Friday, October 30, 2009

Changes for Season 8

For the second consecutive season, all 32 ownership groups are back for the start of a new season. The only change to report is one movement in the National League

The Toronto Toros (nee Montreal Maroons) are finally moving south of the border and have settled in Kansas City and will play as the Scouts. The team is named after a defunct hockey team named after a statue depicting a guy on a horse. If that doesn't breed confidence, nothing will. The good news is Kansas City Scout fans won't have to do much to be better than their predecessor: if they can win 43 games they'll have a greater winning percentage than either edition of the original Scouts. Fans are excited.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Season 7 in Tweets

Twitter (in case you don't know) is a social networking site where you have 140 characters (spaces and punctuation marks included) to answer the question "What are you doing?". If each team in The Bigs had 140 characters to sum up their seasons, it might look a little like this:

National League

Atlanta: First to win two titles. Do we get our due now?

Austin: Made it to .500. Definitely on the way up.

Cheyenne: Lost 10 in a row at a bad time. Then again, is there ever a good time?

Chicago: How do you lose 29 more games compared to last season?

Fargo: Should we just rename the Cy Young Award the Javier Henriquez Award?

Houston: 7 straight division titles and no plans to stop there.

New Orleans: -22 (scored - allowed) + losing record in division = PLAYOFFS?

Norfolk: Watching as Washington took the elevator up past us.

Philadelphia: Not good when your fans refer to a 74 win season a few years back as "The good ol' days".

Salem: Took the wrecking ball to the franchise. Total rebuilding mode.

Salt Lake City: 104 regular season wins mean nothing without 11 more in the playoffs. Only got 2.

San Juan: First two games: wonderful. Last 160: less so.

Trenton: Started the clock on the probably short Dunwoody/Salmon era. Almost enough to take out Atlanta.

Toronto: Respectable effort in final season north of the border.

Vancouver: The one-hit wonders produce yet another flop.

Washington: On the way up even before Balfour and Leonard arrive.

American League

Anaheim: Last place but in a tough division. Could have easily won more than 79.

Boise: Scoreboard operator leads the league in overtime pay.

Boston: Hitters playing wall-ball with the Monster. Pitchers playing "Chuck and Duck".

Buffalo: Went from bad to respectable. The next step is harder...

Charlotte: Hush, hush, sweet Charlotte. Don't talk about the Princesses.

Helena: Pitching coach should win an award for resurrecting Louie Martin's career.

Jackson: Would gladly trade regular season wins for playoff wins (see: Salt Lake City). Dethroning Monterrey was fun, though.

Louisville: Not a vintage Legend team, but one of two to win 7 straight divisions. Still looking to reach the summit.

Milwaukee: Missed the playoffs for the first time ever. Too cold to golf: ice fishing, anyone?

Monterrey: Snuck into the playoffs and were promptly told to leave.

New York: Dominant in one-run games. Lousy in any other type of game.

Oklahoma City: Season was a success, as they booked a trip to the playoffs. Wasn't an extended stay, though.

St. Louis: Took out Milwaukee for first division title, cruised through 2 rounds, gave Seattle all it could handle. Great effort.

Scranton: Those fierce playoff battles with Helena seem light years away after a 71-91 season.

Seattle: Cruised from Opening Day until the ALCS. Came within 2 games of a World Series win. Could very well be back.

Syracuse: Still the little brother in the Upstate NY rivalry.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Season 7 World Series

Atlanta Bandits (NL) vs. Seattle Killer Whales (AL)

The last two teams left were Atlanta, the plucky defending champions who had to stave off 5 elimination games in the first two rounds, and Seattle, the relative newcomer to The Bigs elite.

- In game 1, home team Seattle used the longball to fuel a series opening win. The Killer Whales used 6 homers (3 by former NL MVP Osvaldo Johnson) to account for all their runs in a 7-3 win. Quilvio Sanchez did his best Mariano Rivera imitation, recording a 2-inning save and striking out 5 in the process.

- Game 2 saw a reversal, as Atlanta used its power to jump on Seattle this time. Lynn Abernathy and Paul Turnbow each hit a 2-run homer to help fuel a 6-0 lead, then the Bandits hung on to win 6-4. Steven Michaels pitched 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball for the win.

- Game 3 in Atlanta saw a dramatic comeback in the 9th inning. A Jay Walker solo homer in the 7th snapped a 4-4 tie and gave Atlanta the lead, but Seattle staged a 2-out rally and struck for 4 runs, the big hit being a Pete Duvall single to tie the game- Duvall had already homered twice. A bases-loaded walk to Jacque Puffer provided the winning margin, then Tony Burnitz provided insurance with a 2-run single to cap the scoring in an 8-5 Seattle win. It was also a costly loss for Atlanta as slugger Stan Starr injured himself striking out in the 5th and would not play again in the series.

- Game 4 was a game of missed opportunities for Seattle. Atlanta starter Fred Carter wasn't dominating, but he was good at getting out of trouble- he pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings and Seattle ended up leaving 10 men on base. Albie Torres and Eric Baker both drove in 2 and Atlanta tied the series at two with a 5-0 victory.

- Game 5 was a terrible time for Seattle's Kane Grahe to have his worst start of the playoffs. He gave up 6 runs in 6 innings, 3 of them on a pair of homers to Bret Kingman, who was replacing the injured Stan Starr. Meanwhile, Steven Michaels was very good yet again for Atlanta, yielding only 2 runs in 6 innings as Atlanta won 6-2. Atlanta would need only one victory in Seattle to clinch its second straight World Series title.

- Most Seattle fans were not feeling confident about needing a big game from Miguel Benitez, the former Cy Young winner who had struggled all postseason. Benitez's undoing was his last offering, a 2-1 pitch in the 7th inning to Gregg Black which ended up in the seats for a 3-run homer to turn a 3-2 Atlanta lead into a 6-2 game. After a Denny Moss solo homer in the 8th to cut the lead to 6-3, Atlanta tacked on 5 runs in the ninth to make the lead 11-3. After Matty Eusebio got Pete Duvall to pop up to shortstop to end the game, the Bandits started celebrating on the mound.

