Monday, December 29, 2008

Matty Eusebio pitches a no-hitter

Matty Eusebio pitched what is believed to be the 4th no-hitter in the history of The Bigs last night in a 7-0 victory over Salt Lake City. A 3rd inning walk to Shakers catcher Ira Crawford was the only baserunner allowed by the Atlanta Bandits ace. Eusebio struck out 10 and used exactly 100 pitches to achieve the no-no. He joins Ajax Drabek, Duffy Parnell (?!?), and Perry Herman as the only pitchers to throw no hitters in this league. In the postgame interview, Eusebio said, "I think being in Salt Lake City helped. I got a good night's rest- there's practically no nightlife here. I mean, how many Mormon temples can you visit in one day?" His press agent then said, "No more questions". The victory helps keep Atlanta in the NL East race, as they currently sit 2 games behind the Trenton Traffic.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Midseason Awards

We've now moved past the All-Star game, so it's time to look back on the 1st half of the season.


Most Valuable Player: Osvaldo Johnson, San Juan

Why: Johnson has returned to his MVP form from seasons 1 and 2. He leads the NL in runs, is second in the NL in HRs, RBIs and slugging, and holds the 7th spot in on-base percentage. He's led a San Juan team that currently holds one of the two Wild Card spots in a competitive National League.

Honorable Mention: Monte Duvall, Houston; Sean Simpson, Chicago; David Rushford, Washington; Trever Russell, Chicago; Hal Brinkley, Atlanta; William Bolling, Fargo; Nate Cox, Salem.

Least Valuable Player: Tie, Achilles Paris (Toronto) and Russ Blank (New Orleans)

Why: Hard to pick on two young, inexpensive guys (one a rule 5 guy), but when starting third basemen put up numbers like .232/.298/.315 (Paris) and .265/.305/.368 (Blank), I'm left with little choice. Those numbers would be questionable for a very good defensive shortstop, but when we're discussing two average/below average defensive third basemen (15 errors, .925 fielding for Paris and 21 errors, .894 fielding for Blank), they're putrid. As for the tie, Paris has been slightly more futile at the plate, while Blank has been slightly more incompetent in the field. I originally picked one, then the other, and eventually settled on letting them split the award.

Dishonorable Mention: Phil Nakajima, Trenton; Vladimir Montanez, Cheyenne

Cy Young: Dwight Salmon, Salem

Why: The season 1 co-winner is back in form. He currently leads the league in wins, WHIP, and ERA at 14 (with only 2 losses), 0.93, and 1.94, respectively. The Salem pitching staff has given up the fewest runs in the NL and has the Sacrifices in contention for another playoff spot.

Honorable Mention: Sammy Pierce and Javier Henriquez, Fargo (yes, I know Javy doesn't have the wins, but the rest of his numbers are great. The bullpen has been atrocious in his starts); Dave Dunwoody, Salem; Kelly Downs and Chris Jennings, Vancouver; Babe Broadhurst and Ariel Lee, Norfolk; Matty Eusebio, Atlanta; Hipolito Santana, Toronto.

Cy Yuk: Stan Thompson, Philadelphia

Why: Like Johnson and Salmon, Thompson is reverting back to the form he showed in seasons 1 and 2. Unlike the aforementioned pair, that's not a good thing in Thompson's case. The knuckleballer is 4-10 with an ERA over 6 after respectability as a swingman last season. The ten losses was a difficult feat considering he averages under 6 innings per start, so he gives up runs quickly.

Dishonorable mention: Matty Grimsley, Washington; Willie Williams, Fargo; Cory Schneider, Atlanta; Zach James, Austin.

Note: Normally I would do my surprise team and my disappointing team in this spot, but it's already been done for me. In a leaguewide poll of GMs with 18 voting in each poll, Vancouver won the surprise team award with 10 votes and Fargo won the disappointing team award with 15 votes. Allow me to say that while I did not see Fargo playing to a .500 record (they're still the best in that division and would be a tough out come playoff time), I did see Vancouver coming- go back to my season previews.


Most Valuable Player: King Winn, Nashville

Why: I understand the prevailing theory that in an MVP race, a DH's offensive numbers would have to be so far ahead of everyone else's to offset the fact that he doesn't play defense. Well, I think Winn's numbers fit that description. Winn is at .317-37-100 after 92 games, leading the AL in the last 2 categories. He's second in slugging and third in OPS. The pitching-challenged Sounds will go as far as Winn, Gregg Black, and the rest of the offense takes them, and currently sit 5 games out of a wild card spot.

Honorable Mention: Black; Burt Stevenson, Milwaukee; Ernest Montgomery, Louisville; Wally Harvey, Las Vegas; Tony Escuela, Monterrey.

