I think I was wrong about the Cubs predicting them to come in 3rd in their division. They have the talent to win a 3rd WS championship.

7. Monterrey Corn Dogs - Quiet this off season, but then again the CDs already have one of the leagues top teams.

8. Atlanta Pork N Beans - They should have the pitching and offense to win 100 games this season, but their defense is poor and they struggle against RH pitchers.

9. Toronto Blue Jays - Great run through the playoffs last season that saw them fall one game short of a WS title.

10. Salem Mayhem - Is Weo the best owner in the league? Season after season the Mayhem win 90+ games and make the playoffs with a lot less talent than many teams. 91 wins each of the last two seasons.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Multiple Spouses Season Preview

The Multiple Spouses are once again pretty strong on offense with a good mix of average, speed and power, but pitching will make or break their season. If the staff can manage to cut the team ERA by .50 or more we should contend for the playoffs.

Starter - Don Lee - dependable, decent pitch calling. Will hit for average with some pop
New Spouse Danny Kinney should get about 150 ABs as lee's backup
John Prinz - shown improvement every season in the majors. The Spouse are looking for a .300+ average with 18 - 20 HRs
Yamid Maranon - Maranon quietly keeps putiing up a close to .300 average with a little pop. He'll steal 20 or so bases a year in addition to his excellent deefense
Fred Wilson - Wilson came off the bench when last year's starter got hurt and won himself a job with 48 HRs and a .284 BA
Hayes Casarone - last year's starter can hit and play a steller 3B, but has had injury problems the last two seasons. (83 games total)
Juan Bararas - acquired last season in a trade with Cinncinnati, Bararas has the starter's job because of his defense...any offense is an added bonus. The same applies to his backup, Alex Linton
Marshall Hunter - Hunter ended season 8 in High A. Last season he started off in AAA, where he hit .424 in 132 ABs. He was then called up to the show. All he did there was contend for ROY and steal 94 bases. He looks to improve this season in every facet of his game. Look for over 100 stolen bases.
Jeff Brooks = while hitting 45 HRs and driving in 118 while winning your second straight gold glove, can't really be considered a bad year, it was very dissapointing for Brooks after his MVP season. Brooks is determined to bounce back to match or better his MVP numbers.
Zephyr Roosevelt
As long as Zephyr can ht .300 + with 20+ HRs he'll be in RF for the Multiple Spouses.

Starting Pitching
AJ Davis, RJ Molina, Samuel Martin, Vic Rogers and Clay Griffith are all dependable pitchers who will kepp the team in most games. Unfortunately there is no one you would consider a stopper in the bunch

Brian Baker, Rob Cambridge, Pascual Concepcion, Justin Sadler, Victor Blanco, Gary West, Rigo Pineiro and Earl Miller.
They're dependable, but no one will wow you. The MS are hoping that Miller's excellent sring might finaly mean he's reaching his potential

Projected finish 87 - 75

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Internationals Pursued

The Dover Dung Beetles strike quickly in the International market by signing Jumbo Medrano and Alex Ong. According to my scouts, these signings may be minor league rosters fillers. Both have the capability to make a ML roster one day, though unlikely.

The Cleveland Indians signed Vic Santiago. The Indians found a probable future prospect for the ML backup catchers role as Vic was immediately put into the #2 slot and coupled with #1 prospect, Milton Priddy.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Season 10: Houston Astros

After losing the tie breaker for the last Wild Card spot last season the Astros are coming off of their most disappointing season. Management has raised the club's payroll to 98 million from 78 million a year ago showing that they are ready to make a run. The club has completely remodeled their bullpen and bench, they have also added 3 new starters to the lineup and one new starter to the rotation. The Astros chances this season ride on the production of the 3 new comers to the lineup, if they can produce expect the Astros to have the honor of losing the tie breaker again.


C: Juan Santiago – Known for a steady bat, Juan will again be the staring Catcher. Although Juan hits for a high average he has never been overly productive, expect management to move him around in an attempt to find his place in the lineup.

