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.

Friday, May 10, 2013

International Signing

Once again the $20M money tree bloomed for Jesus Valenzuela. The Durham Bulls are all smiles although their  wallet is much lighter. He has all the trappings of becoming that most sought after prize of a #1 starter. We will concur that it looks like money well spent.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Prognostication Time

For those that are new to the scene I have been prognosticating the outcome of the season for quite some time with pretty good success. Not here of course but in other worlds. So how do I see the playoffs shaping up from the start of the season?

AL North

Sioux Falls Fighting Pheasants - The Hens won the division last year but fell badly in the first round of the playoffs. Bruce takes over a good team, for those that don't know him, he likes to take the occasional spirited Adult Swim and then tell us all about it.  The team is relatively sound and could easily repeat with the division crown, the biggest sore spot could be the DH spot.

Fargo Moorhead Redhawks - First impressions are always the hardest and that look didn't seem all that bad. When I started looking to detail however I saw so much trouble that they should be fighting to stay out of the cellar much of the season. VB is a crafty one though so I don't take much stock in this team until about game 30 to see where they are headed.

Salt Lake City Bees - I really like the looks of the Bees and might change their name to the Killer Bees before the season is over. The starting roster performed well in preseason but will it morph into the regular season is the question.

Syracuse Chiefs - Not much can be said of the Chiefs at the moment as they are personnel deficient. A good nucleus of young talent though maybe a little inept in defense for the most part. 

1. Salt Lake - I like where they are headed.
2. Sioux Falls - I just like Salt Lake better.
3. Syracuse - Even short handed they are better.
4. Fargo - Rule 5 intensity doesn't get my vote of confidence though I get it.

AL East

Pawtucket Red Sox - A needed great International signing has the fans buzzing. Pitching and defense goes a long way in this game. The bad part is the fact the offense must produce runs and the Sox might be just a bit short in that area.

Rochester Red Wings - They missed the playoffs last season by that much and maybe bad luck. On paper they are as good as the WS contenders they were in season 21. How is the new addition to the family?

New Britain Rock Cats - They won the division crown last year. A very solid team overall as it will be another fight between the two heavy weights.

Durham Bulls - Hoping the move south warms up this team. Offensively and defensively this team is just as sound as the other three. Pitching is another story and will probably lead to their downfall.

1. Rochester - Just because I think they are better.
2. New Britain - Wild Card is probable if they can't take the crown.  
3. Durham - Just not ready for the bright lights.
4. Pawtucket - Building for the future.

AL South

El Paso Diablos - Exciting things are happening in El Paso as a new team (old Tucson Padres) will move in next year and be a AAA affiliate of the San Diego Padres. Complete with a brand spankin new stadium, more news on that later. El Paso didn't impress anyone with their off season moves and are actually fielding a team that is slightly improved from last year so don't expect much.

Jacksonville Suns - A team fighting for respect in the division as they only fell 4 games short of the playoffs last season. Good hitting and decent pitching with a good mix of vets and youngsters make a surprising composition. 

Richmond Braves - Made the playoffs last year as a Wild Card. This year they are fundamentally sound in all capacities. 

Montgomery Biscuits - Won the division last year but can they repeat this year is the big question. They seem to be in a bit of quandary as they seem a bit short in the pitching department. 

1. Richmond - I think they are the better team.
2. Montgomery - They won't give up easily.
3. Jacksonville - Three way races are hard to predict but I still don't think they are as good as the other two.
4. El Paso - Ho Hum, rebuild some more as I am not even close.

AL West

Oklahoma City Indians - New owner willing to learn. A team that wasn't very good last year and doesn't look at all good this year either. But and that is a big but, there is help on the horizon.

Salem Keiser Volcanoes - Won the crown last year with the best record in the AL but lost the WS. A move to Salem, will it help or hurt?  I don't think it matters as they are the team to beat.

Boise Hawks -  They are in a tough position as they are improved, young but still lack a couple key ingredients. 

Omaha Storm Chasers - A Wild Card team last year. Can they pass Salem for the crown this year? 

1. Salem - Just too strong not to be here.
2. Omaha - Another Wild Card probably.
3. Boise - Need more.
4. Oklahoma- Rebuilding is learning how.

After the final out guess:
1. Salem Keiser Volcanoes
2. Rochester Red Wings
3. Richmond Braves
4. Salt Lake City Bees
5. Omaha Storm Chasers
6. New Britain Rock Cats 

NL North

Iowa City Ions - Things look bleak at the moment in Iowa City and have little comment.

Scranton Yankees - Was a Wild Card last year and they have the potential to be there again this season if they can't take the crown away from Buffalo.

Buffalo Bisons - Even with a short bench getting ready to start the season they look primed to win the crown again. Starting pitching might need walkers before the seasons ends.

Toledo Mud Hens  - Pitching is a premium and they look loaded to bear but the offense might need some help to get things rolling.

1.  Scranton Yankees - I think they can.
2.  Buffalo Bisons - DL could be a nightmare.
3.  Toledo Mud Hens - Up and coming.
4.   Iowa City Ions - Lets rebuild.
NL East

Louisville Bats - The Bats ran away with the division last year will they do it again or will one of the mates take exception of what went down. They look strong and talented but can the pen hold the leads is the question.

