Friday, August 29, 2008
The Pirates Player of Spring Training Award winner is:
Benji Martinez-Benji hit .417 this spring and flashed the leather that won him the gold glove in season 8.
Honorable mentions for this award go out to:
Carlos Lind-Carlos hit .412this Spring and forced Benji Martinez to pick his game up.
Garry Bennett-Gary hit .412 this Spring and continues to let everybody know he wants to be in the show.
The Pirates Pitcher of Spring Training Award winner is:
Tim Loewer-Tim didn't allow an earned run in 13 innings of work. Pirates Management is happy have him in their organization.
Honorable mentions for this award go out to:
Kent Heredia-Kent had a 0.90 ERA this spring, as he prepares to do battle for the Pirates.
Keith Sullivan-Keith had a 3.27 ERA this spring. Both him and Tim Loewer have quite the friendly rivalry going, as they each try to out duel each other, on the mound.
Congratulation's to the winners of the Pirates Player and Pitcher of Spring Training Awards. In other news the Pirates announced today that they have completed a trade with Detroit. Going to Detroit: Willie Machado and Theodore White in exchange for: Jimmie Torres. While it was tough to send fan favorite Machado and up and comer White, management felt they had no choice but to pull the trigger and acquire Torres. Torres will begin season 9 in AA as a SP. It's hoped that he will progress quickly and challenge for a ML job in Season 11.
Stay tuned for more exciting news from the Pittsburgh Pirates, as the season rolls along.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Most of the team is still intact though a few moves were made. Most notable were a few trades the GM made. Tommie Jefferies was traded in a move that surprised some Reds fans though with Roger Merrick poised to take over fulltime duties in right field the move makes sense. In return the Reds recieved a couple of highly touted pitched prospects in Victor Chavez and youngster Rob Holzemer. Also included was Raymond Hughes who will likely be used as a reserve outfielder with the big club. Also after unsuccessfully trying to move Max Warden a year ago the Reds were able to ship the inconsistent veteran back to Milwaukee for Ricardo Cela who like Hughes looks to be an outfield reserve when needed.
In a move that won't affect the big club this year the Reds were also able to aquire future frontline starter Ismael Azocar from Tampa Bay for budding stars Francisco Leon and Shane Canseco. Fransisco and Shane were both excited to go to a club where they can finally get some Major League service time as that didn't look likely in Cincinnati. The Reds are very excited about Ismael's future with the club and one scout even refered to him as Yamil Jr.
Reds Starting Line-up:
Catcher - Chris Duran is back as the #1 catcher though his durability will allow William Hernandez to call several games throughout the course of the year too.
1B - William Hernandez starts his 2nd year as a first baseman after catching most of his career. His bat is way too good to be a platoon player and William has adjusted nicely at first base. the Reds expect allstar numbers from him yet again.
2b - Tony Torrealba reurns at second base after inking a nice contract extension. Many fans are disappointed with Tony's defense but what the boy can do with the bat more than makes up for it according to most.
3b - Carlos Santiago is coming off of an off year but Reds fans expect him to rebound back to his near 1.000 ops numbers this year.
SS - Juan Barajas is still holding down the starting shortstop job for now but many fans would like to see Julio Uribe get a shot to see what he could do there. Juan had a respectable rookie season for the Reds and his defense is a breath of fresh air considering the Reds sub-par defense of late but it's tempting to add Julio's bat to the line-up on a daily basis. Julio will likely get starts all over the diamond for the Reds in a utility role though so he'll have his chance to make an impact.
LF - ever an MVP candidate Omar Nixon will be in left for his 2nd year in a row. He seems to have adjusted well to the new position and will undoubtably be a threat at the plate once again
CF - rookie Miguel Rodrigo looks to start the year in center but if he falters as he did last september Julio, Hughes and Cela are all waiting for a shot. Miguel has always put up sick numbers in the minors and the Reds expect nothing less from him now.
RF - the afore mentioned Roger Merrick finally gets his shot to be an everyday player and though his bat hasn't seemed to quite come alive yet the Reds belive that this is the year.
Also returning this year is Reds veteran Emmanuel Nieves, always a fan favorite who will likely see a lot of time in a pinch hit role and possibly some 1st base starts when William is catching. Kyle Sewell is also back with a healthy raise in arbitration and looks to be used in mostly a utility role this year. With last seasons aquisition of Julio Uribe rumors had it that Kyle was on the move but so far attempts to move him have failed.
1. Yamil Pulido - what needs to be said about Yamil?
2. Mel Wagner - Mel's option was picked up. This may be his last year as a Red however.
3. Midre Davis - not one to ever throw a complet game the Reds would like to get as many innings out of Midre as they can. With as potent of a bullpen as they have they are not worried about him only going 5 or 6 innings a start.
#4 and #5. Harry Owen and Bruce Kinney are penciled in as of now but if they show inconsistencies like they have in the past there are a couple of long relievers and triple A guys itching to get a chance.
Long Relief - Wayne Mays, Gabe Lee and Charles Kinney are all back this year. Charles will be in his first year in a relief role after spending his career as a starter (and winning a Cy Young as well) but the Reds still believe he can start if need be. So much so they brought the old vet back for 2 more years.
Set-up - Jaime Phillips returns coming off of an exceptional year. Youngster Tom Waters is also back and after dealing Max the Reds signed Gary West to replace him. Gary doesn't look to pitch much and will be used mostly against lefties anyhow. Even Max only logged 17 innings last year.
Closer - Mitchell Ray returns looking for more fireman trophies for his mantle.
To sum it up... the Reds are looking to win and win it all....finally.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
C-Raymond Strong -should be a big year for this guy, hoping for 135 games out of this potential all star. Career Minor leaguer Tony Castilla will be the backup.
1B-Willie Lopez. When fan favourite Willie Machado was traded to Detroit this spring, there was hole at 1B. Lopez was claimed off the waiver wire to fill that hole, after he was released by the Yankees. He will have a lot RBI opportunites hitting in the 5 hole, behind Rushford.
