Tuesday, March 29, 2011

EMSN International Report

True Luck Duck reporting from the depths of the Outback. The scouts of a few teams has gathered and are looking at a couple players from the Far East. One has created a large buzz in the name of Kevin Yoshii, an 18 year old right handed RF from Saigon. The report card is as follows:

Range: C-
Glove: D-
Arm: C-
Speed: A

Plate awareness: C+
Power: A

Medical Info: C-

Notes: He definitely isn't the total package and may have trouble adjusting but will owners pass him by?

Monday, March 21, 2011

How the Brewers Were Built

You can trace the current Brewers back to season 12, when the team decided to go for it with mid-season deals ("chush," in Jim Fassel parlance) and ended up with a pitching rotation featuring three future Hall of Famers: Donald Satou,Omar Elcano and Mike Leius.

That team was swept by Cincinnati in the NLCS and when Elcaon and Leius refused to re-sign with Milwaukee, the team failed to make the playoffs in Season 13 with just 85 wins.  After just 80 wins in Season 14, it was clear this was a re-build project.

The Brewers surprised most observers with their Season 18 playoff berth.  They had been targeting Season 19 as the season of re-birth.  Here's how the current club came to be.

  • Starting pitcher Albert Paronto was chosen with the 22nd pick of the Season 12 draft.
  • Starting right fielder Alfredo Henriquez was acquired via trade with San Diego during Spring Training in exchange for Peter Yoon, Chuck Harris and Dan Simpson. (TRADE GRADER: Incomplete; too soon to grade)
  • Starting shortstop Bill Riley, a gold glove player in Season 18, was drafted in the 3rd round (90th overall) of the Season 7 draft.
  • Backup outfielder Butch Osbourne was acquired via trade with Tampa Bay during Spring Training in exchange for Junior Solano. (TRADE GRADER: Incomplete; too soon to grade)
  • Setup man David Woo was acquired via trade with Vancouver (now SF) during Season 15 in a package that included Theo Simmons and Rigo Cordero. (TRADE GRADER: B; Woo is a serviceable major leaguer while Simmons and Cordero have not had any significant role in the majors)
  • Setup man Del Estrada was drafted in the first round (19th overall) in the Season 10 draft.
  • Starting left fielder Eric LaRocca, a former 8th-overall pick, was acquired via trade with Vancouver, along with Vin Feliz, in Season 13 in exchange for Edgard Espinosa. (TRADE GRADER: B-.  LaRocca has been a staple in the major league lineup while Espinosa has been a solid performer and a #3/4 starter throughout his career.  This trade still has upside).
  • Rookie starting 1B Freddie Cox was acquired via trade with New Orleans along with Yoon and Marty Jensen for future Hall of Famer Zachrey Jerzembeck and Oswaldo Zapata.  (TRADE GRADER: B; three very solid major leaguers acquired for one very good player on the downside).
  • New closer Harry Beltran was signed as an International Free Agent in Season 14.
  • Setup man Harry Long was a first round pick in Season 13 (42nd overall).
  • Utilityman Huston Hartley, another former first rounder, was acquired via trade with Detroit in Season 16 along with Alving James for Season 18 Cy Young winner Davey Valdes. (TRADE GRADER: C-; Valdes was a total surprise Cy Young winner, but Hartley and James have yet to show that they'll be anything more than Major League fodder)
  • Starting CF Jair Bennett was signed as an International Free Agent in Season 15.
  • Starting 3B James Trachsel, a two-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove third baseman, was selected in the first round (25th overall) in Season 8.
  • Setup man Jeremi Burnett was acquired via trade with Atlanta in Season 13 for Stephen Fonville. (TRADE GRADER: B+; Burnett has been a good major league reliever while Fonville continues to bounce around).
  • Setup man Julian Darr was a first round pick (52nd overall) in Season 14.
  • Starting pitcher Larry Browning, another former first round pick, was acquired via trade with Durham in Season 15 along with former first rounder Tino Rupe in exchange for Joaquin Villano. (TRADE GRADER: B+; two contributors at the major league level in exchange for a #4/5 starter that never got over the hump).
  • Catcher Mariano Pimentel, a former first rounder, was acquired via trade with Atlanta in exchange for Willie Crosby and Pat Lin . (TRADE GRADER: C-; Pimentel was acquired for his defense.  Lin has a decent bat for a C, and Crosby is an excellent platoon player but can only DH - not good for a NL team)
  • Starting pitcher Marty Jensen was acquired in the Cox trade (see above).
  • Starting pitcher Michael Yamamoto was signed as an International Free Agent in Season 16.
  • Reserve catcher Miguel Rivera, an 18th-round draft pick, was acquired via trade with the NY Mets in Season 14 in exchange for Victor Guzman. (TRADE GRADER: C; Rivera is defense-only and Guzman was terrible)
  • Starting catcher Phil Redmond was a first round draft pick in Season 13 (47th overall).
  • Starting pitcher Reagan Matthews was the first overall pick of the Season 16 draft.
  • Starting 2B TJ O'Brien was acquired via trade with the Cubs in Season 13 along with Cy Young Award winners Dwight Johnson and Davey Valdes in exchange for two-time Cy Young winner Donald Satou. (TRADE GRADER: B+; both teams did very well in this exchange)
  • Setup man Tino Rupe was acquired in the Browning trade (see above).
  • Setup man Vic McPherson was a first round pick (31st overall) in Season 13.
13 Acquired via trade
9 draft picks (8 first round, one 3rd round)
3 International free agents

