Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Season 9 in Tweets

Long-time readers know this column well. 1 season. 32 teams. 140 characters or less.


Atlanta: Smooth sailing for 162 games. Then ran in a tidal wave named Austin.

Austin: The season is often compared to a horse race. This year we were Secretariat at the '73 Belmont. Champs!

Fargo: Reclaimed the top of the NL North. Great. Now let's resign Javy.

Huntington: 91 last season didn't get us in? OK, let's win 3 more. All we do is win 90.

Kansas City: First time above .500 in 6 seasons. Is this the start of the turnaround?

Los Angeles: Maybe Cheyenne wasn't the problem.

New Orleans: In the same division with always-good Huntington and the champs. Yikes.

Norfolk: 3rd straight season in the cellar. Lost 100 for the first time. Not a good season in South VA.

Philadelphia: Finished 18 back in 3rd place. Won the division last season with the same record. How things change...

Pittsburgh: Not even the River Rescue team could have saved this disaster.

Salem: First ever last-place finish. Rebuilding continues.

Salt Lake City: Offense still borderline illegal, pitching was subpar. Can Ruben get on an MVP ballot someday?

San Juan: First 13 season-ticket buyers for next season get to pitch.

Trenton: One... more... stinking... win... 92 not enough?!?

Vancouver: Set the franchise record for wins and made the playoffs. Surprise team of the year.

Washington: Carter and Willis sophomore jinxed us out of contention.


Anaheim: Last three season win totals: 79, 80, 79. Nothing if not consistent.

Boston: Usually not a good sign when a reliever leads in wins. Slugged our way to .500.

Boise: Last place team that with a little pitching would be scary.

Buffalo: Got some big-time pieces. Puzzle not near complete, though.

Charlotte: Call us the weekend duffer: finally shot under 100 (losses, that is)

Cincinnati: The ingredients are in, and it's starting to rise. Not sure what it looks like when it leaves the oven.

Jackson: Rode Almanza's Cy Young season and the offense back to the playoffs.

Las Vegas: Return to the desert brought back something better than memories: another division title.

Louisville: Finally broke through to win the AL. Primed for another run.

Milwaukee: They say the darkest hour is just before dawn. Sun seems a ways off...

Monterrey: Good to be back atop the AL South. Maybe the window isn't closed yet...

Montgomery: How do you have 20 pitchers and none win 10? How does no one win 10 and you finish above .500?

New York: Fewest runs in the AL again. Is Yankee Stadium now a pitcher's park?

St. Louis: In cruise control all season until Game 3 of the ALCS. Then the wheels fell off.

Scranton: Turner Dolan finally has some help on offense. Now if only he could pitch...

Seattle: No 1st round bye meant bye-bye early in the playoffs.

One Voter's Ballot

In a previous post, our commish gave a rundown of the end of the year awards. Here's what my ballot looked like and why:



Winner: Calvin Chang, Fargo, 3B
My pick: Chang

Close vote- I thought he and Vic James had similar numbers. James stole 14 bases, while Chang is not fast at all. But Chang's OBP (.465) and his assault on the walk record are just too hard to ignore.

Cy Young

Winner: Javier Henriquez, Fargo
My pick: Henriquez

Sammy Pierce's 22 wins made him a serious contender, and Austin's Dan Bernard almost the same double that Carter Leonard did last season (winning ROY and Cy Young in the same season), but Henriquez led the league in ERA, WHIP, and strikeouts. So according to the stats that are the most independent of the team's performance, Javy is the best pitcher.

Rookie of the Year

Winner: Dan Bernard, Austin, SP
My pick: Bernard

Going 19-8 with a 2.07 ERA is a good way to earn rookie of the year honors. Fairly easy call in my opinion.



Winner: A.J. Leonard, Buffalo, LF
My pick: Leonard

Another easy call, as Leonard got 26 of the 32 first-place votes. This season launches him into the discussion of best player in the game.

Cy Young

Winner: Fausto Almanza, Jackson
My pick: Almanza

And here's where the controversy was. Las Vegas closer Coco Hines had maybe the best season for a reliever in the history of the league, saving 59 of 61 games with a 1.70 ERA. He and Almanza combined for 31 of the 32 votes (Almanza got 20, Hines 11). So the question became this: should a closer win the Cy Young Award? Opinions came out on both sides: some people would never vote for a closer under any circumstances, and some people would vote for one (at least 11 in this league alone). My take is this: I would vote for a closer if I felt that there were no starters who had seasons that were comparable to the closer's season. The closer would have to definitively be the best pitcher in the league that season. On the surface, I felt it was a close call between Almanza and Hines. So in that case, I'm going to go with the guy who pitched 200 innings over the guy who pitched 60.