1B: Heinie Watkins – After demanding the trade of Rocky Spencer, Heinie is now able to play his natural position. After watching Rocky carry the Reds to their first title the pressure is on Heinie to once again compete for the league MVP.

2B: Pascual Dotel – One of two rookies in the lineup, Pascual hit .321 in 84 Abs last season. The biggest concern with this player is his ability to play 2B.

3B: Russell Relaford – Aquired from Good Will, Russel is returning home. Russel was the current GM’s first ever draft pick and was originally traded for teammate Everett Hill. Russel is expected to produce offensively, but his ability to play 3B is a huge question mark.

SS: Yamid Moraga – Yamid earns his pay with his glove. Yamid has some pop in his bat but is still below average at the plate.

RF: Sid Bryant – The face of the franchise, Sid is now 27 and entering his prime. Sid earned a spot on the All Star team and won the NL Silver Slugger Award in season 9. Coming off of a 30HR/30SB season, the Astros are hoping that Sid can improve on his SB numbers.

CF: Rafael Almanzar - The team expects 40+ Hr and 125+ SO again this season.

LF: Everett Hill - The Astros' revamped lineup depends on Hill. Hill is expected to fill the void left by Rocky Spencer which is a lot to ask of any rookie.


Erubiel Johnson - Brought in to catch for Jared Herrera. Johnson's role beyond Herrera's ball boy is still a question mark.

Gregory McMillan - Exect McMillian to see some relief time at 1B and C this season.

Alton Turner - A strictly defensive backup SS.

Santos Bolivar - Coming off of a season filled with injuries Santos will see a lot of playing time in the OF thise season. If Pascual Dotel struggles expect to see Santos starting.

Virgil Camacho - A great Utility guy that brings a good glove and a soft bat.


SP1: Dan Hitchcock - Returning as the ace of a deep staff its time that everyone's favorite Hitchcock learns how to win. After going 14 and 13 the Astros hope Hitchcock can put together the club's first 20 win season.

SP2: Mel Wagner - Aquired as a part of the Rocky trade last season, Mel proved to be a reliable starter in his time with the Astros. The World's all time SO leader many don't expect Mel to win 15 games this season.

SP3: Willie Espinosa - Another quality starter still trying to learn how to win. This fireballer hopes to improve on his 10 and 10 record last season.

SP4: Jared Herrera - After bringing in Jared's ball boy the Astros expect him to return to his Season 8 form.

SP5: Dick Reed - By signing veteran Dick Reed the Astros accompished two things. They were able to snag a SP from a division rival with a one year deal, and they were able to honor the memory of George Carlin by becoming the first baseball team ever to have a Dick, a Hitchcock, and a Heinie. Dick hopes to challenge Benji Campos for the title of best #5 SP in the World this season.

LRA: Eric Dawkins - Perhaps the Astros best starter last season Eric is assigned to the pen in a desperate attmept to improve last season's biggest weakness. Eric should still get his fair share of starts this season.

SetUpA: Mickey Frazier - The first of the Astros army of setup me, Frazier is expected to improve this season.

SetUpA: Danny Hennessey - Aquired along with Russell Relaford in an offseason trade, Danny has been stellar the last two seasons with Texas. If he is half as good with the Astros he will be a huge boost for them.

Setup B: Raymond Marte - Aquired in the Astros latest trade, Raymond is expected to provide veteran leadership for the young guys in the bullpen.

Setup:B Freddy Tanaka - Tanaka struggled in his rookie campaign, the Astros hope this young arm continues to improve.

Closer: Vinny Post - Like Lil Wayne, Vinny Post is the Fireman. Coming off of his best season in the Majors the Astros signed Vinny to a big money deal but will still have no problem pulling him as Closer in favor of Danny Hennessey .

Mopup: Jorge Navarro - The second of the Astros' two spite signings this offseason, Jorge accepted a one year 8 million dollar deal just like his Jacksonville teammate Dick Reed . The Astros don't expect Jorge to play at all this season if everything goes well.

Season Outlook: Expect Everett Hill to flop, hitting .230 with 40 HR 90 RBI and 200 SO. The Astros are still clearly the 3rd best team in the NL South, so expect 90-95 wins and another season of having the best record to not make the playoffs.