Least Valuable Player: Tie, Matthew Butler, Colorado Springs and Hunter Ramirez, Buffalo

Why: I normally leave shortstops off this list, but Butler and Ramirez are just so extraordinarily poor that I have to do this. Butler, in 318 at bats, has managed to hit .167 with an on base percentage of .207- these are not his worst numbers. He is slugging a criminally low .187, bringing his OPS below .400- by comparison, Winn's OPS is above 1.000. He's managed to strike out 90 times in 90 games. I'm not sure I could justify those offensive numbers even if his defense was Ozzie Smith-like, but he's not even all that good defensively- he's made 12 errors and only one plus play. Ramirez is slightly less offensive at the plate (.205/.262/.264) with only 74 strikeouts, but has been historically horrible in the field, making a whopping 56 errors in 92 games. So again, we have our choice between a hack at the plate and a butcher in the field. Take your pick-any team is far worse off for having either of them starting at short.

Dishonorable Mention: Ronnie Brown, Las Vegas; Del Domingo, Jackson.

Cy Young: Vin Solano, Milwaukee

Why: This was a close race between Solano and New York's Jason Sprague. Solano has two fewer wins but his ERA is lower by over half a run, has a lower WHIP, and holds batters to a lower average. What makes Solano special is that he rarely gives up a home run- he's yielded only 6 in 99 1/3 innings.

Honorable Mention: Sprague; Clarence Forsch. Charlotte; Ham Bruske, Nashville; Tony Rowan, Syracuse; Carlos Carrasco, St. Louis.

Cy Yuk: Mark DuBose, Little Rock

Why: 4-10 record, 7.06 ERA in 18 starts. Less than 5 innings per start. A WHIP over 2. Shall I continue? OK, will do. He leads the league in walks by far. The league gets on base against him about 43% of the time and slugs at a .542 clip. Between DuBose and Joey Hubbard, are there any questions as to why Little Rock gives up the most runs in the AL? Didn't think so.

Dishonorable Mention: Hubbard; Louie Bolivar, Syracuse (33 HRs allowed); Einar Peron, Anaheim; Steve Clay, Buffalo; Cookie Alvarez, St. Louis.

Surprise Team: tie: St. Louis Silly Nannies, Charlotte Blue Devils

Why: The league was waiting to see if the two wild card teams from last season could sustain last season's success. So far, both have. Charlotte leads the AL East, knocking Louisville from their perch with a 53-39 record. St. Louis isn't far behind at 51-41; they're unlikely to catch Milwaukee, but they should be in the wild card hunt.

Disappointing Team: Anaheim Chiles

Why: My upset pick to win the AL West can't even beat out Seattle at this point. They are 42-50, 11 games back of the Gamblers. They give up the most runs in the division.

AL edges NL in eighth to win All-Star Game

Stieb takes MVP with 3 hits, 2 RBI

The American League got off to a rocky start in this year's All-Star Game but found a way to come back and win it in the end.

New York's Jason Sprague allowed two runs in two innings of work as the starter for the AL. Relief didn't provide much help, at least not right away, as Milwaukee's Vin Solano allowed two runs in one inning of work in the third inning.

But the AL team would weather the storm and strike for three runs in the top of the fifth thanks in part to a bases loaded single from Nashville catcher Tony Stieb that scored two runs and tied the game at four runs apiece. Stieb would go on to be named the MVP of the contest.

The game would remain 4-4 until the top of the eighth when the American took the lead for good. Charlotte's Justin Hernandez connected off Vancouver's Chris Jennings with the bases loaded to drive home the go ahead run. New York's R.J. Figueroa would follow with an RBI of his own to make it a 6-4 game.

Houston's Matt Skinner took the loss while Carlos Carrasco of St. Louis recorded the win. Monterrey's Ted Reese pitched a scoreless ninth for the save.

The victory marked the second time the AL has defeated the NL and the first since season 1. The all-time series between the two sides is now tied at 2-2.

Tony Stieb
Age: 24B/T: S/R
Born: Southport, NC
Position(s): C
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Duvall dominates Derby

The season 4 Home Run Derby wasn't much of a contest in the end. Houston Riverdogs 3B Monte Duvall blew away Las Vegas Gamblers' Wally Harvey in the final round to secure the Home Run Derby championship. The season 3 Rookie of the Year slugged nine homeruns in the final round, seven more than Harvey's final round total of two.

The event's longest home run belonged to Trenton's Denny Moss who's sixth and final home run of the competition traveled an estimated 530 ft. Moss' fourth home run also traveled over 500 ft.

Duval finished the competition with 28 total homeruns, 10 more than the runner up Harvey. Atlanta's Matty Matos finished third with 15 total homeruns. Duvall joins past winners Greg Black and Osvaldo Johnson as Home Run Derby champions. Johnson, who won back-to-back Derby titles in seasons 1-2, finished fourth in this year's contest.

Monte Duvall
Age: 23B/T: S/R
Born: Ansonia, CT
Position(s): 2B/CIF
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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Annual Draft Review – Season 4

As a prologue, I wish to comment on quality and quantity of players in the draft.