Congratulations to Atlanta on their second straight championship and to Seattle for a fine season.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

American League Championship Series Season 7

Seattle had been the top dog in the AL all season, but St. Louis looked very good as they went 6-0 in the first two rounds. How would this ALCS turn out?

St. Louis vs. Seattle

- In game 1 St. Louis's Antonio Perez pitched a complete game, giving up 3 runs (two earned) but was done in by the home run ball; Denny Moss hit a solo shot in the 1st followed by recently named MVP Jacque Puffer's solo homer in the 8th. That coupled with Kane Grahe's great outing (7 innings, 1 run) followed by 2 innings of Quilvio Sanchez equaled a 3-1 win for Seattle.

- Game 2 saw St. Louis leave 5 runners on in the first two innings alone while Seattle scored 3 in the first, two on a Puffer triple. Junior Bennett pitched 7 shutout innings and Jack Hunt added a solo shot in the 5th to give Seattle a 4-0 victory.

- In game 3, the St. Louis bats woke up just in time. Seattle built a 4-0 lead going into the bottom of the 7th, but St. Louis got a Placido Sanchez 2-run shot in the 7th and then a 3-run homer by Nick Hernandez to give Carlos Carrasco a 5-4 lead, which he held for the save. St. Louis jumped back in the series, trailing only 2-1.

- St. Louis's hot hitting from the last 2 innings of game 3 carried right over to the beginning of game 4. Seattle starter Marty Lane didn't make it out of the first inning, giving up 7 runs in 2/3 of an inning. St. Louis led 9-0 after two innings and cruised to a 10-5 victory to tie the series up at two games apiece.

- In game 5, Seattle tried to take the momentum back with 2 runs in the top of the first- a Denny Moss homer and a King Winn single got Seattle on top. But that was all they would get off Antonio Perez, who again threw a complete game. St. Louis got 7 runs off Junior Bennett, 6 of them via the homerun (4 homers, 2 by Pepe Martin) to win game 5 by a 7-2 score and needing to win just one game in Seattle to make its first ever World Series appearance.

- Game 6 saw St. Louis on the brink of winning the series, but its bullpen imploded. St. Louis held a tenative 1-0 lead until the 5th, where Pete Duvall's two-out RBI single off St. Louis starter Lloyd Freel got Seattle on the board. Reliever Vic Macias came out for the sixth and the floodgates opened right up; Seattle started the inning with 5 straight hitters reaching base safely (4 hits and a walk). After a Footsie post strikeout, Jack Hunt drove in 2 with a double and Pete Duvall followed with a 2-run homer; 7 runs were scored in the inning. Kane Grahe gave up 2 runs (only one earned) in eight innings to help lead Seattle to an 8-2 victory and setting up a deciding game 7.

- Game 7 saw the biggest crowd ever in Safeco. Miguel Benitez (Seattle) and Russell Newson (St. Louis) were tabbed to start the biggest game for both teams in their history by far. Seattle jumped out to an early 3-0 lead on a Footsie Post RBI single in the 2nd and then a Candy Krueter 2-run homer in the 4th, but St. Louis came right back with 3 in the 5th to tie the game. Benitez walked Pepe Sanchez and Nick Hernandez to start the inning, then Rico Guevara followed with a 3-run homer to tie the game; this was Benitez's last batter. Larry Canasone came in to stop the bleeding, then Seattle struck the decisive blow in the bottom of the 5th, as Kris Olson drove in Osvaldo Johnson with an RBI single and then a 1-out grand slam by defensive replacement Henry Canizaro gave Seattle an 8-3 lead, and St. Louis never got close again. They got an RBI groundout in the 7th, but couldn't put a rally together and fell 8-4. Seattle advanced to their first ever World Series and will play Atlanta.

National League Championship Series Season 7

Atlanta vs. Fargo seemed to be an appropriate NLCS matchup, since these two teams are the last two World Series winners.

Atlanta vs. Fargo

- Game 1 saw an interesting decision by Fargo to start Sammy Pierce instead of Javier Henriquez. Henriquez won his 4th Cy Young this season (3rd consecutive), but struggled against Houston, whereas the less decorated Pierce was outstanding. Pierce tried to silence the critics by giving the Dirtbags a 2-0 lead in the second with a bases-loaded, 2-out single. But Atlanta struck back with 4 in the very next inning, as Ryan Snyder stepped up with the same situation (bases loaded, two outs) and launced a grand slam well over the 335 foot sign in left field. That would be all Atlanta starter Fred Carter would need, as he went 7 giving up just those two runs. Rico Mangual and Tex Howell each pitched a perfect inning for a 4-2 win and a 1-0 lead in the series.

- Game 2 saw the return of Henriquez to form. Atlanta started Stone Curtis, who gave up back-to-back solo homers in the 1st to Ricardo Martinez and David Rushford, but was very good after that. Problem for Curtis was that Henriquez was just a bit better, going 6 innings (same as Curtis) giving up only 1 run (on a 3rd inning Jason Walker homer). Chris Siddall and Bert Price shut the door over the last 3 innings as Fargo won 2-1 and tied the series at a game apiece.

- As the venue shifted from Fargo to Atlanta, so did the series itself. Fargo had chances in game 3, but left 10 runners on base and therefore only managed one run. Manny Christians was good, but just couldn't overcome his own offense. Atlanta scratched out runs in the 2nd and 6th and then struck for 4 in the 8th just to put the game out of reach. Atlanta won game three 6-1 to take a 2 to 1 series lead.

- Game 4 saw Atlanta pull out a nail-biting extra inning affair. Both teams traded runs in the second inning, then saw ten straight innings of zeroes for both teams go up on the scoreboard. In the 13th, Mac Sung made a mistake in his second inning of work to Stan Starr, who hit one deep to right center. Fargo CF Stan Peterson went to the wall, leaped, but couldn't come down with it and Starr pumped his fist in celebration as he rounded the bases; he had just provided the Bandits with a 2-1 victory to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the series.