Milestone: 3000 Strikeouts

Mel Wagner:
Strikeouts - 1519
Doubtful considering his age. He is 33.

Yamil Pulido:
Strikeouts - 1509
Could be close. He is 29, so if you project 7 more seasons at 225Ks per he would reach 3000.

Santiago Manto:
Strikeouts - 1466
Same as Wagner. Doubtful.

Milestone: 500 Homeruns

Roosevelt Stevenson:
HR - 475
Stevenson should be the first player to reach any of the major milestones. He is projected to reach 500 HRs around the midpoint of this season. He has an outside shot at reaching 600 HRs.

Omar Nixon:
HR - 456
Nixon should be the 2nd player to reach a major milestone. He is projected to reach 500 HRs towards the end of this season. He has a good chance at 600 HRs.

William Hernandez:
HR - 417
Hernandezs HR total dropped rather significantly last season, and his power rating is declining. Considering his age and decline in power it will be close.

Harry Delgado:
HR - 388
Delgado has a slim chance at reaching 500. His chances depend heavily on how the Deuce Droppers (Fightin Armadillos) decide to use him. Last season he only got 318 ABs with the Pork N Beans.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Can the NL South Champs Finally Get Past the NL North?

Louisville Swingers

Can the Louisville Swingers once again return to prominence and follow up with their 5th straight 100+ win season and playoff invitation? Bench Coach Lonnie Ward and his staff will once again be up to the challenge in the ever increasing NL South.

They will return the same starting 8 and will have an even deeper bench than last season with the addition of Dee O'Brien. Another question will be if they starting rotation will be able to recover from losing Cam Anderson, their number 2 in the rotation last year. They will replace him with either Donald Tanaka, Jose Crespo, Leonardo Evans or Benji Campos, all of whom who have started last year or in their past.

Starting Eight

C- Vicente Unamuno Vicente will return for his 5th Season behind the plate. He will look for another season of .300+ batting avg and .400+ Obp.

Miguel Franco will return as the starting 1B while spending some time as well down the RF and LF lines. He will look for his 1st 50+ HR season. He will move to the clean-up role and provide some much needed fire power.

2B- Albert Johnson will return to 2B and hopes to return to finally hit the .400 avg barrier for the 1st time in his career as well as regaining his MVP status.

SS- Dustan Daneker returns to captain of the infield. He hope to regain his form from two years ago when he hit .300.

3B- Mandy Lowe will return to his spot on the corner bag. He looks to duplicate his same performance from last season.

RF- Shigetoshi Ramirez is looking forward to finally staying in a place for more than two seasons. Staying in one place last year led to a career season down the RF line.

CF- Edgardo Castillo will once again roam the gaps in the OF. Following a slightly down year in production, the Swingers help for a healthy productive year from their All Star CF.

LF- Clarence Mathewson is a 40 HR 140 RBI player in the last year of his contract. He will be counted on once again to lead the team in power and offense.


C- Achilles Shannon
2B- Dee O'Brien
SS- Nick Ramirez
LF- Sammy Ayala
CF- Derek Snow


The Swingers look to return one of the top staff's in the league. Their starting crew will be tops in the league and look for all 10+ seasons for all. The Staff also returns top closer Santiago Mangual and a stellar set up staff. They will look to lead to another 100 win season.


SP1- Paulie Sanders will once again try for the Cy Young. As the ace of the staff, Paulie will try for 20 wins and lead the staff to the playoffs.

SP2- Pasqual Martinez will work to replace the gap from Cam Anderson. Added mid season and then injured, hopefully he will come back strong.

SP3- Stuart Post will once again provide strong quality starts for his team. If he can once again do what he did the last couple of seasons, the Swingers will once again be playoff contenders.

SP4- Jose Crespo will look to return as a strong #4 starter. He will look to step up and take control of the league.

