Thursday, February 28, 2008

Cubs Preview

Despite winning 103 games last season, the Cubs went into the off season with a bitter taste in their mouths after being dispatched in the second round of the playoffs by the Florida Marlins. Looking back at their playoff failure, the Cubs identified two areas of weakness that needed to be addressed in the off season, lack of a true #1 starter, and more consistent, timely hitting.

The Cubs quickly moved to address their biggest deficiency by trading for veteran star pitcher Dwight Johnson. The Cubs admittedly paid a ransom for Johnson, giving up a stellar pitching prospect to go with a good OF prospect. Despite innuendo about possible collusion, the Cubs moved forward with the trade with the hopes that Johnson would be a key to their success come playoff time.

While the Cubs made no majors moves to bolster the offense, GM Josepaco was confident that an additional year of growth and progress by key players would be sufficient. The Cubs key position players are very young and talented. After getting their first taste of playoff baseball, the Cubs expect bigger and better things this year.

GM and Manager: Josepaco (6th season, 660-636 (.509), 1 Wild Card; Last Season: 103-59, 2nd place in NL North; Season Seven Prediction: 101-61, 2nd place; Wild Card. Could be better if: bullpen is better than previous year; Reds suffer catastrophic injuries. Could be worse if: Bullpen struggles; offense lacks consistency.

Cubs position by position breakdown:

Iron man Billy Ulrich is looking to build off a very successful 1st season with the Cubs. Last year, Ulrich hit .329 with 29 hr and 108 RBI. His biggest contribution remains his ability to handle the Cubs pitching staff. Its no coincidence that the Cubs pitching staff saw their era drop by more than a run with Ulrich's arrival. The Cubs however have zero depth behind Ulrich and have no promising prospects at the position. Ulrich's health is vital to any success the Cubs have.

First Base
The Cubs figure to be set at first for some time to come with young slugger Tony Suarezmanning the position. Suarez slow start last year hurt the Cubs early, but his torrid second half set the pace for the playoff run. While club officials are happy with Suarez's ability to consistently hit for power and average (3yr ave .300, 39 hrs, 135 RBI), they're are quiet concerns about the dip in his OBP. Prospect Larry Bushwill get some ABs against righties, but figures to be trade bait if the Cubs look to make a push mid season.

Second Base
Posiedon Wardencontinues to impress at age 32, hitting .320 with a .448 OBP. His ability to get on base is the key in the engine of the Cubs offense. While defense remains a detractor for Warden, he remains one of the more electric players in the national league

Short Stop
The Cubs go into season 7 with the plan of playing SS by committee, with Parker Hoffman and Benjamin Prokopec sharing the load. Hoffman had a solid first season with the Cubs, hitting .285 with a .359 OBP, but is limited in his range. The Cubs picked up Prokopec on the cheap in the off-season, and hope that he can hit just enough to get his stellar glove into the field

Third Base
At the tender age of 23, Joey Tracyhas established himself as the heart and soul of the Cubs and the team' most feared hitter. Despite hitting 58 HRs and driving in 139 RBIs last year, Tracy's consistency came into question as he saw his average dip from .330 to .269. Coming off of a 70 HR year in season 5, many suspected that he fell in love with the long ball, and swung for the fences too much. The Cubs have big expectations for Tracy this year, as his ability to hit for average and power is required for the team to do well. Overlooked because of his offensive prowess was Tracy's development on the defensive side. Tracy won the gold glove at third base last year, and has unheralded range at the hot corner. His defensive ability is a big contributor to the pitching staff's success.

Left Field
Wayne Stewart has been labeled Mr. Consistency for his metronome like performance. If the season has started, pencil Stewart in for .300, 35 HRs and 100 RBI.

Center Field
Batting .291 with 28 HRs and 92 RBIs, while winning a gold glove in CF is impressive. Add to that the fact that the player putting up those numbers was in his rookie year, and you have a star in the making. Many thought that the impressive year put together by Brett Kinney last year should have been enough to garner the ROY award. Despite not winning the trophy, the Cubs hope that Kinney continues to develop. He is the anchor in one of the NLs best defensive outfields.

Right Field
A former infield prospect, Anthony Siscohas one of the NLs strongest arms in the outfield. The Cubs need Sisco to continue to develop patience at the plate and put the ball in play more often so he can use his natural talents. Sisco's versatility is a huge benefit to the Cubs, as he was able to play multiple positions last year when needed.

Starting Pitching
The Cubs again go into the season with more starters than they can use. This proved effective and wise last year, as stalwart Dennis Riley went down early with a shoulder injury and missed significant time. The Cubs mix a blend of aging veteran stars with young fireballers, looking for the right combination to lead them to the championship. While Dwight Johnson is the player most will be watching, the season's success may ride on the shoulders of young vets Don Belland Xavier Hart. Horse Lorenzo Bennettis an innings eater who bolsters the end of the rotation. Should one of the Cubs starters go down, old vet Turner Hughes, coming off his most successful season as a Cub, is hanging around in the bullpen. He'll get a few spot starts and will move into the rotation in the second half of the year in an effort to keep him fresh.