Basically, HBD generates a specified number of a certain quality of prospects. And as a general average they are divided fairly equally between College & HS areas. I don’t believe it’s possible to see the entire group of solid, good or great prospects even if you spent 20 in both areas (though you’d most likely see 90% or so).

Now, the system generates 4-6 guys that will project overall into the 90s. Another 6-8 that will project into the 80s. Then you have about a dozen that will project into the high 70s and then you have another dozen that will project to be solid MLers (low 70s). It goes down from there etc.

So essentially if you are in the bottom 4-6 picks…the best you can realistically hope for is a solid future MLer, but you never know. Of course the positions of these players and their signability are completely random. Which means you might get a year when these future superstars are at a high risk not to sign and other years….. Also years when there are a lot of pitchers that will be really good and very few really good positional guys; and of course the reverse may very well happen too. Also you have to remember that just because a guy’s potential overall rating is really good, doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be a MLer! I’ve seen guys who have an overall rating over 80 (especially pitchers) who are barely ML quality and still others who’s overall isn’t over 70 (usually DH/1B/C) be an all star. So… go figure.

The draft (pick of the draft was a REAL tough choice!!)
(Have added this season: Red Herring of the Draft)

1 Washington D.C. Blue Coats (NL)
SP – Carter Leonard: This guy has the potential to be future ace of the Washington starting rotation. Great stamina, controls, splits, velocity……. Only slight down fall here is only 4 pitches and 1 is of a poor quality.But with the rest of package this ain’t really a major issue in my opinion. Rating 9.75/10

2 Jacksonville Vipers (AL) PICK OF THE DRAFT
SP – Fausto Almanza: This is the first time I think I’ve seen ‘my’ pick of the draft so high in the draft. In my view Fausto is very slightly better than Carter due to an overall better pitch quality and make up rating. His only negative point… health is a little below average and serious injuries can kill pitchers. Rating 10/10

3 Seattle Killer Whales (AL)
CF – Watty Miller: Well, it really was a close call for ‘my’ pick of the draft and Watty made a really strong case for that honour too!!! If his arm was stronger…. Looks like Seattle will groom him for CF (good idea arm not strong enough for infield). This guys potential hitting ratings are... well... scary!!! I really glad he’s in the AL, because I think Seattle has a impact player of the future here. Rating 9.75/10

4 Austin City Limits (NL)
SP – Vladimir Bibby: Vlad should become a solid #2-3 starter in the Austin rotation if they can get his ratings to their potentials. While none of his pitches project into the 80s or 90s (which may keep him from the #1 role); still he’ll be a good ML pitcher with solid control and splits etc. Rating: 8.5/10

5 Buffalo Blue Cheese (AL)
SP – George Hurst: Here is very solid future addition to the Buffalo starting rotation. Maybe the stopper (Ace), but I see him in the #2 spot for sure. This youngster should have all the tools for the spot, good control, decent split, respectable pitch quality… The only minor thing health a little low but... not a big problem. Rating 8.0/10

6 New Orleans Voodoo (NL)
SP – Santiago Perez: Another one of the fine crop of future starters this draft offered. Even though Perez’s overall rating may be better than Hurst’s. I’d say they are fairly even. The overall rating of pitchers is still some what slanted toward stamina (not as much as it was when HBD first came out). Still a solid pick and should be a good addition to the Voodoo rotation when the time comes. Rating 8.0/10

7 Colorado Spring Chickens (AL)
SP – Hector Manto: Hector is a flame throwing SP and possible K leader once he gets to the majors. Not only his potential velocity high but so is his control (unusual combination to say the least). His splits are decent but not great and he’s only got 3 pitches… Still Hector should make an impact when he’s ready for The Big League. Rating 8.5/10

8 Philadelphia Phantoms (NL)
2B/3B – Brian Sweeney: The 2nd positional taken in the draft. Brian should be a solid A/S calibre MLer. He’ll hit for a decent average and will have decent power #s too. While listed as a SS, his glove and range will not be up to ML standards for that position (especially with fielding update done recently). Still he’ll make a solid 2B or 3B. Rating 8.0/10

9 Little Rock Raiders (AL)
RP – Harry Valdes: While the potential to have real good stamina and control some day, Harry doesn’t have the splits or the pitch quality for a ML starter and his health rating is questionable. So even if Little Rock can keep him from serious injury... best I feel they can hope for is bullpen material with Mr. Valdes. Not quite what you want with the 9th overall pick. Rating: 5.5/10

10 Syracuse Simpletons (AL)
SS – Louie Wunsch: There are sometimes a player’s overall rating seems to really confuses me. Now don’t get me wrong, this guy should develop some real good ratings for hitting (but not great), defensively he should be real solid except his range just slightly under ML standards. But his durability and health are both marginal. Still he’ll be a solid MLer if he can stay healthy; and he’ll be a platoon type. Rating 7.0/10

