Saturday, May 26, 2012

Twenty To Go!

That is right baseball fans, the season is down to 20 games to go. Seems like it has been a long season for some reason, for some too long maybe. What is on tap for our sports connected minds for the remainder of the season.  Actually it isn't as exciting as past seasons as only 7 teams in each league look to have a viable shot. What? No 4-way tie for the final playoff spot? Awwww----Shucks!!

NL North

Cubs are up by 2 games over the Pirates and  5 over the Brewers. This one could get rather exciting looking at their schedules. Other than a round robin between them the Cubs have to face Houston and Florida, meanwhile the Pirates and Brewers only face Salem.  This one could actually have a surprise ending as two of the three will get to the playoffs.

NL East

The Mets are pretty much in control, needing only 6 for a division wrap and are fighting for the #3 seed.

NL South

Florida is in no matter what but still need 7 for a division wrap, but how hard are they gonna try holding on to the #1 seed is the question. Houston is pretty much in also needing a few wins to seal the #5 seed again.

NL West

Salem has had the crown wrapped up for sometime but are still in the hunt for the #1 seed.

AL North

The Twins are sneaking away but the Expos are giving chase which may be too little too late.  Never fear stranger things have happened before.

AL East

The Red Sox have distanced themselves from the Beetles. 9 games is a lot to make up with 20 to go but not out of the question.

AL South

The Rays blew by the Heads who have tried to get back in it without success, but chances look good they are both playoff bound.

AL West

The Sky Sox have walked away with the division and the #1 seed this year. The Angels and A's are both fighting each other for the final playoff spot and that could get ugly.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Next Big Event

The next big events on the schedule occur in a few days.  For the newbies one is important, for those in the playoffs the both are important.

The first is roster expansion. This allows rosters to expand to the full 40 man roster if desired.  Most call up rookies to evaluate how they perform at the ML level. To do so puts them on the 40 man roster if they are not already on it. Those not already on the 40 man roster starts their clock and will use an option at the end of the season. That action may not be desirable at this time and caution may be the word on that. Those with three years experience can be a little trickier.  Those with three years experience and probably ML ready, do you wait til next season when you would need to put him on the 40 man roster or give him the experience with the ML club this season? The catch is, if you send him back down at the beginning of next season, the best time btw, then you will have to hold him at the minor league level more games to slow his ML service time to catch another year. Be careful about calling up players that are out of options also. Those players would need to clear waivers to send them back down.  One other minor thing with call ups is that you will need to carry the minimum roster requirements at each minor league level which is 21.

A hint here for the newbies, if your minor league teams are playoff bound, especially AAA, that experience actually helps more than a call up IMO. Also, at the end of the season you might want to move a player up to put them on a minor league playoff team.

The second is postseason roster. This is for playoff teams, players must be on the 40 man roster before this time to be eligible for postseason play. Injuries do happen during the playoffs and sometimes a manager may want to change the 25 man roster, however the only time the rosters can be changed is before a series starts, not during.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Who Helped Themselves

The Marlins..errr Mermaids look quite healthy if you ask me.

The after All-Star division scramble saw quite a bit of shock and awe between bitter rivals. Who helped themselves the most?

NL North

The Pirates went 8-3 against the rivals putting them in the thick of things once again. The Cubs meanwhile floundered as the DL stays a hot topic.

NL East

The Mets went 10-1 in the division securing Head-to-Head against all the division rivals. The Phillies got hot after their debacle with the Mets but ended up losing ground in the end.

NL South

The Marlins stayed hot and continued their dominance. The Astros continued their sluggin way to secure the first Wild Card slot.

NL West

Salem stayed hot extending their winning streak and a 9-2 division recap. The D'Backs may have stopped the Salem win streak but three losses  to them didn't boost their confidence either but remain alive for a shot at a Wild Card.

AL North

The Expos became the surprise winner putting themselves into the thick of things. Detroit looked good against the Jays but it went down hill from there. The Twins hit every other day win which didn't exactly help their cause.

AL East

The Red Sox took three of four from Dover and became the clear winner but was rather unconvincing in doing so.

AL South

The Rays rattled the Heads and brought their 9-2 record to bear. Looks like it could be a tough battle to the end.

AL West

The Shy Sox mashed their division foes 9-2 and keep sailing to the number 1 seed.

