Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Game 2 - Kyle Forster's two run shot in the 8th erases a 1 run deficit to beat the Pirates for the first time this season. Pirate pitching is a little shell shocked after the game as they only gave up 5 hits and 2 walks, 3 of the hits were home runs.
Game 3 - Grant Simon pitched 6 solid innings before turning the 5 -3 lead over to the Pirate pen. However, the pen didn't hold the lead long as the Ball hogs fought back with everything they had. In the top of the 10th, Ben Riggs 2 run shot made the difference as Kory Governale got Rich Torres to fly out with the bases loaded in the bottom half of the inning. The game featured 22 runs on 30 hits, most of which came after the 6th inning.
Atlanta: Game 1 - The Pork n' Beans were cruising to a win until the fateful 6th inning affair. Yes, GM, Keebo, was thrown out in the 5th. As the Atlanta pen cried wolf in the 6th, 3 pitchers was used to try and stem the bleeding. Louis Bunch was brought in specifically to pitch to Randy Lamb, who had already hit a two run shot earlier. With the Mets now in the lead, it was decided they would pitch to Lamb but not give him anything to hit. However, the first pitch nailed Randy in the back that excited a bench clearing brawl, luckily only a little pride and a few bruises was the only hurt. In this reporters view, the pitch was deliberate and will there be suspensions?
Game 2 - Atlanta wins their 1st game as Bubba Rose goes 7 2/3 innings for the win. The PnB's pen averted disaster in the 9th as Randy Lamb grounded into a fielder choice and Jorge Nieves flied out with 2 runs in and the tying runs aboard. GM, Keebo, was not thrown out of game since his bench coach was on suspension for last nights altercations.
Game 3 - Mets melt in 6th inning as 9 PnB's score, but the damage could have been minimal if it wasn't for Tony Valenzuela 's misplay of a routine fly ball ( he said he tripped in a gopher hole). The play of the game was in the 4th inning though, as Harry Delgado's perfect throw from medium right field nailed Albert Chavez at home plate, who was trying to score from second base on a hit and run.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Next up for Atlanta: Home vs Mets
Next up for Pittsburgh: Away vs Ball Hogs
Channel 8 News Trenton: Trenton hosted the Mets for their opening four game set. In game 1 New York showed they have the talent it takes to win, as Hawk Reed gave up a seeing eye single in the 3rd inning to Marc Washburn allowing Otis Cannon to score for Trentons lone run. The first run scored under new GM WHOLCK tenure. Joey Yount's 3 run blast in the 6th ended any hope of a Ball Hog win. Game 2 saw the Ball Hogs come out with a vengeance as the Hogs teed off on starting pitcher, Olmedo Moreno, and the Met pen for 9 runs in the 3rd capped off by Kyle Forster's 2 run homer that erased a 2 run deficit. Game 3 was more of the same as as the Mets held it close till the 7th when Rich Torres's grand salami put it away, as a couple late runs by the Mets kept it from being a shutout. Game 4 saw the Mets unleash their hitting prowess scoring 13 times total as Jorel Woodson pitched 5 shutout innings giving up two lonely hits and striking out 5. Mets GM, Keebo, said "We have the talent, it just needs to be more consistent." Ball Hogs GM, WHLOCK, had a more sombering statement "I am not sure what we have in all reality, but it looks like we are not to be taken lightly."
Next up for New York: Away vs Pork n' Beans
Next up for Trenton: Home vs Pirates
Reporting for Channel 8 News: Barbara WaaWaa
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Key Additions: Pascual Cruz
Departures: Jacque Nixon
C: Pascual Cruz - Once again, the DD’s will look to a Rule 5 player to handle the catching duties. Cruz was claimed off waivers after being taken from the Pilots in the draft by the Multiple Spouses. He is out to show both those teams that they made a big mistake in letting him go. He is not the best defender or pitch caller, but has great potential at the plate.
1B: B.C. Bennett – In his first full season in the majors, B.C. hit 31 HR’s with 103 RBI’s and a .294 Avg. At just 23 years of age, he should be anchoring the middle of the DD’s lineup for years to come. Little known fact, Bennett was given his nickname by Dwight Johnson’s sister after she could not handle his large bat, B.C. = Big Cock.
2B: Jim Edmonds – The longtime CF for the DD’s, not the washed up OF playing for the Cubs,
3B: Blake Mathews – After clearing waivers at the beginning of spring training last year, Mathews decided to make every team regret the decision not to pick him up. How did he do, how about 49 HR’s, 139 RBI’s, 104 Runs and a respectable .265 Avg. He effectively gave all 31 teams the finger for passing on him.
SS: Will Yeats – The great-grandson of the Irish poet William Butler Yeats, he is known as the black sheep of the family for choosing baseball over a literary career. Yeats was called up to the big leagues as a result of Jacque Nixon going down for the year. Everyone knew that Yeats could play a mean SS, but no one expected the offense that he contributed. He finished the year with 10 HR’s, 49 RBI’s, and a .289 Avg in 113 games.
LF: Jorel Atkins – As the illegitimate son of the creator of the Atkins diet, the only meat that Jorel will not eat is the rotten tuna between the legs of Dwight Johnson’s sister. Started the year as the #2 hitter in the lineup, but after a slow start was moved to the #9 spot. He flourished in his new spot and finished with 25 HR’s, 93 RBI’s, 126 Runs, 64 SB’s, and a .271 Avg.
