Monday, September 23, 2013

The Flirty Forty

So if your 40 and single with a good job the young sexy chicks at the bar might be checking you out. Oh wait, in your dreams.  Umm, yeah this is about the last forty games of the season especially those that have a shot at the playoffs.  For some that is still a dream.

AL North

Salt Lake looks to have a handle on things with a 10 game lead.

AL East

New Britain also has a 10 game lead and looks to go unhindered into the playoffs.

AL South

Is this division as inept as their records indicate?  Looks can be deceiving sometimes but the title is still up for grabs as the Biscuits have faltered and the Braves have picked up ground albeit slowly.

AL West

Salem has a 22 game lead and looks primed to take the #1 seed though they still need to shake loose from New Britain's prying eyes.

The Wild Card race might wind up to be a free-for-all before the season ends. Dover stands atop the fold here with Fargo holding onto the second slot.  Neither one can get too complacent as there are seven other teams that could get hot and make a run at them.

NL North

Stands to reason that Buffalo and Scranton are having their seemingly annual tiff.

NL East

The Bats got pissed at me at the beginning of the season and decided to really prove they are the team to beat.

NL South

Maybe it is pick on the South teams this season. New Orleans is atop but everybody is still in the race for the title

NL West

Vancouver holds the lead and a slim run for the #1 seed at the moment. Those pesky Wranglers are getting ready for another round up so things aren't that definitive. 

Las Vegas and Scranton hold the Wild Card slots at the moment.  Truth be told, unless something drastic happens not much of a race here.

I have seen some odd seasons but this one seems to take the cake.  First the draft may have been deep but in all reality I didn't see any real stars to be all that thrilled about. The International Market has been a crap shoot with too many broken porcelain thrones. Eight teams in the South division and only one with a winning record at the moment. That may not seem odd except last year the worst of these teams had 69 wins and 5 of them were in the playoffs. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Butch News

Mal asked an interesting question about Butch Stewart that I just had to go snooping and finger out the situation. Two of the ten errors were dropped foul balls. Don't ask me how this is possible because it is one of those errors you hardly ever see. Since his glove and range is phenominal it doesn't seem realistic to this game but it might be that he is trying too hard. In a nutshell, he gets to the impossible catch and drops it, more than likely, can't hold on. All the others have been throwing errors. Even with a pretty good arm, shit happens. The shit in this case is a 1B that isn't all that defensive minded and should be left out of the pick off attempt equation. Further enhancing the trouble is a 2B that isn't great at covering the bag on steals, getting there or catching it if he does. The SS can get to the bag on a steal, catching it might be a tricky situation at times. We certainly can't pin the problem on the Fielding Instructor.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Little News

I have to applaud my Low A Diablos, 24 wins in a row is a nice streak you don't see very often. You would think they would be in first place but they barely gained 5 games on the front running Braves. I have seen a 22 win streak by a ML team but I tell you that is very rare.

The International Market has taken a beating this season. Anybody with a decent pulse is getting some money though it isn't the big bills.

Alving Megias got $1.2M from Charleston. Looks decent for a lefty but his pitches ain't all that sophisticated.

Javier Unamuno picked up a $2.2M payday from Oklahoma City. Touted as a 3B but we have a hard time believing he can play above the 1B position.  Seems to strike out a lot but does connect for home runs.

Oklahoma City also signed  Albert Suarez for $1.4M.  Another project player that just doesn't have the splits.

El Paso went hog wild over Yadier Espinoza with a $13M payday.  Diablos think he is better than what the scouts are seeing. I kinda doubt it really but was the best prospect I have seen all season.

Tomas Samuel got $1.2M from Salt Lake.  If his splits get better than what we see then there is a good chance. Still worth the money the way I see it.

Pawtucket made head-lines signing James Gao for $16M.  Many teams got out early as he isn't the greatest hitter with cataracts. Still, how can you pass up on what could turn out to be a GG SS that has decent power, contact and splits?

Saturday, September 14, 2013


The DITR function is totally random as far as I can tell.  I have seen an already elite player get the advantage but it is very rare. Just as rare is the increase actually makes the player viable for the ML. Normally teams that are bad, like the Diablos get four of them in a season like this year. Normal range for that is zero to four btw, don't think I have ever seen anyone get more than four. . Of course it didn't help all that much, just longer careers in the  minors maybe which is a bit helpful. I normally hope my DITR's are catchers as they can turn out to be fringe players if their PC gets up to the upper end. I actually got two short relievers which is normal and two starters which is unusual. Still, none of them I consider even fringe players but can be very helpful in the development process of other players and getting the minor league team to the playoffs. One thing to note, DITR's have a tendency to develop differently, especially if they are young. They tend to develop more after the first three years than normal players to reach their potential.

There is the initial DITR jump I like also but you don't get to see it if it was from a just drafted player. One of mine was an International that was signed at the end of last year.  I must have thought he had enough potential for the low minors then (and spend spare cash on)  but now can possibly make it to AAA. Three were actually minor league vets and that is all they ever will be which happens quite often.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

International News

With all the hype being on the draft I almost over looked something exciting. No! It wasn't the fact the Diablos finally ended their 11 game losing streak which I don't understand as I think we are much better than our record indicates.

Arodys Gonzalez signed a $15.5M deal with the Norfolk Tides. If things go well, even if I don't like them being over the age of 18, he could be ready for ML action in a season and a half easily enough. He has the potential to be a very good long reliever or maybe a solid 5 inning starter.  A decent buy for the money if things work out well.

Grade: A-

Monday, September 2, 2013

Draft Review

With the first pick of the season 24 draft, Fresno selects Javier Posada, catcher, Fairmont High School in MN (didn't like Maple River?). Good defensively but doesn't possess the Pitch Calling skill and his arm could be problematic at times. He has a big bat which lured Fresno into taking him with the number 1 pick. Truthfully I consider him more of a DH than a catcher which makes him a possible future trade bait later with an AL team. 

Grade: A-

2. Andy York, CF, 
Burlington Lake Monsters: I am not that inclined to believe he can play CF but 2B has its rewards. I like his hitting style more than Posada though not as powerful. His speed enhances is ability to be a great ML player.

Grade: A+

3. Joe Stockton, SS, Durham Bulls: His health did not scare Durham away but maybe should have. Quality SS is a maybe but 2B/3B is always a distinct possibility. Might have better power number and thefts than York if he has a long career.

Grade: A-

4. Kip Phelps, 1B, Norfolk Tides: He isn't gonna be great defensively at 1B, just adequate comes to mind. Actually has the ability to be a lead-off hitter or in the the number 2 slot even though he doesn't have the speed most look for. Just saying he doesn't have the quality pop most look for in the 3 thru 6 slot and too good to be the bottom end of the order.

Grade: A-

5. Horace Duran, SP, Charleston RiverDogs: Did anyone expect the best starting pitcher in the draft to fall this far? I was hoping one more to be truthful. He could turn out to be a project in the making but does have the possible skills to be very good. Ground ball flame thrower with good to exceptional control, decent splits and pitches. Gets degraded heavily though with the thought of a longer than usual minor league career and health.

Grade: B+

6. Bernie O'Malley, P, El Paso Diablos: With the best hitters and starting pitcher off the boards we turned our attention to the best reliever. We think he could be a bit of a project also as we are hoping he turns out to be the shutdown closer we want.

Grade: A

7. Delmon Walker, 2B, Albuquerque Isotopes: Doubtful he will ever rise above a strong LF in reality. Could be a good power hitter if his contact rises above mediocrity.

Grade: B

8. Julio Pena, P, Augusta Green Jackets: There could be some contention as to whom got the best shutdown closer. Bernie grades out better in the eyes of the scouts but that doesn't mean Julio is no knockoff.

Grade: A

9. Pat Skipworth, LF, Fargo Moorhead Redhawks: LF looks very doubtful in my books and 1B looks more likely. Has some power to go with the very good eye and contact but might need to get lucky.