SP5- Benji Campos will look to return to last years form. If he can keep his era in the mid 4's he will be the best #5 in the league


LR- Leonardo Evans
LR- Alex Figureoa
LR- Donald Tanaka
LR- Tommy Cameron

SU- Jose Benitez
SU- Carlos Seguignol

CL- Santiago Mangual

Outlook- The Swingers will once again contend for a NL playoff spot. Providing a healthy season, this team should be in position for another run at the WS. Losing a 2-0 lead in the NLCS was heart breaking but the pitching will be one season better and the position players are ready to fight. If all goes well, you may see a Louisville banner at the end of the season.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Dirt Bag's Preview

Last year was a little bit of a disappointment. The DBs came flying out of the gate, challenging for top of the power rankings through the first couple weeks....then the wheels came off. We stopped hitting, we couldn't pitch and lost a lot of games we shouldn't have. But there is hope! Here is the preview for this season:

C: Luis Maduro comes back to start at Catcher...he's still young and developing, but he is already a solid contributor. His backup, Jeffrey Fleming, is a young kid that will spell Maduro when he gets tired.

1st:Joe Bolton holds down the position yet again. He's 27 and now reached his potential...will he produce is the question.

2nd: Last year's starter, Theo Herges, is replace him, his backup Morgan Loux steps in to fill the void.

3rd: Youth is a trend with this team. This will be a platoon situation with Max McCarthy and Louie Mays.

SS: Another backup from last year, Omar Estrella, steps into a full starting roll.

OF: The starting outfield is set. The star is my stud CF Lee Coleman. He is flanked by great players as well withTrevor Stevenson and Sammy Sosa in LF and RF respectively. Backups Miguel Estalella and Rule Ver Cyrus Rakers will see some garbage time.

Pitching: This is the achilles heel of a nice young team...the following pitching lineup will change early and often. Young kids may get their chance as the season progresses. I've thought about a tandem setup too...I feel like I've almost run out of ideas with my pitching staff.

SP (in no particular order):
Carlton Kubinski
Brandon Ramirez
Russell Henry
John Martin
Joaquin Diaz

The Pen:
Dennys Wang
Joshua James
Allan Kolb
John Savage
Brian Duran

Adam Riggs
Earle Magadan

Christian Gordon

This will not be a WS winning team but we will surpise some people this season. I think that the DBs will make a run at a WC spot but fall short.

I predict a 81-81 season.

Meet The Injun Night

Injun management has been pouring over statistics all off-season trying to figure out what went wrong last season and how to fix the problems. The answers are very elusive but spring training may have shed some light on part of the problem already. The biggest problem was hitting and pitching, ok..ok.., so those problems belong to everyone. Well, may have solved the pitching problem. The answer to the home hitting woes has eluded me for three years now and will probably be another year of the same as I haven't really uncovered the answer. The move to Cleveland should have solved the hitting problem but in reality made it worse. But we believe in our intrepid endeavors that there isn't a problem to solve, just unlucky. In the meantime, meet the Injuns.

C - Dean Hill, Rule 5 pickup
1B - Rodrigo Gonzales, 3rd full season.
2B - Jae Dong, 2nd full season.
3B - Hideki Huang, 3rd full season.
SS - Howard Washington, 2nd full season.
RF - Karim Quevedo, rookie.
CF - Giovanni Jackson, 4th full season.
LF - Albert Tapies, 6th full season.

Hunter Tomlinson, all purpose vet who will retire at the end of the season.
Harry Brock, all purpose OF and may start over Quevedo.
Hawk Bates or Thomas Baxter as backup catcher, management has yet to decide and it could be neither and could be traded.
Rookies, Tony Brown, Don Webster and veteran Max Crede are also fighting for a spot.

SP: As for the pitchers one or more may not make the opening day roster.
Ray Luke
Ozzie Chang
Garry Magnusson
Hub Strange
Victor Guerrero
Elston Bush
Wilson House
Randy Halladay

Kenneth Buckley
Quilvio Olivares
Lawrence Dawkins
Tomas Saez
Max Lee

Kory Governale

Fighting for spot:
Daniel Blackwell

No Matter Where You Go, There You Are: Cubs Season 10 Preview

Old school Gammons style

Season 9 Finish: 101-61, second place (-12), defeated Salem in Div., play in series (3-0), lost to WS Champ Cincinnati in NL Div. Champ. Series (3-2)

Offseason Transactions: Made several cost cutting moves to pare payroll, get younger and bolster a depleted farm system. Traded Mendy Hughes for Davey Valdes, Don Bell for Julio Alvarez, Cooper Benes for Mule Hernandez, Posiedon Warden and cash for Donne Garland and Dan Leary. Made no major FA acquisitions.