EMSN International Report

True Luck Duck reporting from the headquarters of the Tampa Bat Rays who are joyous about the signing of Fernando Aguilar for $11.6M.

Control: B-
Splits: C+
Pitch-1: B
Pitch-2: B
Pitch-3: C
Pitch-4: N/A
Pitch-5: N/A
Stamina: B
Durability: A

Medical Info: B+

Although he is a young lefty and only has three pitches, grades out real well. IMO, a wait and see prospect but could be a force one day. At least the Rays are hoping so.

So far the Mets organization is 2 for 4 in seeing the high-end International prospect market.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

EMSN International Report

True Luck Duck reporting live from the Queen City where the Reds signed Willie Pascual to a whopping $22.3M contract. The Reds looked very pleased with their Willie as did Pascual.

Control: C
Splits: C+
GB: B+
Pitch-1: A
Pitch-2: C+
Pitch-3: C-
Pitch-4: C+
Pitch-5: D+
Stamina: B+
Durability: A

Medical Info: B+

A Cy Young in the future? IMHO, iffy, lacks the great control, look for the splits to be in the mid to upper 70's at a minimum. Great first pitch, second pitch though projected in the mid to low 70's may hurt a bit while rest of pitches should be well above average. Over paid is a probability but pitching even close to these starting numbers is hard to find.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

EMSN International Report

True Luck Duck reporting live from San Diego where they have just announced the signing of Robinzon Santana. Scuttlebutt claims they used $13.1M to sign the young power hitter.

Rumors have been flying about a super phenom pitching prospect, Willie Pascual, that only a few can see and his value has soared over $21M already. More news to follow in this late breaking rumor.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Pirates Season 19

The Pirates are back for another go after a disappointing end to season 18. Due to budgetary constraints no major moves were made. Alex Richardson was resigned. Max Carreras was traded for Patrick Ramirez to free up some payroll in future seasons.

Additions: Hector Contreras, Tito Murphy
Departures: Max Carreras, Yorvit Veras, Jose Guzman

Season 19 Position players

1B: Juan Carrasquel was robbed of the MVP last season. Hopefully, this season the voters will get it right.
2B: Bernard Shelley should've won a gold glove last season.
SS: Don Gong could be his final year in steel town
3B: Luis Cruz comeback player of the year last season. Hopefully he has a couple of seasons left.
LF: David Gomez tailed off a bit last season
CF: Lance Howard all star last season
RF: Alex Richardson tailed off last season, let's hope this is not a sign of things to come.
Bench: Rob Webster backup catcher, Derek Throneberry will see some time at 2B, and in the OF, Tito Murphy rule 5 pickup, will be a utility infielder, Hector Contreras backup CF and OF, Max Fuentes backup at 1B,
1. Tim Loewer perennial Cy young candidate
2. Ken Shumpert wants a ring before this future hall of famer hangs it up
3. Emil Sosa imagine the wins this guy would've compiled had he been moved into the rotation earlier in his career
4. Jimmie Torres will finally be left in the rotation for good
5. Felix Carter 20 game winner last season
Long relief: Daryl Graves will get the odd start when Loewer and Sosa need some extra rest, Nate Sager, and Wallace Wyatt will also set up when Blackwell and Leonard need some rest
Setup: Daniel Blackwell go to guy for the pirates, Flash Leonard, and Geraldo Rosa will also close when Coronado needs some rest
Closer: Andres Coronado all time Pirate saves leader

The Pirates look forward to winning their 6th consecutive NL North division crown and 7th in the last 8 seasons. The only question is will the Pirates be able to get a first round playoff bye on their way to winning the World Series.