The bullpen was a mixed bag for the Cubs last year. Fireballer and prospective closer Stephen Fonville inexplicably turned into the gas man last year, causing more fires than he put out. His failures opened the door for young stud Jorge Padilla, who at 21 had 27 saves and a respectable 3.19 ERA. The rubber armed Vicente Lopez was called on to carry a big workload last year, but the Cubs need him to be the bridge to Padilla in the 8th.

Youngster Douglas Baker pitched well late last year, and earned himself a spot in the bullpen to start the year. If he can maintain his control, he'll be effective in getting batters out. George Swift remains an enigma, having the talent to compete, but questions persist about his will to succeed.

The Cubs have the talent in the pen to form one of the strongest relief crews in the league. However, as last year showed, many question the testicular fortitude of the collective group and their ability to pitch under pressure. Any success by the starters could evaporate quickly if the bullpen blows the close to 20 saves they did in season 6.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

National League Rookie of the Year Preview

Atlanta PnB's - C

Max is off to a slow start. through 54 at bats he is only hitting .167 with a .515 ops and has only 2 home runs and 6 rbi's. My trusted scouts tell me that his potential is much better than that and though Max won't win any defensive awards a 60 home run season is not out of the realm of possibilities. He should be a strong contender before season end.

Cincinnati Reds - RF

Roger came up late so to date has only 24 at bats. During those 24 at bats he has managed to hit .375 with an ops of .923 though only one home run and 2 rbi to his credit. Roger's potential is outstanding and though he hits in the leadoff spot for Cincinnati he should still have plenty of rbi opportunities. Not your typical lead-off hitter you won't see many stolen bases from Roger. Speed has never been the philosophy in Cincy though.

Houston Astros - SP

The only pitcher featured in either our NL or AL ROY Preview Willie makes it in on his outstanding performance thus far. A record of 3 - 0 through 19 innings, an ERA of 2.84 and a whip of 1.21 earn him a spot amongst the contenders for NL ROY. However it is mighty tough for a pitcher, starter or not, to earn the respect they deserve to be considered for this award. If Willie is able to continue his success he may just surprise a few traditionalists and pull it off.

Louisville Swingers - LF

Miguel is hitting the cover off the ball. 6 home runs, 10 rbi, a .372 batting average and an impressive 1.252 ops through only 43 at bats propel Miguel to the top of the NL ROY rankings thus far. One wonders if he can keep up this torrid pace once the leagues best pitchers figure him out or if he'll settle back down to earth amongst us mere mortals. Time, and this scout, will tell.

Omaha Larrupin Lous - 2b

Not originally considerd a ROY candidate, perhaps due to being a rule 5 pick, Perry is of to a terrific start. In 65 at bats Perry has 4 rbis, is hitting .338 with an ops of .856 though he's yet to hit his first ever Major League home run. He won't hit many but expect hit on base percentage and base-running to be outstanding. One to consider for sure.

Seattle Pilots - 1b

Willie needs to start hitting a little more. he made it into considerations based on this scouts expectations of him dropping balls in every river and bay behind every stadium that has a river and bay behind it and to his credit he does have 2 dingers and 6 rbi's though 55 at bats. the .200 batting average needs to come up though if he wants to continue being considered. Bring it Willie. Bring it.

Current Standings: (based on a drunken Cincinnati scout's report)

1. Miguel Franco
2. Roger Merrick
3. Perry Simmons
4. Willie Espinosa
5. Willie Pizzaro
6. Max Lima

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Omar Nixon Hits for Cycle

During the 8-2 thrashing of the Astros, Reds 1B Omar Nixon hit for the cycle. For the season Nixon is hitting .311, with 5 HRs, and 13 RBIs.

Meet The Mess

Asking for patience in New York is futile, but at least Mets fans know following their steady freefall from their 108-win NL East title (when the franchise was in Syracuse in season 1) into the basement and a 101-loss season last season, things can't get any worse. But there are signs that the rebound may be on, but management and fans alike know the climb back up is going to be a lot slower than their decline.

It's fair to say last season, nothing went right. Calls to the bullpen were met with whoops of derision from the fans, but the relievers couldn't do any worse than the starters they were replacing. Defensively, only the 106-loss Santa Fe Heat gave up more runs in the NL - and only the Heat had a worse record at home in the National League (27 wins) than the Mets (31). Number one star Pascual Concepcion was the only pitcher with 10 wins (and 17 losses, mind you) despite his 6.50 ERA - the worst in the rotation. Even Joey Erickson, the first round pick pitching prospect that every Mets fan talked about with crossed fingers, could only manage two wins and 10 losses.

If not for the relative steady play from the team's core, it could have been a lot worse. Just five survivors remain from the Syracuse days; catcher Aramis Figureoa, speedy CF Tony Valenzuela, slugger Albert Chavez, second baseman Joey Yount and closer Oscar Ford. These veterans hold the key to any success around them as the team grooms what it hopes will be the stars of tomorrow.