Rookies and Other Strangers: Rookie RP Luis Bonilla, SP Alex Ayala, and 2B Pedro Amaral should all see significant time in season 10. LRP Turner Hughes, Cubs all-time leader in wins, has been brought in for an extended look in spring training.

Major Spring Training Questions: The Cubs enter spring training with something to prove. Questions linger about windows closing, but that mostly has to do with other teams getting better, while the Cus jettisoned some of their older vets to get younger. The cubs lineup remains formidable, as stalwarts Tony Suarez, Joey Tracy, Juan Castro are once again leaned on to provide 120-140 HR and close 400 RBI. IF the Cubs get anything resembling the MVP performance submitted last year by Brett Kinney, and IF Jacob Yoshii can build on his rookie campaign and replace Warden's OBP, the Cubs will score runs in bunches. Defensively, the Cubs remain near the top of the NL.

Major questions revolve around the pitching staff. At 35 and entering a contract year, does Dwight Johnson have anything left? Can Xavier Hart make the leap from good to great? Will Douglas Baker make the most of his first real opportunity in the rotation? The answer will have to be yes to all three if the Cubs expect to contend.

The bullpen is thinner than previous years, but expectations are high on rookie Bonilla to help contribute right away. The Cubs expect Jorge Padilla to bounce back from an off year, and re-signed Vicente Lopez, who has pitched big innings that past 2 season and submitted a sub 2 ERA, to anchor the pen. Expect either rookie Ayala or Garland to start the year in the pen to add depth. If they struggle, look for the Cubs to make a move to add a few pieces mid-season.

This is an interesting year for the Cubs - the team still relatively young, but the NL should be the strongest its ever been. The Cubs believe they can compete and still win another WS with the team constructed the way it is, but that may change as the year goes on.

Season 10 Team Song: "What If?" (Creed)

Season 10 Prediction: 100 - 62, second place

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Royals fans are excited after the Royals had their first winning season since season 2 and their best record since the 117 win team in season 1. After a disappointing loss in the wild card round last season the Royals are looking to take it to the next level. Anything less than a playoff series victory would come as a disappointment after adding Sanders, Dong, & Bunch from the Austin Franchise at the cost of some highly touted prospects. With the pressure on and the element of surprise gone, the Royals expect to make the playoffs with 90-95 wins and probably as a wild card again. Here is your season 10 Kansas City Royals by position.

C - Wascar Sanchez will man the tools of ignorance again this season. He was an All Star at the position last season and should be in the running for years to come. Hector Campbell is the backup. He is good enough where there was some thought to letting him start. Sanchez' bat said no.

1B - Dallas Payton will move from leftfield to man firstbase. He had MVP like numbers last season and we can expect more of the same from him.

2B - Spud Hoyt will start at secondbase. Spud had an off year last season and the team hopes that he will return to form this year. If it wasn't for the great season the team had I would be more concerned about his production. I believe spud will see an All Star game or two before his career is done.

3B - Charlie Stone will start at thirdbase. He was an All Star last season at the position and management had intended to move him to SS this season. Since Fernandez also made the All Star team he will remain at 3rd for now. There may not be enough room on the guys mantle for all his awards when his career is through.

SS - Oswaldo Fernandez will start at shortstop. He was an All Star last season after being only expected to warm the spot for Stone. The Royals expect a solid contribution from him again, but I think an All Star repeat is a stretch.

LF - Ramon Dong will start in leftfield. The Royals expect what Dong has done pretty much all his career. He will be an on-base machine and could approach 50 doubles in Kansas City. Management think hes a perfect fit.

CF - Sidney Kotsay is the starting centerfielder. He was an All Star last season and the Royals expect he will be in the running at the position once again. After signing a 2 year contract, pressure is on management to sign him to an extension.

