Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tejada admits to being two years older than he had said

Age ain't nothing but a number, unless you're Miguel Tejada.

The Houston Astros pitcher told the Monterrey Corn Dogs when he was signed out of the Dominican Republic in Season 1 that he was 22. But he was actually 24, meaning he is now 30, two years older than his listed age in the Astros' media guide and other baseball records.

The pitcher made his admission after being approached Tuesday by ESPN.

Earlier in the interview, before being presented with the birth certificate, Tejada was asked how old he was. His answer was "29" -- which is neither his real age nor his listed age.

Information from The Associated Press and ESPN was used in this report.

Miguel Tejada
Age: 28B/T: R/R
Born: Barahona, DO
Position(s): P (SuB)
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Heine Watch

Poor Heine has been a butt of many jokes since he was sent to Houston, so why not pick on him one last time this season (actually this should be second now that the Reds were eliminated again from the playoffs). Heine played 113 games in LF for Houston much of the season and actually performed better than many expected. He had 145 PO and only recorded 7 errors and 4 minus plays. The problem being that someone needs to tell him what the warning track is used for (grounds crew is getting tired of patching the wall) and how to hit a cut off man (though the SS is getting tired of running half way out into LF all the time even on a routine fly ball with no one on and that the SS does not look like the ball girl, though we are not sure about that one). Hitting wise he did what every one expected, 153 hits with 45 home runs (better than his fielding stats), 14 doubles (though most of them were ground rule) and 1 triple (the double carom shot into the corner), 117 RBI, 95 runs scored (we think this was done by questionable accounting, though it is only 50 more than the home run total), 52 walks (most intentional) and 55 strikeouts (induced by catcher asking about the woman he was with when the Swingers were in town). Was only on the DL once for 15 days with a sprained ankle (rumor has it that it was incurred when Barbara Wahwa (Channel 5 News) asked about his liaisons with Jaun Castro and Al Johnson).

Top 5 Worst Single Season Wins

Little Rock Razorbacks 13 - 149 Season 2

San Francisco Giants 19 - 143 Season 2

San Diego SCREWBALLS 19 - 143 Season 5

Tampa Bay Devil Rays 21 - 141 Season 2

San Juan Coquis 24 - 138 Season 3

Bottom 5 Franchises – Lifetime Wins

Omaha Larrupin Lous 408
Los Angeles Dodgers
Tacoma Tadpoles
San Francisco Giants

Rochester Flurries 423
Baltimore devils
Scranton Mountaineers
Indianapolis Indians
Baltimore Orioles

Houston Astros 447
Texas Southern Yankees
St. Louis Browns
Nashville Knights
St. Louis Cardinals

Charleston Hestons 459
Kansas City Klash
Little Rock Razorbacks
Kansas City Royals

Pittsburgh Pirates 463
Columbus Clippers
Baltimore Orioles
Boston finfever
Norfolk Mets
Pittsburgh Pirates

Top 5 Franchises – Lifetime Wins

Cincinnati Reds 744
Cleveland Indians
Chicago Cubs

Austin Deuce Droppers 735
Wichita Wranglers

Florida Marlins 724

Las Vegas Slobs 705
Anaheim Angels

Milwaukee Brewers 684

Top 10 Owners – Lifetime Wins

kilgore 724 7 seasons
dilo 684 7 seasons
erffdogg 652 6 seasons
rwilson 649 7 seasons
northerngaul 636 7 seasons
VegasBombers 628 6 seasons
SLOBS 617 6 seasons
josepaco 548 6 seasons
dreyf 499 6 seasons
keebo00 446 6 seasons

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Minor League World Series Analysis


#1 Las Vegas Slobs (100-44) vs #4 Cincinnati Reds (84-60)

This seems to be an unlikely match up for a WS, but it is the way the ball bounces sometimes that propels a team onward. The Slobs powered their way in with pitching while the Reds with hitting. The Slobs feature their AAA Cy Young and Fireman of the Year
award winners. Expect a lot of close games in this series.