Aramis Figureoa will be sharing duties with MIller Boyd, but neither has all the tools ready to lead the team forward for too much longer.


Tony Duran had a spectacular spring and made the job his. Leading off, his base-stealing exploits from spring are still worrying pitchers.

Joey Yount is reliable and durable, but last season he couldn't manage 100 RBI for the first time in his Mets/Syracuse career and at 33, fans will hope he can stave off a further drop until a prospect capable of playing every day emerges.


Andre Colon struggles with ML pitching, but adds some much-needed glove to the line-up. He will certainly be holding the position until AAA prospect Luis Guerrero is deemed ready for the Bigs.

Randy Lamb has no challenger, and made 27 errors at the hot corner last season. If not for his 60 home runs and the fact he still has some room to improve, there would be more concern than there is.

Tony Valenzuela knows the glory-hungry Mets fans are counting down the days until hot prospect Kirby Priddy is patrolling center field. But as long as he can maintain his numbers, the baying for blood will be limited to quiet, disgruntled mutterings from the bleachers.


Albert Chavez is arguably the most popular Met in town. While his skills seem to have peaked now he's reached 30, any long term absence to the team leader would be a real kidney punch in the fight to keep the team out of fourth. Again.

Ariel Flores is like Randy Lamb in that he makes the team because he's strong in one area over the others. Unlike hard-hitting Lamb, Flores keeps his job because of his glove

After Concepcion, the starters have a "good enough" feel throughout. High hopes for Hawk Reed faded after a further decline last season, and in an ideal world he would be used to eat innings from the bullpen. Pat McRae would be better suited in long relief, as would Lawrence Evert, and Jorel Woodson, at just 23, would be better off smoothing out his rough edges in AAA ball than getting slapped around by ML hitters. Leon Jackson is in a similar situation, but talent is thin and the need for arms sees him learning the hard way, albeit from the pen.

Outside of closer Oscar Ford, the bullpen is a mess. Everyone under-acheived last season, but the addition of Greg Wells and Chuck Stein should help bridge the gap from coin-toss middle relief to Ford. Another new face, Tony Kondou, finished last season in AA ball but will be leaned on to protect fragile leads in the majors as a Rule V pick-up.

Prediction -
76 wins would have been enough for second place in the NL East last season if not the play-offs. That would be a good place to aim this year as the future of the franchise remains out of sight to the Shea faithful.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Team Power Rankings

1) Yankees – The Yankees have been on tear through their first eight games posting a league best 7-1. The Yankees have also managed a league best team era of 2.26. The Yankees have some big series coming up with a 3 game series against four time champs Austin Deuce Droppers, and last seasons champs the Las Vegas Slobs. Edgar Fernandez has been outstanding for the Yankees over their first 8 games with 2 wins and a 1.32 era in 2 starts.
Record: 7 – 1

2) Toronto Blue Jays – After starting the season 7-0 the Blue Jays have lost two in a row to the Rangers. They have tough series with the #1 ranked Yankees on 3/2. Javier Santayana has been stellar for the Blue Jays with 8 SBs, and a .419 average over their first 9 games.
Record: 7 – 2

3) Salem Mayhem – The Mayhem have started off the season hot. They are currently fourth overall in pitching with a team era of 3.38. They have a tough road ahead with series against the Cubs, Reds, Swingers and Astros. Jake Owens has been stellar early on for the Mayhem with 2 wins, and a 0.00 era in 2 starts.
Record: 6 - 2

4) Monterrey Corn Dogs – The Corn Dogs have been playing well after a slow start to the season. They started the season losing 3 of 4 to the Deuce Droppers but followed that up with a 4 game winning streak. The Corn Dogs pitching has struggled, but they do have the fourth best team batting average in the league. Chan Yang has been on a tear for the CDs with 7 HRs and 18 RBIs over their first 8 games.
Record: 5 – 3

5) Cincinnati Reds – The Reds started off the season hot sweeping the Cubs in a 3 game series. Recently they cooled off a bit losing 2 in a row to the Astros. They have a tough road ahead with a 4 game series against the Pork n Beans and a 3 game series against the Mayhem. Tony Torrealba has been hot with 7 HRs and .533 average over the first 9 games.
Record: 6 - 3

6) Atlanta Pork n Beans – The Pork n Beans are on 4 game winning streak. Their pitching struggled over the first few games, but has improved over the winning streak. The PnB’s have a really tough schedule ahead with series against the Reds, Swingers, Marlins, and Cubs. Young 1B Zoltan Mercedes has been on fire over the PnBs first 9 games hitting 5 HRs, 16 RBIs, and a .471 average.
Record: 6 - 3

7) Las Vegas Slobs – Last seasons World Series champs have been solid early with a 6 – 3 record. Their pitching has been very good with a team era of 3.53. They have a tough upcoming 3 game series with the Yankees. Mike Leius has been one of the best pitchers in the league with 2 wins, and 0.00 era in 2 starts.
Record: 6 - 3

