Saturday, May 30, 2009

First IFA

The International market should have a name change, how about mostly scrub market? In any event, we have had the first signing of the season. Ignacio Santana signed by the Washington D.C. Senators for the paltry sum of $220K. Although not ML material, Ignacio does have ML quality defense at 3B even though he was listed as a SS. His downfall is hitting, where his best ability is a bunt. He very well could have a distinguished minor league career at 3B which makes him a pretty good signing.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Season Preview: Milwaukee Brewers

(Photos: CF Greg Presley and LHP Joaquin Villano)

Last season, the Brewers were arguable the entire League's finest team over the final 2/3 of the season, making an incredible sprint to the finish line and wresting the final Wild Card slot from Pittsburgh on the second-to-last day of the season.

Milwaukee then dispatched Houston and Atlanta in the opening rounds of the playoffs before coughing up a 3-0 lead to the Reds in the LCS, costing the franchise a shot at its second World Series title.

Still, management considered the season successful and something to build upon if the team is to continue competing in the ultra-competitive NL North.

Following is a team preview.

Last Year's Record: 91-71, 3rd in NL North. Wild Card winner. Lost in NLCS.

Key Losses: 2-Time Gold Glove winner Pablo Romero; starting pitcher Karim Pulido (via trade to Las Vegas); 2B Horacio Aquino (via trade to Las Vegas); starting pitcher Ozzie Chang (via free agency); reliever Miguel Garces (via free agency)

Newcomers: Starting pitcher Mike Leius (acquired via trade with Las Vegas); 2B Eswalin James (from farm system); OF Carmen Recchio (from farm system); Reliever James Ono (from farm system)

Will make the playoffs if: Big Three starting pitchers Leius, Cy Young Finalist Donald Satou and 2-time 15-game winner Edgard Espinosa all pitch to form, keeping Milwaukee from any prolonged losing streaks (the Brewers lost 11-in-a-row at one point early last season).

Will miss the playoffs when: The mediocre bullpen flushes too many leads; top of the lineup underperforms; Pittsburgh makes another stride forward this season.

Outlook: The Brewers lack a true MVP candidate in the lineup, but have good balance from top to bottom. Their starting pitching has a chance to be very good, and closer Cooper Benes has saved 65 of 69 games as a Brewer. Milwaukee's defense has been in the top-3 of the NL for three straight seasons, including #1 last year. The Brewers will win 95 games and claim their 3rd-straight Wild Card spot.

Team Song: "We Won't Get Fooled Again"

Position-by-Position Breakdown

Catcher: Hector Ramirez got a new deal last season and responded with 36 HR and 105 RBI. Lawrence Plant might be the best backup in the League.

First Base: Wolf Latham got picked off the waiver scrap heap and responded with .292/23/64 and an OPS of .868. Thank you, Blue Jays. Former $20-million man Andrew Spencer is the oldest Brewer ever at 39-years old. But he still has some pop, and posted respectable .300/19/59 numbers in just 360 ABs. He occasionally will play a corner OF spot.

Second Base: With Aquino dealt away in the Leius deal, the job falls to 20-year old rookie Eswalin James. A good contact and power guy, James is known to have a poor sense of the strike zone. But, he's a deluxe fielder and this team can afford to stash him toward the end of the lineup.

Shortstop: Entering his second full season, James Trachsel is replacing 2-time Gold Glove winner Romero on a full-time basis. His OPS was .200 points higher than Romero's and his defense is nearly on-par. Last season, "Jimmy Tracks" hit 15 homers and added 67 RBI in just 402 ABs. Slick-fielding Bill Riley is auditioning in Spring Training as the backup at SS (and the other IF positions).

Third Base: Another reclamation project, Jimmie Torres was plucked out of the Rule V draft, and promptly hit 140 HR in just three seasons. However, last season was the worst of his three in Milwaukee as he fell from 55 HR to 38, and dropped from 137 RBI to 85. His defense is below average.

Left Field: Two-time All-Star Zachrey Jerzembeck suffered through a brutal first half, but somehow recovered to post .298/40/100 numbers to go along with 116 runs and 22 SB. He's had at least 33 HR in each of his eight full ML season, as well as six-straight seasons of 20+ steals.

Center Field: Gregg Presley has had a remarkably consistent past three years with 20, 19 and 19 HRs; and 68, 63 and 62 RBI. He was shuffled out of his customary leadoff spot last year because of his SB percentage (career 78 SB, 73 CS).