2B-Benji Martinez-a pleasant surprise from season 8. Gold Glover winner. He was also in the running for rookie of the year.
SS-Matt Wise-picked up from Milwaukee last season for Matt Carroll. Good glove if Wise can hit a bit, it will be a bonus. Jackson Sewell another waiver wire pickup from last season, will back up. He also will see some time in the OF and 2B.
3B-Tommy Johnson-free agent signing, will hit against righties. Josias Flores will see time at third against lefties and be a backup in the OF.
LF-Don Riske-Rule 5 pick Season 8-he will be given the chance to play LF and be the leadoff hitter. His on base percentage will have to improve this season if he expects to stay in the starting lineup.
CF-Doug Strong-takes over in CF this season. Season 9 could be an up and down year for Strong, but Management is a big supporter of his.
RF-Paul Rushford-Rule 5 pick from Season 7. Player of the week, All star team and he was in the running for the MVP of the league in Season 8, until a late slump knocked him out of the running. Barry Leach -Rule 5 pick Season 9 will see some time in the OF and 1B. Todd Darnell might get called up to fill out the bench.
SP-Kent Heredia,Jared Hampton ,Ryan Stargell ,Pablo Montanez ,Gregg Duncan ,
Mopup/Spot Starter/Long Relief-Miguel Gomez
Setup-Victor Aguilera,Pasqual Guardado ,Charlie Smith , Jimmie Sardinha,
Closer-Andres Coronado with Guardado helping out when needed
Management is still undecided on the 25th roster position. Maybe it will be a waiver wire pick. Management predicts it will be a tough season 9 in the NL North. Cincy and Chi look tough. With i suspect, a much improved Milwaukee team battling for the only wild card spot available. Chi or Cincy will get the division with the other winning the first wildcard. This leaves a pile of teams fighting for the last wildcard spot. Management feels they don't have the SP yet to contend for this last wildcard spot and as such they will be in discussions and on the look out for another SP to add, someone like Kent Heredia with better splits. Stay tuned and watch for exciting developments from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The pitching staff is a bit up in the air yet, but the starting staff has almost worked its way out and most of the pen is getting up to form. Chance are the Indians will be losing quite a few games from here on out as the minors will be taking over for the most part.
The Royals head into their 5th season under GM knucklebones and their 2nd in new home Kansas City. The city is buzzing with the new additions to the team and are unified by the total lack of respect given by the league, including their own GM, who also did not vote for them in the polls.
The Royals do expect to make the playoffs in spite of no votes. I think its clear to everyone the Slobs are a favorite to repeat and San Diego, Arizona won't be pushovers either. That being said Gm knucklebones thinks the pieces are here for a run at the playoffs which is according to plan.
New additions to the team are Sidney Kotsay,Oswaldo Fernandez,Louie Rodriguez,Aramis Figureoa, & Al Uribe, aquired through free agency and Dallas Payton,Hector Campbell, Tuck Buck, & Miguel Owen aquired via trades. Ralph Harvey,Travis Borkowski,Fernando Gonzalez, & Ozzie Biddle were also aquired in the Rule 5. The major losses for the team Include Hume, Ontiveros, & Wood in the Tuck Buck trade, and also a couple of prospect pitchers to aquire Campbell & Payton. If nothing else the offense will provide fireworks and Tuck Buck will provide season long fodder for the chat board. Here are your Season 9 Royals:
Catchers - Hector Campbell will start, provide excellent defense and pitch selection while swinging a decent bat. The Royals will use long time NY'er Aramis Figureoa as a backup and he should provide a decent bat and pitch calling when needed.
Firstbase - Art Peters will start against righties and Thomas Schmidt against lefties. The tandem should combine for an all star like .300 avg 35+ hrs & 100 Rbis/Rs.
Secondbase - Spud Hoyt will no doubt man 2b for seasons to come. He came into his own last season as the lone All Star representive for the Royals. They expect more of the same and more this season as he comes into his prime years. Hoyt is also the team Captain.
Thirdbase - Future starting SS and Rookie of the year candidate Charlie Stone will man the hot corner and move over to SS for probably his career next season. The Royals are counting on big things out of Stone.
Shortstop - The Royals signed FA Oswaldo Fernandez to play shortstop this season. Hes an excellent on base guy and could get 40 or 50 steals to go with 100 Rs, while providing a better than average glove at the position.
Leftfielder - Long sought for Dallas Payton finally landed in KC after numerous trade offers over the last couple of seasons. Payton is an MVP candidate and will provide the monster middle of the lineup bat the Royals were always missing. Barring injury theres no question he'll be in the running for MVP once again.
Centerfield - Big FA signee Sidney Kotsay will patrol centerfield for the Royals and should provide All star numbers at the position.
Rightfield - This was a toss up, but we're giving the edge and the starting job to Charles Kashmir. If he maintains his normal production he should provide consistency and pop at the postition and may even be in the running for an All Star spot.
DH - John Bang is the full time DH and possibly a future Hall of Famer. The Royals like the solid numbers he puts up and would like to see him retire in a Royals uniform.
Starting Pitching - Marcus Wood, Tuck Buck,Rico Dali, & Victor Guzman should be a solid if unspectacular Rotation. The Royals are expecting 10 wins plus out of all of them with sub 5.00 eras.
Bullpen - The pen will be anchored by vet Bill Roth coming off a solid season 8, & the Closer will be Miguel Owen. A gang of guys will fight for the middle inning spots and two of the following will probably be let go sometime during the season - Ozzie Biddle,Fernando Gonzalez,Orlando Delgado,Frank Kim,Carlos Armas,Travis Borkowski, & ,Ralph Harvey.
Significant bench guys Al Uribe & Louie Rodriguez should provide great insurance and rest for the starters.