8) Austin Deuce Droppers – The four time champs have been off to a good start taking 3 of 4 against last seasons AL South champs the Corn Dogs. They have an upcoming three game series with the number ranked Yankees. After a tough season 6 Blake Mathews seems to back hitting 6 HRs over their first 8 games.
Record: 5 - 3

9) Minnesota Twins – The Twins (no relation to the Corn Dogs) are off to a good start with solid pitching and hitting. They are currently involved in a 3 games series with the Deuce Droppers. The Twins have a tough series coming against the number 2 ranked Blue Jays. Alex Nakamura has been one of the hottest pitchers in the league racking up 2 wins and a 1.69 era in 2 starts.
Record: 5 – 3

10) Houston Astros – The Astros started off the season slow losing 3 of 4 to the Marlins. Recently they have turned things around winning 5 in a row, including two against the Reds. The young Astros have three challenging series ahead against the Swingers, Cubs, and Mayhem. The often discussed Heinie Watkins has been crushing the ball for the Astros hitting 4 HRs with a .444 average over the Astros first 9 games.
Record: 6 - 3

Brewer Rebuild Aims for Old Milwaukee But May Lack Gusto

Six seasons removed from their unexpected World Series triumph of Season One, the Brewers are a team in transition. Only three players remain from those heady days - C Nerio Ford, LF Ramon Dong and Closer Victor Blanco.

However, if you think the Brewers are in an all-out rebuilding mode, you'd be wrong. And that's why experts say this team suffers from an identity crisis.

Having traded away organizational pillars such as Clarence McPhersonand Season One Cy Young Award winner Dwight Johnson for a quivver of promising prospects, the team seemingly handed all of the important jobs to the Kiddie Korps.

However, many believe that the purge was incomplete. The Brewers held onto Ford, who, though coming off of an All-Star, Silver Slugger performance, also is 30 and is in his walk year. The team has a long track record of allowing its older free agents to bolt.

The team also held onto the 29-year old Dong, who has $23mm remaining on his pact (though next season is a $12mm option). Dong is also coming off of an All-Star season, and is one of the most reliable performers in the league. Still, one wonders if he'll be among the first to go should the Brewers stumble out of the gate.

Fueling the criticism was the Brewers' approach to filling out their roster. The team drafted three Rule V players to play important roles. At the same time, Milwaukee spent more than $10mm to add a fading set-up man (35-year old Gene Chase) and an inconsistent starter (28-year old Roy Hall).

That said, here's the season outlook:

GM and Manager: Dilo (7th season, 592-380, .609, 1 WS title, 2 Div. Titles, 3 Wild Cards)
Last Season: 88-74, 3rd place in NL North; missed playoffs for first time
Season Seven Prediction: 81-81, 3rd place; out of playoffs
Could be better if: Young ML veterans like Jerzembeck and Berroa show marked improvement; new starters keep ERAs under 4.33.
Could be worse if: No second reliable starter emerges, younger offensive players remain inconsistent.
Team Song: "April Come She Will"

Milwaukee Brewers - Position-by-Position Breakdown

Nerio Ford returns for what could be his last season as a Brewer. Will be hard pressed to repeat last season's .340-39-128 line, but his OPS has been north of 1.000 for four straight seasons. James Harais a defensive backup that can hit lefties, but should yield to AAA prospect Hector Ramirez(15 HR in 150 ABs at AAA last year) at some point this season.

First Base
At 23, the 6'9" Pedro Jamesalready enters his fourth season as a Major Leaguer. His production last year dropped off, as his OPS fell to .906 from .982. Still, he belted 24 HR and had 103 RBI. Needs to improve his BB-to-K ratio, and has the eye to do it.

Second Base
Enigmatic Pascual Berroais the incumbent starter here, coming off a season where his OPS dropped 80 points and his OBP dropped nearly 50. At 24 and with multiple tools, the Brewers hope he can improve both numbers and give the team a more dependable bat in the lineup. The backup is former Rule V player Giovanni King, who at 23 is a great glove man and can run like the wind.

Once thought to be an organizational staple, 25-year old Wes Kelly, the teams first 1st-round pick, has seemingly fallen out of favor. The team first chose to take Kelly to arbitration, and then selected 28-year old gloveman Matt Wise in the Rule V draft to play against righthanders. Kelly's OPS dropped 60 points last season as his HR total dropped from 10 to five. Though his defense improved and he stole 17 bases, his OBP was a dreadful .326. Wise is making his ML debut after some very good years in the Florida system.

Third Base
After spending several seasons of penciling in McPherson for 45 HRs and 100+ RBI, the team now has huge question marks at the corner. 24-year old Miguel Estalella(.753 OPS in 285 ABs as a rookie last year) and 22-year old Harold Traynor, a Rule V pick who played in High A ball last year, will platoon.

Center Field
The team is turning to 23-year old Gregg Presleythis year. Presley played the second half of last season in the majors after recovering from a bad injury the year before. He had a respectable .770 OPS in his 233-AB audition. The team believes Presley can become a better baserunner and give them a threat at the top of the lineup.