Rookie of the Year

Winner: Mitch Sobkowiak, Montgomery, 3B
My pick: Sobkowiak

Wow- 6 for 6! Actually, I touted Sobkowiak for ROY before he was even eligible for the award. If you look at my fantasy draft posts, you'll see what I think of the guy. Although I think at age 22, .299-43-113 pretty much speaks for itself.

World Series Season 9

The Fall Classic recap for Season 9:

#1 Louisville Legends vs. #1 Austin City Limits

This was a matchup of the two best teams all season, with both making their first World Series appearance. Austin was trying to make it 5 straight wins for the NL (and 7 out of 9 overall) while Louisville was attempting to shed the label of "Best Franchise Never to Have Won a Title".

The series started with a great game in front of a raucous Austin crowd. Austin drew first blood in the very first inning on a Jimmie Williams 2-run homer off Danny Little. But Louisville tied it right back up in the second off a Stubby Byrne RBI double and a 2-out infield hit by Little to drive Byrne home. The two teams traded runs until the 8th, when Austin loaded the bases with no one out. Louisville got out of the jam with only one run (a Sam Brumfield double play brought the only run in), but that was the deciding run of the game as Austin took Game 1 by a score of 4-3.

Game 2 saw Austin jump on starter Lance Stevens and hold on to win the game. A 2-run homer by Brumfield and a 3 RBI double by Justin Gordon highlighted the first 3 innings, as Stevens left after 2 1/3 innings trailing 7-1. But Louisville almost came all the way back, as an Amp Palmer RBI double followed by a Dewey Greenwoody 2-run shot closed Louisville to within 7-4. But they couldn't come all the way back, falling 8-6.

Game 3 in Louisville featured a much-needed pitching performance for the home team and a strange play. Hipolito Maradona pitched 6 innings, limiting the Austin offense to 1 run and although he didn't get the win, he kept his team around even as the offense struggled. Eventually they scratched out 4 runs, 2 of them coming on an inside-the-park homer by Stubby Byrne that Gordon just couldn't seem to corral as it rolled around the rightfield corner. Louisville closed the series lead to 2-1.

Game 4 was a good old-fashioned beating. Danny Little never got out of the second, surrendering 8 runs while getting only 5 outs. All 8 runs came in the second, an inning in which Austin 1B David Cortez homered twice and drove in 4. They pounded the bullpen as well, adding 5 runs in the 4th. Louisville never had a chance as they lost the game 17-1 to fall behind 3 games to 1.

Game 5 illustrates that some losses are worth more than one game. Part of it was the pitching of Miguel Castilla, but most Louisville fans will tell you the Game 4 loss was a soul-crushing loss and showed up in game 5. The Legends managed only 6 hits off Castilla in 8 innings, and Cortez again provided the offense, driving in 3 on a first inning sacrifice fly and a 2 RBI single in the 5th. Austin took the game 5-0 and the series 4 games to 1.

Congratulations to the new World Series champs Austin City Limits and to the Louisville Legends for a great season.

League Championship Series

Four very good teams were left to fight for the title at the start of the LCS. Here's a look back at what happened in each:


The NLCS pitted the #2 Atlanta Bandits against the #1 Austin City Limits. Games 1, 2, and 3 saw a rarity for Atlanta fans- they found their team outgunned on the mound. Atlanta yielded only 10 runs in the first three games but scored a mere three to fall behind 3 games to 0. Atlanta pulled out game 4 but lost game 5 in the 10th on a Mariano Terrero home run. Austin took the series 4 games to 1 to advance to the World Series.