Offense: Edge to the Reds - Season Avg: Slobs: .284 Reds: .309
Defense: Edge to the Slobs - Season Avg: Slobs: .986 Reds: .984
Pitching: Edge to the Slobs - Season Avg: Slobs: 4.57 Reds: 5.40
Coaching: Edge to the Slobs

Key to Victory: Whoever gets the timely hits or lucky bounces will win this series.

Odds: No Line
Although it seemingly shows the Slobs as the better team, the Slobs has not shown they can hit consistently with their unimpressive .284 season and .222 post season totals.

Game 1: Reds 1 Slobs 4
Game 2: Reds 5 Slobs 2
Game 3: Reds 6 Slobs 2
Game 4: Reds 3 Slobs 4
Game 5: Reds 4 Slobs 8
Game 6: Reds 6 Slobs 2
Game 7: Reds 3 Slobs 4

Slobs 4 to 3


#2 Rochester Flurries (86-58) vs #2 Omaha Larrupin Lous (95-49)

The Flurries bring their AA Cy Young award winner and a runner up while the Lous have 2 runner ups. This could well be the best minor league WS match up. Although the hitting edge extremely favors the Lous, post season play has seen the Flurries out hit everyone and just the reverse in the pitching. This series could very well boil down to home field advantage. Expect a couple close games and a couple blowouts on both sides.

Offense: Edge to the Lous - Season Avg: Flurries : .296 Lous: .321
Defense: Even - Season Avg: Flurries : .980 Lous: .981
Pitching: Edge to the Flurries - Season Avg: Flurries : 4.34 Lous: 4.53
Coaching: Even

Key to Victory: The key to any teams success is who can pitch, hit and play defense the best consistently. Both teams in essence do that.

Odds: Lous 2 to 1
Lous are favored due to their season record only.

Game 1: Flurries 5 Lous 6 13 innings
Game 2: Flurries 17 Lous 7
Game 3: Flurries 3 Lous 2 14 innings
Game 4: Flurries 3 Lous 4
Game 5: Flurries 5 Lous 7
Game 6: Flurries 19 lous 15
Game 7: Flurries 7 Lous 6 14 innings

Flurries 4 to 3

Hi A

#2 Monterrey Corn Dogs (95-94) vs Cincinnati Reds (104-40)

What box scores will look like in this WS should be long and exciting. This series could boil down to which pitching staff can best keep the ball in the park.

Offense: Edge to the Reds - Season Avg: Corn Dogs: .322 Reds: .330
Defense: Edge to the Reds - Season Avg: Corn Dogs: .972 Reds: .982
Pitching: Edge to the Corn Dogs - Season Avg: Corn Dogs: 5.06 Reds: 5.25
Coaching: Edge to the Corn Dogs

Key to Victory: Reds pitching must shut down the Corn Dogs power hitters. Corn Dogs pitching must shut off the Reds hitting attack and hold down the free bases.

Odds: Corn Dogs 3 to 1
Although the break down shows an even match up and the Reds with a better record. Gamblers Anonymous says the Corn Dogs two Silver Sluggers will make the difference.

Game 1: Corn Dogs 9 Reds 11
Game 2: Corn Dogs 1 Reds 3
Game 3: Corn Dogs 7 Reds 10
Game 4: Corn Dogs 9 Reds 10

Reds sweep

Lo A

Rochester Flurries (119-25) vs #1 Chicago Cubs (95-49)

Could have a good match up with the Lo A AL and NL Cy Young award winners going head to head in game 1! However, the Flurries put 3 great runner ups in the rotation after that. The name of the game in this series is pitching and the Flurries has tooooooooooo much. I wouldn't expect the Cubs to score many runs as the Flurries didn't give up many and a 1.34 team WHIP doesn't help.

Offense: Edge to the Cubs - Season Avg: Flurries : .321 Cubs: .327
Defense: Edge to the Flurries - Season Avg: Flurries : .985 Cubs: .969
Pitching: Edge to the Flurries - Season Avg: Flurries: 3.70 Cubs: 4.89
Coaching: Edge to the Flurries

Key to Victory: Cubs must be flawless to win, Flurries just need to do what they do best.