Grade: B

10. Douglas Milton, 2B, Little Rock Travelers:  Could be a project to play 2B and to hit well for that matter. Has lots of speed but doesn't have much ability to use it.

Grade: B

11.  Alberto Colome, CF, Syracuse Chiefs: Quality CF is a given, not great mind you. Has plenty of speed for the theft department. A tough out as he hits most anything and has some pop to go with it and is very lucky against righties. Home run balls has a tendency to elude him however. Will the health and durability issues keep him on the bench is the question.

Grade: B

12. Howard Bibby, SS, Iowa City Cubs: I had a hard time placing him in my top 10. He has the future ability to be a GG SS but it is doubtful he will rise to the occasion. Hitting isn't exactly his forte but does have the speed and know how.

Grade: B

13. Randy Frazier, SP, Pawtucket Red Sox: How bad was starting pitching is this draft? Here is the second one take with the 13th pick no less and two closers already taken. He is a tough sell to be a quality ML starter in my books. Can his splits rise enough to be useful, are his first two pitches adequate enough. Too many unknowns. Truth be told my second round pick looks just as good.

Grade: B

14. Don Stetter, RF, Oklahoma City Indians: He won't be great in RF but it could be the best position for him other than 1B. Doesn't have great speed but will steal a base form time to time catching everybody by surprise. Could be a decent hitter in the end with some power.

Grade: B+

15. Christopher Sisler, SS, Omaha Storm Chasers: Chances of playing SS is mighty thin to nonexistent as 3B is probable. Can steal a base from time to time. Hitting is a mixed bag as he has some pop and luck but really looks hesitant about swinging. Maybe it is hand and eye coordination.

Grade: B+

16. Todd Pence, SP, Rochester Red Wings: If he was a lefty I would say he could be great buts as a righty, that is a different story. His splits aren't something to brag about and his control is actually so-so good, will his velo, GB and pitches bail him out is the question.

Grade: B

17. Vince Murphy, 2B, Boise Hawks: I thought about taking Vince with the 6th pick just because I didn't think he would sign. If he does sign, you get a guy that can play RF and is a very good hitter with some power.

Grade: A-

18.  Chip Simmons, LF, Toledo Mud Hens: Chances are he will sign. LF looks kinda promising but maybe 1B might be a better influence. Hitting might not be robust but has some pop.

Grade: B

19. Luis Cantu, 3B, Salt Lake City Bees: This is a player I had all over the board before I decided he wasn't worthy of a high pick. Should be a pretty good 3B is an easy assumption. Me and his anemic contact is a head scratcher but the rest has all-star hitting written all over it. How long will it take before pitchers realize he swings ans misses a lot.

Grade: B+

20. Walt Lara, SP, New Britain Rock Cats: Has some good splits but the middling control and pitches just doesn't look very promising at this point.

Grade: B

21. Del Brinkley, SS, Jacksonville Suns: I couldn't decide if he was to be ranked 3rd or 4th on my board. I think he could play SS, well not great but could be a GG 3B or 2B easily enough. Has some speed and power which is highly sought after in any of those positions. Good contact helps him out tremendously but those anemic splits caused his stock to drop, maybe further than need be.

Grade: A

22. Hector Delgado, P, Dover Senators: Good control and some possibly decent splits doesn't outweigh the fact that he has the velo of a little leaguer and very little pitch integrity to go with it. Health is even more of a strikage.

Grade: B-

23. Tony Vallarta, SP, New Orleans Zephyrs: I thought about taking him as lefty starters are not well liked but his health shot that down. I think he might be the most viable starter at the ML level out of this draft and that really isn't saying much.

Grade: B+

24. Cy Spencer, SS, New Britain Rock Cats: Reality will set in sooner or later that he isn't cut out to be a SS as 2B/3B is a better fit with some CF thrown in for good measure. Has some speed but hitting isn't all that great.

Grade: B

25.  Shep Bittle, RF, Las Vegas Wranglers: RF might be too much to handle for him which leaves 1B. Health is an issue Good eye, power and contact but could be a total waste because a right handed pitcher is an alien power to him.

Grade: B

26. Will Kinney, P, Rochester Red Wings: Signing looks doubtful at $8M.

27. Ron Pritchett, 2B, Jackson Generals: Not to give anything away but, he can't play anywhere close to 2B and LF is about as good as it is gonna get. Has speed but hitting isn't all that great either.

Grade: C+

28. Andrew Pearson, P, Norfolk Tides: Health isn't great but short relievers tend to survive that. Here is the catch 22 portion, can he be a closer with very little stamina and high durability. My thoughts would be to use him as a setup B to get out of an inning which is very useful. I actually like the thought put into this pick.

Grade: B+

29. Lou Pettyjohn, SS, New Orleans Zephyrs: Could be a reach at signing which might be good news, at least I wouldn't put much effort into it.  Little or no health but is a solid 3B prospect.  Does well at the plate and can steal a base.

Grade: B+ if he doesn't sign, B- if he does

30. Pedro Santos, SP, Vancouver Canadians: A good pick this late in the draft normally. We are not convinced a starting pitcher can survive long on one pitch and four junk ones.

Grade: B

31. Lloyd Carter, SP, New Orleans Zephyrs: I have had my fill of below 50 control pitchers, they just don't work for long regardless of good the rest is.   That makes this guy dead in the water with me.

Grade: C

32. Al Mujica, P, Louisville Bats: Unknown

33. Amp Young, P, Salem Keiser Volcanoes: Unknown

Monday, August 26, 2013


Okay, will have to do this in code a bit so as not to give that many hints but will discuss the top ten players on my board and how I am handling them. My scouting is 14 all the way around so there is some lead way for error on my part. What slots they will fall in will actually change daily as I rethink things

1. Overall 87-SS: Bad arm, good hitting, anemic health. Make a good 2B/3B. The health is too scary so I sent him to the curb.

2. Overall 86-2B: Not that great at 2B and his arm really isn't good enough for RF either. Good hitter with power unfortunately he hit the curb also because of his Bio. Though I have thought about changing my approach and taking him with the 6th overall pick and get the pick next year as his chances of signing are very slim but worth the chance.

3. Overall 83-LF: I moved him down the board to the 8th slot because the best he could be is a 1B. Could be a very good OBP hitter with a little pop and I might reconsider.

4. Overall 82-SS: Could be that big GG SS but hitting isn't that great. Not real keen on his lackluster Makeup but is in the 3rd slot at the moment.

5. Overall 82-P: The best starting pitcher on my board and meeting the projecteds is gonna be tough. I don't see him as a Cy Young candidate but needs says he has to be in my #1 slot.

6. Overall 81-3B: 3B is very doubtful at the ML level and might struggle to find a position in all reality.  One of those that is too good for 1B but not good enough for COF. Hitting could be good with some power. Under the circumstances he winds up in the 7 spot.

7. Overall 81-2B: 2B is not really his forte though it is close. Hitting looks good but deceiving I think. To me he projects too high to be viable but only pushed down to the 6th spot.

8. Overall 81-SS: SS is very doubtful except in a backup role but would make a very good 3B and maybe 2B. Hitting isn't great but does have some power. Currently resides in the 4th spot.

9. Overall 80-2B: Could be a GG 2B/CF, well he projects there anyway. Health is an issue. Hitting might be on the powerful side but may be inconsistent. I actually kicked him to the curb.

10. Overall 80-LF: Best he could be is a 1B. Could be a surprisingly good hitter. I have no need for 1B so he got pushed down a long way.

11. Overall 80-SS: Could be an outstanding 3B as he is no where near SS status. Hits well but the contact just isn't there to be too successful. May have to rethink him but still won't make my top ten.