CF: Jimmie Bergman – Bergman had been the DD’s SS all his career, but was a part of the defensive shift that resulted from Nixon’s injury. Bergman had 38 HR’s, 107 RBI’s, 101 Runs and a .282 Avg.
RF: Vin Ibanez – Vin had another great year from the leadoff spot setting the table for the big sticks behind him and was rewarded with a 5 year, 32.5 million dollar contract in the offseason. He finished with 4 HR’s, 72 RBI’s, 106 Runs, 54 SB’s, and a .316 Avg.
DH: Fernando Armas – His MVP days are probably behind him, but Armas is still one of the most feared hitters in the league. He finished the season with 17 HR’s, 100 RBI’s, 33 SB’s, and a .376 Avg.
After losing his boyish good looks to plastic surgery gone wrong, O’Donnell left
SP1: Britt Swindell - Britt, son of former major leaguer Greg Swindell, is the teams ace. He had a solid season last year finishing 16 – 10 with a 3.51 era. This season Britt hopes to win his third CY Young award.
SP2: Russell Spence - Spence moves up to the number 2 spot this season. He was solid last season going 15 – 8 with a 3.80 era.
SP3: Chad Sanders - Sanders, brother of fictional 90210 character Steve Sanders, will start as the teams #3. This fprmer CY Young winner hopes to continue the success he had last season. Last season he was 14 – 9 with a 3.30 era in 32 starts.
SP4: Nicholas Perry - Illegimate brother of 90210 star Luke Perry returns as the teams #4. Perry is a reliable vet who has started 32 in each of his last 4 seasons. Last season he finished 13 – 12 with a 4.55 era.
SP5: Marty Stoops - Stoops spent most of last season in AAA going 8 – 8 with a 3.77 era. He was 3 – 0 in 3 starts last season in the majors.
LR: Hipolito Palacios - Future ace of the team. This 20 year old returns for his second season in the majors. Palacios was stellar in the playoffs last season with a 2.35 era in 15 innings.
LR: Dwayne Charleston -
LR: Victor Mendoza - The team has been waiting for
LR: Donald Tanaka - The teams former #5 starter moves to the bullpen. If he struggles expect to see him traded or on the waiver wire.
SU: Victor Blanco - Blanco was brought over from the Brewers last season. He was solid for the team with a 1.17 era in 15 innings.
SU: Doug Cambridge -
SU: Mark Carew - Carew hopes to improve in his second season in the majors. Last season he had a 4.65 era in 40 innings.
SU: Jeremy Russell - The virtually useless Russell pitched 25 innings last season with a 5.96 era.
Position Players - Starters
C - Tom Norton - excellent game management skills and plenty of power. Underperformed last season, but this is his walk year so management expects a big year from him.
1B - Jeffrey Abbott - hits for average with a little pop. Last season was hist first in the majors with a BA under .300. If age is catching up with Abbott, rule V pickup, John prinz appears ready to take over 1B
2B - Yamid Maranon - Management traded veteran 2B Al sanchez and blue chip C prospect Brett Perez to get Maranon during the off-season. Hopefully he'll prove to be worth it.
3B - Hayes Carasone - The Spouses expect big things from Carasone this season.He's got speed, a good eye and decent power. On top of that he is capable of gold glove type D at the hot corner
SS - Wes Kelly - Kelly was acquired during the off season to make the routine plays at short. The Spouses expect a .260 - ,270 average and 12 -15 dingers from him.
LF - Patsy Wheeler - veteran and team leader Wheeler should provide his capable D and a .280 average and 30 or so homers
CF - Jeff Brooks - Brooks was the favorite for the ROY award last season until he ran out of gas about 3/4 of the way through the season. Still his final numbers were impressive. .269 batting average, 34 homers, 46 steals, 100 runs scored and 96 RBIs. His gold glove caliber D in CF doesn't hurt either. The scary part is(at least for oppsoing teams) he's only going to get better
RF - Zephyr Roosevelt - another steady veteran presence, Roosevelt has plenty of talent to go with his cool name
Bench - Jacob Dale, Jeff Nixon, Fred Wilson, Harold bennett and John Prinz provide a versatile and good hitting bench.
Howard Barkley - Barkley has yet to live up to his potential. he has nasty stuff, good control and is durable. He has yet to put it all together and have the type of season the Spouses hope for from him.
AJ Davis - Davis was the Cy young favorite at the all star break last season. After partying too hard when he made the all star team, he had an awful second half.
Rob Cambridge - another guy who has trouble living up to his ratings
Justin Sadler - he performed exactly as expected last seaason. Hopefully he can be a very good 34 starter again this season
Vic Rogers - see above...same applies to Rogers
Peter Thomas is a dependable long reliever. He'll keep his team in the game if a starter falters early
JT Witt - Witt needs to perform better this season or he'll be looking for another job
Jorge Owen - a tough, dependable set up guy. Especially tough on right handers
Earl Miller - the Closer job is his to lose. has all the talent in the world, but he blwe 33% of his save opportunities last season, which is not impressive. The Spouses are hoping he'll be better with some experience under his belt.