Left Field
What else can you say about Dong's Season Six? His line of .345-24-85 was made even better by an OBP of .428 and 19 stolen bases. At 29, experts wonder, though, if he is on the decline already. The backup is utilityman Ryan Owenswho at 28 continues to be a valuable player. Though he's more suited to play against lefthanders, Owens seems to crack the lineup a few times per week and has responded with 107 SBs (caught 32 times) in 1,115 ABs as a Brewer. He's a bargain at $625,000. Rule V pick Brandon Meyersis also in the mix and puts the ball in play against righties.

Right Field
Arguably the crown jewel of the organization's rebuilding efforts, 23-year old Zachrey Jerzembeck already has 1325 Major League ABs, and has a career OPS of .927. Last year, he went .283-33-105, but saw big drops in his average, OBP and RBI. He stole 16 bases last year (39 career), but was also caught 15 times. To contend, the Brewers need Jerzembeck to contribute a lot of lineup protection for Dong, Ford and James.

Starting Pitching
The emergence last season of Donald Satou(17-5, 3.20), made dealing former ace Johnson more palatable. Johnson was coming off a career low 12 wins with a 4.35 ERA, and was in the last season of a deal paying him $5.6mm. Still, he's a former Cy Young winner that had a strong track record against some of the better pitchers in the division. After Satou, the rotation gets murky.

Jumbo Benitez(career 51 starts, 18-22, 5.77) is a former first round pick that spent just two seasons in the minors. His stuff is ordinary. Cookie Sardinhais 24 and made just 14 starts in the minors before jumping to the Big Club. He's 15-11 in 222 career IP, but with a 5.38 ERA and 33 HRs allowed. Number Four in the rotation is 21-year old Edgard Espinosa, a former #7 overall pick (Angels) who was picked up in a trade. Espinosa had 12 wins at AAA last year and struck out 153 in 173 IP. Rounding out the rotation is Hall, who was brought back to the organization to try to live up to the high expectations set for him in Season One. He's made just 26 starts in his career.

The bullpen discussion begins and ends with Blanco, who just had his contract extended for two seasons. At 26, that seems a good bet, but he's had a tendency to alternate good seasons and bad ones. Last year was a good one, as Blanco converted 25 of 26 saves and walked just seven men and gave up four HRs in 34+ IP. He's no workhorse, though, and his innings need to be kept down. Setting him up for the first time will be Harry Owen, who at 25 is already entering his fifth season with the Big Club. Owen is a swingman, a converted starter who can eat up the 7th and 8th innings, but will have to improve on his career ERA of 5.01. Assisting Owen will be Chase, who is 35, but pitched 135 innings for Atlanta last season with a 3.80 ERA. After three stellar seasons in relief, 29-year old lefthander Roy Gibsonsaw his ERA balloon to 6.71. He allowed 71 hits in 51 IP after allowing just 138 in the previous 137 IP. Patrick Snyder, a swingman with a career record of 28-16, will need his best season to-date. Young Sergei Maurerhad a solid AAA career and is learning to be a Major League pitcher working in long relief.

The Brewers are expected to make a deal for another arm, or to reach into their AAA team, where they have some long relief and set-up candidates.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Los Angeles Angels preview

Los Angeles Angels

The Angels enter their third season under the knucklebones management with hopes to once again improve on their record while waiting for Charlie Stone to arrive at the ML level. With a maxed international budget, we hope to also add an impact pitcher or position player in adddition to this years amateur crop. With our sights set on season 8 for the playoffs, a .500 season looks reachable.

Catcher - Reggie Kreuter,R.J. Izquierdo
Krueter will play as much as his durability lets him with Izquierdo backing up.

1st Base - Spud Hoyt will return for his junior season with an eye on 2b in season 8.

2nd Base - Tito Magee The vet looks to repeat a solid first full season as an Angel.

3rd Base - Taylor Trammell Power hitting Trammmel was a big offseason acquisition.

SS - Eddie Lowry Season 6 rule 5, will start this season with longtime Red Davey Rodriguez getting some ABs against lefties.

LF - Clay Buchanan A contract year for the All Time Angel HR king. Both he and long time Angel Lee Crane hope to pad their various Angel team records.

CF - Nick Brantley The Angels hope for a marked improvement from Brantley this season.

RF - Dale Hume He's a former rule 5 pick of the Reds and potential superstar for the Angels. The Angels are expecting big things out of Hume.

DH - Wolf Latham, and Art Peters will share DH duties.

Utility Man - Tony Kim is an excellent utility man and soon to be starting LF.


Marcus Wood
Ismael Mendoza
Chris Franco
Victor Guzman
Corey Cox


Tommie Campbell and J.J. Adams
will be the Long Relievers.

Benji Loewer, Marcus Rivera, and Elston Herzner comprise a young and solid Setup core.

Tom Dempster is the Closer, season 6 AL All Star, and only Angel rep.