Enrique Cruz was offered $6.2M by the Oklahoma City Indians. He could be a nice addition to the pen as a long reliever as I don't think he has enough Stamina/Durability to be a starter. Being a bit of a Health risk also didn't help his going price very much. However his pitching abilities are definitely not in question as they could be top-notch. For the price a very good buy.

Onelki Santos chased down a $5.9M bonus with the Toledo Mud Hens. We will give him the benefit of the doubt that he could be a GG SS. Hitting with power is good but not often and can only do it against lefties maybe. Price might be high as he would probably fall into the second round pick comparatively.

Felipe Diaz sunk in with the Charleston RiverDogs for $4.3M. Health was a risk many turned down.  Pitching abilities are there but could be relegated to to the pen with a lackluster Stamina. Still me thinks it is a relatively good buy.

Yoo-Nah Wang chimed in with a $3.5M buy in with the Boise Hawks. Not sure he has the ability for 3B and may wind up in COF at the ML level if he gets that far. His hitting has lots of power just not much consistency to go with it. Really, everything is in the name and the Yoohoo Girlz just love his bottle.

Lonny Zumaya only gets a mention here because I bid on him initially and was his #1 choice for 4 days. Never got a message that someone else was interested except when he signed, "Money bird gets the worm." grrrr.. For $750K more than one was bidding me thinks.  I like defensive PC catchers but I wouldn't have went that high for him so I am not thoroughly disgusted.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

For the Lack of Anything Better

It has been the most boring season I have ever seen. I have seen 30 plus Internationals and haven't seen one yet that is really worth bidding on though I do have one of those hard to find cream pies on the radar. He is holding out to see if someone else bites I guess.

It is hard when you are this far in the season and the highest paid player is Felipe Diaz who was yanked from the rolls with a seemingly generous offer of $4.3M by Charleston. He really looks like he could be a great ML middle reliever at some point if he doesn't trip over a rosin bag and break his arm.

Yoo-Nah Wang tied up loose ends and joined Boise for $3.5M. Not real sure he can play 3B all that well if at all and might wind up at COF or 1B if at all.  Has all kinds of power but has to hit the ball first which doesn't look like a priority.

I would tell ya about the teams in first place, the pretenders etc..but everyone can look at the standings and see that. And they do look very odd to me.

I could tell ya about Albuquerque, they are the best 6-27 team I have ever seen in my life time here. The only thing I can't tell ya about is their managerial settings. I have looked at the box scores and players for the last 6 or 7 games and can't find anything out of the way.

Then again look at my team. Yeah, we don't have the great pitching but we are not getting clobbered. We can field but hitting is something totally foreign to these guys for some reason. I am so confused I have given up any hope.

Maybe something will happen that is exciting enough to really write about soon.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

NL Prognostication

Since everyone is waiting with baited breath.

NL North

Scranton held off Buffalo last year for the division crown after a phenomenal start by Toledo. They certainly don't make it easy. After looking thing over quite carefully I tend to think Scranton has the better overall team if used correctly. In my estimation Toledo may have the better pitching staff but the offense is lacking and may succumb to the "Dog Days".  Buffalo looks to be right there and once again will go down to the wire and I definitely don't count them out. Burlington has taken it in the shorts the last couple of seasons and this one will be no exception as it rebuilds but will flabbergast teams at home.

NL East

Louisville ran away with the division last year and they assume it will again this year, could that be a misconception?  Now to the meat and bones of the situation believe it or not.  Louisville actually has the best lineup at the moment though not by much and the worst pitching staff of the four. So it should turn out to be tight race between all four. Augusta is playing short handed for a while and I can see why and could clearly turn things up a notch shortly. I would put more faith in the River Dogs if they had a better semblance of a catcher.  I like the Tides pitching staff but the offense lacks the oommphh.

NL South

New Orleans and Jackson fought to the end last season with the Zeps coming out on top. Don't let the start of the season foll anybody. New Orleans and Jackson will be poking at each other in the end. Iowa City is a sleeper and will be very tough to beat at home. Little Rock is improving but too many ferocious opponents will make them travel too far.

NL West

Vancouver has owned this division for a while even though Las Vegas made a great showing last season. Don't expect a repeat performance as the Canadians should be triumphant and could easily reach the promised land this time around. Las Vegas is an interesting place to play and its players are deceiving but we don't think they have what it takes. Fresno and Albuquerque just don't have enough tigers in the tank to sustain a long season.

Yeah, the upset of the season since I am going with my heart in choosing Augusta and Buffalo over Louisville.

1. New Orleans
2. Vancouver
3. Scranton
4. Augusta
5. Buffalo
6. Jackson

Monday, August 12, 2013

AL Prognostication

There is a two day window before the season stats for this and normally I take advantage of it. This time around though real life got in the way of my fake life which happens from time to time. Better late than never I think, ohh gave that up years ago.

AL North
Last year Salt Lake won the division crown. Will they prevail again? They have the personnel to do it. They will be pestered all season long from their division mates but have the fortitude to do it again.
Syracuse has made great strides to become competitive and they are very close. They will give Salt Lake a run for their money but lack depth in the pitching department that is still in the throws of strengthening in the minors.
Rochester has enough in the tank to be misleading but if anything goes wrong there isn't much in the recovery wagon to be hopeful for.
Fargo is relatively young with some key vets thrown in. They are looking better than past teams but are not quite ready for the limelight as of yet.

AL East
This division could be wild and wooly as all four teams will be highly competitive.  Rochester won it all last year but now they are under new management and reside in Dover. They have some aging vets holding on for one more season so it may not be easy for them.
New Britain does look the strongest. Any team that decides Wascar Martin can't play at the ML level must be loaded.
The Durham Bulls may be an up and comer. They have been rebuilding and it could be time for the dividends to pay off but somewhere the youthfulness eludes me.
Pawtucket are no slouches either and could darn their way into the playoff picture also.

AL South
Last year half of the playoff teams came from this division, don't expect a repeat performance..err well maybe. Don't look now but this could actually be a four horse race.
After looking things over, Montgomery appears to have the strongest team but can they recapture the crown?
Jacksonville looks good enough to move up in the world.
Richmond doesn't look like last years team for some reason.
El Paso might just be a dark horse surprise that can't be taken lightly.

AL West
Salem won the World Series last season and looks to repeat that feat and has the team ready and willing to do it.
Both Boise and Omaha may have something to say about that however. They aren't going to roll over and play dead as both a very playoff worthy.
Oklahoma City is biding their time rebuilding and what a rebuild it is shaping up to be.

This is gonna be tough as I am throwing the crystal ball out the window for false information this year so far.

1. Salem 
2. Salt Lake
3. Montgomery
4. New Britain
5. Syracuse 
6. Omaha in a very cramped tight one. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Hall Of Fame Voting

Yes it Hall Of Fame voting time and as usual it brings a few tense moment between owners and their favorites.  The most important thing is that you vote. Now there was a little chatter about Cesar Chavez.

I actually like Chavez to be in the Hall one day but in my opinion there are better players.  He has the hardware and pretty decent stats and was more impressed with his RBI's and Stolen Bases.  The let down to me was the amount of strike outs per season and the number of home runs hit. He was after all in a somewhat neutral home park, can't remember if this one favors pitchers or hitters in its neutrality but it isn't much.

As comparison, I offer Adam Carter who did more with a bat with a hell of lot less plate appearances than Chavez. Of course I am not voting for Carter either though I think he deserves heavy consideration also even though he was primarily a DH.

I did vote for Pat Anderson because it isn't easy to get a power hitter that played a decent 2B. His entire career with one organization is not an easy accomplishment also. Yeah, his home park was neutral to Home Runs but it favors pitchers heavily.

Grover Singleton drew high marks from me as did Nicky Throneberry and Chick Hogan along with Carter.