Odds: Flurries 5 to 1

Game 1: Cubs 6 Flurries 3 Where was pitching match up?
Game 2: Cubs 8 Flurries 7
Game 3: Cubs 1 Flurries 2
Game 4: Cubs 6 Flurries 12
Game5: Cubs 3 Flurries 25
Game6: Cubs 3 Flurries 8

Flurries 4 to 2

Rookie League

#1 Texas Rangers (57-19) vs #1 Pittsburgh Pirates (65-11)

Both teams led their respective leagues in almost every category. The difference between the two is maturity. Most of the Rangers are youngsters just out of high school where the Pirates are college grads or junior college.

Offense: Edge to the Pirates - Season Avg: Rangers: .328 Pirates: .367
Defense: Even - Season Avg: Rangers: .972 Pirates: .974
Pitching: Edge to the Pirates - Season Avg: Rangers: 5.74 Pirates: 4.28
Coaching: Even

Key to Victory: Pitching must shut down the strong offenses, the team that does will win. Expect high scoring games.

Odds: Pirates 3 to 2

Game 1: Rangers 6 Pirates 10
Game 2: Rangers 6 Pirates 8
Game 3: Rangers 2 Pirates 6 13 innings
Game 4: Rangers 11 Pirates 7
Game 5: Rangers 11 Pirates 6
Game 6: Rangers 10 Pirates 13

Pirates 4 to 2

Monday, April 21, 2008

Ramblings of an idiot..

It was a great season for all I think. Most of the owners chipped in with quips, barbs and some memorable quotes throughout the season (though the NL more than the AL). I can understand the AL being a bit on the quiet side though, looks like a dog-eat-dog world over there and they need to concentrate. We have a great core of owners and I hope you all come back. Some awards that should be handed out:

Most Improved Team AL: Texas Rangers
Most Improved Team NL: (tie actually) Houston Astros and New York Mets
Most Disappointed Team AL: Minnesota Twins (1st to last in a heated division or was it the name change?)
Most Disappointed Team NL: Milwaukee Brewers (thought they could over take Chicago)
Most Futile AL: (tie)
Rochester Flurries and Salt Lake City Multiple Spouses
Most Futile NL: Pittsburgh Pirates
*note: The Flurries may have set a record going 21 - 32 in 1 run games. Is that futile or frustrating? hmmmm turn that around and your in the playoffs and maybe the division winner.

Next season division profile:

AL North: This could be anyones division next year, they are all on an even keel.
AL East: Yankees all of a sudden has lots of competition.
AL South: DD's and CD's better not get complacent, your rivals are knocking on the door.
AL West: If the Slobs slip, there are 3 teams ready to pounce.

NL North: Ok, so it could take a while to knock the Reds off their perch, but Rule V and multi million dollar salaries could eventually take their toll. The Brewers could over take the Cubs next year.
NL East: Once the whipping post for the rest of the NL suddenly has teams no one wants to face. It will be a battle as to whom comes out on top next season.
NL South: Watch the Heat be in the middle of this slugfest next year.
NL West: 4 teams that can win it all.

Predictions for next year (and don't hold me to this!!!):

AL North: Could be any of the 4, I like the 'Cudas though
AL East: Flurries (sorry rwilson, more massages will be needed)
AL South: egads...DD's again and 2 of the wild cards also, which 2 of the 3 will it be?
AL West:
Any of the 4, I like the Queerbaits and or the Logs

NL North: Reds of course and the Stangs as a wild card...someone may need to rebuild a bit.
NL East: 4 horse race...no favorite not because I am in this division either
NL South: Swingers with the Heat a close second..yeah, they are getting poised
NL West: Lous...surprised?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

AA Playoffs


Washington sweeps the DD's and currently sweeping the Slobs. OOh what an upset as the Senators couldn't win at home.

St Louis eats the Corn Dogs 3 games to 2 as home field ruled the series, but finding a chilly reception in Rochester. Flurries chill the 'Cudas.

Slobs vs Flurries should be a great series!

AA Line2: No Line

AA Line: Washington 4 to 5 odds for an upset bid.
*note: These were good odds


Houston lose to the Reds in 5 as home field ruled this fantastic close series.

Omaha sweep the Buccos, but then Pirate management left the cupboard bare.