In the ALCS, #3 St. Louis jumped on #1 Louisville early in Kentucky, taking both of the first two games (2-1 and 8-0) to take a two games to none lead back to St. Louis. But a solid performance by Danny Little on the mound for Louisville helped turned the series around, giving the Legends Game 3 7-2. By the time the teams left Busch Stadium, the River City Rage went from being up 2-0 to being down 3-2, scoring only five runs in the three home games. St. Louis tried to force a game 7, leading 4-2 in the eighth inning before a Red Rose grand slam turned the deficit into a 2-run lead and eventually a series clinching victory.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Henriquez reclaims NL Cy Young Award

Almanza bests Hines for AL Cy

Although Javier Henriquez posted his lowest win total since season 4, owners in The Bigs still voted him as the National League's Cy Young Award winner for the fifth time in his career. Henriquez posted a 16-8 record but it was his world-leading 1.84 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 237 strikeouts that earned him Cy Young number five despite stiff competition from Austin rookie Dan Benard, who finished second to Henriquez's 15 votes with 9 of his own. Fargo teammate Sammy Pierce, who led The Bigs in wins with 22, finished third in voting. The award is Henriquez's fourth in the past 5 seasons.

Over in the American League, the debate over who would win the Cy Young Award came down to a starter versus a closer. In the end it was Jackson starter Fausto Almanza who won his first career Cy Young Award, beating Las Vegas' record-setting closer Coco Hines 20 votes to 11. Almanza tied for the AL lead in wins with 20 while posting a 3.19 ERA and notching 183 strikeouts.

The closest of all voting came in the National League MVP Award voting. Just one season after losing the NL MVP to Huntington's Monte Duvall by two votes, Fargo 3B Calvin Chang was named the NL MVP for the first time in his illustrious career. Chang narrowly edged teammate Alex Lim and Salt Lake City's Vic James for the award, making it the second season in a row that James has been out-voted for the award by a slim margin. It's also the first time since season 5 that Duvall has not been named NL MVP.

Chang won over voters by posting a ridiculous .465 OBP to go with his .334 AVG, .561 SLG, 29 home runs and 109 RBI. Before suffering an injury towards the end of the season, Chang was in line to challenge his single season walks record of 143 but fell short after missing about a dozen games. His .465 OBP is the third best single season OBP in Bigs history.

While the NL MVP voting was the closest of all votes, the American League MVP voting was easily the most lopsided of all voting as Buffalo's A.J. Leonard ran away with the award. Leonard, this season's Home Run Derby champion, received 26 of a possible 32 votes to win his first career MVP. Buffalo's star outfielder posted a .295 AVG and a .616 SLG to go with his 55 home runs and 158 RBI, both of which led the American League.

Austin's Benard may have fallen short of winning the NL Cy Young Award but was a landslide winner of the NL Rookie of the Year Award. Benard received 23 of 32 votes to earn the award after his season 9 line of 19 wins, 197 strikeouts, a 2.17 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP. The 22-year-old rookie also threw two complete games.

Over in the American League, it was Montgomery's Mitch Sobkowiak who took home the Rookie of the Year Award. Sobkowiak batted .299 with 43 home runs, 113 RBI and a .968 OPS in 128 games with the Alibamu's major league club this season. Jackson's Neifi James finished second in voting with 9, trailing Sobkowiak's total of 17 votes.

Javier Henriquez
Age: 29B/T: L/L
Born: San Francisco De Macoris, DO
Position(s): P (SP2)
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Minors

Time for the minor league teams to garner a little recognition.

The Washington D.C. Blue Coats downed the stubborn St. Louis River City RAGE 4 games to 3.

The Las Vegas Sand Cats found pitching to be the key as they drop the Austin City Limits 4 games to 3.

The Milwaukee Manic Maulers showed some future potential as they downed the New Orleans Voodoo 4 games to 2.

The Philadelphia Phantoms showed no mercy beating the New York Knickerbockers 4 games to 0.

The Las Vegas Sand Cats downed the Salem Sacrifices 4 games to 3 in maybe the most exciting series.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

2nd Round Recap

Before we get into the 2nd round recap, let it be known that my sources have said the Trenton front office was disappointed to hear about the Pierce re-signing, as he would have been at or near the top of their free-agent shopping list for season 10.

With that out of the way, the LCS matchups have been set. Here's a recap of Round 2:

National League

The #1 seeded Austin City Limits have taken out the defending champion #4 Salt Lake City Shakers in 4 games to move on to the NLCS. Salt Lake City took game 1 in Austin, but a Keith Buckley 10th innings homer in game 2 gave Austin a split. Austin won games 3 and 4 behind strong starting pitching performances (Miguel Castilla in Game 3 and Vladimir Bibby in Game 4 combined to give up 2 runs in 15 innings) to take the series 3 games to 1.