McKay Cassidy, Stone Coveleski, Vin Kerr, Albie Marrero, Fernando Mercado, Reid Monroe, Turner Rollins, Phil Stevenson and Jeremi Webster drew interest from me in the pitching department.

I finally settled on Cassidy, Kerr, Marrero and Monroe. If I had another vote I would have went with Mercado.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Rule 5

There was a lot of picking over in the Rule 5 draft, mainly because there wasn't much to pick from.  Point in fact, Fresno either passed with the first pick not finding anything worth having, messed up the settings or just plainly forgot. Was one of the smaller drafts I have as only 18 were chosen. How many will hit the waiver wire tomorrow is another story.

The first player taken was Morgan Brantley by Burlington.  Huh, why didn't I protect him? Truthfully, if he was a real SS I would have but other than that, oh well.  Not much of a hitter, does have speed but the best he could play is 3B/RF.

Dana Schalk went second being picked up by Durham. He was #1 in my chart and probably many more. Why not, he could be a GG at 2B or CF. Has speed but isn't a great hitter.

Next we had Norfolk taking Michael Lee. Listed as a 1B but to me that is very debatable.  At the plate he isn't half bad with a little pop in the ole bat and could get better but we kind of doubt it.

Geovany Montero was picked up by the RiverDogs. RF could be a bit of a stretch but was chosen because of a halfway decent bat and his speed.

The Diablos chimed in next with Tim Sager. I bet Rochester was scratching their head over my pick. I actually thought about this for quite some time, like off and on for most of the day. Just needed a GG backup type to play several positions as I have two other SS's on the roster and both are aging.  So what if he isn't much of a hitter, neither are the other two. Believe it or not I had to look hard to find him as he was ranked in the 90's.

We thought Cristobal Neruda would smile after he was summoned by Albuquerque, it just didn't happen.  Not that great in RF and hitting is pretty blase if you ask me but can blaze a trail to the bathroom.

Fargo got in the act by sending bus tickets to Glen Raymond to play in the wheat fields. 3B? In whose dreams? RF is a iffy maybe even though comparatively just as good.  Does have the keenness to slap the ball around with a little pop and steal a base here and there.

Santo Peralta became the first pitcher taken. Little Rock loves the selection and he could be a very nice Setup B type pitcher.

Syracuse snagged Minnie King without batting an eyelash. The only catcher taken as there wasn't anything to be proud of in that realm. Wonder if he was named after Pearl?  It was easy to see why New Orleans didn't protect him as he isn't much of a catcher. Hits with power and terrorizes lefties. Question remains as to whether he could be a DH.

Iowa City went for some pen help also with the likes of Albert Upshaw. He could be a nice addition as a Setup B role. My thoughts is if he doesn't improve after this season, he could very likely find his way back to the minors.

Omaha picks Ricky Farrell for the pen. Our thoughts here is that he might look decent on paper but not on the field.

Nick Osborne picked Dover, yup you read Nick is listed as a 2B, I'm wondering if he can actually find it. Could have some fun at COF though.  Hits with awesome power when he isn't striking out that is which is probably most of the time. Everybody likes to watch hem waddle around the bases also.

Willis Miller was the only starting pitcher chosen in the first round. Not sure Jackson was really happy or not about the selection. Willis does have control issues as he is either bouncing them across the plate or sneaking them by the batters at eye level, sometimes near the eyes.

Andy Simms was the last player taken in the first round as Scranton made a conciliatory offer.  Listed as a SS but most would put him nowhere but 3B at the ML level. Not a bad hitter as he makes the other team work for the out at least.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Free Agent Signings

It has been a slow process this season as few Type A's have been signed and it is getting late. But here is a run down of the key players involved.

Ubaldo Villa was the first to ink a deal with Richmond. Money wasn't the issue has he signed quick and wasn't a real bother to the purse strings. It might be that it was expected he would be a DH but it looks like Richmond intends to play him at 1B, the reason New Orleans gave up on him.

New Orleans lost another by the name of Alberto Domingo. I am inclined to believe that he was over priced as his proclivity as a closer is not ideal. Montgomery gave up a lot of money to find out if he can do the job.

Durham made off with Russell Koskie from Omaha. He was holding out for more money that didn't come his way. He is a very good lefty starter in my books but may not have the real ability to sustain him. That might account for his up and down seasons.

Montgomery stayed with the pitching game signing Pablo Guillen to a rather large salary considering his age. Hopefully there is an escape clause for the last year. The on-off again pitcher hopes to bring stability to a recent perennial powerhouse.

I never thought I would see the day when a pitcher with less than 50 control would be a Type A, let alone garner what I would call a humpty salary. Charleston seems to be unmoved by it and so should we I think.

I must be missing the boat on this one as Pawtucket must have gotten into a bidding war for Brad D'Amico.  Yes he can play RF and attempt to play a decent 3B. He hits with power but really, is he worth that much with his somewhat low contact?

Scranton made the deal of the week, to me anyway, signing Turner Flores to a measly 3 year deal. I saw him late last night and was about to transfer money to bid on him but waited because I hate losing money transferring. Why I didn't see him earlier is beyond me except I wasn't looking for a 2B/CF. My attitude says he is better than D'Amico any day of the week.

With the remainder of the day to go, I expect several more Type A's to be signed. I did have a problem finding some of them as their starting price tag is usually the dead give away. Now for the Type B's:

Yadier Castillo signed a nice deal with Rochester. He may be much better than a couple of the Type A's if you ask me.

Buffalo wanted a hitting catcher and signed Domingo Francisco cheaply. Not really that great at catching anymore but can still put the ball in play.

Las Vegas wanted a middle reliever and put forth the effort to sign Eric Reynolds. Though it seems he wasn't thoroughly tested as of yet, looks to be a mainstay. So much so that I would have considered a five year deal.

Toledo loses one signs another in Lance Wilson. Not 100% sure on this but we think Toledo came out on top over the situation. I just like Wilson better than Castillo.

Did Dover sign  Al Sanchez to be their closer?  A true ageless veteran that can get the job done.

Fresno sneaks in with the singing of Chun-Lim Sasaki. Hopefully they got him to play 1B as he didn't look comfortable in LF.

William Baek signed on with New Briton. Good hitting, now the question remains is whether he won't look a fool at 1B as he won't get by on looks alone.

Fresno eeks in with  Anthony Bottalico to play either 2B or CF and maybe both. Although great defensively can have trouble with luck at the plate.

Herman Vernon signed with Jackson while everyone else was out trying to get a more high profile player. We think he could be a shut down closer if given the chance.

Diory Tabaka signed a deal with Albuquerque.  Shows to be a decent lefty but we wonder if he is really cut out to be a starter.

While everyone was out trying to find that big power hitter, El Paso finds DaRond Person sitting all alone waiting on a call. Yup, we didn't get him for the backup catcher role, DH will be the place for him. Joining him is Johnny Garcia playing 1B and he didn't even rate a Type B, along with Alex Gomez could make a very cheap fearsome threesome.

Here is one for ya,  Salt Lake signs Greg Menechino for more or less a vast sum of money and he was neither a Type A or B.

Coach Gathering

Here is some thoughts on coach hiring this season or at least my thoughts on why I did what I did. Is that like a doo doo...maybe I need to bring some ass-wipe to this session.

I hired Nate Duncan to be my Bench Coach because he has a high Strategy. Actually that isn't true at all, first of all I personally think paying a lot of money for a personal assistant is outlandish. Then again you need them in the minors so you need them at the Major League level, right? I thank Boise for honing his skills the last five years. He is young but very talented if you ask me that is the reason for hiring him. He may not be that great on the hitting line but pitching, fielding and base-running is a hard three-some to pass up. And to think he only wanted a AA job to begin with, wonder if he made a mess in his pants when I offered him the job?

Earl Cook was hired as the 1B coach because he was being groomed for the job the past couple of years by me. The players really didn't respond all that well at AAA in his hitting role, he just doesn't have the patience. He was also one of the best options available for the position so why not promote him.