Charleston RiverDogs - Don't look for the 'Dogs to hold sway as the defense looks a bit shaky and pitching could be a let down. 

Norfolk Tides - The Tides are ebbing or is that flooding can never remember? For the most part they can give the Bats a run for the title. Just not sure since the are growing spuds at 2B.

Columbus Clippers - Don't tell WIS this but Cooper stadium is a parking lot and Huntington Park is a beauty. The pitching staff looks great but will there be enough offense to compete with the Bats is the question.

1.  Louisville Bats - Lets play Home Run Derby.
2.  Norfolk Tides - We gonna give it one for the Gipper.
3.  Columbus Clippers - Next year we fix the offense.
4.  Charleston RiverDogs - Defense? Whats that?

NL South

New Orleans Zephyrs - They took their sweet time winning the division last year. After looking things over they should walk away with it this year. 

Jackson Generals - The Generals say they know how to out flank that dirty delta bunch. It could very well be true but we are gonna wait a while before they meet to find out for sure.

Atlanta Crackers - There is just something about playing in Atlanta that brings out the best in players. Just not sure this bunch has what it takes however.

Memphis Redbirds - The 'Birds just aren't going to sit around and tweet all day either. It does look to be a fight for second place though.

1. New Orleans Zephyrs - How to Cajun crawfish in one easy tasty lesson. 
2. Jackson Generals - Well, go on down to Jackson; go ahead and wreck your health.
3. Memphis Redbirds - Elvis comes to watch us play.
4. Atlanta Crackers - No one knows where the name comes from but my guess is Animal Crackers.

NL West

Las Vegas Wranglers - We are better than out record last year and we are going to prove it.

Albuquerque Isotopes - Okay, we have the pitching now we just gotta figure out how to generate one more run than the other team.

Seattle cavaliers -  Rebuild 101 for beginners.

Vancouver Canadians  - The best team in baseball last year but got thumped by Buffalo in the end. This year we are taking names and kicking ass till the end.

1.  Vancouver Canadians - Just try and beat us.
2.  Albuquerque Isotopes - I do like their pitching.
3.  Las Vegas Wranglers - We are gonna do out best.
4.  Seattle cavaliers - Please Mr Custer I don't wanna go.

Now for the big guess.

1. Vancouver Canadians
2. Louisville Bats
3. Scranton Yankees
4. New Orleans Zephyrs
5. Jackson Generals
6. Buffalo Bisons  

International Signing

The Pawtucket Red Sox are all smiles as they captured a prize in the International market by signing Kolten Mota. It didn't take much, $20M and a ML contract. They aren't worried about his clock as he should be ready in a season or two in the minors. What are they so proud about? A constant hard hitting thumper for the lineup. Unfortunately he doesn't play 1B all that well which was a turnoff  to the NL clubs and probably be relegated to the DH spot. Luckily the Red Sox were not in a financial crisis but signing anymore International prospects looks pretty bleak at this point.

Friday, May 3, 2013

First INternational of the Season Signs

The Mud Hens acted first in the International market as they signed Willie Torres with a $3.4M bonus. I find that his glove could be a little under and his arm erratic for a good SS but should be rather serviceable at that position. At the plate he shows some power and can be keen against right handed pitchers when he makes contact. A very good signing.

I also perceive the guy everyone is making a fuss over that dropped Torres like a hot potato. I didn't bid on Torres initially and started to with Mota. But I had second thoughts just after I hit the Submit Offer button that caused me to immediately hit the Withdraw button. Here is why. One, trust in my scouts, as I don't have that much doubt in their abilities as a judge of character. Two, position limited. Three, after seeing his signability tag, decided it would cost too much to coax him to play for us if at all. I could actually kick myself in the end for not going after Torres as it it much harder fingering a quality SS/CF than a power hitting DH.

First Blog Post Ever

After 54 seasons of HBD, something occurred that inspired me to write my first blog post.

I recently signed Willie Torres as an IFA; however, the way that happened was sort of interesting.  When he first appeared on my radar, he was asking for 2.4 million.  I have similar shortstops in my low minors and didn't have a ton of interest, but I budgeted 20 million for prospects and have the #7 pick in the amateur draft, so I have money to play with.  I threw a 3.4 million offer out there and decided that would be my highest offer.  I inititally was told mine was the highest offer, but after a couple cycles I was told that I was no longer the leader and I never gave me him another thought.

A little later, I received notice of a much better IFA, a left handed hitting first basemen of considerable quality.  Once again, I had a little bit of an issue, as two of my better prospects, Douglas Granger and Tony Leon (a 14 million IFA from seasons 22), are 1b.  Nevertheless, this new IFA was pretty good and I made him a good size offer.  I was told my offer was not good enough and I forgot about him also.  Then, out of the blue, I'm told that Torres has signed with me, after not hearing from him since I was told my offer was no good.  My guess is that the bidding on this other IFA is so high, that the leader on Torres withdrew his offer to free up money to spend on the other guy.  Torres then had no other offers and jumped at mine.

In the end, I'm pretty happy, as Torres is a very good fielding, left handed hitting shortstop with a projected 79 power and 69 right split, with high 40's contact and eye.  For 3.4 million, I think I got a steal and will still have money to get one more high quality IFA, as well as sign my #7 pick.