- Game 5 was similar to game 3, as the story was again Fargo leaving 10 men on base. Sammy Pierce was very good, but Stone Curtis matched his effort, and in the 8th Albie Torres and Starr went back-to-back off Fargo reliever Bert Price to snap a 1-1 tie and hand a 3-1 lead to Tex Howell in the 9th, who nailed it down to send Atlanta back to the World Series, dispatching Fargo in 5.

Atlanta's opponent would be determined in a very good ALCS.

Early-round Playoff Synopses

It's been an interesting playoff season thus far. Here's a quick rundown on the 1st round and on the league division series (both LCS and World Series will be in separate posts and in greater detail):


1st Round

-New Orleans wasn't given much of a shot by oddsmakers against Houston; the Riverdogs did indeed prevail in 4, but all four games were decided by two runs or less.

-Atlanta took down Trenton in the most entertaining series in the 1st round. Trenton went up 2-0 on the road behind Dunwoody and Salmon, but couldn't close the deal. Atlanta took both games in Trenton and then won game 5 in a 14-inning classic.

Division Series

- Atlanta proved that it is a team that is hard to knock out, as top-seeded Salt Lake City had two shots to take out the champs and failed. The Shakers won games 2 and 3 by one run to push the Bandits to the limit, but Atlanta won games 4 and 5 by the same 8-4 score to move on improbably to the NLCS.

- Fargo made its 4th NLCS appearance in 6 seasons by taking out Houston in a tough-fought five game set. Houston went up 2-1 by beating Cy Young Award winner Javier Henriquez twice (games 1 and 3), but couldn't solve Sammy Pierce in games 2 and 4 and in game 5 (much to the surprise of experts) Manny Christians badly outpitched Houston ace Lonny Gates for a 6-0 victory and a date with Atlanta in the NLCS.


1st Round

- St. Louis won its first ever playoff series in three straight games over Monterrey. The Sultans were shut out in both games in St. Louis and then dropped an 8-7 decision south of the border.

- Oklahoma City should have petitioned the league to play its entire 1st round series on the road. They split the first two games with Louisville, losing 5-4 and then winning game 2 10-5, but gave up 14 runs in two games at their home park to lose in four games to the Legends.

Division Series

- Louisville's series with Seattle mirrored their series with OKC, with this time Louisville splitting on the road before getting waxed at home. Seattle scored 31 runs in the 4 game set to win 3-1 and move on to the ALCS.

- Jackson's first ever division title became a little bittersweet as they failed to win a playoff game off of it. The Vipers gave up 7 straight runs to lose game 1, then the St. Louis bullpen beat them in two 1-run decisions in games 2 and 3. St. Louis marched on to face the mighty Killer Whales in the ALCS.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Henriquez runs away with third straight NL Cy Young

Voting much closer as Clifton edges Martin for AL Cy Young Award

It's not like there isn't any good pitching in the National League. The NL is home to iconic names like Salmon, Dunwoody, Pierce, Eusebio and Michaels among others. It's just that, year in and year out, Fargo's Javier Henriquez puts up ridiculous numbers that can't be matched and this season was no different.

League owners voted Henriquez the National League's Cy Young Award winner for the third consecutive season. Henriquez, who received 22 of a possible 32 votes, has now won four National League Cy Young Awards in his six full major league seasons. This season Henriquez led the majors in wins (22) and ERA (2.50). in 33 starts. In addition to the Cy Young Award, Henriquez was also rewarded with the season 7 Silver Slugger Award for pitchers. Henriquez batted .253 with 8 RBI in 87 at bats.

The American League Cy Young voting was much, much closer than the NL. When the dust settled, it was Monterrey's Patrick Clifton, who had a career season, edged out Helena's Louie Martin, 13 votes to 10, to win his first AL Cy Young Award. Clifton went 19-8 for the Sultans with a 3.01 ERA in 32 starts. Clifton also made his first AL All-Star Team this season.

Home Run Derby champion Monte Duvall took home this season's National League MVP Award. The Houston third baseman led the major leagues with 66 home runs while batting .293 and driving in 137 RBI. Duvall beat out San Juan's Calvin Chang and Salt Lake City's Jordan Newfield to win his first MVP.

In the American League, owners gave the MVP Award to Seattle's Jacque Puffer. Puffer, a former number one overall pick, batted .297 with 43 home runs and 122 RBI in his third full major league season to take home the award. Puffer also posted a .392 on base percentage and stole 47 bases.

Juan Valdes was the bright spot in an otherwise disappointing season for Salem that saw the team trade its two aces. Valdes took home the NL Rookie of the Year Award by receiving 13 of 32 votes. Valdes batted .301 with 40 home runs and 112 RBI for his rookie campaign.

Boise designated hitter Santiago Martin won the Rookie of the Year over in the American League by receiving 19 of a possible 32 votes. Martin batted .310, hit 42 home runs and knocked in 99 RBI.

Javier Henriquez
Age: 27B/T: L/L
Born: San Francisco De Macoris, DO
Position(s): P (SP1)
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Boise Shadow Wolves S7 Wrap Up

The management and fans were all pleased with the results of the Shadow Wolves this past season. They got off to a slow start, but finished the season with 80 wins, just shy of a five hundred record. The Shadow Wolves also won the season series against the division rival Killer Whales, who were the best team in the AL. Boise finished second in the league in batting average, and third overall in RBIs. And the Wolves topped the league in stolen bases by a decent margin. This of course was in contrast to their pitching which was near the bottom of the league. The bright side is that the Shadow Wolves have a number of good pitchers that will be making the jump to the big leagues next year, and though they will likely lose a couple bats to FA, they will also see a couple future stars called up as well, includingThe Monster, Boise fan favourite.