Midre Alfonseca was an easy rehire. He is actually growing into the role rather nicely. He isn't very disciplined but gets the job done. I was very surprised that he wanted to stay for another year and I imagine he will fly the coop next year.

Bartolo Chavez wasn't my first choice for the pitching job.  Why fight the market over another coach that is only going to give you a small amount of betterment? Hopefully he will want to stay another year as last years coach wanted more money than he was actually worth if you ask me. Then again OKC must have been fighting over him, it was a crush at first sight.

Alberto Telemaco was just sitting around on the sofa watching TV when I called. So he isn't very loyal and it might hurt his reputation quite a bit. What he does have is quite a resume for a youngster. He really wanted a pitching coach position but beggars can't be all that choosey. Besides if Chavez wants to test the waters again I think Alberto will want the better job next year.

Tsuyoshi Sung isn't on any ones hitting radar for sure. He likes it in El Paso however and that is good enough for me. Comparatively he isn't considered middle tier to his peers even but strives to get better albeit very slowly.

I was perplexed when Andre Watson left and flew into the arms of another. As a Bench Coach no less, how could you Jose? Enter Todd Darwin who wasn't being courted by anyone and I just appeasingly took him to be my newest FI.  Not sure I can trust him staying around, it appears he has wondering eyes and gotta keep him away from the Pepsi and Bud Girlz.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Award Voting

It is time to think about voting for player awards for the season. If you don't vote the vote foes to the first player on the list in each category automatically. Therefore a little consideration is in order. Also some stumping for votes is in order as I am stuck on  couple.


A lot can be said of all the individuals in the list. Canseco played a great 3B though his average seemed a little low but had some nice power numbers with all those doubles and dingers. Menechino was an OBP machine with some pop and played a good LF. Marichal put up some good numbers and played a GG 1B, well over rated for that position, but looks like a red herring to me. Candelaria had a great season as his average seemed a little high for his ratings, struck out too much for my taste. Chong had the homers but the rest just didn't match his capabilities. So it turns into a toss up with Conseco and Menechino, I like both but tend to lean toward the tougher position myself.


My first though was "WOW!" four guys with an average over .300 and two with OPS at 1.000. Hines played 1B instead of COF and easily won the GG, struck out a bunch though but stilled had a very good average. Molina led the league in hitting with a .346 average and a .437 OBP and has speed to boot, played a poor LF and probably should play 1B. Diaz put up some good numbers and played a good LF, 43 doubles and 40 homers is hard to come by. DeLeon, I thought at first may have been a bit of a joke but really didn't hit to his capabilities in my mind but had some good power numbers, shame on the manager for not having 2B listed as he had more errors than necessary as he was playing out of position.  White played very well but is hampered by his durability which actually limits his AB's quite a bit compared to the rest of the field. I have to go with Molina here as he has the all around numbers.

AL Cy Young

Jacob Vaughn hands down is my choice, such good numbers.

NL CY Young

I am actually up in the air on this one as Julio Guillen has the best record and good numbers but Clay Thomas has better overall numbers but his record comes up a bit short. Tough one to decide on.

AL Rookie

Wasn't all that impressed until I hit Alcides Rojas and Al Herrera. The question now is which one deserves it the most?

NL Rookie

Joseph Nomo heads a fine cast of pitchers and he can hit a little too.

Side Note:  Patrick Piper rides into the record books as he set a new threshold with 33 Good Plays in CF breaking the old record of 31 held by Benny Torres.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Pitching in Question

Pitching for some reason eludes me sometimes. What should be a superstar pitcher sometimes fail while pitchers that should be left at AAA perform like a superstar. Uncanny as it may seem, Jesus Molina has been brought to our attention. Truth be told as Brian stated, is right on the mark. Like Jose, I would expect maybe a little more though.

I looked the coaches over during his life in the majors and didn't draw that much of a conclusion. The only fact I could really come up with there is he pitched differently in season 20 with a bullpen coach with better Discipline and Strategy. But the only thing he did better was allow fewer home runs then. So we can actually rule out coaches as a cause.

What did strike me was the configuration of the pitching staff this year. Four starters and 8 short relievers. I have seen this work but normally the starters can go at least 6 innings a start and with this staff that isn't a given. The high number of appearances, innings and pitches could be a little much for what his ratings suggest in a season.

What I did consider more importantly took a while to digest from his game logs. 7 blown saves and 0 saves seems a little hard to believe. It is actually tough to pick up a save when pitching in the 7th or 8th inning all the time. Also the fact that the rest of the pen staff other than the closer only have 7 between them. Another interesting concept is that he has one loss credited to him from his blown saves, his most recent outing. Above anything else, the 7 losses this season hurts more than the blown saves in this case.

As for his career, I see nothing out of the ordinary with 12 Saves in 52 chances. We would like to see it better or course but Saves don't exactly grow on trees for non-closers but blown saves do. Now, if he was a closer..... I would be very afraid.

What troubles me the most about Molina is his higher than expected OAV and WHIP. I would expect it to be in the .245/1.30 range with his ratings. Ok, so he has a history of being well over those marks. Still not sure you can pin that on the coaches either so I had to dig a little deeper. Catcher ERA is under 4.00 so that leaves them off the hook this season at least.

The left side of the infield defense is actually pretty porous if you ask me and that can be a bane to right handed pitchers. The LF isn't all that great either but their stats aren't showing the full defensive picture.  I had the same problem with my pitching staff at the beginning of the season. It got fixed  because of necessity more than anything else. Hey, if you look at my pitching staff right now, they are ranked 4th overall in the AL, not bad for this sorry lot and a last place team. I fixed the problem when Perez got tired of playing 1B and sent him down to AAA to recuperate. Basically I put a 3B in RF and a SS in LF, viola team started winning, of course it helps to have a GG CF also.

So there you have it in a nutshell, there is nothing wrong with Molina.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Filthy Forty

Yup, that is right, only 40 more games to go for some of us.  So who has the inside scoop on the playoffs.

AL East

The division crown is up in the air a bit. The Bees are on a 5 game tear and have distanced themselves from the pack a little. The Pheasants are hanging tough and are within striking distance, a far cry from previous seasons though. Fargo is on a L7 disappointment starting in El Paso and haven't recovered putting a huge damper on their chances.

AL North

Rochester looked as though they were going to run away but suddenly can't seem to get things in gear. New Britain has closed the gap and 3 games look doable but then again their schedule doesn't like them. Pawtucket is in the mix but can't seem to sustain momentum.

AL South

Richmond got off to a great start but since All-Star break just hasn't been the same. Even with Richmond playing dig days, Montgomery hasn't effectively taken advantage but has gained serious ground. Jacksonville knows they probably can't catch the other two but have their eyes focused on that last wild card spot. El Paso has won 17 of their last 23 and believe it or not have not gained much at all on anybody except the division leader. 

AL West

Salem can sleepwalk the rest of the season, 10 wins should seal the division crown and #1 seed already. Omaha and Boise are trying to keep pace with the wild cards. Ok City and
mcandrews deserves a little pat on the back, rookie season and more than likely will not lose 100 games.

NL North

Looks like the dream season for Toledo is falling apart as Buffalo and Scranton have caught up and are ready for a three way to the very end.  bigparb13 came in and saved the Ions bacon and could very easily still win 55 games, Congrats!

NL East

The Louisville Bats might be putting cork into the sticks as they breeze their way to the division crown. They are fighting for the #1 seed.  The rest of the division have their tail between their legs and licking their wounds.

NL South

Jackson hasn't seen a title in so long they don't know how to behave being in first but they better.  New Orleans is marching to their favorite Saint song as they near closer to Jackson. 