Their opponent in the NLCS will be the #2 Atlanta Bandits out of the NL East. Atlanta took down an always tough Fargo team. Sammy Pierce outdueled Kazuhiro Whang in Game 1 to stake the Dirtbags to a 1-0 lead, but Atlanta took the next 3, holding the Dirtbags to a total of 5 runs. After Javier Henriquez was a hard luck loser in game 2 and the bullpen wasted a good start by Orber Marin in game 3, Fargo seemed to be completely disheartened in game 4 and was blown out 11-2.

American League

#1 Louisville seems determined to shake the "Best team never to have won a title" moniker; their quest continues after knocking off the 2-time AL champion #5 Seattle Killer Whales. The turning point may have come in Game 1, as Seattle closer Quilvio Sanchez was brought in the 8th inning to get Marty Lane out of a 2-out jam, but Albert Martin and Orlando Franco both singled, Franco's single driving in 2 to turn a 5-4 deficit into a 6-5 lead that Buddy Titan didn't blow. That moment loomed larger after Seattle's well-earned Game 2 victory; Louisville could have been down 0-2. After Seattle was held to 2 runs on a combined 6 hits in games 3 and 4 (Lance Stevens and Hipolito Maradona were dominant), Louisville marched on to the ALCS for the first time in 5 seasons with a 3-1 series victory.

#2 Monterrey and #3 St. Louis was the only series to go the distance, and it came with many twists and turns. St. Louis appeared to be cruising to a Game 1 victory, as they were up 7-4 in the 8th innings before Monterrey struck for 5 runs, highlighted by a Nate Cox 3-run homer, to win 9-7. In game 2, Monterrey had a one run lead in the 8th before St. Louis turned the tables with 2 runs to win 6-5 and split in Monterrey. After Monterrey won Game 3 with little drama, they had a chance to close out Game 4 and the series, but Wilton Cornelius and Tony Corey had 2-out singles to win and go back to Monterrey. In Game 5, Monterrey scored the first 2 runs, but St. Louis scored the last 7 to win the series. They will move on to face Louisville in the ALCS.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Pierce signs extension with Fargo

2-time Cy Young winner re-signs for $33 million

Shortly after the Fargo Dirtbags were eliminated from the playoffs by the Atlanta Bandits, Fargo executives announced that they and starting pitcher Sammy Pierce had reached an agreement on a four year contract extension worth $33 million. Pierce, a 2-time NL Cy Young Award winner and an All-Star in season 9 for the sixth time in his career, went 22-9 this season for the Dirtbags with a 3.18 ERA and 216 strikeouts. The final year of the contract contains a mutual option worth $7.75 million for season 13.

Sammy Pierce
Age: 31B/T: L/L
Born: Jackson, CA
Position(s): P (SP1)
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Season 9 1st Round Recap

Round 1 is in the books. Here's a glance at what happened:

National League

In the 4-5 matchup, #5 Huntington was able to split the first two games at #4 Salt Lake City, but the Shakers went to Huntington and won both matchups by one run to take the series 3-1. The series turned on timely hitting and an untimely injury. In game 3, Che Bong drove in Ruben Hernandez in the 9th to snap a 3-3 tie and give SLC a 4-3 win, and in game 4 Huntington ace Lonny Gates had to leave in the 2nd due to injury (he should be OK for training camp). Next up for Salt Lake City: #1 Austin.

On the other side of the bracket, #3 Fargo disposed of #6 Vancouver with little trouble. Juan Flores drove in 5 runs in the 3 game sweep, as Fargo outscored the Golden Otters 23-9. Next up for Fargo: #2 Atlanta.

American League

In the AL, #5 Seattle got past division rival #4 Las Vegas for the second straight season (last season they met in the ALCS), winning 3 games to 1. After dropping game 1, the Killer Whales won 3 straight 1 run games, one of them (game 3) on a Denny Moss RBI double in the 11th inning. Next up for Seattle: #1 Louisville.