11 Anaheim Chiles (AL)
COF – Bob Stewart: While Bob will be a marginal ML Second Baseman (might be better in the OF). Either way, his is a bat Anaheim will definitely want in the line-up. Bob should develop 50+ HR type power and hit for an OK average (.270s). If Mr. Stewart can get up to these potentials… you’re talking a solid RBI guy who can be an asset in either LF or RF. Rating: 8.0/10

12 Atlanta Bandits (NL)
SP – Stone Curtis: In this pick Atlanta gets what should become a rock solid (pun intended) future starter. Mr. Curtis could very well challenge for the #1 role in the rotation when he’s ready. Solid control, great splits, decent pitch quality… The only real knock on this guy is his durability (so okay a 5 man rotation), not a big deal. Rating 8.5/10

13 Salt Lake City Shakers (NL)
3B – Vern Monroe: This must the highest I’ve seen a 3B go in our league. The Shakers have him playing SS at the Rookie Level; he’ll never be that at the ML level. While his defensive skills for playing 3B at the top level will be decent. It’s his bat!!! Vern will hit for decent power and a .300+ average, a guy to have somewhere in the top half of the order! Rating: 9.0/10

14 Boston Bambinos (AL)
SP – B.C. Santiago: While B.C.’s potential splits are marginal for the ML level, his control and pitch quality should more than make up for this. If Boston can get this guy to his potential, they will have a sold #2 guy for their rotation (it will have to be a 5 man though – durability). Boston has started him off in Hi-A, this might be a problem cause B.C. is a little bit of a long term project; time will of course tell. Rating: 8.5/10

15 Vancouver Golden Otters (NL)
SP – Glen Bush: If Vancouver can get this pick to his projected ratings; Glen should make a fine addition to their pitching staff. While maybe not a projected Ace, still should make for an effective valuable part of the rotation. The only knock on this prospect his health is slightly low, otherwise a solid pick for this position in the draft. Rating: 7.5/10

16 Cheyenne Nation (NL)
SS – Gustavo Contreras: I had this guy ranked in my top 3 and I’m very surprised he fell to 16th!! Though he is a long-term project, but if Cheyenne can get this prospect even close to his projections…A solid defensive SS (though a little short of Gold Glove ‘maybe') and he’ll be one of (if not the best) leadoff guys in the league. Gustavo should be the perennial SB leader in the league and be among the top in batting average as well.
Rating: 9.5/10

17 New York new york (AL)
CF – J.C. Donnelly: J.C. is almost a carbon copy of the pick above. He’s a long-term project who should be a solid defensive CF and a great lead-off hitter. Though he will not hit for the average Gustavo will (batting eye and splits will hurt BA). Still when ready, J.C. should be a great addition to the New York lineup. Rating: 8.0/10

18 Nashville Sounds (AL)
COF Cleatus Barkett: This makes the 3rd speedster picked in a row and also a long-term project. Cleatus will not quite have the glove teams want in the CF position, though he’ll have great range. While Cleatus will have the speed like the previous picks, his bat will come up short in comparison, especially his versus RH. His batting average will not quite be up to lead off standards IMO this lowers his overall value. Rating: 6.5/10

19 Salem Sacrifices (NL)
SS – Danny Wilson: Here is a long-term project that if Salem can get to his projections, he’ll make a decent MLer. His offensive stats should be slightly above average. His defensive ratings should make him a solid ML SS. BUT is durability makes him a platoon type player, maybe even bench material. This hurts what is otherwise a really good pick: Rating 7.0/10

20 Toronto Toros (NL)
COF – Fernando Ibanez: While designated at 2B when drafted, Fernando will not arm any where near the arm for that position at the ML level. Toronto is starting him off as a LF, good idea! While maybe his arm will not be that good, he’ll put up some real good numbers at the plate. If Fernando can reach his projected offensive ratings, he’ll make a great #3 or #5 guy in the batting order. Rating: 8.0/10

21 Trenton Traffic (NL)
SP – Sammy Garrido: While this pick should develop into a good ML pitcher. My question is what kind? While his splits and control say possible starter, but his stamina and overall pitch quality say long relief. Time will tell I guess; it will depend on whether or not Trenton can get this guy to his projected levels. Rating: 7.5/10

22 Las Vegas Gamblers (AL) RED HERRING OF THE DRAFT
SP - Walter Ewing: Walter should be flame throwing pitcher with great control and stamina. But that’s it that can be said on the positive side. His projected splits and pitch quality aren’t ML quality. Marginal splits can be overcome if the guy has really good pitch quality but Walter will not have that. I can’t see this guy making it to the ML level; if he does… mop-up/inning eater is all he’ll be. Rating: 4.0/10

23 St. Louis Silly Nannies (AL)
RP – Mickey Stanifer: Here is the first future potential closer taken in the draft. In the previous 3 a potential closer was taken far earlier than this. This draft was thin in this area for sure. Mickey should become a solid short man from the pen but his stamina is a little low for the closer (over 20 is preferred so they can pitch a whole inning). Still, he could make it as a closer. Rating: 7.5/10