Overall the Angels are a young and talented team with a bright future and dedicated management.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Team Preview of the Austin Deuce Droppers

The Deuce Droppers are the most dominant team in league history, winning 4 championships in a row from seasons 2 through 5, along with numerous CY Youngs, MVPs, and Gold Gloves. Season 6 was a season to forget. Inuries to key players like former MVP Fernando Armas, and Jim Edmonds hurt the DDs significantly. The DDs were one of the most dominant teams over second half of season 6, narrowly missing the playoffs after a collapse over the last 20 games. The DDs expect season 7 to be a season to remember. The team fully expects to win its fifth title in season 7. Team manger VegasBombers has proclaimed that the DDs will win a title for every for every finger on his left hand.

C – Chris O'Donnell & Dave Valdes (Platoon) - After determining in the offseason that Lou Burns had grown too old, the DD’s picked up 2 potential catchers in the Rule 5 draft. Both men have hit over .300 in the preseason, but shown little power. Whoever has the hot hand will be behind the plate come opening day.

1B – B.C. Bennett & Keith Reid (Platoon) - Keith Reid tried his best to carry the DD’s while Fernando Armas was injured during the first half last season. He hit .294 with 34 HR’s and 119 RBI’s in his first season with the club. A lot is expected from 22 year old B.C. Bennett, and he will get his share of at bats during the season.

2B – Jacque Nixon - Nixon has been one of the best offensive 2B in the AL each of the last 6 seasons. This is a contract year for Jacque and the DD’s are hoping that he will improve on his .278, 25 HR, 107 RBI season last year.

SS – Jimmie Bergman - Although his average dipped a bit last year, Bergman has been Mr. Consistent for the DD’s. His .272, 31 HR, 112 RBI was business as usual last year. He is expected to be a major contributor to the DD’s for many years to come.

3B – Blake Mathews - This is the most unsettled position for the DD’s, but after a strong spring, Mathews will be the starter on opening day. DD management is hoping season 6 was an aberration for Mathews who struggled early, but put up solid numbers after being demoted to AAA. He is looking to return to the average 51 HR’s and 127 RBI that Mathews posted in seasons 4 and 5.

RF – Vin Ibanez - The DD’s leadoff man will again be counted on to deliver a .300 BA, 6 HR, 60 RBI, 25 SB, and 120 R season while setting the table for the DD’s big sticks. At 27 years of age, Ibanez should be reaching his prime.

CF – Jim Edmonds - Armas was not the only injury to hit the DD’s last year as Edmonds lost more than 40 games to 2 separate stints on the DL due to hamstring issues. Still, Edmonds put up solid numbers, .279, 25 HR, 93 RBI

LF – Jorel Atkins - Atkins has blossomed for the DD’s since becoming their 1st round draft pick in the season 4 draft. Barely missing the 30 / 30 mark last year, it is hoped that season 7 will be his breakout year. Last year’s numbers, .290, 28 HR, 114 RBI, 37 SB, and 131 R’s.

DH – Fernando Armas - The most feared hitter in the Majors, Armas is the 4 time AL MVP and the heart of the DD’s. Armas missed 71 games after needing shoulder surgery for an injury suffered in spring training last year, and as a result the DD’s suffered. Upon his return, Armas put up a .337 BA, 24 HR, 97 RBI, and 13 SB in just 91 games. Armas has made it known this spring that he is back and both the MVP award and World Series Championship will be returning to Austin in season 7.

SP1 - Britt Swindell - Swindell is a two time CY Young, and two time 20 game winner. He struggled last season with a 4.57 era, and 15 wins. Swindell has been one of the most dominant pitchers in the whole league. This is evident by his 7 - 0 record in the post season in seasons 4 and 5. Swindell has worked diligently in the off season, and plans on winning no less than 20 games in season 7.

SP2 - Chad Sanders - Sanders is a former CY Young winner who won 20 games in season 5. He struggled through season 6 with a 4.81 era and 13 wins. He claims a steady dose of B12 injections will help him return to form in season 7.

SP3 - Russell Spence - Spence struggled through last season posting his first losing season in the majors. Spence has proclaimed that he will accept nothing less than a 20 win season. The DDs success is depends upon Spence returning to form as one of the most dominant pitchers in the league.

SP4 - Nicholas Perry - Perry is another of the DDs 20 game winners. He is a veteran who struggled over the first part of season 6, but was dominant over the second half. Dont be too surprised if Perry wins a CY Young in season, his life long dream.

SP5 - Donald Tanaka - Tanaka is a reliable number 5. Expect another decent season from Tanaka. If he struggles expect recent addition David Johnson to take his spot in the rotation.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Houston Astros Team Preview

After a 13 game improvement last season, ending with a record of 77-85, the Houston Astros begin their second season under perhaps the most controversial General Manager in the league. The Astros enter the season with a young team anchored by a few veteran players highlighted by the oft published signing of Tuck Buck. The Astros had trouble last year adjusting to Juice Box posting a below .500 record at home. For them to contend they must improve as home.

Projected Lineup:

C- Juan Santiago - At 23 years old this is Juan's second season as the team's starting catcher. Juan looks to improve on his performance last year and solidify his position as one of the league's most devastating offensive forces at catcher.