The Royals expect to be one of the top offenses in the league and have solid, veteran, pitching. Anything short of the wild card would be a huge disappointment for gm knucklebones & the Royals.
Prediction - 2nd place/wildcard
The Multiple Spouses look to repeat as division champions.
The key additions were Catcher Don lee and pithcewr Clay Grifffith, both of whom were signed as free agents.
Key losses were pitchers JT Witt, the dissapointing Howard Barkley and Erubiel Beltre. Also released were highly overpaid 1B Jeffrey Abbott and catcher Tom Norton.
Here's the preview:
Free agent signee Don lee will see the mojority of time at catcher. The Spouses look for him to match his career averages of .327/.398/.526
The departed Jeffrey Abbott will be replaced by John Prinz. Prinz is a very similar player to Abbott but his salary is about 5% of what Abbott's was.
Yamid Maranon should duplicate his numbers of .283/.361/.440 from last season and play a dependable 2b
Shortstop Wes Kelly looks for a repeat of last season. he shouild hit over .300 with 20 - 30 stolen bases
Third base will be split between Hayes Casarone and Fred Wilson unless one of them shows he deserves the job right off the bat.
Team leader Patsy Wheeler mans LF and another .336/.416/.618 season would make the Spouses happy.
Returning MVP and gold glove CFer Jeff Brooks is looking to improve on his batting average and stolen bases from last season
RFer Zephyr Roosevelt got off to a very slow start last season but finished with very respectable .315/.406/.539 numbers. He's in his contract year so he's looking to improve on all those numbers for a large payday next year.
The starting pitching is dependable, with no "aces". AJ Davis, Vic Rogers, Justin Sadler and Clay Griffith can all eat a lot of innings and keep the team in most games. Late season callup Samuel martin performed very well in his short stay last season and will be given every chance to earn a starting job this season.
The bullpen is probably one of the strongest in the league. Long relievers Peter Thomas, Brian Baker and Stephen O'Brien are all durable and dependable. Setup men Rigo Piniero and Earl Miller will handle the 7th and 8th inning before giving way to Jorge Owen who was spectacular last season with 53 saves and a WHIP under 1.00
Monday, August 25, 2008
The Pork N Beans hope this is the season they go from being better than average to one of the leagues elite joining the likes of the Cubs, Slobs, Deuce Droppers, and Brewers. The PnBs do have 5 straight division titles and 1 NL title, but anything less than a World Series title is an absolute failure in the eyes of the owner. This season the PnBs hope to get off to a better start than the 2 previous seasons. Over the last 2 seasons the team was under the .500 mark at the mid-point of the season.
C - Max Lima and Vince Fyhrie - Lima is the starting catcher. His defense and pitch calling are relatively weak, but he is monster at the plate. The 23 yr old crushed the ball last season with 43 HRs, and 98 RBIs. Fyhrie is a very capable backup.
1B - Zoltan Mercedes and Junior Bocachica - Zoltan is the starter. Junior will rest Zoltan and should see some time in LF. Both of these guys are solid at the plate. Zoltan hit 29 HRs and 83 RBIs last season. At only 26 years of age he just now hitting his prime. In a part time role last season Junior smacked 23 HRs and had 71 RBIs.
2B - Shawon Walters and Raymond Neal - Walters was brought in this season to be the PnBs new lead off hitter. He is solid at the plate and should be good for 20+ steals. Neal is the future for the PnBs at 2nd and will be ready to go if Walters fails in his role.
3B - Slash Kroeger and Harry Delgado - Slash should get the bulk of the starts at 3rd this season. Last season he managed 23 HRs and 59 RBIs in only 378 ABs. His biggest weakness is defense. Delgado is a solid vet who has over 350 HRs in his 8 season career.
SS - Vernon Rooney - Couldn't ask for much more at short. Solid at the plate, and a solid glove. He is only 24 so he is just now entering his prime.
RF - David Guardado - Guardado should be a big part of this team for many seasons to come. In his 2nd full season he managed an impressive 38 HRs, 118 RBIs, 24 SBs and 109 Runs. Junior should also see some time in LF.
CF - Pedro Fernandez and David Colin - This is going to be a true platoon with Colin starting against left handed pitchers and Fernandez starting against right handed pitchers. Both are solid at the plate. They are very similar players, but Colin has a little more power and Fernandez has a little more speed.
RF - Maximo Starr - RF has tentatively been handed to Maximo. Last season he managed 30 HRs in only 323 ABs. It should be interesting to see what he can do as a full time starter. Delgado should also see some playing time in RF.
SP1 - Bubba Rose - Rose isn't nearly at the level of some the top starters in the NL, but he is solid. Hopefully this season his era will drop below 4.
SP2 - Cookie Almanza - Last seasons #5 moves up to #2. The veteran pitcher performed well over the 2nd half of last season. Hopefully this season he can perform well over the whole season.
SP3 - Michael Ming - Last season Ming was pathetic early on, but did improve as the season progressed. Hopefully this season will see big improvements in his performance.
SP4 - Gary Wyatt - Wyatt was really inconsistent last season. At times he was dominant, and other times he was horrible. He is still young so he should improve.
Closer - Dan Stearns - Last season the PnBs blew way too many saves, so it makes no sense to hand over the closer role to one of your worst relievers. Well this is exactly what the PnBs are doing. Stearns was an absolute failure as the PnBs closer last season. If he struggles this season expect to see Willard Farley take over as the PnBs closer.
Note: I like the patience and discipline of all coaches over 50 and higher if I can get them. I also like a higher discipline than patience at the ML level unless I have a young team. In the minors I prefer this reversed. I read somewhere that the higher of the two will override the other. What do these two traits do? Supposedly, Patience equates to teaching and Discipline equates to fundamentals. Which one is better I am not totally sure as I most generally get about the same results with either.