Right Field: Matthew Hollins forced his way back into the everyday lineup last season and it paid off with a .291/41/85 campaign that included 112 runs and 37 SB (just 5 CS). Hollins' RBI count is depressed considering he bats leadoff against lefthanders. Just 25, he already has 150 career HR, and a career OPS of .911.

The reserve outfielder is Carmen Recchio, who is in his first ML season, but has had a .962 OPS in seven pro seasons.

SP: Satou, Espinosa and Leius are one of the top pitching trios in the League. Coming off a 17-5, 2.89 campaign, Satou has emerged as one of the most consistent SPs in the League. Leius (20-5, 2.73) has been aided by a pitcher's park in Las Vegas, but should still win 15-18. And Espinosa is shooting for a third straight season with at least 15 wins. The rotation is rounded out by Joaquin Villano, who suffered through a 10-win season after posting 14 the year before; and 21-year old Clark Key, who went 7-8 as a rookie last season.

Bullpen: The Brewers have a deep, if unspectacular bullpen. Louis Ross is the long man, maturing until he can crack the rotation. The setup corps is comprised of Rogers Thompson, Jesus Martin, Shane Kelly, Juan Blanco, James Ono and Matty Guardado. Benes was an All-Star in season 10 and finished second in the Fireman of the Year standings last season.

Management: Josh Harris back for his 8th season as bench coach, and he's helped the Brewers to a 616-518 mark (.543).

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Durham Bulls Preview

After a bittersweet loss in the S11 ALCS to Dover, management packed up the moving vans again and headed east to settle into Durham, as close to the MLB theme as the AL South options allow. This franchise stumbled around in the first 10 years of the league (only 1 playoff appearance & winning season, both in S1) but is now firmly entrenched among the top teams in the AL. HOF inductee Frank Gates hit .409 and the offense led the way to 93 wins but in the ALCS, the bats went cold and wasted rare, good pitching performances from Hub Strange & Giomar Cortez. Bolstering the starting pitching was priority #1 heading into the offseason, but management decided that the cost on Paulie Sanders & Carl Baker were going to exceed their actual value and instead chose to lock up franchise player Albert Johnson. The trade market yielded veteran hurlers Cam Anderson & Jake Owens and Cy Bruske is expected to provide some assistance for Jorge Owen & Jaime Phillips in the pen.

Lineup & Reserves:

DH- Frank Gates. recently signed a 2 year, $5M contract extension which is either highway robbery or proof the FA engine is broken. Management loves Frank Gates and his silly numbers.

LF- Ramon Dong returns from his S11 neck injury still looking like a guy who can add to his HOF candidacy/resume. Will probably score his 1500th run and record his 1000th career BB, 400th double and 50th triple this season after breaking 2000 hits last season.

2B- Albert Johnson got $110M over 5 seasons to anchor the lineup and play 155+ games. Sure, he's overpaid but he's one of the few players with elite ratings in almost every key category, so if not him, then who?

3B- Oswaldo Santos finished in the top 5 of the NL MVP voting, leading the league in RBI (185) and winning the Gold Glove.

C - Felipe Frias & Pedro Martin will split time behind the plate, with Rule 5 pick Ricardo Gongora picking up the late inning defensive duties. Combined, Frias & Martin went for 39 dingers and 120 ribbies last season, with a near-.300 BA and more BB than K. The only minus to this platoon is their DUR, which necessitates carrying a 3rd C who can catch the 8th & 9th innings.

1B- Richard Yamada won the S11 ROY and looks to have refined his skills in the offseason.

RF- Kerry Thurman gets the default nod for now, as he'll likely split time until the Draft with a guy like Horacio Lopez or Apollo Powell. Just keeping the spot warm for Harold Bonds, who will come up to stay after the Draft.

SS- Albert Gonzales & Stephen Weber will split time at SS, with Gonzalez getting the chance to win the job with a hot streak and lose it with his first 0-10 stretch. Neither is counted on for offense and are really only needed to keep the errors down while waiting for Esteban Galarraga in mid S13.

CF- Raymond Hughes should have won the ROY in S11, having a much better season than teammate Richard Yamada. Great defense in CF and good numbers in the 9-hole.