EMSN International Report

True Luck Duck reporting live from Arlington Texas where a recent press conference revealed the signing of Alex Caballero. Alex becomes the first notable high priced international free agent of season 19 with a bonus of #10M. It is rumored that Alex turned down a higher offer just so he could live in the same city as his beloved Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

EMSN International Report

True Luck Duck reporting from Miami where two International prospects showed off their talents today to prospective teams. So who will shell out the big bucks for these two interests?

The first is Alex Caballero who considers himself a 2B by trade, we think, as the interpreter was having trouble with his stunted Cuban accent. His age may also be in question as papers indicate he is 20 but could actually be 24.

After watching his drills the report card looked like this for 2B:

Range: C-
Glove: C-
Arm: C-
Speed: D

Plate awareness: B
Power: C

Medical Info: B
Notes: Seemed very annoyed when things didn't go his way.

Asking around with other scouts who remain anon about their impression: The consensus was most teams don't consider him a 2B, maybe COF, too slow to be considered in the top of the batting order but has the hitting aptitude. Most were disappointed.

Next on my list of foreign hopefuls was Robinzon Santana a Venezuelan SS. His English wasn't too bad by the way for an 18 year old.

His report card looked like this:

Range: C
Glove: C
Arm: C
Speed: B

Plate awareness: C-
Power: A

Medical Info: B

The Anon Scouts seemed very impressed with his power and think there is growth potential all the way around but were rather downcast when I asked if playing SS was in his future. Most generally we see a full letter grade improvement in development, chances are that 3B is the best he can do.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

AL Preview

AL North

This is a division to watch sports fans!

Seattle looks to maintain the crown. They solidified the pitching staff to make sure.

Toronto went and found offense. Is the pitching up to the task?

Detroit stood pat.

Minnesota made some interesting moves but nothing really major.

The sad part is one of these teams will be watching the playoffs at Disney World.

AL East

This is a tough one to call sports fans!

Boston was very busy in the off season to say the least. Was their wheeling and dealing enough to keep the crown?

Atlanta was equally busy. Was their wheeling and dealing enough to take the crown away?

Dover more or less stood pat. Is pitching enough to usurp the crown?

Washington more or less stood pat also. If the Senators had a better bull pen, this is the team I would choose to take the crown.

AL South

Tampa Bay looks to take charge of the crown this season. Yup, you heard it right here first.

Kansas City may think about a charge to the crown but I don't think it will happen for some reason.

Little Rock will be better than last year but have a ways to go.

Texas looks like they are setting up for a complete retool.

AL West

It is a close one to call!

Anaheim tends to think they will keep the crown. Maybe-maybe not.

San Diego made some inroads in the right direction. They gonna be tough and the odds on favorite to finish in first.

Helena needs to eat more Hot Pockets to get things going.

Colorado pitching gopher balls.

The way I see this mess matriculating.

1. Seattle Mariners
2. Tampa Bay Rays
3. Anaheim Angels
4. Washington DC Senators
5. Toronto Blue Jays
6. Detroit Tigers or San Diego Padres

Monday, March 14, 2011

NL Preview

NL North

Pittsburgh looks like the team to beat once again. The Pirates have taken the best solution to a growing problem, the Farm is almost bone dry. If the injury bug hits, it opens the doors.

Milwaukee looks to vie for the North crown. I don't think they are ready for that however but should finish second.

Cincinnati is poised to make it a race for second place.

Chicago looks to rebuild.

NL East

Philadelphia looks to be the front runner once again.

St. Louis made some moves that should help for the short term but vie for the crown I just don't think so. They will be one tough potato to hash out second place.

New York has a goal to win 70 games this season. Not much of a goal is it?, but it is a start.

Baltimore is asleep at the wheel as usual and a roster that is undermanned. Never fear though, by game time things will be ready.

NL South

Florida looks as solid as ever and should have another crown to crow about. They also won the most first round picks category.

Houston made moves to vie for the crown. I don't see it happening but a strong second place finish is in order.

New Orleans got rid of some of those forlorn contracts from the previous GM. The team is solid enough but will need some voodoo to contend with the other two.

Mexico City is hiding south of the border. Learning the ropes quietly, time for a siesta.

NL West

Salem has a dynasty but for how long?

San Francisco and Los Angeles, I can't choose between them.

Arizona is much better than last years record. They are marshaling forces in the miniors..beware.

So how do I perceive things to end this season?