In the other AL matchup, #3 St. Louis relied on its pitching to get by #6 Jackson 3 games to 1. After winning a wild 7-6 11 inning affair in game 1, the River City Rage held the Vipers to 4 runs for the rest of the series, including a total of 2 in the two games at Jackson (both of which were Rage wins). Next up for St. Louis: #2 Monterrey.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Coco obliterates single season saves record

Hines bests previous mark by seven

Las Vegas narrowly edged Seattle this season for the division title and you wouldn't exactly be going out on a limb if you were to say the team couldn't have done it without their closer, Coco Hines. Hines was so dominant this season out of the pen for the Sand Cats that he broke the record for saves in one season. Hines saved 59 of 61 games in 71 appearances this season all while posting a 1.70 ERA. The previous record for saves in a season was 52, held by Dude Huskey who set the mark in season 2 with the Memphis (now Austin) franchise. The 1.70 ERA on the season for Hines beats his previous best by almost a full run.

Coco Hines
Las Vegas
Sand Cats
Age: 28B/T: R/R
Born: Camdenton, MO
Position(s): P (ClA)
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Castro breaks single season hits record

Sets new record in final regular season game

It may have been a disappointing season for the Kansas City Scouts but one Scout who exceeded expectations this year is second baseman Albert Castro. Castro went 1-5 in the Scouts final game of the season against the Phantoms to break The Bigs' single season record for hits. The 29-year-old notched 218 hits during the season, besting the old record of 217 set by Norfolk's Melvin Nakano during season 2.

Season 9 was the definition of a career year for Castro. The 218 hits is 52 more than he's ever posted in a single season and his season batting average of .340 is 52 points higher than his previous career best of .288, posted in season 5.

Albert Castro
Kansas City
Age: 29B/T: S/R
Born: Santa Lucia, VE
Position(s): 2B/1B/LF/CF
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sand Cat End of Season Meows

We won the division outright, surprise!! We garnered the #4 seed which may be a blessing in disguise. In simple terms we favor a Seattle match up instead of Jackson. It is rumored that Seattle has bought up all time and space of hot tubs and massage parlors in the greater Las Vegas area already. We have made our roster moves and hopefully it might surprise the Killer Whales.

Interesting question came to mind after the season. How would have the Cats fared in Helena this season? More offense for sure, if Weston hits 30 homers there, Harvey, Sierra, Bolling and Koplove would have hit near 40 a piece. But would the pitching staff withstood the pressure? The defense would have been the same. But would it have been enough to win 90 games?

The medical staff did all they could with Tony Burnitz but it wasn't enough to save his job for next season. He is contemplating retirement.

Walter "Red Herring" Ewing made his ML debut against Boise in the final series of the season. In two appearances spanning 3.1 innings, he allowed 2 hits while striking out 3 and walking 1. One of the hits was a long ball that hasn't landed yet, not much you can say about that as it was off the bat of Barry "Wolfman" McEnroe. He may be needed next year as York Burnett has decided to go into FA. That makes two high profile players leaving next year with Paul Ingram joining York. Got to remember to up the Scouting a bit as both will probably be Type A's.

Felipe Cela was voted by the team as the best move of the season. His signing off the FA scrap heap gave us the much needed 5th starter. His biggest problem is durability, needing an extra day sometimes.

Coco Hines is "Da Man" of the season of course. He may be rewarded with a lot of hardware for his record setting season and as well as money in the spokesperson industry. He is being pursued by Nike and Wheaties already.

How busy will we be in the off-season I am not sure. The only thing we might be looking at is finding a true #1 starter in FA.

Trenton Postmortem Part 2

Now that we've looked at the Traffic as a whole, now we have some individual notes.

Top Performers

CF Watty Miller- made his 3rd straight All-Star game in CF, hit .300 again, set a career high with 30 homers, and added the dimension of the stolen base to his game. He's still only 25 years old.

1B Stephen Mills- set a career high with 111 RBI, hit .300 for the first time in his 7-year career (all with the Traffic)

C Vasco Lopez- followed a bad year (.273-8-52) with a career year (.289-35-98).

SP Dwight Salmon- like Lopez, followed his worst season (12-13, 4.41) with a quality season (16-5, 2.85). Led the Traffic in wins.


LF Rico Valdes- led the team in steals (18) but couldn't hold the LF job due to a OBP under .300.

2B Cap Herrera- not a bad season (.293-21-65), but an OPS of under .800 probably wasn't what the Traffic had in mind when they signed him as the centerpiece of the offense 3 seasons ago.