24 Charlotte Blue Devils (AL)
SP – Cookie Camacho: Looking at Cookie’s potential splits one would say marginal and they will be. BUT with the control he should have and pitch quality… he should make for an effective ML Starter. While not an Ace of the staff, a good #3 or #4 guy in the rotation. I’ve got a similar guy in another world, while doesn’t set the world on fire; he’s effective and generally gives my team a shot to win. Nothing wrong with that. Rating 8.0/10

25 Las Vegas Gamblers (AL)
SS Boomer Robinson: Okay, has to be the best name in the round. While his potential glove rating may be a little short of ML standard, the rest of his potential defensive ratings are there. This also will be able to play most of the team’s games with a great durability rating. His bat though will be average for a MLer. While his splits should be decent, the contact & batting eye rating will be marginal. Overall this is a good pick and the kind of guy you expect to get in the bottom 1/3 of the draft. Rating: 7.0/10

26 Chicago Snake Tamers (NL)
SP Dean Walker: Chicago has paid a high price for this future pitcher (2nd highest Bonus paid to a 1st rnd pick – just over 5 million). Question is: Will Chicago get their money’s worth? IMO, no. While Dean will have great control and velocity, his splits overall are marginal for a ML pitcher and the overall pitch quality potential isn’t really up to starter quality. I see this one as a future Long Relief guy from the pen and maybe a spot starter. To pay 5 mill for that…. Hmmm. Rating: 6.0/10

27 Louisville Legends (AL)
COF Donne Mirabelli: Here is another speedster on the base paths. While his potential defensive ratings definitely put him in LF or RF. He definitely has leadoff potential; his splits will be marginal for sure but his batting eye and contact ratings should more than make up for that. Donne when his time comes, should make fine addition at the top of the Louisville batting order. Rating 8.0/10

28 Norfolk Destroyers (NL)
RP Craig Shermann: My 1st round pick. This is the first time I’ve taken a relief pitcher in the first round here in HBD. For a potential closer, his potential durability and stamina are without a doubt what I’m looking for. As are the potential quality of his pitches. BUT will his splits hurt him? While good not great. But as I’ve mentioned above good pitch quality can be a real key. Overall I think Craig has future closer in him… again time will tell. Rating: 8.5/10

29 Monterrey Sultans (AL)
COF Raymond Black: Here is another one the usual late first round picks. While Raymond’s potential ratings may not be spectacular but still he’ll make a solid major leaguer. His power #s should be really good if reaches his potential (good splits and great power ratings). His contact and batting eye ratings should be decent for a power hitter. A future #5 hitter? That’d be my guess. Rating: 8.0/10

30 Houston Riverdogs (NL)
RP Jason Franco: The 3rd future potential closer taken in the first round. The future ratings of this prospect definitely say closer. A hard throwing one as well. I’d say overall between Franco and Shermann (my pick), it’s a toss up which will be the better. Franco should have the better splits and velocity but not quite the pitch quality… Rating: 8.5 /10

31 Fargo Dirtbags (NL)
SP Victor Soto: Finding a guy of this quality late in the first round is quite something. Victor should become a solid ML starting pitcher. He'll develop great control, solid splits and real good overall pitch quality. Victor Soto could very well become the ace of the Fargo staff, but I see him more as a future #2 guy in the rotation. Rating: 9.0/01

32 Milwaukee Manic Maulers (AL)
CF/2B Lorenzo Santana: While drafted as a CF, Lorenzo should be able to play 2B or CF at the major league level. Possible gold glove material at either position really. Great durability means he’ll be able to the majority of his team’s games. His offensive ratings are really good but not great; still he’ll put up decent #s if he reaches his projections. Like Victor above, Lorenzo is quite a find this late in the first round. Rating: 8.5/10

Monday, December 15, 2008

Career milestone reached

Boston's Bob Koplove became the first ML player in The Bigs to reach 200 home runs. He hit a 3rd inning 3-run home run off St. Louis pitcher Antonio Perez to stake Boston to a 4-0 lead. It was his only hit of the day, but it was the difference in Boston's 5-3 victory. Koplove said after the game, "Yeah, I was aware that 200 was coming, but I don't think it changed my approach at the plate. I'm still just trying to make solid contact and hit the ball hard somewhere. I want to help this team win games and I like playing here in Boston".

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christians traded to Fargo

Will make Dirtbag debut tomorrow

The Fargo Dirtbags and Cheyenne Nation came to terms on a deal that sent veteran pitcher Manny Christians to Fargo in exchange for pitcher Tyler Wilson and pitching prospect Enrique Gutierrez. The deal marks the second time Christians has been traded this season. He was dealt from New York to Cheyenne during spring training.