Last Season's Stats:

ML: .333 AVG, 24 HR, 79 RBI

1B- Rocky Spencer - In his second full season at the major league level Rocky was a huge disappointment. Sophomore slump? With 59 HRs and a .348 AVG in season 5 Rocky looked to be one of the leagues most promising new comers, but after last year he is surrounded by question marks. If he does not return to previous form the Astros stand no chance in the tough NL, and a change of scenery may be in store for him.

Last Season's Stats:

ML: .275 AVG, 38 HR, 107 RBI

2B- Gary Daly - At 29 years old Daly, AKA All Day Gary, is the senior member of the Astros lineup. Gary was at the top of the league in doubles and continues to be a stabilizing presence in the clubhouse. Last season Gary saw his average decline and his power numbers increase, its time for him to put the two together.

Last Season's Stats:

ML: .264 AVG, 25 HR, 98 RBI

3B- Giovanni Young - At 26 years old Giovanni was a late arrival to the majors last year as a rookie. He provided a good average and played almost every inning in his first season at the major league level. It's time to see if he is the real deal.

Last Season's Stats:

ML: .312 AVG, 12 HR, 89 HR

SS- Jamie Xaio - This import from Tokyo is known around the league as the Emperor of Errors. With 31 errors at SS last season Jamie no doubt cost the Astros more than his fair of games. With a number of errors early in Spring Training it doesn't look like he has improved his glove over the off-season. If he continues to pile up errors this season there may be a change of position in his future.

Last Season's Stats:

ML: .293 AVG, 19 HR, 94 RBI

LF- Heinie Watkins - Known to his General Manager as Fat Boy, Heinie will be plodding around in LF in his first full season at the major league. This natural DH probably doesn't belong in LF but his bat is to promising to be left in the minors. Splitting time between AAA and the ML Fat Boy showed a ton of power and began to find his rhythm at the ML level, steadily improving his average as the year wore on. Is this the year Fat Boy breaks through? If he does his bat could make the Astros an instant contender.

Last Season's Stats:

AAA: .343 AVG, 20 HR, 77 RBI
ML: .237 AVG, 20 HR, 57 RBI

CF- Alex Saitou - Another product of Tokyo this speedy CF managed to steal 32 bases last season. Although his bat leaves something to desire his speed and range make him a valuable addition to this club.

Last Season's Stats:

ML- .273 AVG, 2 HR, 56 RBI

RF- Sid Bryant - The reigning NL ROY and winner of the NL Silver Slugger Award hopes to avoid a sophomore slump of Rocky Spencer and Vince Young proportions. The Astros best player, and a member of the vaunted 85 club; Sid stole a team high 36 bases.

Last Season's Stats:

ML: .317 AVG, 19 HR, 76 RBI


LF - Larry Cuddyer
3B - Juan Aramboles
C- Gregory McMillan

Projected Pitching Staff:

SP1- Clay Griffith - As the Astros' best pitcher last season Clay hopes that his offense can provide him with more runs to turn some of the many no decisions he had last year into wins.

Last Season's Stats:

12 W, 4 L, 4.10 ERA

SP2- Tuck Buck - The enormous contract given to Tuck in the off-season as a free agent has earned him the nickname Money Bags from his teammates. Making 15.5 million dollars a year Tuck represents nearly a third of the team's 48 million dollar payroll. Some say Tuck didn't earn the money, some say Tuck is too old, some say the only reason they gave him the money is because his name is Buck. One thing is certain about this pitcher; he has more money than you do.

Last Season's Stats:

10 W, 8 L, 4.46 ERA

SP 3- Willie Espinosa - As the future ace of the Astros staff this flame throwing Dominican drew the largest payday for an international prospect in league history with an 18 million dollar signing bonus last season. In his 20 combined games last season Willie showed a desire and the ability to strike out any and all hitters. The future of this club rests on his amazing left arm.

Last Season's Stats:

AA: 3 W, 0 L, 3.41 ERA
AAA: 2 W, 2 L, 5.18 ERA
ML: 2 W, 4 L, 4.70 ERA

SP 4- Dan Hitchcock - Acquired via trade this off-season Dan could be great 4th pitcher for this staff. However, Dan has never pitched a game in the ML and will be expected to start all season long. Little know fact: If you remove the first five letters of Dan's last name you get a funny word.

Last Season's Stats:

High A: 6 W, 0 L, 1.26 ERA
AA: 6 W, 4 L, 3.99 ERA
AAA: 1 W, 2 L, 3.99 ERA

SP 5- Steve Crow - Once considered the teams best young pitcher and future ace Steve suffered a devastating and season ending injury last year, which may have derailed his career. Steve was expected to be out for the majority of the upcoming season, possibly until May. With the help of his newest training buddy, mid season acquisition, Miguel Tejada and his magical B-12 shots Steve appears ready to begin this season as perhaps the best number 5 pitcher in the league.