In individual stats, early season callup Santiago Martin lead the team in batting average, followed closely by Hideo Nakano, who was finally able to negotiate a one year deal part way into the season. It remains to be seen whether he will return to Boise, or get picked up by some other club in the offseason. Martin also lead the team in HRs with 42. Add that to his eighteen in twenty games in AAA before being called up and he finished the year with a whopping 60 HRs. He also had 51 RBIs in AAA, which when added to his 99 in the bigs makes 150 RBIs on the season. His 99 RBIs on the big league club was second to Ryan Hamill who lead the team with 112 RBIs. Hamill was second to Martin in HRs with 33. Victor Flores, the other early season callup, also had a decent rookie season. He finished with a .287 average, 11 HRs, 74 RBIs and 43 stolen bases. Flores was second on the team in SBs behind Abdullah Dillon, who had 55 stolen bases for the Shadow Wolves this year.

On the pitching side, Pete Rubel had a decent season starting with a 14-9 record, an OAV of .269, a WHIP of 1.47 and a 4.37 ERA. He was also the only starter with a winning record. Armando Lopez had a great season in the set-up role with an OAV of .255, a WHIP of 1.41, and a team leading ERA of 3.17. Jaime Weaver was another set-up pitcher with a decent season. He had an OAV of .261 and an ERA of 4.03, with a team leading WHIP of 1.28. Late season addition (via trade) Don Wang looked good, and will likely challenge Alex Cornejo for the Closer spot next season.

Wolf Industries and the management group would also like to extend a big congratulations to the AAA, high-A, and low-A clubs for winning their respective WS titles. And especially to Santiago Martin, who easily won the voting for AL Rookie of the Year. He's going to have a long and productive career here in Boise, and we're sure this isn't his last award. The future is bright in Boise, and we all expect to see the Shadow Wolves fighting for a playoff spot come next spring.

Thank you.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Playoff Matchups for Round 1

Here's the way the 1st round will look:


#6 New Orleans vs. #3 Houston

#5 Trenton vs. #4 Atlanta

Byes: Salt Lake City, Fargo


#6 Monterrey vs. #3 St. Louis
#5 Oklahoma City vs. #4 Louisville

Byes: Seattle, Jackson

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Season 7 Draft Review (Late but done finally)

Prologue: One thing I’ve always included in my overview is this “value” rating. It is by and large a ‘subjective’ thing and it’s not meant to insult etc. I base it on what I see his potential ratings being (remember I don’t see what you see), how much of a bonus was paid, at what point taken in the draft etc. So it’s possible to see 2 draftees who are pretty much equal in all respects, except one was taken 10th while the other was taken say 30th. The guy taken later will most likely get a higher rating. While both may become great players, getting a player like that late in 1st round is quite a steal. So I’ll give that a higher value. Also, the player’s potential position in the majors plays a part in this too. COF/1b/DH types are very common in HBD, therefore their value is lower than say a future MIF/CF/Cat (these are not as common). The same can be said for pitchers, guys who have the potential to be at the top of a rotation or ‘lights out’ closers are not that common therefore have a higher value.

1 Syracuse Simpletons (AL)

Russell Koehlert LF – Bonus $4.0 Million

This prospect is your typical COF/1B type player and Russell should become a solid MLer if he reaches his potential. The thing being is he really the type of guy who should go 1st overall in this draft? IMO, the answer to that is No. This very well could be a case where the new “fuzziness” of the pre-draft ratings played a part. No doubt he’s a 1st round pick but just not a 1st overall type pick. Still he should become a solid part of Syracuse’s batting lineup in a few seasons.
Value: 7.0

2 Charlotte Princesses (AL)

Ronn Lincoln SP – Bonus $3.9 Million
Here is a potential top of the rotation type pitcher. His potential splits are in a word SCARY. The expected stamina and control are also excellent. Now, his overall pitch quality should be just good for a #1 or #2 guy. Still in the overall analysis, if Charlotte can get this prospect to his potential ratings…Ronn could contend for some Cy Young awards in the future. Ronn was without a doubt in the running for the Pick of the Draft this season but got beat out (but not by much!).
Value 9.5

3 Philadelphia Phantoms (NL)

Travis Stein SS – Bonus $3.8 Million
With the 3rd pick the Phantoms take the best overall SS available in this draft. While there are several with better defensive ratings, they don’t have his potential at the plate. Travis should hit for a decent average, hit his share of long balls and even steal a few bases. At that to his decent defensive potential… you’ve got a SS that I think any owner would want on is team
Value 9.0

4 Boston Bambinos (AL)

Roy Walker SP – Bonus 3.7 Million
The Bambinos take a hard throwing left handed Starting Pitcher prospect in their spot. Overall there is only one slight downfall with this prospect; his potential stamina looks a little low for a starter. While that might stop him from pitching a lot of complete games; his solid splits with excellent control and pitch quality mean he’ll give his team a chance to win most of the time he takes the mound. Roy should become a solid top of the rotation guy if Boston can get him to his potential
Rating 9.0

5 Vancouver Golden Otters (NL)

O.T. Wagner 3B – Bonus $3.6 Million
You don’t often see a 3rd baseman taken this early in a draft. Mr Wagner’s potential definitely makes him worth taking this early. His potential Durability and Health push up his overall potential rating. That being said, it doesn’t mean his glove and bat aren’t worth being taken 5th overall (cause they are). O.T. should become a main stay at the hot corner for the Otters at the ML level in a few seasons. The only knock on his potential is his RH Split being just OK; still when you look at him as an overall package…there is a lot of potential in this prospect.
Value 8.5

6 Washington D.C. Blue Coats (NL)

Adrian Shipley SP – Bonus $3.5 Million
Another starting pitcher prospect taken in the 6th spot by the Blue Coats. Where in the rotation he’ll be, I’m not sure. His potential splits and control are all great, but his pitch quality takes a sharp down turn after #2 and his stamina is marginal for a starter. So time will tell where in the rotation he’ll end up but he’ll be a reasonably effect ML starter if he meets his potential.
Value 8.5