NL West

Vancouver is just a mere shell of previous seasons as they are struggling to keep a hold on first place and fight for the #1 seed. Las Vegas under new ownership has wormed their way into the playoff hunt as well as fighting for the division crown.  Seattle seems to be loving veggie lasagne on the menu.

NL may not be a happy place as the end draws nigh, 8 teams and only 6 spots. Someone is going home empty handed.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

International Update

Joaquin Reyes was pinched by the Toledo Mud Hens for $5.3M. Listed as a CF but could be a better 2B which is what Toledo thinks also. Has good usable speed along with a good eye, contact and decent splits. The hitting abilities are marred by the lack of durability which could relegate him to the bottom of the order to maximize innings. A good buy.

 Vic Portillo was signed by the El Paso Diablos for $5.2M. Listed as RF but more inclined to think of him as a LF. Has a very good eye and power but lacks making contact with maybe above average splits. Most probably bought to strengthen hitting in the minors as he may or may not make the majors.

All eyes were being adjusted to the singing of Larry Nolan by the New Britain Rock Cats for $13M. His defensive catching skills aren't great but PC is good enough to overlook those inadequacies. Very good eye, power with decent splits and contact will make many pitchers to out think themselves. Now whether to use him as a catcher or DH may depend on personnel but will play in the majors for a very long time. Great acquisition.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Ball Parks

Light up the grill, toss the dogs on and cook them to a light blackened texture. That is the way I like my ball parks cooked, then splat on the mustard, ketchup and chopped up onions. Hmm I'm hungry now. Ooops wrong ball parks.

Basically there are three types of ball parks, hitters, pitchers and neutral. It takes time to actually understand the ramifications of the home ball park numbers. 81 games are played in the home park, winning 40 plus is a must to be successful. Ok City is an example of an extreme pitchers park, Rochester is a neutral park but really leans toward pitching a bit, while Durham has an extreme hitters park. Understanding the parks helps you to acquire the right type of players to be used when needed. 

OK City is the easiest to start with. Hitters need to have a good eye and contact, splits should lean in the high range also. Remember, home runs are not all that likely and doubles take a back seat also, therefore a walk is as good as a hit.  Singles and speed is the way to go. This is a place where those low durability power hitting monsters can come into play as they are only needed on the road. ("Only" may sound more absolute than necessary) Defense needs to stop the small ball, so a strong defense is always a good thing. Pitching can be a good mix of FB and GB with either strike out or finesse mixture. A starter with low control and high split and pitch combo can be rather successful in this park. Remember there are 81 games played at other parks that aren't as extreme and you must conquer them also.

Neutral parks would seem simple but they are not. Some of them lean toward the pitcher while some lean toward the hitters a little. Whether pitchers used are GB or FB is somewhat geared toward defense and owner preference usually. Most owners tend to find the big brutes to line the 3 thru 6 slots with OBP speed in the first two. 

Extreme hitters parks like Durham would seem tough but not really. I would think FB strikeout pitchers would be used on the road as it would be easy for them to serve up gopher balls. My thinking would look like this as to defense at a minimum. 4 overly skilled 2B's, one very good 1B and 2 good SS's with a heavy PC catcher. Might be a rather expensive line up to say the least but the defense must be good. Pitchers would need to be good and lean heavily toward GB but I have seen FB pitchers do well with a great defense. Power hitting is the object as you more than likely need to hit more home runs than the other team.

Transaction Deadline

The transaction deadline has passed. Basically all that means is a player must clear waivers if he is on the 40-man roster before he can be traded. These waivers are revokable, so don't forget to click the box. Be careful though when trying to claim a player off waivers, there are a shrewd lot out there that would love to dump a big useless salaried player.

The question for many teams is whether to go shopping or not. Play devils advocate so to speak, claim a player so he can only be traded to you thus blocking any future endeavor. I used to do that quite a bit when rebuilding a team but have since stopped, the reason I did is because bad teams get first choice. Playoff teams love to block also even though they aren't going to think about a trade most generally. The catch behind that is if you have the rights to the player in question all well and good, but trading for him is usually a losing proposition. So what if he is an All-Star caliber player, is he worth two or three future prospects to get him? Chances are he is either in the last year of his contract or will be arb eligible next year for big bucks.  Arb eligible isn't so bad I guess, at least you can sign him next season to a long term contract. On the other hand you might have given up a prospect or two that would be cheaper in the long run. Okay so you trade for that vet in the final year of his contract. Plans are to finish the year hoping he doesn't get hurt and either resign him to a long term extension, resign him next year to a long term contract or let him go to Free Agency. Doesn't matter if he was type A or B, what you gave up was probably better than the late round future picks you get in compensation. The answer I am trying to get across is be careful and make sure of those future plans as getting these players aren't going to be cheap.

The reason I say I am undecided at the shopping aspect is because I have looked at the standings. I might be last in the division and 25 games back  with 53 games to go there is absolutely no way to make that up. However, I actually have a decent team and believe it or not we are only 12 games behind the leading candidate for the last wild card spot. What I must decide is if we can win 35-40 games to secure that spot. That is asking a lot. Trading for two or three players would be even tougher on the future. One thing for sure, I have to decide quickly because I must get better at tanking to get a top 5 pick next year.

Saturday, June 8, 2013


Pitchers are the hardest lot to figure out sometimes.  They exist with a variety of options believe it or not.  Molding a staff is not as easy as it looks with starters, middle relievers, short setup and closers.

Normally there are two types of pitchers, off speed and strike out. Each is defined by their velocity where off-speed is below 50 and strike out is above 50. I actually break it down further and make strike out into two categories, hard and flame throwers.

The pitcher is further defined by their Stamina. High Stamina, 65+ is normally linked to a starter, middle reliever 40 to 65 while short setup and closer have a Stamina below 40. Durability further define their capabilities as this shows how quickly they can recover from an outing. Starters and middle relievers usually have a durability between 25 and 30 while setup and closers normally range anywhere from 40 to 100. There are some oddballs that show up from time to time with a real low durability or stamina. I like to acquire a sub 20 durability where the rest of his abilities have starter written all over them, they make a great setup B pitcher. While sub 20 stamina turn into specialists, I steer clear of those.

Next we will talk about anther type of configuration with fly ball (FB) or ground ball (GB). This is denoted by their GB/FB rating. Mostly ground ball is 50 and above while fly ball is below 50. Most GM's are not real picky on this matter, however there is something to note. If you have a bevy of FB pitchers, the outfield needs to be very rangy and have good gloves. Ground ball pitchers will need a strong defensive infield.

Most pitchers that reach the ML ranks normally have a very good control, some will only use 80 + is this rating. For me it depends on the rest of his ratings but normally I go with 80+ for starters at least if I can.  Below 50 they have a tendency to be wild and walk a lot of batters but can keep them off balance at the same time but are rarely consistent.

Next are the pitchers splits, well that is what we call them anyway. To me it is how lucky they are against left or right handed batters. These you want as high as possible of course, especially the right one. Lefties get a bad rap as they are normally in the 50's, good in the 60's, great in the 70's and super in the 80's. Don't know why but I have always had bad luck with lefties in the 60's.

Pitches are the last topic. The first two pitches are the most important and should be at least 80, 70. Short setup and closers normally only have two pitches where starters and middle relievers can have up to five.  It is always nice that starters have at least three good pitches in order high to low, the third pitch should be above 50 and nice to be in the 60's. It is not uncommon for a fourth pitch be low in 40's or 30's as we call that a throw away pitch. A five pitch guy might have that as his fifth pitch while the fourth is in the 40's or 50's. One thing you might (or will) have problems with is those that have pitches that are not in sequence from high to low, kinda jumbled up. They have a tendency to throw that throw away pitch for a strike and that strike has a tendency end up in the bleachers.

A couple things to remember is that high splits and pitches will cover a low control rating.  Very high control and pitches will cover somewhat low splits, under 50 may be too low though. High pitches can cover medium splits and control.  Home run hitters like strike out pitchers. Spray hitters love off-speed. A PC catcher (80+) is loved by all pitchers because it makes their pitches better.