RF - Kyle Forster will start in rightfield. He was aquired late last season from St.Louis and may be an All Star or at least in the running with a full season this year.

DH - John Bang/Art Peters will share the DH spot this season. Either could start full time and probably post All Star numbers. Bang will get lefties and Peters will get the righthanders. The two combined for 22hrs 136rbis & 350.+ avg. last season. The Royals expect more of the same this year.

SPs - Rico Dali, Victor Guzman,Chad Sanders, & Frank Kim form a solid and young rotation anchored by the vet Sanders. The Royals are expecting 12-15 wins out of each.

LR/Spot Starters - Fernando Gonzalez & Orlando Delgado will be the long relievers and get a start now and then. Delgado may have an all star game in his future and Gonzalez is consistent.

Bullpen - Louis Bunch & Bill Roth will be the setup men. Both are solid, durable, veteran relievers. Miguel Owen will return as closer and hopes to duplicate the season he had last year. (He was an All-Star)

Bench - Duke Crawford, Ruben Reyes, Francis Guerrero, & Thomas Schmidt form a useful and great hitting bench. Guerrero & Schmidt could probably start somewhere and it'll be tough to see them have to ride the pine.

The Royals are excited about the upcoming season but are prepared for a battle. With strong teams like New York, Toronto, Monterrerey, and Vegas in the way and still the teams to beat, the Royals will have their work cut out for them. Kansas City expects to return as a wild card and hopes to advance beyond that first series.

Pirates Season 10

Season 10 began with the Pirates Management wanting to address a couple of weaknesses from Season 9. The first was the bullpen. Season 9 started off well right up to the all star break, the team was with 5 games of the final wild card spot.
Then the wheels fell off, the bullpen blew up and management was forced to
overwork their starting pitching and draw straws to see if anybody could do a decent job in the set
up role in the bullpen. Although missing out on 2 big name free agents this year: Cam Anderson
and Bryan McDowell, the Pirates managed to add a few pieces, that will hopefully strengthen the
bullpen and in turn the rotation. Still have holes at 3B, CF, and 2B. This season will just try and
piece it together. Anyway here is the Pirates starting lineup by position for season 10:

C: Raymond Strong will try to get him 145 games this year. Tony Castilla will backup
1B: Hong-Jin Perez acquired from Detroit. Willie Lopez will fill in when necessary.
2B: Jamie Xaio veteran FA signing. Ricardo Cela will see some time at 2B and CF.
SS: Matt Wise had a nice season 10.
3B: Felipe Ontiveros another veteran FA signing.
LF: Juan Carrasquel will bat 4th.
CF: Efrain Yoshii future SS for the Pirates. Oswaldo Guillen will see some time in CF and in the infield.
RF: Paul Rushford was a major disappointment in season 9.
Pirates Pitching rotation for season 10:

SP1: Kent Heredia a workhorse counting on a big season
SP2: Byung-Hyun Pan had a nice season after coming over from St. Louis
SP3: Tim Loewer will get try to 25 to 30 starts out of him
SP4: Jimmie Torres would like to give him one more season in the minors
SP5: Patrick Counsell got his feet wet in season 9, season 10 hopefully will see some gains.
Mop: Jeff Dalesandro mop up, long relief and maybe the odd start.
LR: Darin Berry long relief, the odd start
LR: Jared Hampton Long relief and possibly starting
SU: Geraldo Rosa This seasons rule 5 draft pick.
SU: Matty Guardado came over in a trade with Philadelphia along with Efrain Yoshii.
SU: Albert Villafuerte FA signing will set up and close when Corranodo needs rest.
CL: Andres Coronado had a great rookie season

Still undecided about the final two roster spots should be sorted out by the end of spring training.
Bullpen should be a lot stronger in season 10. Still have some holes but, overall team depth has
improved each year since taking over this team. Pirates Management will be on the lookout for
another frontline SP as teams fall out of the race and decide to dump contracts later in the season.
Pirates management hopes to stay within 5 games of a wildcard spot this season and if this happens
will add players through trade for a final push.