Last Season's Stats:

ML: 10 W, 11 L, 4.63 ERA


LRA: Ralph Erickson - Mr. Reliable

LRB: Graham Maxwell - Mr. Coffee

LRB: Edgar Trajano - The Poet

LRB: Willie Wagner - Big Willie

SUA: Gaylord Ward - Gaylord

SUB: Wiki Plata - Wikipedia

SUB: Louie Lee - Big Lou

Closer: Vinny Post - Mr. Untouchable

Team Preview Atlanta Pork N Beans

Last season was a season to remember for the Pork N Beans. After an inconsistent regular season they stormed through the playoffs beating some of the NL's best teams to win the NL championship. They fell short to hot a Slobs team in the World Series 4 games to 2. This season the PnB's hope to build upon last seasons success with one of the youngest teams in the league.

Projected Line Up:
C - Max Lima - Lima is a young (only 21 years old), talented catcher who was signed midway through last season. He will be pressed into duty as the PnB's starting catcher in his first full season in the league. His defense leaves a lot to be desired, but should be solid at the plate. It remains to be seen if this 21 year old can handle the pressure of catching for one of the top teams in the NL.
Last seasons stats:
AAA - .384 avg, 8 HR, 26 RBI (21 games)
ML - .299 avg, 4 HR, 18 RBI (22 games)

1B - Zoltan Mercedes - At only 24 years old Zoltan solidified his position as one of the leagues top young 1B last season. His bat will be crucial to the success of the PnBs.
Last season stats:
ML - .350 avg, 35 HR, 106 RBI

2B - David Colin - Colin is another young and talented player who is expected to start at 2B in place of last years starter Chin Hui Hernandez. Last season he split time at 2B and OF. He is solid at the plate and in the field.
ML - .285 avg, 24 HR, 80 RBI

SS - Verno Rooney - Rooney is another of the PnB's young and talented players. He had a solid regular season, but struggled in the playoffs.
Last season stats:
ML - .286 avg, 18 HR, 66 RBI, 78 R, 13 SB

3B - Slash Kroeger - Last season was a breakthrough year for this young 23 year old 3B in his second full season in the majors. However, he struggled to get going in the playoffs hitting only .194.
Last season stats:
ML - .280 avg, 23 HR, 90 RBI, 85 R

LF - Harry Delgado - Delgado is one of the few veterans on this team at 29 years of age. He is recognized as one of the top power hitting LFers in the game. He struggled in the post season managing only a .221 avg.
Last season stats:
ML - .272 avg, 36 HR, 119 RBI, 86 R

CF - Pedro Fernandez - Fernandez may be best remembered for his crucial error that cost the PnBs a World Series game. At only 24 years of age he has plenty of time to make up for that error. His regular season numbers dropped off in season 6, but he is expected to return to form for season 7.
Last season stats:
ML - .255 avg, 19 HR, 76 RBI, 93 R, 15 SB

RF - David Guardado - An international signing in season 5. He split time last season in AAA and the majors. Guarardo really came alive in the playoffs, hitting .345 with two HR and 9 RBIs. This is expected to be the 20 year olds first full season the majors. The PnBs expect Guarardo to develop into one of the top hitting RF in the league.
Last season stats:
AAA - .332 avg, 13 HR, 66 RBI, 68 R (66 games)
ML - .292 avg, 5 HR, 27 RBI, 29 R, (56 games)

2B/1B/LF - Raymond Neal
C - Vince Fyhrie
IF/OF - Don Vernon
CF/1B - Catfish Crawford

Projected Rotation:
SP1 - Bubba Rose - In his second full season in the majors Rose had a solid season. He was dominate in the post season going 3 - 0 with a 1.91 era. He is expected to improve this season.
Last season stats:
12 - 9, 4.55 era, 132 K's

SP2 - Omar Polonia - Polonia had his best season in the majors last season. He was stellar in the playoffs winning 4 of his 5 starts with a 2.25 era.
Last season stats:
ML - 15 - 9, 3.87 era, 125 K's

SP3 - Michael Ming - Ming started the season in AAA and finished in the majors. He had a decent regular season and a stellar post season going 1 - 0 with a .95 era in 3 starts.
Last season stats:
AAA: 3 - 2, 4.25 era, 41 K's (6 starts)
ML: 9 - 6, 4.45 era, 72 K's (24 starts)

SP4 - R.J. Lunar - Lunar is a veteran who had a solid regular season, but struggled in the post season.
Last season stats:
ML - 13 - 10, 3.98 era, 132 K's

SP5 - Cookie Almanza - Almanza is a recent addition to the PnB's. Last season he played with the Deuce Droppers. This will be his first season as a full time starter in the majors.
Last season stats:
AAA: 1 - 2, 5.25 era, 21 K's
ML: 6 - 2, 4.45 era, 75 K's

LR - Aaron Ohka
LR - Ted Stark
LR - Max White
Set up - Willard Farley
Set up - Heath O'Brien
Set up - Joey Henderson
Set up - Keith Bynum
Closer - Louis Bunch

All Time Records - Hitting

Monday, February 18, 2008

Latest Poll Results - NL Tougher Division

Although AL teams have won the last five World Series titles the NL was declared the stronger division. In a recent poll asking which of the two leagues were stronger the NL received 10 votes, and the AL 9.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

All Time Records - Pitching