Effect of coaches on pitchers is relatively easy. High pitching rating of course. A high discipline rating will cause a pitcher to throw more strikes, a good thing really but a little caution here, too high and he throws the junk for strikes also. A good strategy is also wanted. Goes for the bull pen coach also.

Just because a pitcher has a high ERA doesn't mean he is a bad pitcher. You need to look at other stats also like WHIP. The one I go by the most is OAV. That stat tells you how other teams are batting against him. If it is above .275, I constitute that as a problem. I battle that problem by putting him in the pen for awhile if he is a starter. If he is in the pen, try a different category, like setup B.  Could the catcher be causing the problem, wrong defense, I have seen a myriad of problems that boil down to just bad luck.

Interntionl News

Ivan Carrasco went to the bank with $15.7M of Redhawk money yesterday. That is a lot of dough for a kid that looks like an every day catcher. He really looks comfortable behind the plate though he has trouble concentrating on the ball at times, he might be thinking about the Playboy in his locker. At the plate he is a good hitter but not dramatic.

Those GM's that didn't have their eyes ogling Carrasco missed out on the opportunity to snag Omar Ordaz who went for the paltry sum of $17.3M. The Ions were worried? I imagine several teams did the same thing I did and put all their money in one bid and pray. Thinking it over, I may have been lucky not to get him. Yeah the scouts love him, but he is 20 and for some reason Internationals just don't develop well if they are not 18 here, not sure why. If he does develop however, he will definitely become a #1 starter even with his less than powerful velo. Is he Cy Young capable remains to be seen but it could happen.

Diablo Rebuild

I knew when I took over this team last year that it might be lengthy rebuild. The minors were pretty bare and in all reality still are. Other than rookies, all the talent is at AAA trying to lean how to play baseball. They might be in first place but they are still a motley crew at best. I figured by now I would have at least four players to build around, not sure I have even have two so far, so the rebuild is going to take longer than the three years I originally allotted. I do have a couple decent young players but I am waiting for some big contracts to expire on some sickly players. Speaking of which, have had to purchase some FA vets to supplement my minors recently as a rash of injuries had them riddles. The injuries might have been minor scrapes and bruises but it is tough playing short-handed. Haven't had to that in like forever with any team I've had.

 I picked up Michael Tamura off the waiver wire recently to maybe the disgruntled chagrin of Syracuse. He may not be much to take a chance on but has to be better than Carlos Sojo who was summarily escorted out of El Paso. Tamara didn't like hitting the waiver wire and from the looks of things was not impressed being picked up by this lowly franchise either.

Omar Mercedes is completing his second trip to the DL already this season. He may stay there until someone else happens to make a visit which has happened quite often this season already. Truth be told he pitches well if you can keep him in the game.

As usual for one of my teams, defense comes first.  The reason is simple, when you are rebuilding there is no use to lose games 20-0. We may be 10-18 in 1-run games but at least it shows they are trying. I was actually hoping to have 40 wins at All-Star break. As you can tell we didn't accomplish that goal, 36 is in the neighborhood. I am not sure whose neighborhood.

The last 20 games has me scratching my head again. We just came out of the NL rivalry contests where we lost some heart breakers and had to go to Salt Lake. I looked at the schedule and just shook my head and figured if we can win one here and there it wouldn't be so bad.  We pulled the stingers out of the Bees taking three of four, surprise. Home for some Pheasant hunting looked promising but dropping the first two was not entertaining, besides we usually beat up those turkeys late in the season. Figured a relaxing trip to Durham would get us rolling again. Remind me next time to take the ML club instead of the rookie squad, still suffering from PTSD over that series. Then it was off to Boise before having guests arrive in the form of Pawtucket and OK City. Taking seven of 10 from them was invigorating once again. 

Last year we played just over .500 ball to finish the year. Will the same thing happen again this year? Guess we will just have to wait and see.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Defensive Woes

A basic primer or refresher on defense is always a good subject.

A plus play occurs when a player makes an exceptional play where a normal contemporary at the position can not make. A minus play of course is just the opposite. In all reality for the purposes here, a plus play takes away a hit while a minus play gives up a hit. An error occurs when a player bobbles, fumbles, boots, drops, makes a bad throw..etc.

Now for the fun part is the ratings. The position assignment chart shows the big league averages for each player position.  They say average, I say bull, more like minimums. Range is normally the determining factor for making plus plays. Glove determines the catching part while the arm takes care of the throwing of course.

A rule here most accept is range over glove. The reason is if a player has a high range, the glove can be a little on the weak side as things will even out between plus plays and errors.

Arm needs to be minimums in both categories or preferably better for SS and 3B. Outfield arms can be on the weak side a little as missing the cutoff man is not an error. However, if they must make a play at the plate they tend to be offline quite a bit.

Catchers get their own little paragraph. A high glove stops the passed ball and limits errors.  Range is helpful in the wild pitch area with bad control pitchers and getting to bunts. A good arm slows down the stolen base attempts. Pitch calling helps the pitchers pitches.

Another factor we figured out in defense is the Fielding Instructor. He needs to have a strategy and discipline rating over 50 (truthfully over 60 in both) to be helpful to players along with the high glove rating. I always like a high patience rating also to teach the minor league position players.

One thing to remember is that all players will make an error, the object is to limit the amount of mistakes the best you can. Discovering a defensive problem is not always a cut and dry proposition either. Looking over the Team and Player Statistics carefully will generally reveal the problem, fixing it could be tough however.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Iffy Picks

Draftees become iffy when their Bio doesn't say "Will sign for slot money". There are several warning messages that prompt the buyer beware slogan. If one doesn't want to be burdened with these types in the draft,  set the "Very Conservative" option in the draft settings. I sometimes set it to "Conservative" if there is a player on my board I think is worth going after in the first round only. The Conservative setting usually means the player will usually sign at some point but that is not totally guaranteed.

I don't go after iffy picks after the first round because they are usually not worth it and want a lot of money.  I know OK City has Chris Falk in the 5th round and he wants $8.5M to sign. He doesn't have very good control and his splits might be borderline with some very good pitches. Too me he isn't worth that kind of money because his chances of actually being a ML pitcher is slim.  Why do you think he slipped to the 5th round? Most ML players come from the first three rounds btw, except catchers.

List of possible messages.

Looking to be drafted in the first round. If not, he'll probably accept a scholarship to play DI college baseball. - Most generally sign after a while if drafted in the first round.

Looking to be selected in the first five rounds. If not, he'll probably head back to college for his senior season. - I wish they would do away with this one, once declared can they go back? I haven't had any problems signing this type in the first round at least.

May sign if the deal is right. Has been offered several scholarships to play college baseball at a DI school. They usually sign if they are drafted in the first round after that I would rather see them go to college anyway myself.

May sign if the deal is right. If not, he'll head back to college for his senior season. I have signed these ones in different rounds, normally the first five without any difficulty. They usually don't ask for much over slot money.

Probably won't sign. For any reason these guys are costly if they do sign. I have seen them go for $9M before and it could take all season long. They seldom sign also.

Undecided. For any reason these guys can be just as costly. They are in the seldom sign list also.

Season 23 Draft Thoughts

1. Luis Almora, P -  Durham Bulls: Worth the #1 pick? Contemplatable I am sure. He does or will have the control and splits of a #1 starter, the pitches might be another story. I do believe he is worthy of the pick and the money.

Grade: A+

2.  Mike McCormick, SS - Columbus Clippers: My scouts say he could be really iffy to play a quality SS or 2B but 3B could turn into a GG super star.  Biggest detriment could be his lack of durability as he will probably inherit the #3 or #4 spot in a lineup. He will be a big hit at the plate with fans which got him drafted so soon.