SP Damion Mays- had a winning record (11-10), but a 5.01 ERA lost him the 5th starter's job. Gumbercules wouldn't start him in game 162 needing a win despite the fact that Mays was the only rested starter.

The Offseason

Trenton signed the big 3 starters (David Dunwoody, Salmon, Jason Sprague) to contract extensions during the season, leaving 3B Enrique Park, SS Ignacio Diaz, Valdes, and Mays as the key free-agents. Valdes and Mays have likely played their way out of Trenton, while Park and Diaz remain possibilities to return to the Traffic. The future is uncertain, as winning 92 games may persuade gumbercules to keep the team together, but he knows the window is limited, as there are very few key contributors under the age of 30 (Miller and Lopez).

Trenton Postmortem Part 1

The Trenton Traffic failed to make the playoffs, falling in game #162 by a score of 12-4 to Washington. Vancouver snuck into the 6th spot by beat Salem in the last game. Since the Traffic and Golden Otters split the season series, Vancouver won the tiebreaker by virtue of their 21-9 division record compared to the Traffic's 16-14 record in a much tougher division. So Trenton, at 92-70, will amazingly not make the playoffs.

GM gumbercules issued a statement after the game, saying "I probably feel like most of the fans right now, which is like I got punched in the stomach. One the one hand I am disappointed as our goal, which was to win a World Series title, now comes to an end. On the other hand, we did win 92 games, which is not easy to do in this league. So it's hard to say what else we could have done. I know they played hard from the opening pitch of game 1 until the last out of game 162. "

So here is the analysis of the Trenton season by the local office of TBDN:


Strength: Balance. Trenton was the only team to have 8 players hit at least 20 homers, led by Vasco Lopez's 35. Without the benefit of a DH, that means all 8 regulars hit the 20 homer plateau.

Weakness: Lack of speed. After Rico Valdes was pulled from the lineup, Watty Miller was the only player in the lineup with more than 2 stolen bases.


Strength: The top of the rotation. David Dunwoody wasn't quite as good as last season, but he had a very good season. Dwight Salmon had a bounceback season, leading the team in wins.

Weakness: The bullpen. Other than closer Bernie Corino, no reliever had an ERA under 4.

One on one with Anaheim GM drvmu1

We recently caught up with one of The Bigs' original GMs, Anaheim's drvmu1, to chat about the shape of the Chiles franchise, how he constructs an HBD lineup as well as some Missouri Tigers and Kansas City Chiefs talk. Here's what drvmu1 had to say:

Which of your HBD teams is your favorite and why?
Probably the El Paso Federales in Fingers League. This was a team that was completely dead and bloated when I took over. I had the #1 overall pick that year, and have held onto the team now for nine consecutive seasons, and won 95 games last year. It has been an enjoyable rebuild.

Who would you say is the greatest player in the history of the Chiles?
Tough question. Certainly, James Dixon is the highest rated I have had, but he admittedly has underperformed. On the pitching side, Ajax Drabek was a stud in the formative years of this league, but he lacked longevity due to his age. Mateo Batista is a definite ace now, with a Cy Young award and a No HItter under his belt at the tender age of 27 - so there is more to come with him. However, when you look purely at the total numbers, Dixon probably has to get the nod.

It looks like Anaheim will be left out of the playoffs again this season. What sort of plans do you have for the Chiles heading into season 10?
Again - good question. This division is so tough, so it is difficult to make a move. I like my young pitching staff, and with MIke Lowery joining Victor Deleon, along with Peaches Thompson and Batista we are going to be solid. I think the effort really needs to be made in the pen - a definite upgrade is required. It would also be nice to acquire a true lead off presence to be a hell raiser at the top of the order.

Your star 3B James Dixon will be a free agent after nest season. Do you have plans on resigning him and if he refuses to negotiate during next season, could we possibly see him traded before the season 10 trade deadline?
We will make every effort to re-sign James. However, as indicated in the world chat earlier this year, we remain open to offers. If he refuses to re-sign, then yes, we will look more seriously at offers versus what we may get with a Type A pick (depending on how we are doing in our division and in the playoff hunt).

You’ve got a couple of big time starting pitching prospects making their way through your minors right now. When do we get to see Mike Lowery’s major league debut and what kind of timetable do you have for Andres James?
As I stated earlier, Lowery is on target for early next year. Andres James will take a few years. We will just have to see how he develops. No need to rush things with the ways things are shaping up with the ML rotation.