Erubiel Beltre - if Miller can't cut it, beltre will be ready to reclaim his closer job.
All in all, the Multiple Spouses are looking to contend this season.
There are also rumors of a blockbuster deal in the works to bring a #1 starter to the Spouses
Friday, May 23, 2008
After coming out of nowhere to win a franchise high 93 games last season the Houston Astros have playoffs hopes for the first time. Entering their third year under new management the new GM was active once again. After trading away 9 minor league players during the off season the Astros acquired a new starting CF, a utility man, and the future of the franchise Everett Hill. The Astros appear loaded but face an uphill battle in the always stacked NL. In order for the Astros to make the playoffs their aging bullpen must hold up and their players must put the Miguel Tejada incident behind them.
Projected Starting Lineups/Batting Order:
RF Sid Bryant - After winning the ROY Award in Season 6 Sid battled testicular cancer during Season 7. As the Chemotherapy took its toll Sid saw his batting average fall like his white blood cell count, ending the season hitting a meager .277. Fitted with a new custom cup, Sid figures to bounce back to his rookie season form.
2B Jim Wise - Forrest Gump here is a speedster from Oklahoma. Wise stole 50 bases last year off of 88 hits. Even with The Man changing the settings, Wise hopes to be the catalyst for the Astros monster lineup.
1B Rocky Spencer - The undisputed Captain of the team, Rocky hopes to be in the MVP conversation at the end of the season. A great hitter with a great eye, Rocky struck out only 30 times last season and hit 43 bombs. If Rocky can live up to his talent the Astros may be able to grab a playoff spot.
LF Heinie Watkins - What is there to say about Fat Boy that hasn’t been said already? Still young, still a beast, still better than you. The first player in HBD history to sprain his ankle after catching a fly ball Fat Boy hopes to raise his RF above 1.29.
C Juan Santiago - Juan is perhaps the team’s most consistent player. Last year he won a Silver Slugger Award and was selected to the All Star team. Not know for his defense or his ability to manage a game, Juan has some of the best splits you will ever see.
CF Rafael Almanzar - Acquired during the offseason for 3 minor league players, the AL Right Field silver slugger last season hopes to make an impact on his new team. The Astros hope Rafael can raise his batting average and improve on his stellar power numbers even further.
SS Jamie Xaio- After contract negotiations with the Astros broke down during the off season it looked as though Xiao may have been heading back to the Japanese Leagues. Xiao’s greedy agent and bossy wife insisted that he be paid over seven million dollars in arbitration or over six million a year for four years. This price tag scared off all possible suitors during the free agent negotiation period. However, after half of Spring training had elapsed, a mysterious death, and a timely deportation, Xiao agreed to sign with the Astros for a little more than four million dollar for one season.
3B Giovanni Young - Giovanni has won his opportunity to start at 3B this season, albeit by default. Giovanni is a steady hitter and has a cool name.
C Gregory McMillan - Forgot about him.
2B Gregory McMillan - With a 35 health rating the Astros have concluded that Lackey has the AIDS.
CF Santos Bolivar- Last years starting CF Santos hopes to bring a spark off the bench.
SS Santos Bolivar- Peter is an ideal utility man and should be a good fill in for any injured player.
Projected Pitching Staff
SP1 Dan Hitchcock - Dan’s stuff is so dirty you can’t even say his name in World Chat. The Astros are hoping Dan can become an ace now that he is 25 years old.
SP2 Willie Espinosa* - Fireballer Willie Espinosa has nearly squandered his entire 18 million dollar signing bonus and is already looking for his next contract. The pride of the Astros’ GM, Willie is expected to do great things and will be given every opportunity he needs.
SP3 Steve Crow - Now a full year away from a devastating injury that ruined Steve’s career the Astros are still hoping that he can become a solid pitcher. With an increased training budget, but without his buddy Miguel Tejada to help Steve inject those pesky B12 shots in his arse, Steve’s health will be a question mark yet again.
SP4 Clay Griffith - Clay is a winner. Nothing about him will blow you away but he managed to win 14 games last season, the most on the Astros staff.
SP5 Tuck Buck - Tuck may not be the best pitcher in the league. Tuck may not be a Cy Young winner. Tuck may not even be an All Star, yet he sure is paid like one. And despite Tuck preferring Dwight Johnson’s brother over his sister he still has more money than all of us.
LR Graham Maxwell - Graham is a solid relief pitcher who won 11 games out of the pen last year. Expect him to be solid yet again.
LR Ralph Erickson Nicknamed Over Rated, the best thing Ralph can do for the Astros is bring them a draft pick as a free agent at the end of the season.
LR Edgar Trajano - Platinum Recording Artist Edgar Trajano is know as ‘The King of Tejano’ in his native land of Lincoln Alabama.
SU Louie Lee - Plain and simple Louie Lee deserved to be the NL Cy Young winner. The Astros simply hope that he doesn’t turn to dust sometime during the season. He is old.
SU Wiki Plata - Good name.
SU Gaylord Ward - Hah!
Closer Vinny Post - Vinny showed promise in season 6 as a rookie, but just like Sid, Vinny struggle last season. His ERA jumped from 3.82 to 7.78. He blew to many saves and needs to improve this year or he may lost the closer job and possibly find himself in Kansas City.