Fargo hopes the trade will bolster a pitching staff that has struggled to live up to its normal standards this season. The team that has led The Bigs in team ERA every year since season 1 currently ranks 13th in the majors with essentially the same staff as last season. Christians, who was being used as the closer for Cheyenne, will be asked to be the fourth starter for Fargo and will make his debut in tomorrow's am game against St. Louis.

The trade is just another in a rebuilding process for Cheyenne. In return for the former All-Star Christians, the Nation get back an expiring contract and solid veteran starter in Wilson, and a promising pitching prospect in Gutierrez, the main catch in the deal for Cheyenne.

The 34-year-old Wilson was 4-2 in 10 starts for Fargo with a 5.36 ERA this season. In 3-plus seasons with the Dirtbags, Wilson went 36-26 with an ERA of 3.82 in 94 career starts.

Gutierrez was claimed off the waiver wire by Fargo prior to the start of season 1 and has excellend in his minor league career. The 22-year-old won back to back Cy Young Awards at HiA and was 6-5 with a 4.77 ERA at AA this season before the trade. Gutierrez was the 87th ranked prospect on ACE's season 4 Top 100 Prospects list. Word out of Cheyenne is that Gutierrez will stay in the minor leagues for the rest of this season with the expectation that he'll be ready for major league action in season 5.

The move also frees Cheyenne from the $10 million Christians was owed for season 5. As part of the trade, the Nation will pay $3 million of the remaining $7,864,197 on Christians' contract for this season.

Manny Christians
Age: 32B/T: R/R
Born: Edmonton, KY
Position(s): P (SP1)
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Enrique Gutierrez
Age: 22B/T: R/R
Born: Raymond, NH
Position(s): P (P)
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Career milestone reached

This past week, Nashville DH King Winn became the first player to reach 500 RBIs for his career. The milestone RBI came in a 10 inning, 7-2 win at Syracuse. Winn drove himself in for the 500th RBI, hitting a 10th inning 3-run homer off Syracuse reliever David Glover.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

American League sees 2 pitchers go down with injuries

Two American League teams, one a title contender, saw a major part of their pitching staff go down with an injury.

Monterrey's young star pitcher, Luther Brush, went down with a strained rotator cuff. He went down against San Juan in the 4th in the middle of an at-bat against Oswaldo Johnson. He'll be out 2-3 weeks and was placed on the DL. His 4 complete games lead the majors.

Seattle's young closer, Quilvio Sanchez, is in worse shape. He also has a rotator cuff injury, but is expected to be out close to 2 months. He came in the 8th inning against Salt Lake City to try and close out a good effort by Miguel Benitez, but only could throw 2 pitches before being injured. He has struggled at times while trying to make the jump essentially from Single A to the majors (he has 1 inning of experience at AA and has never thrown a pitch at AAA), pitching to a 7.47 ERA and blowing 4 of 13 save opportunities. However, he's only 20 and most scouts agree that he should be fine and should be a force in the league for seasons to come.

Buckley hits for the cycle

Little Rock DH Rick Buckley hit for the cycle this past week against the Boston Bambinos. He scored twice and drove in 5 in the process. He started with an RBI double in the 1st and followed it with a two-run homer in the 4th, an RBI single in the 6th, and an RBI triple in the 8th. He would have been 5 for 5 if not for a sparkling defensive play by Boston RF Hideki Martin in the 2nd. Little Rock won handily, 10-0, as Boston was held to one hit.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Who's Hot, Who's Not

On the eve of both the HBD version of Christmas (the amateur draft) and interleague play for about half of the league, we again take a look at who's hot and who's not in both leagues (now that my wish list is done- hope Santa brings me what I asked for).


WHO'S HOT- San Juan Dead Bunnies

Record: The rabbits of rigor mortis went 14-5 in their last 19 games.

How: Schedule. Yes, the Dead Bunnies did get their offense going (to the tune of 9.6 runs a game), but the schedule did have something to do with it. They played Philadelphia (two series), Washington (two series), Chicago, and Atlanta- none of those four teams has a winning record. That said, good teams are supposed to beat up on weaker teams and San Juan did what they were supposed to do. In the process, they've asserted themselves as the best offense in the NL and pulled to within 4 games of the defending champs down in Houston.

Upcoming: Interleague with the talented AL South (Monterrey, Nashville, Little Rock, Jackson) may be a truer test of where the Dead Bunnies are as a team. They should be able to hold their own.

Also Hot:

Trenton extended their NL East lead with a 13-6 record in the last 19.

Cheyenne is in last in the NL West but they get closer to the pack with a 12-7 stretch.

WHO'S NOT: Fargo Dirtbags

Records: No one was awful during this stretch, as the worst record was 7-12: four teams were tied with this record. Since Fargo and Norfolk are the defending NL North and NL East champions, respectively, it narrowed my choice down to those two (more was expected from them this season than Washington and Philadelphia). Whenever there's a tie, you have to go with head-to-head as a tiebreaker. During this stretch, Norfolk took 2 out of 3 from the Dirtbags, so they stay out of this spot.