The ML Bench Coach is the most sought after job by any coach. His relevance here though is a little mystical. In RL it is a prime position because the next step is to be the manager of a big league club, but in HBD it doesn't go any further unless the manager (you) gets kicked out of the game.
The Bench Coach - His primary trait is strategy, so this should be above 70. Some other things to consider is his other traits, I try to get a good even mix and the higher the better.
The Hitting Coach - His primary trait is hitting so it should be above 75. The other traits being of a good even mix if possible, though I will go with a higher glove and base running IQ over pitching.
The Pitching Coach - His biggest trait is pitching so it should be above 75. The other traits I like is base running and hitting over glove.
The Bullpen Coach - His biggest trait is pitching also and should be above 65. I am not sure the other traits really apply all that much. Unless of course you want him to advance in your organization one day.
The 1B and 3B Coach - His biggest trait is Base running IQ and should be above 50 for 1B and 70 for 3B. The other traits you would want are a higher strategy, hitting and pitching.
The Fielding Instructor - His primary trait is glove and should be above 70 with a high patience and the others as best as possible. I tend to like discipline and strategy also.
The minor league coaches I tend to try and find adequate coaches with primaries above 50 (not always) with hitting coaches having high glove ratings and pitching coaches with high base running IQ and bench coaches with a high mix across the board or glove if I have to settle lower. However, in the minors this is a little tough in most instances to find these kind of coaches so a little give or take is necessary most of the time.
Some things I have noticed: If you have a high training budget the minors will benefit from the FI, if either your minor league bench coach or hitting coach (or both) have a high glove rating also. Here is my thinking on that, after Spring Training the FI only visits the minors twice during the season and that is only to evaluate players and see if they are in the right position. He doesn't have time to teach everybody so he teaches the coaches. It is my feeling that he may teach the bench coach or the coach with the highest glove rating. I tend to see higher glove points handed out when both coaches have a high glove rating (over 35), it can add +2 to +3 at each bump, that is what I have been seeing using this method. That is not every player by the way, I always thought it would be the player with the highest makeup. But it looks like the biggest gains are the ones with the biggest gap between current and projected. The others get bumps across the board that have the high makeup.
So now you are ready to make offers to coaches. I usually find the one I like at each category and send an offer to fill my vacancies, just one. I don't offer more than one for any position, I used to, not any more. I wait for his return email so I can decipher what it means. If you get a return of "that is about what I expected" let it ride. "another club is offering more" I will increase the offer. "another club is offering a higher level" I will see if it is still vacant and offer him the same job if he fits. Those that reply with a sob story I drop immediately and pursue others. For one I don't follow the money trail unless it says "another club beat your offer". The reason, he is playing another club that he really wants to sign with for more money. There is a good chance he ends up with no job in the end. I really could care less if any coach signs with my team at the end of the first wave. About 50% of the coaches sign at the first wave. At the end of the first hiring wave and you still have unfilled vacancies, check your previous coaches and see if they are still unsigned. If they are and you would like to sign these coaches, send them a modest tender offer over their asking price. Chances are good they will drop a team that is offering more money to come back. One thing to note, any coach will take a bench coach job after the first wave at the minimum salary I have figured out, hasn't failed yet anyway. The only reason one won't is if there is another coach that wants that job and that holds true for all of them. The catch is that you have to figure out which coach and that is the tough part. If a minor league coach refuses to sign for a ML job for any reason, there is a coach that out ranks him somewhere that wants that job. If it happens to be your old coach that you don't want, you may have to persevere a bit.
My prediction: Slobs
AL South - No surprise that the Corn Dogs received the bulk of the votes after their domination of the AL last season. Four time WS champs the Deuce Droppers weren't to far behind in the voting. This was a bit of a surprise because they struggled last season to make the playoffs, but maybe the addition of Ramon Dong will help them out this season. The Rangers and Rubber Duckies also received votes in the poll.
My prediction: Deuce Droppers
AL East - The Yankees received the bulk the votes in the East poll. No shocker as they are 8 time AL East champs. Last season things tightened up a bit the East though as the Yankees struggled. The Senators followed the Yankees in the voting. They battled last season with Yankees for the division, so if they can improve this may their season to knock off the Yankees. The Athletics and Dung Beeltes also received votes in the poll.
My prediction: Yankees
AL North - From top to bottom this is probably the most competitive division in the league. The Multiple Spouses received the most votes. They deserved it as they were one of the top teams in the AL all last season, and managed to knock the DDs out of the playoffs in the first round. Detroit followed closely behind the MSs in votes. They were the number 1 wild card team last season, and battled with the MSs all last season for the division title. The 4 time AL North champs the Blue Jays followed closely behind Detroit. The Barracudas followed the Blue Jays. The Barracudas have been one the best managed teams since cmchristians took over in season 4. The Barracudas have been over .500 in four of the last five seasons.
My prediction: Multiple Spouses
Player Payroll: I have a formula for this area that works relatively well.
1. I take the Player Payroll as given at that time and then look at my Arbitration eligibles and determine if I want to keep any of them. I don't look at the 1 year plan at all only long range. Why, because the chances of him excepting a measly 1 year salary is slim and you could win or lose in arbitration and a loss could hurt a lot. Second I look at my ML FA's and see if there are any that I wish to keep. If there are I add them to the Player Payroll budget and then add 5M. This becomes the low end Player Payroll budget.
2. If you are going to delve into the FA market then you will need to add 10M to 15M depending on how many you are wanting to go after instead of the 5M. The studs don't come cheap. If I am not looking for studs, then 10M will usually work fine. Remember to keep enough cap space for advancements, trade and signing draftees and stuff.
Prospect Payroll: I do this one last, but I try to set it around 10M. This will allow me to sign all my draftees and maybe a high priced one if it happens. I have learned, that it is easier and cheaper to buy a FA or two than to fight over one future IFA.