Health seems to be the biggest problem for the Astros. Management took notice and spent 18 million on Health and 18 million on Training. The Astros’ biggest problems are something they can’t do anything about, the Reds, the Marlins, the Cubs, and the Swingers. The Astros played well against these teams, won 93 games, and still missed out on a playoff spot by 7 games. Chances are they will win 99 games this season and miss out on a playoff berth by 1 game.
No longer with the team is 1 year stop gap Felipe Ontiveros and also two Reds favorites. Always a potent threat at the dish Left Fielder Emmanuel Nieves left thru free agency and is still the current record holder in many categories for the Reds and also season 3 Cy Young winner Santiago Manto was allowed to leave despite an impressive record with the Cincinnati ballclub. Manto was getting his share of grief from fans for his recent inconsistencies and with the emergence of Roger Merrick and Tommie Jefferies it was not that surprising that the Reds let Emmanuel go. Neither will be the opening day left fielder however.
The biggest news in Reds camp all spring was the trade that brought rbi god William Hernandez to the Queen city. Although he'd always been a catcher the Reds immediately threw a first baseman's mitt on William. This shocking move means that prior multiple mvp Omar Nixon will be moved to left field and a frustrated Tommie Jefferies gets to play the reserve roll again. The rest of the Reds squad remains the same other than the debut of shortstop hopeful Juan Barajas.
And you're Reds line-up is....
Catcher - Chris Duran is behind the plate again as he will be for many years to come. Chris calls a good game, has above average defense and can mash as well. hiw weakness is his durability which will only allow him to play perhaps 110 games a year. New 1b William Hernadez can catch on Chris's off days as can last year's back-up Lawrence Plant.
First Base - As mentioned William Hernandez takes over at first with Omar shifting to left. the Reds expect William to play every game this year either at first or behind the dish.
Second Base - Season 5 rookie of the year Tony Torrealba is back at second. Rumor has it that Tony is destined for Left Field one day and many Reds fans thought this was that year but with Hernandez coming in and the Reds front office staff seeming to be quite patient with prospect Miguel Rodrigo it seems that Tony will be the Reds second baseman once again. A surprising announcement was that the Reds expect Tony to be their everday lead-off hitter this year instead of their 3 hole hitter. Fans are anxious to see how it works out.
Third Base - ball crusher Carlos Santiago is still here despite the Reds trying to move him for pitching last year to make room for current right fielder Roger Merrick. Reds fans are not unhappy that Carlos is still a Red. Word is Mangement has changed their views on the sluggers future with the club and are quite pleased with him ad the 3rd baseman.
Shortstop - rookie Juan Barajas will be making web gem at short this year. Big shoes to fill after Felipe but the Reds believe in him.
Left Field - 3 Time MVP Omar Nixon makes the move to Left Field this year. He'll be spelled by Tommie when he needs it and is expected to contend for another MVP thi year.
Center Field - the "other" Carlos Carlos Ortiz is back roaming center and hopefully hitting bombs out ove center.
Right Field - last year rookie Roger Merrick is back roaming right and is expected to take hold of the #2 spot in the batting order this year after leading off most of last year.
Bench - As mentioned Tommie Jeffries is the Reds 4th outfielder nad Lawrence plant is the back-up cather. beyond that it gets sketchy. Up and Downers Nicky Hogan and Dallas Clark will serve as utility players while young John Parrish gets his feet wet as the back-up CF and 5th outfielder. this is an area the reds are still working on improving for the upcoming season.
Starting Rotation -
1. Yamil Pulido - obviously
2. Mel Wagner - another Cy Young winner and solid pitcher
3. Charles Kinney - brought the old man back. Also a previous Cy Young winner and sportin a sub 3.00 era last year the Reds couldn't resist
4. Bruce Kinney no relation to Charles Bruce had a decent #5 starter type year last year but more is expected this year.
5. Harry Owen - always turning failed Brewer pitchers into stars the Reds hope to do so here as well.
Yorvit Castillo has been booted from the rotation and now serves as swing man. former starter Wayne Mays still serves as a lond man as does younf phenom Midre Davis. Jaime Phillips, Max Warden and the ageless Gabe Lee reurn as set-up men and Mitchell Ray will comtinue to dominate as the leagues best closer. In short the bullpen is basically the same and still the best.
Expectations: over 100 wins again, 1st place again and WIN A DAMN WORLD SERIES!!!!!!
sorry bout that. sometimes i let it all out much like Dwight Johnson's sister does. \
Luis Maduro, 23, joins the big club and is ready to rake in the big leagues. He's supported by wily veteran Richard Mitchell in a potent two catcher system.
David Baek was my big free-agent signing. He is going to be an important glue player with all my young guns. Joe Bolton, 25, also got a call up, and will get his shot at 1st and DH.
Theo Herges is holding down this position...thats about it.
Another youngin, Louie Mays, 24, will anchor the hot corner all year, with big hopes.
Veteran James Kim joins Rule 5er Charlie Moeller in a nice little duo at Short.
Another duo both young, Sammy Sosa (23) and Trevor Stevenson are ready for ML action. I am willing to trade away one of these young guns if the right offer (pitchers) comes my way.