Grade: A+

3. Pablo Castro, CF - Memphis Redbirds: His scouts must have lied a bit as CF might be a possibility but 2B looking much better. Decent eye, splits and contact with useable speed makes him a wise choice.

Grade: A

4.  Heath Blume, 2B - Boise Hawks: He has created a lot of noise already in chat it hasn't swayed me much though. His Range could turn up short for either 2B or CF but still good enough to play either. What most are wondering is how he will turn out in the hitting department which has varying results. Regardless, he will be a home run hitter me thinks. I know I moved him down in my ranking because I needed pitching more than anything but mainly because I was more worried about his contact.

Grade: A+

5.  Pablo Molina, P - El Paso Diablos: I liked his control, splits and pitches more than the first pitcher taken and pitching was a premium. More concerned about his health but beggars can't be that choosey sometimes especially to a team that needs pitching.

Grade: A

6.  Edwards Barber, P - Iowa City Ions: Control, splits with heavy GB will help the pitches. Should turn into a pretty good lefty if you ask me but takes a hit for it just becuase.

Grade: A

7. George House, RF - Toledo Mud Hens:

8.  Oscar Hodges, SS - Oklahoma City Indians:  Lack of scouting and knowledge hurt in this pick. I wouldn't call it a bad pick but I imagine there were better players on the board that were available. He can play SS as there is no denying that. His hitting isn't all that great but does have the high contact that is required in OK City, just wish the eye was better. Durability isn't strong which doesn't help either.

Grade: B

9. Stubby Houston, 2B - Pawtucket Red Sox:  I had him ranked 5th on my board and I debated taking him with the 5th pick. Oh the power and contact with decent splits and eye! Just couldn't bring myself to take a player that can play 1B as 2B or anywhere else would be a dream.

Grade: A

10. Felipe Matos, P - Fargo Moorhead Redhawks: I see him as a quality reliever with good control, good splits and a very nice first pitch. He might need a quality PC catcher to help with his remaining pitches however.

Grade: B+

11. Garrett Laird, C - Atlanta Crackers: I had 5 players I considered drafting with the 5th pick and he was one of them. I just couldn't justify drafting a 66 overall player with that pick but me thinks he is better than that 66 overall. Great defensive PC catcher with great durability, a hard commodity to find. Hitting is what carries him down, with a so-so eye, even worse splits and power but shows he can make contact. A tough sell this early?

Grade: B+

12. Roger Miller,P - Las Vegas Wranglers: I see him as a reliever and should be rather good at it. Good control, decent splits and some good pitches to go with all that velo.

Grade: A

13. Thomas Forsch, 3B - Syracuse Chiefs: 3B is real close but don't think a prize cigar will be awarded. My scouts see him roaming RF with GG acuteness. Good pop on the bat with some very good splits maybe the eye will be better and the contact prevails.

Grade: A

14. Ricardo Urena, P - Norfolk Tides: My scouts say he is at best a 5 inning starter and may be better utilized in the pen. Good control and splits and two very good pitches to start. Health is a big concern.

Grade: B+

15. Steven Karnuth, SS, Jackson Generals: Doesn't have the range or arm to play SS effectively and will probably end up at 3B. Good eye and contact with above average splits will make him a tough strike out victim. His durability causes zinger problems.

Grade: B+

16. Jamey Mahay, SS - Salt Lake City Bees: Originally I thought his stock may have dropped but after looking things over he might only have been a better fit for OK City. Skills at SS aren't great and would be better at 3B. They say he can read the writing on the ball before it gets to the plate which means he has a great eye and does a good job of making contact but for some reason right handed hitters baffle him. He will sign eventually I do believe.

Grade: B+

17. Wayne Brown, P - Albuquerque Isotopes: Doesn't have the good control but everything else looks fantastic. Starting pitching was a tough commodity in the draft and he looks to be a great reliever also.

Grade: A

18.  Brandon Higgins, RF - Charleston RiverDogs: Biggest knock on this kid is his sub par glove but can get the job done in RF. Hitting is good but nothing to write home about.

Grade: B+

19. Josh Black, P - Seattle Cavaliers: Has the control and pitches that could cover up the somewhat weak splits. A quality starting pick in the future and a good fit in Seattle.

Grade: A

20. Hersh Bush, C - New Orleans Zephyrs:

21.  Napoleon Davenport, 2B - Jacksonville Suns: I don't like his glove at 2B but unsure where else he would or could play that makes sense. Has tremendous base stealing speed and knowledge. A great eye and contact but can only do well against lefties.  Could be a huge undertaking to keep him off the DL. Saying I don't like this pick is an understatement.

Grade: C

22. Esmerling James, P - Rochester Red Wings: Another cliff player as to whether he could be a starter, we don't think so. Has a lot to learn as he might turn out to be a so-so reliever which undermined my initial thoughts.

Grade: B

23. Jacob Chang, SS, New Britain Rock Cats: My scouts say he can play the SS position rather well.  Decent eye with pretty good contact but flounders against the all important righties. His health is seriously questionable. Cats might be hoping he won't sign. #This just in, he isn't going to sign.#

Grade: B

24. Candy House, P - Richmond Braves: Closer or setup? My scouts say he has one too many faults to be a ML closer in reality, low velo, FB and lefty. Still he will possess some good control, good splits and two nice pitches. Now if he can turn a deaf ear to the constant jokes as his middle name is Cane. It could have been worse, like Corn.

Grade: B+

25. Rick Yount, P - Omaha Storm Chasers: Here is a treat for the catchers of this world and hitters too. A lefty with a palmball and knucleball, oh why couldn't he have the screwball too. Decent control and better than average splits for a lefty and those awkward pitches will be coming in so fast the hitters will be diving. Unfortunately he doesn't throw them all that well.

Grade: B+

26. Brennan Penny, RF - Louisville Bats: Bad glove and weak arm makes him a question mark for RF. Good eye, decent splits and arousing power deters his bad contact

Grade: B

27. Dave Bush, P - Charleston RiverDogs: His good control, velo and and GB highlights this pitchers abilities. His lack of splits and less than admirable pitches doesn't help his cause even for a lefty.

Grade: C

28. Bernard Brown, C - Buffalo Bisons: His catching abilities might be a bit of stretch with a glove that will allow many PB's and stopping runners from advancing is not helpful. Pitch calling isn't what one would call helpful either. At the plate though he could become an OBP machine with some power as I moved him up the board to be a DH. Not a good fit in Buffalo.

Grade: C

29.  Adeiny Mesa, 3B - Montgomery Biscuits: 3B might be a stretch but could become a GG candidate in RF. Good eye, decent splits and above average contact could make him good player.

Grade: B

30. Otis Grimm, P, Albuquerque Isotopes: What a list of pitches he has, I don't want to be his catcher...egads! A lefty with some tasty splits and does throw those pitches well. Off speed GB that may struggle with control. A great pickup this late.

Grade: A-

31. Wolf Tucker, C - Iowa City Ions: Idea was to draft the best player available and trade him later. Well, that was my thinking with this pick as another so called catcher was drafted by an NL team. If things work out well he could be an emergency catcher but the chances look slim. He will be good hitter with some pop and being a DH is a probability.

Grade: C+

32. Hoss Thompson, P - Vancouver Canadians: Borderline starter and probably headed to the pen. Has decent control and good splits with velo.  Armed with one really good pitch sank him to the late round.

Grade: B-

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

International Market News

David Sanchez signed a contract extolling a $16M bonus with the Norfolk Tides. The Tides are hoping he will become their shutdown closer of the future. He does posses a flaming fastball and a very nasty curve for a lefty. His control looks very promising along with his splits.

Jose Guerrero inked a deal with the Memphis Redbirds that included a $15M bonus. Looks like a promising #1 starter down the road if things progress normally. Could lack the dominate pitches but stll could be a force to be reckoned with.