How: Bullpen. Out of the 12 losses, 5 of them were games in which the Dirtbags had a lead which was subsequently blown by the bullpen. Kevin Li (5.29 season ERA)and 3-time All-Star Bert Price (8.02 ERA, 4 blown saves), two of the guys who Fargo was counting on, have been awful.

Upcoming: They draw the AL North in interleague action- Milwaukee is never an easy win, and Syracuse and St. Louis are both good teams. It's not going to get much easier soon.

Also not hot:

Norfolk lost 6 games in the standings to Trenton by going 7-12.

Philadelphia and Washington take up residence in familiar territory (last place) with matching 7-12 records.


Who's Hot: New York New York

Record: New York and Colorado Springs had matching 13-6 records and didn't play each other. Slight edge to New York for playing a slightly more difficult schedule.

How: Home cooking. They won 7 out of 10 on their home field, including a 3-game sweep of Monterrey. They had a nightmarish 10-game stretch playing exclusively Milwaukee (7 games) and Monterrey. They went 6-4, aided by a 5-2 stretch at Yankee Stadium.

Upcoming: They'll get the NL East, which has 3 teams with a losing record as of now. If those trends continue, they could stay hot.

Also hot:

Colorado Springs went from the coldest at the last check-in to just below the hottest, matching New York's 13-6 record with a slightly easier schedule (slightly misleading, as Buffalo was the only team they played below .500).

St. Louis went 12-7 to stay within reaching distance of Milwaukee in the AL North.

Who's Not: Buffalo Blue Cheese

Record: 5-14 in the last 19 drops them even with Philadelphia for the worst record in the entire league.

How: Offense. In the last 19 games, the Buffalo offense has determined how the team fares. They were 5-3 when they scored 4 or more runs, but 0-11 when scoring 3 or less.

Upcoming: The NL North is next on the list. They draw Philadelphia first in what could be the race for the #1 pick next season, and then the rest of the disappointing NL North (Fargo, Chicago, Toronto).

Also not hot:

Anaheim went 6-13 to fall into 3rd place and well of the Las Vegas Gamblers' pace in the AL West.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Current Events

Salt Lake City Shakers signed Red Karl in a much ballyhooed event today! At 23.1M, that is almost the GDP in the last quarter, makes him the second highest singing of the season. He fancies himself a SS or at least the scouts do. With my 16M scouting budget, I see him as under qualified at SS and over qualified at 3B. Sounds like a good resume to me. Any who, he can hit, and for a SS that is good news. The makeup is there to make his projections also. Looks like a real solid find in my books as I can't really find any negatives.

If you haven't read the SiteStaff post, I would advise reading it. Will it help, that remains to be seen. I am hoping they fix some of the other things they talked about also as I have suddenly seen some bad irregularities with the draft pools.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

From Cy Young to DL

Milwaukee, one of the favorites to represent the AL in the World Series this season, suffered a mjor injury when reigning Cy Young winner Woody Hiller went down with a shoulder injury. In the 5th inning against his last start against New York, Hiller felt a strain in his pitching shoulder; catcher John Stevenson immediately signaled for the trainer. The club has declined to state what exactly the injury is, but an unnamed source speaking on the condition of anonymity has said Hiller will be out for about 2 months.

Major trade could alter the landscape of the NL East

A major interleague deal could seriously affect the NL East race this season. Did the Atlanta Bandits just steal an ace pitcher?

Atlanta Bandits and Colorado Springs Chickens

Atlanta gets: SP Matty Eusebio
Colorado Springs gets: SP Pedro Limon (Hi-A), SP Harry Guillen (Hi-A)

Analysis: Atlanta adds a true ace in Eusebio. He ranks in the top 10 in most of the major pitching categories for his career. He's still one of the league's best despite being 34 and being on his 5th team in 3+ seasons. I understand why Colorado Springs would deal Eusebio, as last place teams usually don't need a 34- year old starter. However, I'm not completely sold that the Chickens got enough in return for him. Limon has two fairly average pitches as his two best pitches, but I've seen pitchers like him succeed. He's not an ace, but should be a nice #2-#4 starter depending on how much his lack of a big-time pitch affects him. Harry Guillen is a decent starting pitcher, but I think he's a little overrated. He should be higher up in the minors than Hi-A at this point- I don't know what to make of the fact that he pitched two seasons of rookie ball.

Monday, December 1, 2008

One on one with Trenton GM gumbercules

We caught up with Trenton Traffic GM and lead reporter for The Bigs Daily News, gumbercules, to get his thoughts on the Denny Moss blockbuster, life as a reporter and what the New York Yankees need this off season. Here's what gumber had to say.

There are plenty of HBD worlds out there so why did you decide to join The Bigs?