This is where we meet a new star in the making. Lee Coleman, 21, absolutely destroyed the minor leagues and is ready to take over. He is backed up by Mariano Costilla.
Miguel Estalella, 25, gets his shot a starting for the big club all year.
This will be the undoing of this great young team. Free Agent signing R.J. Nunez was brought in as a stop gap to help out with pitching. The starting rotation/long relief is a mixture of mediocre ML journeymen, older players, and a couple younger players (with two Rule 5ers). I lack real substantive relief pitching as well...this could be an interesting year for the Dirt Bag pitching staff.
Well that's the Dirt Bags preview...good luck y'all.
Players saying bye bye:
Danny Kinney: .342 avg and dismal catching was not good enough for the ML and demoted
Andruw Strickland: .295 avg and fantastic 1B play was not to the Pirates liking and now sacking groceries at Krogers
Josh Fleming Never lived up to his potential, trying to get a job at ESPN
Diego Belliard : Great defense didn't help his lack of offense, now in football camp
Vicente Trajano: Never settling into a position or hitting, now playing Little League coach
Otis Morton: too many Bean Balls and bruised knees, up on domestic violence charges (hitting wife with ball while playing catch with son).
Dick Scanlan: Just couldn't get his act together in Pittsburgh, maybe in Texas he will shine
Rigo Pineiro: His end of season indifference cost him his job. Now doing bull riding commercials.
New Players saying hello:
Thomas Baxter, C : Better than Kinney defensively and has a lot to learn
Rodrigo Gonzales, 1B : Will make fans say "Andruw who?"
Hideki Huang, 3B/util : Pirates finally have a 3B
Harry Brock, LF : No more juggling at that position either
Tomas Saez, P : Found wondering around in the waiver wire, Pirate fans are hopeful
Kory Governale, P : Rule V pickup and had a great spring
Carmine Pagnozzi, P: Rule V pickup and another that had a great spring
Lawrence Dawkins, P : Rule V waiver wire pick up, taking Josh Grove spot who didn't have a bad spring but was very inconsistent.
If the Pirates are to make a run this year, Team Captain Hunter Tomlinson and the coaching staff will have to do everything in their power to make these youngsters pull together as a team. Hunter has already spoke out that he expects more from these guys than previous teams and more or less guaranteed a winning season. The biggest problem may be the pitching staff as there is no true #1 starter, but 5 guys that can get the job done. A new approach in the bull pen sees more long relievers going shorter distances instead of a bunch of setup men trying to hold the lead for the closer. This pen is on a very short leash as several players in the minors are chomping at the bit to have their chance.
Meet the team
C - Hawk Bates and Thomas Baxter
These two are mirror images of one another, both are above average in dish defense and hit for average. Hopefully their SB defense picks up as the steal wave may be over.
1B - Rodrigo Gonzales
Chicks dig the the long ball and Rodrigo can deliver.
2B - Cory Neal
This is probably Cory's last season for the Pirates as his contract will go into arbitration and he is not worthy of the rich contract he has at the moment.
SS - Hunter Tomlinson and Team Captain
Hunter, being the oldest player on the team at 32, is undeniably the Team Captain. His consistency at SS and at the plate has been as steady as anyone the last 3 seasons.
3B - Hideki Huang
Being the youngest player has its rewards, the older guys keep teasing him about his name. Hideki and Hunter have been working hard this spring to solidify the left side.
LF - Max Crede
Max is one of those players that doesn't stack up but can't get rid of. Plays no position great, is not the best player at the plate. So why does he stick around? He loves the organization! They gave him a chance and he continues to thrive. Led the team in home runs the last 3 seasons and strike outs also. His biggest asset to the team is his knack to get runners home providing over 100 RBIs each of the last 3 seasons.
CF - Giovanni Jackson
After what Gio called a disappointing rookie season last year, he set goals to accomplish this year. His first goal was to limit the number of beauties in his entourage. Secondly to improve his game to the respectable levels he is capable of.
RF - Albert Tapies
Albert will again this year be roaming right field most of the time.
Backups : Julian Giles, Ben Riggs, Harry Brock
Elston improved by leaps and bounds last season and management is hoping this emerging star can keep going.
Ray continues to grow and management has put a lot of money on the line in the hopes he will.
Pirate management sees potential, then again so has other teams that were disappointed. Only time will tell if this was a good waiver wire pick up.
Grant showed in the last half of the season that he can get the job done as a starter.
Pirates were surprised by the trade made by the Brewers last year that they didn't know what to do with their new found sensation. In talks with Randy, the coaching staff found out that he wanted to be a starter and didn't see that happening in Milwaukee.
Coaches are worried about Terry and the effort he gave this spring. A move could be made quickly if things don't look any better.
The elder statesman in the pen, Wilson surprises most of the time, but is inconsistent the rest of the time.
A Rule V pickup from Florida, showed this spring that he capable reliever and possible starter if the need arises.
Fernando had a good season last year in relief roles, Pirates expect more of the same after having an outstanding spring.
Armando has all the tools to be a ML star, but his slow development has bothered management for quite sometime. It may have been caused in season 4 when he was unjustly thrown into the ML way too soon and that was before current management took over.