Coaches Payroll: Here you need to look at the coaches that you want to keep and wish to return. I really don't pay much attention to the minor league coaches all that much at this time, I am more worried about the ML ones for they are the most expensive to replace. More on that in Coach Hiring 101. Depending on how many are "jumping ship" and no suitable replacement wanting his job, I set the budget between 10M and 14M and normally use 12M or 13M, 10M if I only need to get 1. The high end is if you need to replace a high priced coach with a better one. This year I had to almost replace my entire ML staff, though by looking at my coaches you wouldn't have thought that, so I set my budget to 13M.
Domestic College Scouting: I always set this equal to my Advance Scouting. Why? These are the players that will impact the ML team the fastest, so I don't want any surprises from a lower budget and I normally will take a college player over a high school player in many instances.
Domestic High School Scouting: I usually try and set this to 14M. Mainly because I tried 18M here and that didn't seem to work well and thought it a waste of 4M. Why so high? It gives me a better read on the young ones later in the draft.
International Scouting: From experience I have determined that IFA's are just not worth the fight for a good one. To me it is better to put the money elsewhere to better help the team. The more money spent here though gives you a better read on the the players and you get to see more players. That does not mean you will get to see all of them.
Advanced Scouting: I always set this to 18M. Simply I would rather almost see the true readings of any player.
Training: What the help section says and what it really means is different to most peoples logic. It says it helps players avoid injury. Which it can, but it is the logic that is two-fold here. To begin with, during the season it allows your players to advance in their playing abilities through the coaches. It was always regarded that better coaches provided this, but after toying with this and reading the forums, a higher training budget helps this along. Now here is the kicker, the players personal abilities (the gold ones) rarely, if ever, improve during the season. The money spent on training doesn't kick in until the off season, but does improve his chances of not getting injured during the season. I try and set this as high as possible with at least 15M or more. The lowest I would recommend here is 13M after doing a study in another world.
Medical: A little mystery is involved here also. What it does is allow a player that does get injured to rehab faster coupled with the players health and makeup. This also minimizes the damage or loss of points to all his abilities and a bad loss could be earth shaking to a team. It also lessens the degree of the injury. I always like the doctors report that it is a 2 or 3 month injury that turns into 10 or 11 days. I have yet to determine that a player whose injury is less than 15 days should be put on the DL. Though, I do if a players health rating seems to zoom downward by a lot at he time of the injury. I try to budget 14M or more here. After doing the study, I would recommend at least 13M here.
What the trend in the study showed was that players whose health rating was below 70 were for the most part picked on first, the lower the training and medical (under 13M) the worse it was to these guys. Once the sacrificial lambs (as I call them) were out of action, then waves of critical injuries started occurring to the better players (and I use that term loosely). Some of the critical injuries where abated somewhat by high training and medical budgets. Although in that world I had one player that had a critical injury that probably has ended his career with training and medical set high (bad makeup). It wasn't a tremendous loss as he was a career minor leaguer anyway, but a good one.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
C – Danny Kinney & Pascual Cruz (Platoon): Both of these guys should be above average at the plate, however it’s behind the plate where they are below average. Kinney will get the starts against righties, while Cruz will be hacking away at the Southpaws.
1B – B.C. Bennett: Bennett’s offensive production dropped slightly last year, but he can still be counted on for at least 20 HR’s, 100 RBI’s, and a near .300 Avg. At only 24 years of age, he should be a fixture at first base for years to come.
2B – Blake Mathews: It’s tough to call a 48 HR, 143 RBI season disappointing, but Mathews slumped down the stretch and was a large part of the post All-Star break collapse. Perhaps he was depressed at not having made the All-Star team despite being the HR leader at the break. Perhaps a move to 2B, new 4 year $3.3 million/year contract, and his new Prozac, Zoloft, and Xanax prescriptions will motivate him to his peak performance this year.
3B – Jim Edmonds:
SS – Will Yeats: While Yeat’s bat tailed off a bit in his first full season in the bigs, he is quickly becoming one of the best defensive SS’s in the MLB world. He will again be called upon to anchor the DD’s defense up the middle.
LF – Jorel Atkins & Ramon Dong (Platoon): Have no fear DD’s fans, the Donger will not be just a part time player this year. When not patrolling left field for the DD’s, he will be called upon to DH. Atkins is expected to see the majority of the action against lefties while it is hoped that Dong will regain his form after a lackluster season in
CF – Jimmie Bergman: Former SS Bergman successfully made the switch to CF last year and prospered in his new role. Though is power production fell, he still managed 20 HR’s, 114 RBI’s, and a .304 Average while playing stellar defense. More of the same is expected this year.
RF – Vin Ibanez: Pencil this guy in for 100+ Runs Scored and a Batting Average near .315. Ibanez suffered a drop in SB’s last year, but that is the only complaint about last season. Mr. Consistent will be expected to set the table for the big sluggers again this year.
DH – Fernando Armas & Ramon Dong – It’s hard to say that one of the league’s all-time best players is coming to the end of the road when he still managed to post 26 HR’s, 98 RBI’s, and a .336 Average in only 428 AB’s last year. Armas is signed through next season and will easily go down as the DD’s best player when he decides to hang up the spikes. Enough about the future though, Armas is still looking to win one for the thumb (WS rings that is). He will be terrorizing the righties again this year, while Dong will be DH’ing against the lefties.
SP – The reason the DD’s GM was not yet ready to give up on the current version of the team is because he still feels that the starting rotation 1-5 is still one of the best in the bigs.
Brett Swindell will anchor the rotation, he has never had less than 15 wins or more than 10 losses in his 6 full seasons as a starter, posting a career record of 105-39.
Chad Sanders is a solid #2 starter who has posted a record of 60-30 in 4 seasons as a starter after being brought in from the bullpen.
Russell Spence is the #3, are you kidding me. He has a lifetime record of 119-55 in 8 seasons for the DD’s.
Nicholas Perry is the forgotten man in the DD’s rotation, yet he has posted a 103-64 record in his 8 seasons with the club.