Pitching Rotation & Bullpen:

SP- Hub Strange got over the tomato incident in CLE and had a stellar first half of the season, even winning a PotW award. He struggled down the stretch but rebounded to pitch reasonably well in the playoffs. He is asking for a lucrative contract extension in the coming offseason and might be on the move as a result.
SP- Cam Anderson ,the veteran hurler, was acquired on the eve of ST, in a swap for Tony Torrealba. Managment believes that if he can maintain his career peripherals, he'll win more games as beneficiary of the offense. Needs to pitch well to justify the $ investment made in him.
SP- Giomar Cortez cannot possibly be worse than he was in S11. No matter what role he was used in, he sucked. The hope is that a consistent 5th day and 75 pitches will enable him to contribute some useful innings.
SP- Jake Owens is a wily veteran who can hopefully keep the team in games long enough to get to the "A" side of the bullpen.
SP- Graham Maxwell is that "mistake" all HBD owners make. Forgot to check his contract status before claiming him on the wiaver wire in S10, his contract is finally about to expire. He'll log innings in the 5th spot of the rotation, on a 5 pull rating to ensure he can't destroy the team's ERA the way Richard Park, Crash Kingston & Giomar Cortez did last season.

Mop- Victor Aguilera has a great, useful arm with 88/45 DUR/STA and decent split against RH. He'll log lots of garbage innings at a very low cost.

LRA- Jorge Owen deserved the AL Cy Young in S11. You will never find a better relief pitching season in HBD; he was Mike Marshall in 1974, with an ERA significantly below league average, won 15 games and did most of his work in a rocket lauching pad. He'll probably pitch worse this season, but still figures to be league average or better as the first man out of the pen.

LRB - Davey Morgan will again be the LRB, providing some solid work in losing efforts.

SuA- Cy Bruske pitched effectively in the post-season, filling in for LRA Jorge Owen. He'll be counted on this season to provide Jaime Phillips with some help in the 7th & 8th innings of close games.

SuA- Jaime Philips pitched too much last season, resulting in an ugly W-L record of 4-11. However, he had a great season as the #1 setup option out of the pen and will be expected to bring something similar to the table this season.

SuB- Terry Riley is a durable, useful LHRP with options. He'll be able to close out many losses this season.

CLA- Moises DeJesus was signed to a ML contract and sported a $4.5M salary last year, before reverting to $500K for the next two ML seasons He was a finalist for Fireman of the Year and will again try to close out games for the Bulls.

*Written by soxfan121, posted by firesign34
PS: Next time use Player Text Link instead of Forum Link

Meet The Season 12 Injuns Night

A great season is in store with just about every team being considered playoff contenders in MLB. The Indians took a giant step last year, contending till the end but came up short. Minor injuries hurt our chances more than anything, as there were three going into the the stretch, just days before roster expansion. With an almost depleted AAA squad for the same reason, plus AAA was a playoff bound team, made it difficult to replenish the ML squad. This years ML squad however has few changes but enough to improve the team from last year. The entire coaching staff returned to see the team make history this year.

The Defense
C - Dean Hill returns for another season as the starting back stop. It is hoped he will put up even better number this season. His backup this season has yet to be determined as Spring Training will determine which one of the three gets the precious spot on the roster.

1B - Don Webster gets the call this season as Tony Brown failed to impress last season even though he could play more than one position.

2B - Jae Dong is slotted to play the position but didn't impress management well enough to dole out a long term contract.

3B - Karim Quevedo couldn't handle the SS position last year and was quickly moved.

SS - Hideki Huang took over the position last year and actually put in a somewhat GG performance.

RF - Giovanni Jackson started last year instead of CF and became a Silver Slugger at the position and a key cog in the offense.

LF - Albert Tapies has become a legend in left among the fans even though he had somewhat of an off year.

CF - Howard Washington had a career year defensively wandering around CF and was only beat out by one player to capture the coveted GG award.

The Bench
Kimera Adams will be the go to guy on the bench for all the major position relief and will probably split time with several players to stay sharp.

Harry Brock will provide relief at 1B and COF and some 2B.

Wayne Stewart will provide some depth at COF and 1B as well.

The Starters
1. Brant Brede will take the mound to start opening day.

2. Jose Crespo had his best ML season last year and hopes to be even better this year.

3. Tito Gao baffled everyone last year when he was called up at mid season.

4. Pedro Roque didn't have a great season after being called up but coaches think he is better than Tito and needs to have a good campaign this season.

5. Tomas Camacho is like a box of chocolates, one never knows what they are going to get.

The Pen
Quilvio Olivares became a go to reliever and emergency starter last season.