Rule V waiver wire pick up, this spot was originally was held by another Rule V draftee, but Lawrence's qualifications were much better. Picking up an innings worth of Spring Training work didn't help his cause, but management wants to give the kid a chance to prove himself.
Pirate management was over joyed when this Rule V pick up was still on the board at #10 from Minnesota. Originally slotted for the closer spot, coaches seem to have a better idea and setup is in his present state.
JJ was aquired in a late trade with LA last year (or was that thru waivers late?). Although his spring stats don't look good on paper, he was put in some bad situations and did the best he could. Coaches are high on him, but current lack of positions delegates him to the closers role.
Minor league players management and coaches have their eyes on
Jae Dong, CF
Hub Strange, P
J.C. Wilkins, P
Kenneth Buckley, P
Steven Haynes , P
Karim Quevedo, SS
Don Webster, 1B/DH
Team Song: Rolling on the River
Milwaukee Brewers Preview
Key Departures: Rich Munoz, Harold Traynor, Wes Kelly, Roy Hall, Patrick Snyder, Cliff Allensworth
Key Additions: Alfonso Lee, Philip Ruffin, Bernie Espinosa, Jimmie Sardinha, Albert DeLeon, Dario Irabu, Joshua James
Will make the playoffs if: Offense performs to expectations, they find reliable starting pitching beyond Donald Satou, and the bullpen flushes fewer leads.
Will miss the playoffs if: None of their young starters emerges as dependable, Irabu and J. Sardinha are Gasoline Alley and the offense struggles against the pitching rich NL North.
Outlook: 95-67, 3rd Place NL North; Wild Card winner
Team Song: Big Log
Year Three of the re-tooling project in Milwaukee continues, and few teams were more active in the trade and Rule V markets than Harvey's Wallbangers. While the Brewers have won 88 and 92 games the last two seasons, in the ultra competitive NL North that's been no better than third place, out of the playoffs.
As was the case last season, this year's team will rely on a potent, versatile and dynamic lineup and hope for the best from its pitching staff. Last year, the Brewers had 10 players with at least 10 HR and 10 SB. They should see a similar balance this season with a number of players that play multiple positions.
However, last year's team suffered through a franchise-worst WHIP (1.46), and the team blew 26 saves (41/67, 61% conversion rate). Those numbers will need to improve if the team intends to stay in the Wild Card race, let alone compete with the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds, long the class of the division.
The offseason was spent re-tooling the bullpen, and evaluating a quivver of young starters that weren't ready for the Big Leagues last year yet kept the Brewers within hailing distance of the Wild Card.
A pleasant surprise last season was Milkwaukee's defense which was tops in the league. It will need to be again if the pitching is as expected.
Following is a position-by-position look at the Season Eight Lagers.
C: Nerio Ford has achieved consistent excellence and has a career OPS north of 1.000. However, he's 31 and his defense is average. Look for him to finally give way to Hector Ramirez, who had perhaps the finest Spring of any player in the League.
1B: Aging Ramon Dong showed everyone last year that despite missing most of Season Six with injury, he has a lot of life left in his offense, winning the Silver Slugger. He had an OBP of .450 and for the first time since Season One posted an OPS more than 1.000. He also stole a career high 35 bases to go along with 23 HR and 90 RBI. He's moving from the OF to 1B.
2B: Giovanni King is the top returner and has speed (29 SB) and pop (13 HR). But the team also signed Cincy's Alfonso Lee to provide some competition for the job, and depth at other positions defensively. Offensively, this is Milwaukee's weakest position.
SS: Matt Wise had a great rookie season ended by a lengthy injury that also cost him a Gold Glove. He'll play against righties. Bernie Espinosa looks like an upgrade on offense over Wes Kelly.
3B: Recently rolled the dice by trading Munoz and shifting the multitalented but enigmatic Pascual Berroa to 3rd. Many feel Berroa should be a prototypical leadoff hitter with the chance to hit 20 HR and steal 20 bases. However, he's never reached that potential. Perhaps his new mega 5-year, $41mm deal will inspire him. He can also play 2B, SS and CF. Philip Ruffin is the backup and can play several positions.
OF: 24-year old Gregg Presley had an impressive first season, going .301-25-101 with 19 SB. He's also a premium defender. He needs to get on base more. Matthew Hollins had a surprise rookie season playing only against LHP, with a .958 OPS in 245 ABs as a 21- year old. He figures to improve on all numbers and has a great eye. 24-year old Zachrey Jerzembeck already has nearly 2000 ML ABs, and is a centerpiece of the offense. Last season he went .314-36-115 with 36 SBs. He needs to cut down on his 21 CS though. Pedro James had a breakout season with 40 HR and 135 RBI to go along with a .317 average and 1.022 OPS. Only 24, he also swiped 32 bases in 37 attempts.
SP: Just 25, Donald Satou missed five starts with an injury, but still managed to win 17 games (7 losses), with a 3.50 ERA. He has not looked as strong in the Spring, but last year had three complete games and has the makeup of an ace. Cookie Sardinha is probably the team's #2 and went 13-7 last season. Jumbo Benitez was 11-5 last year and at 27 is a veteran on this staff. 22-year old Richard Park looks ready to turn a corner. Veteran Curtis Redding will compete. Rocky Wilkins is a year away. Stud prospect Joaquin Villano probably needs at least one more year in AAA. Same for David Espinosa and Benji Santiago. The team had just traded for Joshua James, who is expected to fill the #3 or 4 starter spot.