Hipolito Palacios is the new face and #5 fireballer for the DD’s this season. After posting a 10-5 record coming out of the pen this year, he is a welcome addition to the rotation.
CL – Doug Cambridge has been named by management as the full-time closer this year and is expected to excel in his role; but should he falter the man closing out the 8th inning, Mark Carew, is waiting for his shot at the job.
The DD’s don’t settle for anything less than World Championships so the past three seasons have been frustrating for them. Management feels that a return to the top is not only possible, but expected this year.
Friday, August 22, 2008
The Tampa Bay Fire Breathing Dragons started Season 8 off to a serious rough start with a 10+ game losing streak. However the team persevered and went back to basics. Tampa Bay then started winning and finished the season strong. Tampa Bay came in 3rd in the AL South with a record of 70-92, which was better than projected. Tampa Bay insists that had it not been for the slow start they could have been a .500 team. This was a young team that was developing talent last year. Tampa Bay is still developing their farm system as they see it as being weak in many areas. They tried to address this through international free agency and with an aggressive draft strategy. None of these really worked out as well as they hoped. The GM has mentioned that he will not be very active in the International market this year, if active at all. He is debating if they will go with an aggressive draft strategy or not again this year. He feels that the risk may be worth the reward, but also really wants to have an infusion of youth into the farm system. This season Tampa Bay has been active in acquiring talent that can carry them to a playoff berth, even with the Corn Dogs as a perennial fan favorite to win the AL South Division. While talking to the GM the Ismael Azocar trade was mentioned. The Tampa Bay GM strongly defends this trade and points to that Tampa Bay shored up 1B and CF. He did mention that Ismael’s mad key-tar skills will be missed in the clubhouse though.
Key Departures: 1B Phil Nakamura, P Wilfredo Cervantes, CF Willie Henriquez, P Travis Borkowski, and P Ismael Azocar.
Key Acquisitions: CF Francisco Leon , 1B Shane Canseco, P Howard Barkley, and P Ralph Erickson. The Tampa Bay starting line up projects to be as follows:
Catcher: Vicente Rojas -- Rojas has progressed very nicely through the minors, in his last full year at AAA he posted a .320 BA, .401 OBP, .717 SLG, and 1.118 OPS. Tampa Bay does expect him to drop off from those numbers with him in the majors full time. The GM did mentioned that he was very impressed by Vicente’s confidence saying Rojas made the comment “Catching is so easy a caveman can do it.” The Geico caveman could not be reached for comment at the time of this press release.
First Base: Shane Canseco -- Shane was acquired in a trade with Cincinnati. The TB GM is quite impressed with Shane’s skills as a hitter, as he has progressed through the minors at a good rate. Shane is making a position change from outfield to first base, but is learning fast. Shane is concerned that he is being rushed into a position, but is eager to contribute to winning in Tampa Bay.
Second Base: Kerry Thurman -- Kerry is a career .282 hitter with a .351 OBP and .519 SLG. Thurman’s numbers were down slightly last year, however it is the general feeling that this was only a hiccup and he will go back to being a solid hitter. Kerry has always had very solid fielding skills and that does not figure to change this year. If Thurman struggles Tampa Bay has Bosco Hutchinson as a backup plan
Third Base: Harold Traynor -- Traynor has had a few “down” years while transitioning from Pittsburgh to Milwaukee to Tampa Bay. It is the hope in Tampa Bay now that Traynor is in a stable position that he will return to his solid hitting form. Tampa Bay is relying heavily on Traynor as they are very weak at this position through out their system. If he continues to struggle it is thought that Tampa Bay may try to acquire a third baseman through trade.
Shortstop: Nigel Lennon -- Tampa Bay is very lucky in that it has the services of Nigel. Nigel is only 21 years old and shows the promise to be an all-star. In his brief call up time last year from AAA Nigel hit a solid .261 BA and .963 OPS. However this was only over 23 at bats. Tampa Bay is very excited about the promise that this young lad shows though and wants him to succeed at shortstop. Their coach has said that regardless if Nigel struggles early that they will stick with him and will not call up their other SS, Neil Lazzeri, from AAA. This reporter hopes that Nigel succeeds as he has had a rough life. At the early age of 4 his mother put him up for adoption and he spent the rest of his childhood bouncing from home to home with a heroin addiction. At 17 he cleaned himself up enough to put together a great season in high school and was drafted in the 1st round. This would be a great story for MLB if he was to have a breakout year.
Left Field: Clayton Bonham-- last year Clayton hit a very respectable .291 and figures to do the same this year. There are high expectations for Clayton as he is only 24 and improvement is expected over last year.
Center Field: Francisco Leon -- Leon was acquired through trade with Cincinnati. Tampa Bay is simply elated to get Leon. They feel he can be their center fielder for years to come. The GM could not say enough nice things about Leon. Now if Leon can stay away from those twinkies and doughnuts, this writer feels he could be a very solid acquisition for Tampa Bay.
Right Field: Clint Helms -- Clint Helms has a career BA of .291 and .363 OBP. Helms production figures to stay the same or increase only slightly. Clint is the third part to an exciting outfield in Tampa Bay. Word is the Tampa GM has said that his outfield could be one of the best in the majors. With some luck and improvement over last year, this writer agrees.
Designated Hitter: Harry Butler -- Butler had a respectable .273 BA and .338 OBP last year. It is the opinion in Tampa Bay that Butler can be a respectable DH given the right opportunities. Butler did not have any protection last year, and with the improved hitting this year hopefully that is something that is not a problem again. This is a make or break year for Butler, as TB may move in a different direction should he not produce as expected.