7 Buffalo Blue Cheese (AL)

Darwin Zerbe 2B – Not signed (Asking 8.5 Million)
If Darwin wishes to sign and IF Buffalo has the money… Darwin has the potential to be a pretty darn got ML 2b. The thing is, those are 2 big IFS!!! Going after a guy with this signability, is always a gamble. Even if they do wish to sign, their asking price is always high. In order to get a compensation pick next season if he doesn’t, you have to at least meet his asking price!! So, the final question..IF he wishes to sign, is he worth 8.5 million?? IMO, NO; his potential is no doubt very good but there were other 2b available just as good (if not better) at a lower price
Value (if signed) 7.0

8 Norfolk Destroyers (NL)

John Wilson SP – Bonus 4.6 Million
I was really happy to get my #1 ranked guy. I see him definitely a possible Ace of staff in the future. The only weakness is his potential LH split. But his RH split, Control and pitch quality potential ratings are all great. So his weakness versus lefties shouldn’t be a major problem. Now comes the job of getting him to these potential ratings.
Value 9.5

9 New York new york (AL)

Pedro Morales 1b/RF – Bonus 3.2 Million
Another COF/1B type taken early in the 1st round. Firstly, the owner has this guy presently on the inactive list??!! Not a good way to develop a prospect! Anyway, other than this guy’s fantastic potential batting eye & RH ratings and his potential defensive abilities that are above average for this type of player, there is nothing really remarkable about his potential. Again, I feel this is definitely a 1st round quality pick but not a number 9 pick (late 1st round or in the supplemental picks).
Value 6.5

10 Austin City Limits (NL)

Clayton Olson 1B – Bonus 3.1 Million
Normally I’d question an NL team taking a 1b/DH type player this early in the first round. Clayton however does make for a case for doing so! His potential contact and power ratings are a unique combination, though the rest of the batting ratings have potentials of just being okay. Still, this prospect could make for solid bat in the heart of Austin’s batting order in a few seasons. This would be an interesting pick to watch and see if he makes it worth pick
Value 7.5

11 New Orleans Voodoo (NL)

Boomer Nelson CL – Bonus 3.0 Million
What a great name for ML closer!! Well Boomer does have the potential to be just that. Great splits, solid pitch quality and excellent control (he throws pretty hard too) are all things you want in a pitcher. His stamina should definitely be that of a closer but his endurance comes up short. Still if the Voodoo can get this guy to these potential ratings, I feel they will be happy with this prospect.
Value 8.5

12 Boise Shadow Wolves (AL)

Malachi Clifton SP – Bonus 5.1 Million
With the 12th pick the ‘Dark Hounds’ take a pitcher who should be a decent starting pitcher but not a great one. While Mr. Clifton has most of what you’d want in an ace starter, his potential splits are just OK. This tends to mean inconsistency at the ML level. Though he should make for a good bottom of the rotation guy, if he reaches his potential ratings. The biggest question with this pick..price. Is a bottom of the rotation guy worth the 5 million bonus….
Value 7.0

13 Toronto Toros (NL)

Ricky Carpenter RF – Bonus 5.7 Million
Mr Carpenter is the most expensive prospect signed so far. When you look at his potential ratings he might very be worth it (maybe). His potential speed and baserunning ability make him a future base thief but his contact rating is marginal for a lead off type guy. Though his potential power rating, RH split and batting eye may make up for that. The other thing Ricky brings to the table is his above average defensive potential for the RF position. So as an overall package, Ricky may well turn out to be worth his asking price
Value 8.0

14 Oklahoma City Obese Supermodels (AL)

Erick Daniels 2B – Not Signed (asking 4.2 Million)
Compared to the other unsigned second baseman (Mr Zerbe), Erick has much better overall potential and is half the price! I would say management in Oklahoma City is hopeful they can sign this prospect. Erick would make for a fine addition to their ML roster in a few seasons. Solid offensive and defensive potential in this pick, I’m surprised he slipped to this spot, he was rated #2 on my list.
Value 9.0 (if signed)


15 San Juan Dead Bunnies (NL)

Russ Glanville C – Bonus 2.7 Million
Sure Russ’s potential pitch calling rating is marginal at best. Though is arm is definitely better than you’d expect from a guy who brings these kind of potential hitting ratings. These hitting ratings again the word scary comes to mind. Most catchers are weak vs RH, Russ isn’t weak against ANY pitcher. His potential power ratings as well as contact and batting eye, make for an overall hitter with a fantastic future in this league. If this wasn’t enough, his durability is also well above you’d expect for catcher. Put this all together with a relatively small price tag…. As side note, Russ was ranked 2nd on my list, I'm surprised he fell to the 15th spot
Value 10.00

16 Trenton Traffic (NL)

Mariano Martis SS – Not Signed (asking 6.5 Million)
Another one of these guy who are questionable to sign and asking a fair price. Mariano’s defensive potential is without a doubt gold glove material. While his overall hitting potential is just okay (his batting eye is definitely a concern). Still a guy with kind of potential in the field, a slightly weak bat is something you can overlook. Though, is all this worth the his asking price???
Value 7.0 (if signed)

17 Anaheim Chiles (AL)

Mike Lowry SP – Bonus 4.3 Million
Mike’s bonus is pretty high when you consider when not taken in the top ten of the first round. But looking at this guy’s potential…I’m sure the Chiles consider it a bargain!!! Mr Lowry has the potential to be an Ace of the staff. The only major sticking point… his health rating!!! It’s marginal and usually pitchers with a rating under 60, will get injured. Anaheim can hope he doesn’t and if he does it ain’t serious. It be a shame to see a guy with this potential lose it due to injuries.
Value 9.0

18 Scranton Janitors (AL)

Don Gibbons SS – Not Signed (asking 2.4 Million)
My scout didn’t see this prospect, so no way for me review this guy
Value ??????????????