Bullpen: They traded for Jimmie Sardinha to be the closer, and when he faltered in the Spring they upgraded the position bringing back Dario Irabu and handing him his first closer's job. He figures to be an upgrade, though, after last year's parade of Mike Schooler Impersonators. Other arms in the bullpen include Albert DeLeon, Edgard Espinosa and Oswaldo Felix.
True, a defeat to the Pirates might have seen them bump up the draft pick list a little, but these Mets are young and hungry and playing to lose was not, and never will be, an option.
Spring has seen a lot of experimentation, and has only one major blight with CF stud Kirby Priddy injured (though he should be back by opening day.) Priddy leads the charge of a new youthful side with speed and cunning on their side, if not the discipline and average to make much of an improvement on last year.
And of course, there's the rotation... The bullpen held its own last year, and closer Oscar Ford led by example, as a veteran should, shaving big points from his ERA (from a whopping 9.30 to 3.15) even if his saves total remained about the same. In a walk year, and with younger prospect close to stepping up to challenge for his role, the pressure will be on Ford to keep it up and steady the relievers pool.
Hawk Reed is now a genuine #1 starter. His ERA went from 6.24 to 4.54 last season and he won 18 games - ten more than last year. Jorel Woodson also brought down his ERA (from 5.98 to 4.62) but would still benefit from honing off his rough edges before pitching regularly. Olmedo Moreno was a nice Rule V pick-up, but has his best years yet to come. Ditto flamethrower Leon Jackson, who might find himself back in the Bigs when he should be in AAA getting his game together. With no real competition ahead of him, Douglas Miller might find himself as #3 and could be a surprise package after a fine showing last year.
Dale Washington was a big influence in helping the pitching last year. As a veteran, his savvy is better than probable first choice Miller Boyd, but his hitting makes him a borderline liability. That said, he managed to hit .320 in the 17 games he played.
Joey Yount will play what will almost certainly be his last year as a Met (and probably as a pro) at first base, rather than his more familiar LF position. And even then, he will probably be second choice behind one of the team's many young utility players, led by Jorge Nieves, Troy Meyers, Andres Colon, Ariel Flores and Tony Duran.
Tony Valenzuela has spent time this spring filling in for the injured Priddy, and still has some of the wheels that made him a CF favorite at Shea. His place is more directly under threat from the ML ready Priddy, and with the host of young players fighting to make an impression in the infield, it's hard to see him starting often, barring injuries.
Randy Lamb has hit his peak going into this season, but for his 45 dingers last year his average fell to .237. There was some upside as he added 25 stolen bases (but 18 CS's) but his stick is still too streaky to keep his place unchallenged. Again, the ML-ready prospects will be all over the hot corner if Lamb can't get on base and/or clear them up at the plate.
Luis Guerrero made great strides last year and will make the shortstop position his to lose. Colon and Flores will be the best choices to back him up, but Guerrero ought to improve further rather than feel any heat.
Albert Chavez is hardly slowing down and has played at least 151 games a year in his Mets career. Tony Duran's natural position is at LF, but his speed and baserunning skills (96 SBs last year) might see him come off the bench to win close games while Chavez is still swinging some mean lumber.
Kirby Priddy will be in center for the next decade if the Mets front office has anything to say about it.
Ariel Flores might have been the opening day starter if not for Troy Meyers' spring. He's showed a good eye and some hot heels and could have found himself a new home (from 2B last year.)
Predicting 76 wins last season could have been seen as optimistic. In fact, the Mets took 78 and, as predicted, it was good enough to finish runners-up in the NL East - but not good enough for the Wild Card. Another starter would make all the difference between finishing second or third and putting together a genuine challenge to Atlanta and taking the title. If the Mets continue to build up prospects, they could put together a package ahead of the deadline that could change the balance of power in New York's direction.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
2. Austin Deuce Droppers - Season 7 AL champs. They hope to win #5 before the wheels come off.
3. Cincinnati Reds - Still chasing that first elusive title. The best pitching staff in the league. The Reds hope to avoid another collapse in the playoffs though.
4. Nashville Marlins - New owner hopes to keep up the Marlins winning ways. Great pitching too, almost as good as the Reds. They too are chasing that elusive title.
5. Houston Astros - If they can stay healthy expect them to be at the top of the NL. The Astros offense is as good as any in the league. Can their $15 million Tuck Buck deliver this season?
6. Louisville Swingers - Home to probably the most talented player in the league - Albert JohnsonThe Swingers have most potent offense in the league. With better pitching they would be the team to beat in the NL.
7. Monterrey Corn Dogs - Definitely a team on the rise. Possibly the best team in the AL. Too bad they play in the Deuce Droppers division.
8. Atlanta Pork N Beans - A young team that continues to improve. Can they find some consistency this season? I know those long losing streaks drive the owner crazy.
9. Las Vegas Slobs - The last two seasons have started off slowly for the Slobs. They are definitely a second half team. They would love to repeat their season 6 success.
10. Toronto Blue Jays - One of the most consistent teams in the league. Expect them to win their division again this season. They are another of the great teams that has never won a title.