-I think I had 2 teams at the time and was looking for a third. I had both success and failure at taking over established teams and had the experience of being in a brand new league. I knew I wanted to join a new league- there's nothing quite like taking over a team from scratch. The one thing I hadn't done was take an NL team- I thought it was time for that.
So I scoured the Classifieds and came upon a league being started by this guy who called himself mfoster55. Judging by what I saw in the forum it seemed like a good bunch of people and I recognized ACE from when I had been in Puckett. I actually read it several times before deciding to join up- if I remember correctly I was one of the last to join. I'm very glad I did.

What were your first thoughts when you took over your franchise?
-I tried to keep a fair and open mind about my team and do what was best for the franchise, but I think secretly I was hoping for something that I could rebuild through prospects. I thought my team was middle of the road, with some decent pieces, but I wasn't sure I could compete for a title. So I dealt my best players (R.J. Toca and Bernard Young) and was shocked when we won 100 games that season.

You run four HBD teams if my math and reading skills are correct. Which one is your favorite and why? And yes, you have to pick one.
-Great- I have to choose between the team in my favorite league (this one), the first team I ever took (Honolulu in Aaron) that's been to 7 straight playoff appearances and the only team to win me a title (Rochester-Kaline)? I think that's tougher than facing Henriquez, Pierce, and Arnold in a 3-game series against Fargo. OK, if you put a gun to my head and made me pick one, I'd probably say the Honolulu team.

What do you do in your spare time when you’re not running your HBD teams? What's there to do in Dirty Jersey? (That comes from a PA boy who chooses not to visit Jersey on purpose.)
-When I'm not running my HBD teams or at work, I'm either working out (I'm a 3rd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do), watching TV, or playing my keyboard. And hey, there's plenty to do in Jersey. There's the shore, and ... um... yeah. I got nothing. Come on over to the Jersey side- I've got a great view of the train tracks and the oil refineries from my front porch. And where else, when you tell people where you live, can you count on the next question being, "What exit?"

You pulled off a blockbuster deal to land Denny Moss this season. Tell us how that deal went down and what it’s like to negotiate a blockbuster with our trade-loving, king’s ransom-asking commish, mfoster55.
-The Moss negotiation was fairly intense. It actually started when I was trying to get some starting pitching. Foster told me he liked my 2 CF prospects (Turnbow and Nelson) and we didn't really get anywhere. Then, when I saw that Moss was available, I came back and inquired about him. Since I knew he liked my 2 CFs, I at least had a starting point. We went back and forth and he eventually told me to make him an offer. So I offered Nelson and Alex Saenz. He wanted Turnbow instead of Nelson. I had Turnbow eventually slated for CF, but I thought Moss was too good to turn down, so I pulled the trigger.

Do the Traffic have what it takes to win the NL and possibly the World Series?
-If you read the previews that I do, you can get a sense of what I think is going to happen. I try to be objective about my team and everyone else's. That being said, I did shore up the rotation a little with the Damion Mays trade and the East seems a little down so far. If we can get into the playoffs, anything can happen. I think the HBD playoffs is a lot like real life, which brings to mind the Billy Beane quote- "The playoffs is a crapshoot". So if we get in, anything is possible.

What is life like as the lead reporter for The Bigs Daily News?
- I enjoy doing it when I have the time. I've always had an off-kilter sense of humor and the blog is a way to express it at times. I take pride in what we do, especially when people outside our league compliment us on what we do. I think it also helps me as an owner, as I feel like the research I have to do really gets me a better feel as to what's going on in the league.

Using your reporting expertise, what has been the best rivalry in The Bigs over the seasons?
-I'm going to give the obvious answer, but not for the obvious reason. It's Salem vs. Cheyenne (formerly Arizona), but only in part because of trailjon's and deacon's back and forth barbs. It's mainly because they've split the first 3 NL West crowns (Salem in season 1 and 3, Arizona in season 2), they've all been close at the end (2, 1, and 6 game differences in seasons 1,2, and 3, respectively), and coming into this season the all-time series is almost dead even (Salem leads 16-14). I'd say in the American League it would be Milwaukee and Monterrey, as they seem to be the two best teams since season 1 and they had that epic 7-game ALCS in season 2. By the way, that's another 16-14 regular season all-time series (in favor of Milwaukee), so they're pretty close as well.

Your profile says you’re a Yankees fan, yet you’re not completely obnoxious. How is this possible? Who do the Yankees need to sign more, CC Sabathia or Mark Teixeira? Or maybe someone else?
-I'd like to say my fellow Yankee fans get a bad rep, but then I remember the nights I've spent out amongst the bleacher creatures and rethink that. I guess because I'm not obnoxious in general and I don't necessarily think the Yankees are entitled to win the World Series every season. As for what the Yanks need, kj, why have I picked your team the last 2 or 3 seasons? It's all about pitching, starting pitching in particular. I think Sabathia is a true ace- I'd take him in a heartbeat.

If you could change one thing about HBD what would it be and why?
- Another tough question- I honestly love this game. The in-game managing decisions seem a little questionable sometimes, but that's probably nitpicking.