AA Line: Reds as 4 to 1 favorites.
*note: Line holds even though the Lous whitewashed the Reds in game 1

AA WS Line: Flurries vs Reds 3 to 2 odds. Reds 4 to 1 favorites

Friday, April 18, 2008

AAA Playoffs


Queerbaits faced the powerful Slobs in round 2. Slobs may not have swept but the Queerbaits got caught keeping the base paths clean.

Twinkies creamy center caught the DD's by surprise in the desert.

The Line: Slobs sweep their way into the AAA WS as 4 to 1 favorites at this point.
*note: the line holds.


Reds steamed the Pork n' Beans and should have plenty of gas to cause Mayhem in Salem.

Houston couldn't score and when they did came up short as Salem wins 3 close games.

The Line: Call Gamblers Anonymous for this one! Reds pitching holds up for 3 to 2 odds.
*note: So far so good

Current AAA WS line: Slobs VS Reds at 1 to 1 odds with the Reds losing (sound familiar?)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Pirate rumors abound!!!

After the announcement of Thomas Baxter being named the backup catcher after last nights game, one in which he threw out 2 theft artists. Ok, so it took two tries to get one of them. But he said the second time he noticed the player "twitch" before the pitch and changed to a pitch out and nailed him at third. The pitching staff threw him a party, realizing he can call a great game as the Pirates stopped Omaha with 9 scattered hits in a 1 - 0 win. However with all the rejoicing and knowing that Pirate management called up almost every available player from the minors (something they have never done), some players are just a little somber. Hunter Tomlinson (team captain), who took a big pay cut to retire in Pittsburgh seemed a little on the worried side, said " I don't think they would have gave me the long term contract if they were gonna trade me, but some of my friends that I have made here are just a bit antsy." and added "Most of them should be a little more worried than others, including the pitching staff."

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Power Rankings

1. Chicago Cubs - After a slow start to the season the Cubs are now within 1 game of the Reds in the NL North. They have been the hottest team in the league since the all star game. Definitely a team many in the NL will fear in the playoffs.
Record: 97 - 50
Previous Ranking: 3

2. Cincinnati Reds - The Reds have the best record in the league, and the best pitching in the league. They will need to step it up if they hope to beat the Cubs in the NL North though. The division could come down to their last series of the season against the Cubs. The real test for the Reds will be the playoffs where they have struggled the past few seasons.
Record: 98 - 49
Previous Ranking: 1

3. Florida Marlins - The Marlins have a small 3 game lead over the Swingers in the NL South. They play their final season series against the Swingers, so it it possible the division may not be decided until the final game.
Record: 96 - 51
Previous Ranking: 2

4. Louisville Swingers - The Swingers are catching the Marlins in the NL South, but have a tough schedule ahead. Their final 4 series includes 4 of the best in the NL: Reds, Pork N Beans, Marlins, and Astros.
Record: 93 - 54
Previous Ranking: 4

5. Monterrey Corn Dogs - The CD's are battling the Deuce Droppers for the best record in the AL. The CD's currently hold a slim 1 game lead over the DD's. They split the first 2 games of a 3 game series against the DD's. They do play two more 4 game series against teams battling to make it in the playoffs, so it may be tough for them to win the division.
Record: 88 - 59
Previous Ranking: 6

6. Austin Deuce Droppers - The DD's have been decent but not spectacular since the all star game. They will need their bullpen to improve if they have any shot at a 5th title.
Record: 87 - 58
Previous Ranking: 5

7. Atlanta Pork N Beans - The PnB's are winning again after struggling in series against the Reds and Larrupin Lous. The PnB's are a virtual lock for the playoffs with a 13 game lead over the Pirates in the NL East. At this point they are only hoping to heat in the playoffs.
Record: 84 - 63
Previous Ranking: 8

8. Las Vegas Slobs - This seasons Slobs are eerily similar to last season Slobs that won their first title. They limped through the first half of the season. Now they are one the hottest teams in the league. This should scare the rest of the playoff bound AL teams.
Record: 82 - 65
Previous Ranking: 10

9. Houston Astros - The Astros have been decimated by injuries to some of their top players. They are only 5 games back of the Swingers of the final playoff spot, and with the Swingers tough schedule ahead it is entirely possible that they could make the playoffs. Regardless of how this team finishes the Astros owner has managed one of the most respectable turnarounds of any franchise in league history.
Record: 88 - 59
Previous Ranking: 9