19 Salt Lake City Shakers (NL)

Cy Brand CF – Bonus 4.9 Million
Cy is the most expensive of the first rounders signed this season. The thing is, is he worth the price?? From a fielding standpoint, I’d say yes. Cy has gold glove potential in the CF position. From a hitting point of view, that’s questionable. His splits are marginal for the ML level but his contact might make up for that and he’ll have decent speed on bases. He’ll make a fine additional to the Shaker lineup if he reaches his potential but I’d suspect he’ll at bottom half of the batting order
Value 7.5

20 Cheyenne Nation (NL)

Russell Walls P – Unsigned (asking 2.4 Million)
Another one my scouts didn’t find, so no review possible.
Value ????

21 Salem Sacrifices (NL)

Jimmie Lincoln RF/1B – Bonus 2.1 Million
Overall Jimmie is better than average for this class of player. Really solid potential splits and decent power. As I said a pretty decent prospect, with only knock against him is his slight marginal potential stamina. Still, if he reaches his potential Jimmie should put up some decent numbers at the plate in the majors
Value 8.0

22 Jackson Vipers (AL)

Matthew Damon CF – Not Signed (asking 7.0 Million)
Matthew is one of those very risky guys to draft. Most likely will not sign and even if he decides he want so sign, it will not be cheap! When I look at Matthew’s potential, I don’t he’s worth his asking price. Sure IF he signs and IF he reached those ratings he’d be a pretty decent MLer….but not worth 7.0 mill.
Value 6.0 (if signed)

23 Louisville Legends (AL)

Steven Sweeney SP – Not Signed (asking 8.5 Million)
Another one of those high risk draftees. And again he asking a for a lot. Also, like Jackson’s pick, I feel he comes up a little short on being worth his asking price. BUT not by as much as Matthew. Steven does have the potential to be a #2 or #3 starter (doesn’t have the splits for the #1 spot). The thing is, is his price a fair one for that??
Value 6.5 (if signed)

24 Seattle Killer Whalers (AL)

Vladimir Brown RP – Not Signed (asking 1.9 Million)
Apparently Seattle doesn’t have the 1.9 or the owner doesn’t feel Vlad is worth that much. If it’s the latter, I can’t I totally agree. No Vlad isn’t closer material (splits too low and pitch quality is marginal for the closer spot); still he’d make for a solid set up guy in my opinion. I think that he is worth his asking price. The real question though, is a set up guy the kind of player you want to take in the 1st round of the draft? I don’t think so
Value 5.5 (if signed)


25 Monterrey Sultans (AL)

Vic Sirotka RP – Bonus 1.8 Million
Vic is an unusual prospect, to say the least. His overall rating (potential) is the lowest I’ve seen on a 1st round pick. But that’s not to say he’s not ML material, because he is. His pitching ratings all say potential closer (Great Splits, Great Pitch Quality, Ok Control …); the one thing that keep from a full time closer role is his durability!! His stamina is that of a set-up/closer type pitcher but has the durability of 4 man rotation starter. He is not the kind of guy you can throw out there in consecutive days! Something you need your closer to do from time to time. Vic will only be able to pitch 1 inning every third days or so… This leaves me wondering what his true value really is. Sure when he pitches he should be a dominate pitcher but we’re talking a set up guy at best. Also, his overall health is suspect to boot……. Possible Injury prone set up guy for a first round pick?
Value 5.5

26 St. Louis Silly Nannies (AL)

Richard Hatteburg SS – Bonus 1.7 Million
With their pick in the first round, the Silly Nannies take a defensive specialist Shortstop. His potential hitting ratings are just ok, in an overall sense. While he should have a great batting eye, but for a great with just average power his contact rating is really low. I’ve found guys with low contact ratings to be inconsistent at dish over the years. One season guy hits 20 Hrs with a batting average over .280; next not even 10 HRs and struggling to get his BA over the ‘Mendoza Line’. That being said, his defensive ability could more than make up for his marginal hitting. Here is a potential gold glove candidate.
Value 7.5

27 Monterrey Sultans (AL)

Steve Buehrle RP – Bonus 1.6 Million
With their 2nd pick in the first round the Sultans take another short relief guy. Now Steve at least has the durability of a setup/closer type guy and he should have better than average stamina for that role as well. While he’ll have great control and solid splits; his pitch quality is suspect…. While think this is a better pick that their previous one, it’s not be a lot. Will he be effective at the ML level? I have serious doubts
Value 6.5

28 Houston Riverdogs (NL)

Gary Weems RP – Bonus 1.5 Million
Now here is what I’d expect from a short relief guy taken this early in the draft (for the most part anyway). Gary has great potential in all ratings except one… durability. He comes up a little short there (under 50). While this is a definite knock against him, the rest of his potential I feel makes up for it. While that lack durability may keep Gary from the closer role, he should make for fine set up guy at the ML level in a few seasons.
Value 7.5
29 Chicago Snake Tamers (NL)

Gene Terry SS – Not Signed (Asking 1.3 Million)
My scouts did see enough Gene to give me his rating etc. So a review is not possible
Value ?????

30 Fargo Dirtbags (NL)

Furio Diggins SP – Bonus 1.3 Million
Without a doubt one of the more interesting names in this draft. Furio is definitely a project for Fargo. But if they can get him to his potential, they should a decent ML pitcher in a few seasons. Now I not exactly sure Furio is starter material his pitch quality just doesn’t seem to be there. Still his velocity, splits and controls should make him reasonably effective coming out of the bullpen for the Dirtbags.
Value 7.0

31 Milwaukee Manic Maulers (AL)
Brian Williams 2B – Bonus 1.2 Million
For this late in the first round, this is a pretty good pick. While Brian will not be a superstar at the ML level, he will be an effective player for the Maulers. I think his potential defensive ratings come up a little short for a ML 2b (arm); still should be a good COF. His offensive rating are all okay, except for his power. The only downfall with this prospect is his durability. As I mentioned for a pick at this point in the draft, I’d say Milwaukee’s scouts did a good job
Value 8.0

32 Atlanta Bandits (NL)
Chet Seaton SP – Bonus 1.1 Million
With the last pick in the 1st round (before supplemental picks) the Bandits take looks to be pretty much a clone of the Fargo pick a couple picks ago. Some of Chet’s potential ratings are that of a solid starting pitcher, great control, solid splits, great velocity and he’ll be a groundball pitcher. Like Furio above, his pitch quality comes short and his health is a little marginal. Overall, this is a bullpen guy. I mentioned above ‘reasonably effective’, I’ve found pitchers with this kind of pitch quality to be inconsistent, some appearances dominant and others… they get shelled.
Value 7.0

As a final point regarding the 8 picks not signed in the first round this year. Remember if you don’t at least offer him his demands, you don’t get a Type D compensation pick next season!!!!