Top Ten Teams at the moment

1. Salem - Even though they are tied I give them the nod.
2. Florida
3. Colorado
4. Houston
5. New York
6. Tampa Bay
7. Little Rock
8. Pittsburgh
9. Minnesota
10. Anaheim   

Mexico Finds IFA

Eli Baez was singed by Mexico City for $14.8M.  A cheap signing for a good prospect so far this season. Although he was touted as a 2B, chances are he may never progress above LF but that ain't all bad.  His hitting is what lured Mexico City as he will have a decent eye, good splits and contact with home run power. Speed is not an accessory but the rest looks pretty good.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

IFA Market Update

Rafael Perez made off with $22.2M of the Blue Jays cash reserves today. A quality pitcher that should become a respected starter in the future. Control, splits, velo and ground ball are just a few of the outstanding qualities. When it comes to pitch quality however, my scouts are a beer blind. My feeling is he has the pitches to go with the rest. A great signing.

Bartolo Martin signed with the Minnesota Twins for $10.4M.  His control may need to be better than I am seeing for a quality starter. His splits and pitches seem rather reasonable for a lefty. 

Miguel Toca signed for $8M with the Boston Red Sox. Considered a project player by my scouts. Could be a quality starter if projections are met however it will require some time.

Transaction Deadline

The next exciting thing to happen in the world of baseball is the Transaction Deadline.  It is a curious event in reality. Basically all it means is that players can be traded without going thru waivers before the deadline. This does cause a few trades to materialize.  After the deadline, all players on the 40-man roster must go thru waivers before being traded.

Basically what happens is many teams tend to put players on reversible waivers after the deadline.  Some teams may actually use this to clear the 40-man roster since all players must clear waivers to be removed and makes it a safe way to do so.  A player claimed off reversible waivers can only be traded to the claiming club. Though sometimes the reversible waivers are not used so beware.

Most generally players in the last year of their contract or arbitration eligible players wanting extensive contracts wind up on waivers after the deadline. Generally playoff teams are the buyers, looking for a key player to help them to the playoffs. The losing club is hoping for a couple good prospects in the deal and usually want more than the player is worth most of the time in my opinion.

History of the world indicates that reversible waivers are used more extensively than others I have been in.  One must consider several things for a trade after the deadline. Will the player sign a new contract or go FA? Is he a Type A or B player? Will he really help the team as opposed to the future considerations?


Last season there wasn't anything to crow about for "Diamonds in the Rough". This year however there was a couple that caught our attention.

Pete Brooks, P, Philadelphia Phillies: Drafted in the ninth round of this years draft scouts have determined that he could have been a late first round pick.  Has the ability to be a real good setup man, long or short.

Pablo Cruz, P, Minnesota Twins: Signed as an IFA late last season. Now has the ability to be a quality end of rotation starter or long reliever. Not bad for a $250K signing.

George Taylor, P, Kansas City Royals: He was an 11th round pick in last years draft. Jury is still out if he can really make a ML roster as a setup man but we think it is possible.  Splits are still a little on the low end but the control and pitches could cover those up quite a bit.

Scooter Ventura, 3B, Washington D.C. Senators: Was drafted in the 9th round of the season 20 draft. Still young enough to make the grade in a backup role. Has the ability to play a great 3B but only moderate skills at the plate which could hamper him.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

At The Break

It is the All-Star break!! That means there are 71 games left to the season. Also belated Christmas gifts are in the mail, might be a surprise or a lump of coal.  And yet, the biggest 11 game stretch of the season follows the All-Star break. Most generally teams can still win 60 percent of their games (42). For some that means a possible trip to the playoffs. Some a little more, some a little less.  Since the normal team here make the playoffs with 90 wins or more, lets take a look at who still has a chance.

NL North

The Cubs are in first place and only need 37 wins for the magic number, but are pretty banged up at the moment. The call up of Suzuki may be a shot in the arm for the anemic offense as long as he doesn't get the bug. The Cub defense is very strong and as long as the pitching staff holds things together they will be fine, maybe.

The Pirates won't go away for sure as usual. They have a good pitching staff but the offense isn't anything to write home about.. Defense is rather questionable also, error total could be a bit misleading as they have a rather bad plus/minus ratio and the stolen bases.

The Brewers are the best hitting team in the NL but like someone said, "They may need 4 hits an inning to score a run." and that ain't easy.  Pitching hasn't been very solid as their OAV is almost as bad as their hitting average is good. The defense doesn't commit errors and plus/minus plays aren't top notch but looking over the team defense could be contributing to the bad OAV. 

The Reds are considered out of the running needing a 50-21 record, not impossible but... The Reds lack power at the plate and the pitching staff tends to give up a lot of gopher balls, not a good combination.

AL North

The Twins have a good hitting team while pitching is well below average and defense is a little suspect also.  Their ability to stay above .500 home and away helps tremendously.

The Tigers are the surprise of the season so far. They found out how to win at home, the road is another matter to overcome. Team defense is pretty good overall but pitching needs to be a mainstay and it just isn't there, especially on the road. The Tigs actually hit better on the road but that is a park product, home is a nightmare for anyone hitting.