Grant Simon: Management originally wanted to pick Grant up in an off-season trade and bring him back to Cleveland, but his arbitration cost was too steep but just right as a FA acquisition.

Richard Park: Newly acquired in FA cheaply, management liked what they saw and the arm looks to be healthy to take a chance.

Lucas Thomson provided a confusing change of pace that was relatively sucessfull last season.

8th inning wonder boys
Boomer Thomson had a great year either setting up the closer or being the closer.

Kory Governale was 27 of 31 in the save department last year and won 3 of his blown saves and the fourth went to extra innings. The big knock, he couldn't close day after day.

Daniel Blackwell is slotted for the closer role at this time as he may have run out of steam late last season.

On the bubble as at least one will go to make room for a catcher.
Steven Haynes

Kenneth Buckley

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What I Have Seen So Far

With the new update package, I have found a few things you should be aware of.

The biggest one is in budgeting! Pay very close attention to future seasons at all times when setting the budget. I had a tough time setting the budget for the Injuns because of that.

If you mess up a long term contract in arbitration and exceed a budget somewhere, the monetary expenditure sticks even though the player remains unsigned or it did with me. It stays even if you trade the player. It clears after arbitration is over however, but the damage has already been done. Budget transfer was not available either. I wonder what happens if you mess up a FA signing that way?

ML Free Agents seem to sign in the second or third cycle if no other team is bidding for his services. Minor League Free Agents seem to sign once the contract reaches a 1 Year minimum MLB deal with no other bidders for a cycle. If there is more than one team they will choose the best fit for them and sign and don't seem to wait around for other suitors.

Coaches seem to accept deals faster also. We are half way through the coach hiring phase and 90% of the slots have been filled at all levels. The biggest one is for a bull pen coach which is at 8 because we have a lack of quality coaches for that position and no one is bidding on the scum that is left. Better to wait til the end and pick up a better PC for cheap.

Beware of Type D supplementals being placed at previous years draft position at +1 instead of the supplemental round, this also happens in rounds 2 and 3. Also the actual order of Type A and Type B supplemental is not determined until the first predraft cycle even though they are listed by A's first followed by B's.

Type A and Type B Free Agents do not lose their status until the amateur predraft day by the way.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Statisticians Nightmare Awards Are In

Well, we know who is up for the major awards, but how about the lesser awards or the "SNA's". Some of these awards are with great distinction and some, well let's just say the burger joint is hiring.

Statisticians Frustrated Pitching Award: And the Award goes to: Horacio Pizzaro with his 9-18 record and 4 complete games.

Statisticians Loser Award: Oklahoma City Kevin Durants starting pitching staff.

Statisticians Iron Pitching Award: Carlos Espinoza with a 6-19 record while pitching 228 innings.

Statisticians Busy Award: Carlos Espinoza giving up 292 hits amongst other not so pitcher like stats that kept them real busy.

Statisticians Tired Twirl Award: Carlos Espinoza wins a third award by giving up a record setting 70 round trippers.

Statisticians Ball Four Award: It was a tough call between the OKC starters and Olmedo Mercedes but the award goes to the OKC starting rotation.

Statisticians Bruiser Award: Don Bell by giving out 16 black and blue marks.

Statisticians Duck Award: Jay DeHaan with 14 wild pitches.

Statisticians You Can't Do that Pitching Award: Not awarded as there were 16 pitchers that had only 2 balks.

Statisticians Iron Hitter Award: Steven Matheson with 659 AB's and a .269 Average.

Statisticians Theftless Award: Heinie Watkins for getting caught 18 times stealing in 22 attempts.

Statisticians Strike Three Award: Rafael Almanzar wins his the award with 168 strike outs.

Statisticians Bruised Award: Bernie Lugo who failed to duck 13 times.

Statisticians Your Up With 1 Out Award: Hong-Jin Perez who hit into 42 game ending double plays.

Statisticians Ground Assault Award: Jim Wise with his 3.41 ratio but did manage to get a few in the air.

Statisticians Air Assault Award: Hector Ramirez who had a 0.75 ratio meaning he seldom hit it on the ground.

Statisticians Patience Award: Hong-Jin Perez who saw 3.96 pitches per plate appearance.

Statisticians Be A Stick Award: Walter Burkett with 502 AB's and a .235 average in 162 games.

Statisticians Klutz Award: Travis Smith with 15 minus plays.

Statisticians Clumsy Award: Pascual Dotel with 41 errors.