10 (tie). Toronto Blue Jays - The Blue Jays have struggled all season with consistency. They now have a comfortable 7 game lead in the ultra competitive AL North.
Record: 83 - 64
Previous Ranking: Unranked

10 (tie). Milwaukee Brewers - The Brewers have been virtually eliminated from the playoffs, but this has been a solid season for a such a young team in one of the toughest divisions. They are currently in a series with the Reds, and have an upcoming series against the Cubs. These 2 series could decide the outcome of the NL North.
Record: 82 - 65
Previous Ranking: 7

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Trade Analysis: Pirates

Seemed like a good thing to discuss. The Pirates, who rarely makes a trade, actually made 2 this year.

The first involved LA sending Troy Jeter to Pittsburgh for Tony Jacquez. This didn't seem like much of a trade then and maybe never will materialize into anything. LA receives a better young player, so why the trade? The key to the trade was that the Pirates had no ready 3B depth at the ML level. The intention was to waive Vicente Trajano and move Jeter into his spot, but contract implications negated this idea along with Jeter's health concerns. However Jeter became a ready made replacement if Trajano went on the DL. Jeter did have career year in AA whereas Jacquez had his typical so-so year.

The second, initiated by the Brew Crew, saw
John Ramirez, Randy Halladay, and Jacob Maxwell pack their bags for Pittsburgh. While the Pirates sent young closer Howard Inge and 1B Dwight Day to Milwaukee. Inge may be a ML closer in the end, though the Pirates were never that high on the kid. Day on the other hand is a stellar defensive 1B, though he couldn't hit a bowl with a ladle at the local soup kitchen. John, on the other hand, requested to be in this trade so he could be with his brother Denny. Jacob probably feels like the most unwanted player in the world, as he found new tickets at the counter for Salt Lake City during check in. Pirate management was drooling with anticipation from what they saw of Randy. It was left to the AAA coaching staff to find the problem (as Brewer management put it "he stinks up the joint here"). It took half the season to find out what the real problem was, would have helped if he told us first. He just wanted to be in the lime light so to speak. He excelled as an over zealous closer and was even better in a starting roll. His call up to the ML team was inevitable, a little rocky at first, but has settled in quite well in the starting rotation.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Deal Analysis: Cubs vs. Brewers

Earlier this season, the Cubs and Brewers consummated an important deal that sent longtim Brewer ace Dwight Johnson to Chicago for COF/CIF prospect Matthew Hollins and pitching prospect Joaquin Villano.

At the time, many league pundits felt that the Cubs had overpaid for the 32-year old righthander, who is in his walk year and hasn't ever been as dominant as he was in Season One when he won Rookie of the Year and Cy Young in posting the best season in league history at 20-1 and helping the Brewers win the tougher National League and then the World Series.

Since the deal, the Cubs have locked up Johnson for three more years totaling nearly $17mm. So the folks in Chicago believe that Johnson can pitch at a high level for many more seasons.

Now that we're at the season's 3/4 pole, it's worth checking in on the deal.

Johnson is 13-4, matching last year's win total, and on pace for around 18 wins, which will certainly put him among the league leaders. His WHIP is a very respectable 1.29, but his ERA is hovering around 4 (3.99 at press time). This is almost certainly based on the fact that since Season Four (18 HR in 216 IP), Johnson has not been able to keep the ball in the ballpark as effectively, despite a rating of 81. This year, he's on pace to give up around 33 home runs, his third straight season north of 30. But ultimately, Johnson will be measured on whether or not he can pitch the Cubs to the playoffs, and can ge be depended on to matchup with the Cincinnati Studs on the mound. Historically, Johnson has pitched well against the Reds, generally earning a draw at the top of the rotation. But with his numbers trending down, he'll need to reach back for some of that old Brewers magic.