1. Florida Marlins
2. Salem Super Sequoias
3. Pittsburgh Pirates
4. Philadelphia Phillies
5. Houston Astros
6. Milwaukee Brewers are penciled in lightly as a host of others could end up here.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

My votes for the HOF - in order

Omar Nixon. A no-brainer. 627 HRs. Career OPS north of 1.000. Highly decorated with 7 All Star Games, 3 MVPs and 4 WS titles. Played whole career for Erff. Our top candidate.

Mitchell Ray. Another Erff player from the glory days in Cincy. saved 450+ games with a nearly 90% efficiency rating. Great playoff performer with 27 saves. Eight All Star Games, 5 times the NL's best closer and 4 WS rings.

Dwight Johnson. During first 10 seasons, established himself as arguably the most successful pitcher in the entire League. Came into League with legendary season - a 20-1 mark, Rookie of Year, Cy Young and a WS title. Won WS rings with three different teams. Won 224 games overall, 6-time All-Star and 4 WS rings. Nearly 300 playoff innings pitched with 18 wins.

William Hernandez. First 10 seasons were legendary. Final offensive numbers were tremendous with more than 2,200 hits and nearly 500 HRs. Four time All-Star, also won an MVP and WS ring.

Ramon Dong. Perhaps the best player with the lowest profile. His 6 All-Star games rank among the 5 most in the League. Nearly 2,400 hits, putting him the League's top 10. Career averages (per 162 games) of .326, 21 HR, 100 RBI and an astonishing 125 runs. Won a World Series, Silver Slugger and Gold Glove. Playoff OPS north of 1.000 in more than 225 ABs.

Toughest omission: Bryan McDowell. His reign among the League's elite closers was short, but overwhelming. Six times the AL's top Fireman and a seven-time All-Star. Career WHIP (1.13) and ERA (2.92) underscore career dominance. A truly dominant postseason performer. I leave him off the list because closer numbers, in my view, should be overwhelming, and he is a full 100 saves shy of Ray (not to mention Vinny Post). Dong, Hernandez and Johnson all had longer runs as elite performers. He may get my vote next season.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

New York Mets

Here we are in New York!!! The Mets no less, ten straight seasons of finishing in the cellar. The fans in Cleveland were clamoring for a change, so I decided give into their desires. Originally I was going to move my old team to New York, they would have loved the bright lights, Broadway and the Opera. But then reality set in and remembered the wishes of another. I love New York, New York! (gotta love Sinatra) In reality, it ranks number two in despicable places I have been (DC is #1).

Shea Stadium: A pitchers park. Got to be careful here as it will change to Citi Field soon and who knows what changes that will bring.

A look at what the roster revealed:

1B - Tomas Guerrero: Adequate defensively. Should fill the number three slot in the lineup as he has some power and is on OBP machine.

2B - John McInerney: Didn't show a lot of defensive prowess last season but should be better than numbers indicated. Should be a better hitter also, have him slotted for lead off.

3B - Daiki Xaio: Every thing he a wall at the hot corner. Tends to be a strike out victim at the plate with the low contact.

SS - Tomas Trevino: A defensive SS for sure. Hitting is little league mentality unfortunately.

C - Bip Phelps and Gary Stanley: Both are pretty good defensively. Like Trevino though, the hitting mentality just doesn't exist.

RF - Kirby Priddy: Listed as a CF'er but never had the defense to play the position. A move to RF for his farewell season is in store. Probably the number 2 slot in the lineup.

LF - Roster spot open - Dan Radke will probably be called upon for the assignment.

CF - Roster spot open

Jay Richard - Listed a s a SS, but 3B is the best he can be. A Daiki Xaio look alike even! An every day backup at least.

George Green and Rodrigo Cerda - Chances are slim they will make it through spring training with the team.


Randy Lamb: Age has caught up with him and needs to retire.

Tony Duran: I don't foresee a contract in his future either.

Raul Izquierdo: Problem child! Wants $5.8M for 5 years. Hitting wise he is worth it in my books, the problem is he can't play the field anywhere. What to do with this Type B?

May have to hit the FA market to find a CF.


Clinton Cedeno: Will probably keep him even though he is a lefty.

Marshall Pierre: Bye Bye, see ya later.


Pitching isn't all that bad after looking things over, some are definitely underachievers in many aspects. Possibly too many lefties on the roster. Have several prospects in the minors that are not ready for the Show however.

Pepper Inge and George Atkins will be two of the starters after that it gets a bit murky.


Needs some upgrading for sure. Most have been with the club for a few years and have not gained in any area (that's a sign!). That wouldn't have been a surprise but most of them are relatively on the young side yet.


Relatively simple one to figure out.