Last Day of the Season

We're down to one game left and there's only one race left.


The 4 division winners and their seeds have been decided. Salt Lake City will be the top seed in the NL, followed by Fargo; they will have the byes. The two first round series will be divisional rivalries, as New Orleans beat out Austin for the last wild card spot- they'll face #3 Houston to start. #4 Atlanta and #5 Trenton have been on a collision course for almost the entire second half of the season- they'll open the first round in Atlanta.


The four divisions are settled and seeded, as in the National League. Seattle jumped out on everybody and won home field for the AL playoffs. Jackson wrapped up a first round bye- they'll be #2. St. Louis held off a charge from Milwaukee to win the division and held off Louisville for the #3 seed- Louisville will be fourth. St. Louis and Louisville are still awaiting their first round matchups, as Oklahoma City and Monterrey are tied for the #5 spot. An Oklahoma City win or a Monterrey loss gives Oklahoma City the #5 spot and a date with Louisville in the first round and sends Monterrey to St. Louis to play the Silly Nannies; an OKC loss and a Monterrey win has Louisville hosting Monterrey and OKC will go to St. Louis.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Results of the key series

Coming down the stretch, we had 4 series to determine playoff spots. Here's what happened:


New Orleans took 2 out of 3 from Austin, taking a 2 game lead in the process. But their work is not done yet. They'll need a combination of 2 wins over Houston and losses by Austin over San Juan to take the last wild card spot. If they end up tied, Austin would go to its first ever postseason.


St. Louis took 2 out of 3 to all but wrap up the division and keep Milwaukee out of the playoffs for the first time. The only thing that can save Milwaukee now is a sweep of Buffalo coupled with a Syracuse sweep of St. Louis.


Louisville needed only one win going into the series to mathematically clinch their 7th straight AL East title and got it in the first game of the series. They ended up taking two out of 3 to end the relevant portion of New York's season.


The hometown Sultans took 2 out of 3 to grab a tenuous lead in the race for the #5 spot. OKC holds the tiebreaker, so there's no cushion for Monterrey. During their 3 game set, Helena lost 3 straight to assure both teams of a wild card spot.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Playoff races enhanced by head-to-head matchups

There are 5 playoff races that will be decided in large part by head-to-head matchups that are upcoming in the last 2 series of the season. This makes for great baseball, as we'll decide important races on the field. Here's what to look for:

Next-to-last series:


What's on the line: New Orleans and Austin are battling for the last wild card spot in the NL. The Voodoo have used a 4 game winning streak to move past the City Limits, but the City Limits will get to host this series.

Importance: 5/5. The winner of this race gets into the playoffs. The loser can start planning for next season.

Who needs to do what: If the City Limits trail coming into this series, they will need to win 2 out of 3. If it's tied, they'll be in good shape even if they can win one. One win for Austin nets them the tiebreaker and New Orleans has to play Houston to close the season, while Austin can get wins off division doormat San Juan.

ST. LOUIS at MILWAUKEE (3 games)

What's at stake: The AL North crown. As in the above series, the loser is going to sit out the postseason.

Importance: 4.5/5. Only reason it's not 5/5 is because even if Milwaukee sweeps it may not be enough. Milwaukee's string of 6 straight division titles and 4 straight AL championships being in jeopardy does add a little extra to it.

Who needs to do what: Milwaukee needs at least 2 out of 3, likely a sweep. Either one of those would give Milwaukee the tiebreaker. If they trail, the Manic Maulers would need help from Syracuse to be able to catch St. Louis.


What's at stake: The AL East crown. Loser is definitely out.

Importance: 1/5. It's likely not going to matter.

Who needs to do what: New York needs a sweep- nothing less will do. Even then it might not be enough. They're too far back to be able to catch Louisville taking 2 out of 3.


What's at stake: Likely only the 5 slot versus the 6 slot.

Importance: 2/5. The loser may be better off, as there doesn't seem to be much difference between St. Louis and Louisville this season, and the team in the 6 slot would avoid a 2nd round date with Seattle should they win.

Who needs what: Assuming they want the 5 seed, Monterrey would likely need 2 out of 3. Even so, one OKC win would give the Obese Supermodels the tiebreaker. 2 OKC wins would almost assure them the 5 slot.

Final series


What's at stake: The NL East division crown. The loser will be in the playoffs as the 5 seed.

Importance: 2/5. These two teams are almost guaranteed to play each other in the first round no matter which way this goes. This is more likely a tune-up, although a division title is always nice.

Who needs what: Will clearly be dictated by the standings coming into the games, as it's the last series. You'd have to think that 2 out of 3 for Atlanta (which would give them the tiebreaker) should be enough by that point, but it remains to be seen.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Ten games to play...

Here's the playoff picture with ten games left to play. If the winner of a tiebreaker has already been determined it has been factored into the magic number calculation.