On the flip side, the two players that joined the Milwaukee organization are barely out of diapers. The key to the deal for the Brewers is Matthew Hollins, a 20-year old mustacheod slugger that projects as a 1B/COF player. While he needs to get better against RHP, he kills lefties, has great power, and is very selective at the plate. He can also run a little bit. The plan with Hollins was to have him play at AAA all season, and then join the big club in Season Eight. And in 158 ABs at AAA, Hollins had an OPS of .994. But with the Brewers challenged for runs early on, Hollins got the call and enjoyed modest success at the Big League level. Playing almost exclusively against lefties, Hollins has posted .309-7-26 numbers in 178 ABs. He has an OPS of .917 (OBP of .411) and has even swiped six bases. He still needs a couple more seasons of seasoning and then he may be ready to be a 30+ home run guy.

At 19, and with a longer road to hoe, Villano is a longer term prospect. Without a high-end pitch, there was some question about the fuss made over his inclusion of the deal. Still, the Brewers like to stockpile pitching depth, and Villano does have some nice upside. He has good control, is tough on both lefties and righties, and has decent velocity. In addition to not having a "plus" pitch, he also has trouble with the long ball. Although he was Cub property, Villano actually started his minor league career this year with the Brewers and was assigned to AA. As is the organizational philosophy, he pitched 100 innings as a starter at AA before the brass would conduct its first evaluation. Apparently, they saw something others did not, for with a 5-7 record and an ERA of 5.56 (1.66 WHIP), he was promoted to AAA where he was immediately installed as the #1 starter. There, the young Venezuelan has fared even worse. Though his record is 3-3, his ERA is 6.39 and his WHIP is 1.82. He's given up 7 homers in just 38 innings and opponents are hitting .359 against him. The hope is that Villano will improve more at the AAA level, and will be ready to join the Big Brewers after two more minor league seasons.

So overall, the trade is panning out much as it was advertised to start with. The built-to-win-now, contenting Cubs are getting a very solid performance from Dwight Johnson, and should continue to get 13-17 wins out of him for another three seasons. However, his performance is clearly in decline and the halcyon days of 20-1 are over.

On the flip side, the Hollins has been a surprise, if modest, contributor at the major league level for the Brewers, but is still two seasons away from being a middle-of-the-lineup anchor. Villano is 2-3 seasons away from any consideration of being called up.

So looking at the Trade Grader, we have to rate this one as: Even

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Power Rankings

1. Cincinnati Reds - The Reds continue to be the most dominant team in the league. Yamil Pulido is having one of the best seasons in league history. They have struggled lately against stronger opponents, going 3 -6 against the Pork N Beans, Swingers, and Marlins over the past week.
Record: 83 - 39
Previous Ranking: 1

2. Florida Marlins - The Marlins are currently only 3 games back of the Reds for the best record in the league. They took 2 of 3 against the Reds in a series that ended today. Omar Elcano is having a great season, but has struggled in his last two starts. The Marlins will need Elcano to return to form is they expect to catch the Reds.
Record: 80 - 42
Previous Ranking: 2

3. Chicago Cubs - After a relatively slow start the season, the Cubs now have the 3rd best record in the league. They have been one of the hottest teams in the league since the all star break. The Cubs are currently 7 games back of the Reds in the NL North, and tied with the Swingers atop the wild card standings.
Record: 76 - 46
Previous Ranking: 8

4. Louisville Swingers - The Swingers continue to play well. They took 2 of 3 against the Reds earlier in the week. They are currently 4 games back of the Marlins in the NL South. The Swingers have one of the toughest schedules over the last week of the season with series against the Brewers, Astros, Reds, Pork N Beans, and Marlins. It is crucial that the Swingers continue to play well because the Astros are only 3 games back.
Record: 76 - 46
Previous Ranking: 5

5. Austin Deuce Droppers - The DD's continue to battle the Corn Dogs for the best record in the AL. The DD's bullpen has struggled all season. The addition of
Victor Blanco has helped, but they will need guys like David Johnson, and Hipolito Palacios to improve if they expect to win another World Series title.
Record: 75 - 47
Previous Ranking: 3

6. Monterrey Corn Dogs - The CD's are having a great season, but they continue to battle with the DD's in the AL South. They have struggled a bit this last week. If they expect to win the South they will need to improve these last few weeks of the regular season.
Record: 75 - 47
Previous Ranking: 4