So you’re a football fan from Missouri…Rams fan?
Not Rams - I am a KC guy. So, the Chiefs are my NFL team. However, my real passion is college football and my Missouri Tigers. I have be a season ticket holder for 12 years now - looking forward to Blaine Gabbert having a BIG year this fall. Watch out for Aldon Smith all non-believers, he could be the best defensive player ever to come out of the Show Me State by the time all is said and done.

So you're a Chiefs fan, eh? I've been wondering; is Matt Cassel the real deal at QB or was he a product of the Patriot's offense?
Hmmm... well, let me qualify this by stating up front that I am an unabashed optomist when it comes to my sports teams. I think Cassell will have a better year this year than last, and next year (2011), he will be back near Patriots form. I just believe in Pioli and what he is doing. I can't imagine that he would have invested that much in Cassell if he thought he was a simply a product of the Patriots offense.

What are you looking for from a hitter’s ratings when you’re putting together your batting lineups?
I definitely look at splits first. However, there needs to be a threshold met for eye and contact, depending on where in the order you plan to have the guy hit. Of course a good balance of all types of hitters is desireable, but power seems to be king in a lot of the HBD worlds I am in.
If you could change one thing about HBD, what would it be and why?
I still think the offense is out of whack with reality a little. Although things have gotten better over the past season with the changes to home run frequency, I don't think we are quite at a level truly reflective of reality yet. Also, it seems that there is an overemphasis on prospects. In reality, although guys may be highly thought of as "can't miss" prospects, many of the fail (i.e. Ruben Mateo, Alex Gordon, etc.). I don't how it can be done, but it would be good to de-emphasize the importance of prospects a little to increase the value of veterans by having more true "busts" despite the ratings

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Last Series of Season 9

Only 3 games to go and here's where we stand as far as playoff scenarios:


I'll start with the American League (probably a first here in the Trenton office of TBDN) because it's a lot simpler. The division winners are all set, as Louisville has clinched the East and the #1 seed, Monterrey has clinched the South and the #2 seed, leaving Las Vegas (winners in the West) and St. Louis (AL North champions again) to fight for the #3 and #4 seeds. Las Vegas has a 1 game lead but St. Louis has the tiebreak advantage. Las Vegas will host what is probably the most dangerous last place team in Boise, while St. Louis will be at an improving Buffalo squad for the last 3.

In the wild card race, Seattle has sewn up the 5th seed- their last series at Anaheim means nothing for seeding. The matchup to watch is Montgomery at Jackson- Jackson currently leads Montgomery by 2 for the last playoff spot. So a Montgomery sweep would put them in the playoffs- a win by Jackson in any of the three games puts the Vipers in instead. The fact that Montgomery and Jackson are playing eliminates the Boston Bambinos (3 back of Jackson)- the only way they could catch Jackson is if Jackson gets swept, but that would put Montgomery ahead of both teams.


As was the case last season, this is where the intrigue is. And just like last season, a 90 win team is going to be watching the playoffs instead of playing in them.

Austin clinched the South and the #1 seed long ago. Atlanta has the East clinched and has a 2 game lead on Fargo (the North champs) for the #2 seed- the two teams split the season series. Neither team can fall below #3, leaving the West champion as the #4 seed. And that's where things get messy.

Right now, Salt Lake City (92-67) holds a 2 game lead over Vancouver (90-69) for the NL West title, but Vancouver would hold the tiebreaker over the Shakers if they ended up tied for the division. Salt Lake City will be at LA to finish the season, while Vancouver hosts the cellar dwelling Salem Sacrifices.

The Shakers and Golden Otters are 2 of 4 teams fighting for 3 spots. In the wild card race, Huntington (92-67, at Austin to finish the season) and Trenton (91-68, hosting Washington to finish) occupy the top two spots for now. Vancouver is one game back of Trenton and 2 back of Huntington. So the scenarios are too many to list; either one of the NL West teams could find itself in the #4 slot, the #5 slot, the #6 slot, or out of the playoffs altogether. Trenton and Huntington both have shots at the #5 slot, the #6 slot, or finding themselves on the outside looking in.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Playoff Race

With 7 games to go, here's the playoff picture.