Salt Lake City:
Clinched NL West
Magic number for bye: 4
Magic number for top seed: 9

Clinched NL North
Magic number for 2nd seed: 6

Clinched NL South
Magic number for 3rd seed: 8

Magic number to clinch NL East: 7

Magic number to clinch 5th seed: 5
Magic number to clinch playoff spot: 3

Magic number to clinch playoff spot: 9

Also alive: New Orleans (5,6), Cheyenne (6), Washington (6)
Eliminated from contention: Salem, Vancouver, Toronto, Chicago, Norfolk, Philadelphia, San Juan.


Clinched AL West
Clinched 1st round bye
Magic number to clinch #1 seed: 1

Clinched playoff spot
Magic number to clinch AL South and #2 seed: 5

St. Louis:
Magic number to clinch AL North: 7

Magic number to clinch AL East: 7

Oklahoma City:
Magic number to clinch #5 spot: 9
Magic number to clinch playoff spot: 4

Magic number to clinch playoff spot: 5

Also alive: Helena (5, 6), Milwaukee (3, 4, 5, 6), New York (3, 4), Anaheim (6)
Eliminated from contention: Boise, Buffalo, Scranton, Boston, Syracuse, Charlotte

Note: Although Anaheim and Boise have the same record, Anaheim holds the tiebreaker over 6th place Monterrey, whereas Boise does not. Therefore, Anaheim remains alive (one loss or one Monterrey wins eliminates them), while Boise is already out.

Friday, October 9, 2009

With Lucky 13 To Go

With 13 games to go the playoff teams are starting to take shape.

NL North
Fargo secured the division long ago and will be either the #1 or #2 seed. The rest of the North failed to show up this season. This will be Fargo's sixth straight crown.

NL East
Atlanta and Trenton are fighting over the division and may go down to the wire before the champ is crowned. Either way both have seemingly secured a playoff spot. Could this be Atlanta's 4th straight crown and 5th overall or will Trenton claim its second or its fifth straight second place finish?

NL South
Houston has secured the division crown once again and probably the #3 seed as runnerups Austin and New Orleans are duking it out to determine second place and the #6 seed. This is Houston's seventh straight crown.

NL West
Salt Lake City has laid claim to the division this season and will either be the #1 or #2 seed as their once mighty compatriots have fallen on rough times this year. Cheyenne was hoping to claim the #6 seed but after losing 10 in a row chances look pretty dim. This is the second crown for Salt Lake City.

The AL is something to behold this year as only one team has captured a seed for the playoffs and the wild cards will probably have better records than than two of the top four seeds.

AL North
St. Louis leads an unusually dismal pack with Milwaukee being 5 games back, a winner has yet to be declared. It could be St. Louis' first crown as Milwaukee has won the previous six.

AL East
Louisville has won 7 in a row and can claim the lead by 2 games in this usually quiet division. Let's not count New York out quite yet as things could turn quickly. Can Louisville claim its seventh straight title?

AL South
Jackson holds the lead here but Oklahoma City and Monterrey are still biting at their heels and all three are playoff bound. Can Jackson claim its first crown?

Al West
Seattle secured the division and #1 seed long ago. Congrats to Seattle on it first ever title and second straight playoff appearance.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

30 games to go in the chase for the playoffs

We're coming down to the end of the season, with 30 games to go. Some races seem to be comfortably in hand, while some things are yet to be decided.


What we know (barring epic collapse):

-5 of the 6 playoff teams. The leaders in the NL North (Fargo), South (Houston), and West (Salt Lake City) all lead by at least 15 games. Fargo's magic number is 6, which is mind-blowing with a full 30 games to play. Atlanta and Trenton both appear to be playoff bound out of the east, as 2nd place Trenton is 10 games up on all other wild-card contenders.

What we don't know:

- The last team into the playoffs. New Orleans, Austin, and Cheyenne are all tied at 66-66, while Washington is 3 games back at 63-69 and Salem is just 4 back at 62-70.

- The NL East champs. World Champion Atlanta and Trenton have been playing musical chairs with the division lead for a week or two now. The division could end up coming down to games 160 through 162, a three game set between these two in Trenton.

- The #1, 2, and 3 seeds. This becomes important when it comes to potential playoff matchups, home-field advantage, and having to play (or not having to play) in the 1st round. Right now, Fargo leads the way with 84 wins, but Salt Lake City is right behind at 83 and Houston currently has 81 wins, so all three spots are up for grabs. Atlanta or Trenton (77 and 76 wins, respectively) would have to get very hot in order to grab one of the top spots.


What we know (barring epic collapse):

- The AL West champions. Seattle has a 19 game lead on Helena, giving them a magic number of 12 to wrap up the division. They have a 7 game lead on Jackson for the #1 overall seed in the AL, so it looks like the Killer Whales won't have to play a game 7 on the road until the World Series (if even that).

- Jackson will be in the playoffs for the 3rd straight season. They're number 2 in the AL right now at 79- 53, leading the AL South by 5 games over Oklahoma City. Even if for some reason they can't close the deal, they're 12 games ahead of the group tied for the last wild card spot, so they should be in the playoffs in some capacity.

- The AL East is only sending one team to the playoffs. The division leader is 2 games above .500. Enough said.

What seems likely:

-Oklahoma City's 2nd ever playoff appearance, coupled with their best season ever. If they were in the AL East, they'd have a healthy 7 game lead- unfortunately, they play in the same division as Jackson. As it is, they hold the #5 spot- all other teams that don't have a division lead are at least 7 games back, so they're fairly comfortable right now.

What we don't know:

- The AL East and AL North champions. New York leads the East with an underwhelming 67-65 record, leaving everyone else in the race. Boston and Louisville are 5 back, and Scranton trails by 11. The North appears to be a 2-team race, with St. Louis having a leg up at 71-61, and 4-time AL champion Milwaukee 4 back.

- The last playoff entry. This looks alot like the NL, with 3 teams tied for the #6 seed with mediocre records (this time 67-65), with two more teams lurking, one being 3 games back and one being four games back. This time, the three teams tied for the 6 seed are some brand names- Monterrey, Helena, and Milwaukee. Anaheim sits 3 back and Boise is the team that is 4 back.