In speaking with the Tampa Bay GM, clearly they are most prideful and hopeful about their pitching staff. The GM could not stop gushing about their new acquisitions and additions. The GM claims that if his pitching staff holds up through the season that they could easily carry them to the playoffs, possibly through the wildcard. The fans certainly hope so as they are playoff starved in Tampa Bay. It is further mentioned that with this staff, if they do not make the playoffs that the Fire Breathing Dragons may seek a move to another city with a pitching friendly park. For the sake of the Tampa Bay fans, all 16 of them, lets hope this pitching staff delivers
Starting Pitcher (1): Howard Barkley -- In a bold free agent play, Tampa Bay brought in an aging pitcher. The GM does point out that he has great control and good splits. This reporter noted his average to above average ERA and him never having above 14 wins in the majors. Clearly this was a bold move that could back fire quickly for Tampa Bay and their fans. Barkley was unavailable for comment because he insisted on watching the "Raising the Bar" marathon on TNT instead of showing up for this interview. Here is hoping he "Raises the Bar" in Tampa Bay.
Starting Pitcher (2): Ralph Erickson -- In another free agent move, Tampa Bay brings in Erickson as their #2. This is a pitcher who comes from Houston; clearly this is an orphan in need of a good home. In an interview with Erickson he noted the harsh treatment that he received from the Houston GM, most notably his propensity to make fun of Erickson's Dysarthria. Specifically Erickson mentioned this man making fun of his drooling and poor saliva control, rapid speech with a "mumbling" quality, and slurred speech. Tampa Bay's GM says with this harsh treatment came a diminished capacity to perform. He believes with the right treatment and a GM that shows compassion that Erickson can not only overcome his disabilities but produce pitching seasons to rival the best. The TB GM says that the Houston GM should be ashamed of himself for making fun of a man with disabilities and points to such behavior as one of the reasons that he missed the playoffs.
Starting Pitcher (3): Ken Shumpert -- Ken Shumpert is a work in progress. The TB GM practically falls out of his chair when gushing about Shumpert’s abilities. Ken Shumpert has great splits and control, but it is noted that his stamina is a little below what is expected for a starter. Last year he posted a 12-12 record with a 3.95 ERA. However that was with a team that just could not produce the runs to support him. He is expected to post 20 win seasons with production on the offensive side of the ball.
Starting Pitcher (4): Danny Malone -- This is a pitcher that should easily be a number 3 pitcher but with the crowded pitching lineup he is their number 4. With the limited offensive production last year he managed to pitch a 13-10 record with a 5.59 ERA. The TB GM is insistent with the increased emphasis on the offensive side of the ball that his record will come in due time.
Starting Pitcher (5): Craig Doerr - This is a pitcher that the GM has long debated about. The GM has said that he wants to go with a 4-man rotation but isn’t sure that they can handle the increased load, so he is going with a 5-man rotation for now. In comes Craig Doerr and his 5.45 ERA with a .279 OAV. It is this reporter’s opinion that Doerr could be the cog that puts this whole starting rotation together. Craig Doerr is an excellent anchor to the other four. It should be said that Doerr does have below average stamina for a starting pitcher.
Long Relief A: Dave Sanford -- By having a crowded starting rotation Stanford was a casualty of this wealth of talent. He was pushed into the bullpen. Stanford has taken to this with enthusiasm as he has said he wants to bring Tampa Bay their first winning season ever, and if he has to do it in the pen then he is more than willing to showcase his talents there. In two seasons in the majors Stanford has an ERA of 6.15.
Long Relief B: Gregory Hamilton -- Another starting pitching casualty. Although in talking with the TB GM, he mention that Gregory Hamilton may be better off in the bullpen. He pointed to his sky high WHIP and ERA. It is the hope with less innings that this is fixed. Although the GM can not have much confidence in this as he is the #2 Long Relief.
Long Relief B: Anthony Riley -- Riley is has a fierce fireball with a mean slider. It is the TB belief that the change of scenery from starting to relieving that he will have better production. The TB GM also noted that Anthony Riley is not a “team player” and is perpetually obnoxious. Will his behavior worsen with a change to the bullpen or improve? This reporter is noticing a pattern of hoping for better production with a change from starting to the bullpen. Tampa Bay is relying heavily on pitching that is sketchy as starters and making them relievers. This is just another case of that happening.
Setup A: Julio Belliard -- This is a highly questionable move at best. Belliard has the stamina for a long relief or starting pitcher. Although he is making his major league debut this season. The TB GM has mentioned that if Julio Belliard performs well and above expectations that he could move into a bigger role down the road, but right now they want to limit the number of innings he pitches.
Setup B: Jimmie Blasco -- Jimmie brings a lot to the TB bullpen, again this is another pitcher that could be the back end to a rotation in other cities. Blasco’s ERA has been dropping steadily for the past four seasons in the major league and posted a .260 OAV last year. Blasco does make mention that he possibly should be the primary setup. Can Jimmie Blasco be happy with his role in the bullpen and thrive there or will he become discontent and become a distraction?
Closer A: Ralph Montgomery -- There was wild speculation that Ralph Montgomery would be moved in the off-season to improve a pitching staff in need of a overhaul. Luckily for Tampa Bay this was not needed. Ralph Montgomery has all the tools to be an all-star closer and, if given the opportunity, could lead the league in saves. The Tampa Bay GM points to his control and splits, along with his slider and curveball as examples of this. He also noted that Ralph Montgomery posted a 1.85 ERA, .194 OAV, .242 OBP, and 0.94 WHIP. This reported noticed that Ralph Montgomery did not blow a save in 28 opportunities last year. It is my opinion that the TB GM could be right with this kid, given the opportunities Montgomery could lead the league in saves if he can continue with the outstanding numbers he posted last year.