The Expos are still in the hunt. The offense likes the new digs, the pitching staff despises it though.  The defense is still taking those bad hops off the chin a bit but isn't horrible. Home is worrisome as the record indicates.

The Blue Jays would need lots of drugs to help their woes. Maybe a few Appletinis or Jolly Ranchers would help this season as the rebuild continues.

NL East

The Mets are flying high this season, needing only 35 wins to hit the magic number and only 32 to better last years record. The season so far is emulating season 21 with a so-so to bad home record and a great road campaign. Hitting isn't great but team speed is very good. Pitching is good, boasting an under 4.00 ERA performance. Defense doesn't show to be great error wise, we defer to the bad coaching for that one, but the plus/minus ratio makes up for it.

The Phillies have a lot of ground to make up if they are to make the playoffs. Charlie Stone is finally back from the DL which may help but may not be the player he used to be. Hitting is their strong point as the pitching staff hasn't been shutting the opponents down. Defense is solid.

The Braves and Colonels were both hoping for a breakout season that just hasn't happened.

AL East

The Red Sox are in first place but look worried. They boast one of the best hitting lineups in the AL but have one of the worst pitching staffs. The offense and defense are still keeping them in contention.

The Dung Beetles are the second surprise team of the season.  Pitching and hitting is strong enough to keep their heads above water and seriously contend.  Defense isn't stellar but good enough to help out.

The Senators and Orioles aren't out of the picture in the East but need to start playing better ball.

NL South

The Marlins errrr Ivan Johnson and company has the team on the verge of another playoff campaign already. Near the top in all categories is the reason why.

The Astros are led by Joel Mays and the pitching staff. The offense just isn't getting the job done well except for the aforementioned, next to last in hitting seems odd for a playoff contender. The pitching staff is a beast and keeps them in games, especially close ones. The defense is moderate and can come to the rescue.

The Diablos keep getting better and are still in the race for a wild card. The hitting is not the greatest and is just like the commercial, can go from great to ugly to good in a nine inning span. Pitching keeps them wired however. Defense is good.

The Cardinals are in a rebuild and have picked up some nice future stars along the way this season.

AL South

The Heads lead the way. Boasting the best pitching staff in the AL helps. The offense is a little deceiving but hits lots of home runs to help their cause. Defense is top notch also. Can they hold off the rest in the South though is the question.

The Rays are in form and chasing the Heads.  Felipe Peralta leads the way in team homer assault, but other than that they are rather melancholy. Pitching isn't bad either while the defense is one of the beast in the AL.

The Royals are in the race for a wild card as catching the other two might be a trifle difficult but not impossible. Hitting, pitching and defense are all very solid. A little luck might be needed.

The Rangers are a mystery. They have the hitting and lead the AL today. The pitching is there but just isn't performing. The defense is solid. Look out, this team could go on a 20 game winning streak at any time, we have seen it before.

NL West

Salem leads the way yet again. Winning 11 in a row to catch Florida for the number 1 seed in dramatic fashion before All-Star break.  Salem has  a very rounded team with the hitting, pitching and defense all being in the top tier. Who will be the number 1 seed this year is the only question.

The Giants have been rebuilding for a while and it is starting to pay off. Pitching and hitting are in sync with the home park but play better away from home, go figure. Defense is still an issue to deal with, especially running teams. How far will they go remains to be seen.

The D'Backs are a team that tends to under perform and this season is no exception. While pitching and hitting isn't outstanding in the stats department, I say they are better than it shows. They have the best defense stat wise but have trouble throwing out the thieves also.

The Padres are learning and learning fast while not afraid to ask. Rebuilds are not done overnight, ask Salem.

AL West

The Sky Sox are running away from the rest of the AL.  They have everything working on all cylinders and doesn't look to be stopped.

The Angels and A's pop into the wild card race with identical records.  For the most part the two are almost identical.  Hitting is close to identical.  A's may have a slight advantage  in pitching.  Defense however is night and day kinda. The Angels have the fewest errors in the AL while the A's are almost the worst. The A's have the worst plus/minus ratio I have ever seen from a playoff contender and the Angels are right there with them in that aspect.

The Hot Pockets are having a bad season. Too many youngsters without experience tends to have a negative effect in the won-loss department, looks like the average age of the team is 25.

How do I see things finishing?


1. Salem - overall I think they better than Ivan and company.
2. Florida - no stopping them.
3. New York - I think I can.
4. Chicago - like the cartoons, hanging on a limb and sawing off the tree.
5. Houston - they like this spot
6. Pittsburgh - it is a 6 way race for this slot, I just like their pitching better.


1. Colorado - big lead, doubt if anyone stops them
2. Little Rock - just because I think they can
3. Dover - move over Red Sox
4. Minnesota - I like the even team
5. Tampa Bay - they will fight to the end
6. Boston - just my gut here