7. Milwaukee Brewers - The Brewers struggled following the all star game. They are playing well now, and are still within striking distance of a wild card spot. They are currently 6 games back of the Cubs and Swingers in the wild card standings.
Record: 70 - 52
Previous Ranking: 9

8. Atlanta Pork N Beans - The PnBs reappear in the power rankings after falling out for most of the season. They have been one of the best teams in the league since the all star break, going 26 - 4 over their last 30 games. This week they managed to take 3 of 4 against the Marlins, and 2 of 3 against the Reds.
Record: 69 - 53
Previous Ranking: Unranked

9. Houston Astros - The Astros have struggled a bit since the loss of Sid Bryant. Even though the Astros have struggled, they remain only 3 games back of the Cubs and Swingers in the wild card standings. With Sid coming back soon, they have a real shot at grabbing one of the two wild card spots and making the playoffs.
Record: 73 - 49
Previous Ranking: 6

10. Las Vegas Slobs - Last seasons World Series champs struggled throughout the 1st half season. They were below .500 for most of the first half. They managed to right the ship and now have a comfortable 10 game lead in the AL West. If they continue to play this well, they could find themselves playing for another World Series title.
Record: 67 - 55
Previous Ranking: Unranked

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The IFA Bonus Babies

1. Ramon Ishida, 2B, 18 Toronto Blue Jays Triple-A Level $12.2M
Analysis: A very good 2B and will hit for a very high average. Could play 1ST, RF or LF very well and even a good backup at any IF/OF position. Biggest drawback is durability and learning curve.
My Rating: 8.0

Victor Aguilera, P, 21 Dover Stangs High A Level $9.0M
Analysis: Currently training as a Closer, however could become a Long Reliever to a Setup pitcher. Although Long Reliever could be a stretch for his 2 pitches. Could easily close all 162 games if need be and not stretch him to his limits.
My Rating 10.0

Al Ramirez, 2B, 21 Omaha Larrupin Lous Double-A Level $8.0M
Analysis: Could play any IF/OF position as primary or backup. An above average hitter with some power. Might find the DL a time or two in his career.
My Rating: 9.0

Karim Quevedo, SS, 18 Pittsburgh Pirates Double-A Level $7.7M
Analysis: Once this kid gets to the ML, will terrorize pitchers and steal hits away from batters. Can play any IF/OF position, will hit for average with power to spare.
My Rating: 9.5

Norberto Reyes, 1B, 18 Salem Mayhem High A Level $7.1M
Analysis: So-So 1B, but a blistering DH.
My Rating: 8.0

Orlando Moreno, P, 18 St. Louis Barracudas Rookie League $6.0M
Analysis: Should be a very capable Long Reliever and spot Starter. Will need a good catcher to guide him through the rough spots.
My Rating: 7.5

Esteban Valentin, SS, 19 Omaha Larrupin Lous Double-A Level $5.5M
Analysis: Can play any IF/OF position as primary position. Hitting wise, could have a good average with lots of singles and doubles.
My Rating: 8.5

Hector DeLeon, 2B, 20 Monterrey Corn Dogs Low A Level $5.0M
Analysis: Chances are that he will make his way to the ML as a LF/RF and a backup 2B. Very good hitting wise with power.
My Rating: 9.0

Tomas Nieves, C, 18 Austin Deuce Droppers Double-A Level $4.8M
Analysis: As a catcher will never make an ML roster, that leaves the DH role for his future. Pitchers beware, you may never get a ball in the strike zone past him.
My Rating: 6.0 (only because he sucks at his primary position)

Ramon Fujiwara, P, 18 Salem Mayhem Low A Level $4.4M
Analysis: Has command of 3 good pitches but not the control. Time will tell how good this hard off speed pitcher may be.
My Rating: 6.5

Rico Eusebio, P, 18 Dover Stangs Double-A Level $4.0M
Analysis: Above average 4 pitch fly ball pitcher. Will make the ML roster as a Starter.
My Rating: 7.0

Best IFA cheap theft:
Pedro Martin, C, 20 Texas Rangers High A Level $809K
Analysis: His durability turned a lot off GM's off about this player. However, 60 to 70 games a season in split duty with another catcher is the case here. His defense and pitch calling coupled with his heavy hitting ability against lefties makes him the steal of the IFA's so far.