This Tampa Bay club should be much improved over last years .432 record. However, this club has a lot of "ifs." If this, if that. However, with some luck those ifs will happen. Even if only some of them do, it will be an improvement. Tampa Bay is headed in the right direction, and with some luck there will be printing of playoff tickets this year. If not this year, there is always next year. Tampa Bay is lucky to have a GM that wants to succeed and not settle for mediocrity as has been done in the past. Tampa also has the 10th pick in the draft this year along with a supplemental pick in the first round. With this they should be able to start to fill out their minor leagues. Hopefully the GM comes around and does not go for an all or nothing approach to the draft again this year. With a conservative approach over the next few years, Tampa Bay should have success over a long period of time. Now is not the time to gamble. But that is exactly what the Tampa Bay GM has done with a lot of these moves that he has made this off-season. Here is to hopes that they pay off in spades for them. Those 16 fans deserve to see a winner instead of a .432 record.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
At the request of Cbrese a poll was created to help determine the new name of the Tampa franchise. These were all names recommended by the league. Cbrese will change his team name to the team name receiving the most votes. In the case of a tie Cbrese has the right to determine the name between the two tying names.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Jacksonville Beach Bums - bobkordecki takes over the former Nashville Marlins. This has been one of the leagues top teams since its inception. In 8 seasons they have made the playoffs 8 times. They have played in 8 NL championship series, and have 3 NL titles in the past 8 seasons. Hopefully they keep the winning tradition alive in Jacksonville this season.
Other major league changes include the Pittsburgh Pirates of the NL East becoming the Cleveland Indians, and the Dover Stangs becoming the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
My prediction: Reds
NL East - Not really a shocker here but the 5 time East champion Pork N Beans took the vote by a pretty large margin. The underrated Pirates (formerly the Pirates) managed a few votes. Nobody liked the Ball Hogs or Mets.
My prediction: Pirates
NL South - The Swingers pretty much dominated the vote in the South. The Astros managed to get a decent amount of votes. The big surprise was the Beach Boys (formerly the Marlins) with no votes. This was the same team that made it all the way to the NL championship series last season, and was taken over by an experienced owner. The Heat also finished with no votes.
My prediction: Swingers
NL West - This is the big shocker with the Giants taking the majority of the votes over the Mayhem. The Giants are definitely one of the most talented young teams, but the Mayhem have have been one of the NL's best for quite a while. Since Weo took over the the Mayhem in season 5 they are a perfect 4 for 4 in division titles. The Kevin Durants and Canadians didn't receive any votes.
My prediction: Mayhem
Sunday, August 17, 2008
What were your expectations going into last seasons draft?
Last year in the draft we went heavily addressing the need for starting pitching but there wasn't a lot to choose from, so we went with a good crop of future relievers and addresses future needs at the catcher spot. This year we are hoping to address the starting pitching again and maybe CF.
(Note: Nice 1st pick - Daniel Blackwell)
What about the free agent market this season?
We may delve into the FA market heavily this year which is unlike us.
What are some concerns going into this season?
What changes are expected this season?
Why the move from Pittsburgh?
Other than Cleveland what other cities were you looking at?
My other destinations could have been as the White Sox but wouldn't let me and the last choice was
Friday, August 15, 2008
1. Chicago Cubs - After winning their second World Series title in a row Cubs GM Jose put the team on a controversial training regiment consisting of drum circles, hacky sack, and frolf. As you can see from the photo to the right, taken at the top secret Cubs training facility, Cubs ace Dwight Johnson is ready for victory. Jose also decided to forgo traditional medical treatments for his players in favor of what he calls medicinal marijuana. Even with all the controversy surrounding the Cubs this off season they have to one of the favorites. Even if they dont win #3 they should look sharp in their new tie-dye uni's. (Sorry Jose)
2. Monterrey Corn Dogs - After finishing the regular season with the best record in the league the CDs fell short in the AL championship series against the Slobs. They should again have the top offense in the league.
3. Cincinatti Reds - The Reds. What else is their to say? They will probably put up the best record in the regular season. Yamil Pulido will probably win the CY Young. They will probably have the best era in the league. They will probably get knocked out of the playoffs. (Sorry Erff)
4. Las Vegas Slobs - Consistently one of the best, if not the best teams in the league. One World Series title and one AL title in the last three seasons.
5. Louisville Swingers - Potent offense and solid pitching. Easily as good as any of the teams above them in the rankings.
6. Salt Lake City Multiple Spouses - Knocked the mighty Deuce Droppers out in round one of last seasons playoffs. The MSs have been improving over the past few seasons and should be right there with the Slobs and CDs this season.
7. Jacksonville Beach Boys (formerly the Marlins) - Wouldnt it be nice if the BBs remained one of the best in the NL? The franchise has a new owner, and new team name. Hopefully they can keep the good vibrations going in Jacksonville.
8. Salem Mayhem - The Mayhem put together a great season last year. The Mayhem have consistently been one of the best teams in the NL. Weo is going for division title #5 this season.
9. Atlanta Pork N Beans - If you look up above average in the dictionary it has a picture of the Pork N Beans. Who wants to be above average (as PnBs ace by default Bubba Rose raises his hand)? If the last two seasons are any indication they will start off slow, be below .500 at the mid-point, play well over the second half, and then get knocked out the playoffs in the 1st round.
10. Houston Astros - Last season was a series of high and lows for the Astros. They went from being one of the best with the best record in the NL to out of the playoffs. Maybe they will be able to pull it together this season.
11. Detroit Detroit - John turned this team around. Last season they were they were the number one wild card seed in the AL.
12. Austin Deuce Droppers - The mighty DD's at #12? Maybe they can turn it around this season. Last season they were towards the top of the AL until a late season collapse almost made them miss the playoffs.
13. St. Louis Barracudas - The Barracudas have been consistently good over the last two seasons with 85 wins in seasons 7 and 8. They should be battling for the division this season.
14. San Diego Dirt Bags - The DBs barely missed the playoffs last season, but showed nice improvement. Not quite to the level of the Slobs, but should be battling for a wild card spot.
15. San Francisco Giants - They were the most improved team in the league last season, winning 30 more games than the previous season. Another 30 game improvement and they should be one the best in the NL.