11. Milwaukee Brewers - Lots of offense, average pitching. With better pitching they would be one of the best in the NL. Dont be surprised if they win the North this season, or at least battle for one of the wild card spots.
12. New York Yankees - Seven division titles in seven seasons. Unfortunately they haven't made it past the second round in the playoffs. They hope to change that this season.
13. St. Louis Barracudas - A little more offense would put them at the top of the AL north. Expect them to make the playoffs and possibly win the division.
14. Salem Mayhem - Impressive over their last three seasons. Three division titles in their last three seasons. Another team that needs a little more offensive production to move up.
15. Salt Lake City Multiple Spouses - The Multiple Spouses should be up there battling with the Blue Jays and Barracudas in the always tough AL North.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Team Free Agent players (Restricted Free Agents would be a better term) are roster players that have 6+ years of experience and not on the 40-man roster. You can negotiate with these players until the deadline without interference from other clubs. If your going to negotiate a large contract with these players, you best put them on the 40-man roster or they will be exposed to the Rule V draft. Whether to offer these players is totally up to you, most of them are for the minimum salary and adds up to peanuts. Me, I usually sign all the minimum salary players and hope they don't get grabbed in Rule V, because one can never have too many minor league players. If you don't offer a contract, they will become unrestricted Free Agents and anyone can sign them.
Free Agents can be signed once the Restricted Free Agency period is over. This allows you to go out and fill holes in your teams. Remember that you can be bidding against other owners also, more like an auction. One thing to be aware of is Free Agent type (Type A thru D, sort of a Unrestricted Restricted Free Agent), this is marked in the note section of the player so read it carefully!!!! Depending on the type, you could be giving up a first or second round draft pick and a supplemental 1st round pick (and I hate those!!) to sign that player.
Friday, May 9, 2008
1. Go to your Franchise Payroll Analysis. At the bottom it will give you the Player Payroll Budget and Player Payroll Used (may want to write those numbers down).
2. Next you need to know how much you need for each Arbitration Player you plan to keep, you can hit the negotiate button to find out how much a player wants for per season (remember you only need season 1) and add the total up for each player.
3. Next you need to find out how much each of your Free Agents want that you wish to keep (the ones above minimum salary--327K).
4. Add all this up and add about 5 to 10M for player payroll for the season.
5. Coaches I usually make it 10M, 12M or 14M depending on certain factors. If I think it is a rebuild year I use 10M, 12M if I got a chance or 14M if I am gonna make a run. But the proper way is to find out what coaches is wanting to return and which are looking for new jobs. You can find this out by looking at the Rehire Coaches. You can even select the coaches that you want to rehire (the ones that want to stay) and it will make a running total for you even. The ones you are worried about the most here is the ML coaches. They cost the most and will cost you the most money to replace and it even gives you minimum amounts you can spend, don't pay much attention to that as a good coach won't even be close to that amount. The most expensive to replace is the Bench Coach, Pitching Coach, and Hitting Coach, they can run 2M to 4M+ in the dog-eat-dog coach hiring phase. So plan accordingly, of coarse the better the coach, the better the player can advance and teams can win.
6. Prospect Payroll, and the various scouting departments work hand-in-hand. College and High School deal with the amateur draft. If you have a high draft pick (1 to about 15) expect to pay lots of money from the Prospect Payroll to get him signed (could be 2M to 10M or more). Some of them can run that high in later rounds also but is uncommon. The scouting departments tells you how good the player is, so if you use a low amount, don't expect the best results.
7. International Scouting finds out-of-country players from all over the world throughout the season. If you spend the minimum (6M) your scouts won't find very many and they are usually not very good. I usually spend 6M, 10M or 12M here. I use 6M if I don't plan on getting one or if I am looking for a specific good cheap specialty player down the road. A real good International Players can run 10M+ and it comes from Prospect Payroll (remember, more than one team can see him and drive the price up). But don't expect them to step right into a ML role, normally they are treated like draft picks and need minor league playing time. If I use more than 14M here that means I must be drafting past position 20 and using Internationals as a #1 draft pick.
8. Advance Scouting allows you to see any active player and his values (try to set this as high as possible 16M+), the lower you go the farther the values are skewed downward and/or upward even.
9. Training, I usually try to use any excess here or 14M minimum, helps players to keep from getting injured.
10 Medical, helps players rehab faster after getting injured, try for 12M+ here.
One thing to note: The top half of the budget screen gives totals to help you set your budget, but mine is never accurate (or even close for that matter) for some reason except for the current Player Payroll.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Miguel Tejada Deported!
A spokesman from the DHS confirmed today that Miguel Tejada 's Visa was revoked due to his recent admission of lying abut his age on his Visa application.
The AP reports that Miguel Tejada was Deported late last night after a raid on his off season residence in Houston. The report states that Ice agents surrounded the four square foot cardboard box located behind the South Houston HEB shortly after Miguel Tejada had returned from the Blue Oyster with a 6 foot tall woman. Miguel Tejada surrendered himself after a 3 hour standoff ending with the Houston Fire Department spraying Tejada's residence with their hoses.
The Houston Astros have issued a statement saying that they have received Tejada's retirement papers and are donating $5 towards the reconstruction of Tejada's Houston area home, in hopes that his children can continue their education in America.