Atlanta (96-59): Clinched NL East title

Magic number for 1st round bye: 5

Trenton (88-67) : Trails Huntington for #5 seed by 1 game.

Magic number to clinch wild card berth: 7.


Fargo (93-62): Clinched NL North title

Magic number for #3 seed: 3

Trails Atlanta for #2 seed by 3 games


Austin (112-43): Clinched NL South title

Clinched #1 overall seed


Salt Lake City(89-66): Magic number for NL West title: 6

Vancouver (87-68): Trails Salt Lake City for NL West title by 2 games.

Trails Huntington for #5 seed by 2 games.

Trails Trenton for #6 seed by 1 game.



Louisville (101-54): Clinched AL East title.

Clinched #1 overall seed.


St. Louis (87-68): Clinched AL North title.

Trails Las Vegas for #3 seed by 1 game.


Monterrey (93-62): Clinched AL South title.

Magic number for #2 seed: 2

Jackson (81-74): Trails Seattle for #5 seed by 3 games.

Magic number for wild-card berth: 4


Las Vegas (88-67): Magic number to clinch AL West: 3

Magic number to clinch #3 seed: 7

Trails Monterrey for #2 seed by 5 games.

Seattle (84-71): Trails Las Vegas for AL West title by 4 games.

Magic number for #5 seed: 5

Magic number for wild-card berth: 1

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Newfield hits for cycle

Shakers All-Star 3B goes 4-4 against New Orleans

Salt Lake City's Jordan Newfield became the first player to hit for the cycle this season when he went 4-4 in the Shakers' pm game against the New Orleans Voodoo on 4/3. Newfield was denied the chance to make it a 5-5 game when he was pulled for a defensive replacement prior to the top of the eighth inning. The two-time All-Star also drove in four runs for the game.

Jordan Newfield
Salt Lake City
Age: 28B/T: R/R
Born: Chittenango, NY
Position(s): SS/IF/OF
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Chang strains quad, to miss a week

NL MVP candidate likely out until final series against Pittsburgh

Dirtbags' 3B Calvin Chang strained a muscle in his quadriceps while fielding a ground ball during the fourth inning of Fargo's 4-1 victory over the Austin City Limits during the pm2 cycle and is expected to miss the next 7-10 days.

Chang had been on pace to challenge the single-season record for walks which he currently holds, tallying 143 walks in season 3 while with San Juan. Chang has 134 walks on the season but by the time he returns to the team there will be but 3-4 games left in the season, which will likely leave him without enough opportunies to break the record.

"It's a little disappointing," said Chang after the game. "It would have been cool to break my own record but that was never my focus for this season. My focus was, and remains, on helping this team win a World Series. So I'm gonna' rest my quad for a bit and hopefully get back out there and do just that."

The NL MVP candidate will still have the opportunity to post the second highest single-season on base pecentage when he returns, however. Chang currently has an OBP of .464, leaving him three percentage points shy of Nick Hernandez's .467 mark, achieved in season 4. The single-season record for on base percentage stands at a ridiculous .513 and is held by free agent Gregg Black who achieved the mark in season 1 with the Nashville, now Charlotte, franchise.

Calvin Chang
Age: 32B/T: L/R
Born: Kobe, JP
Position(s): 3B/RF
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Friday, April 9, 2010

Fantasy Draft Rounds 11-20

Round 11

1. Hugo First: CF Philip McCartin, Salt Lake City

2. Second Place...: LF Vladimir Rodriguez, Montgomery

3. Third Watch: C Odalis James, Scranton

4. Four Pete's Sake: 3B Denny Moss, Seattle

5. Five Alive: SP Jason Sprague, Trenton

6. Six Shooters: 3B Wendell Durrington, Vancouver

7. Seven Signs...: CF Will Weston, Las Vegas

8. Ocho Stinko: SP Orber Marin, Fargo

9. Nine Lives: C Vin Logan, Monterrey

10. Base Ten: RF Neifi James, Jackson

Round 12

1. Base Ten: 2B Willie Scott, Huntington

2. Nine Lives: SP Jose Merced, Vancouver

3. Ocho Stinko: 3B James Dixon, Anaheim

4. Seven Signs: 2B Willis Biddle, Washington

5. Six Shooters: RF Ricky Carpenter, Kansas City

6. Five Alive: LF Bernie Soriano, Pittsburgh

7. Four Pete's Sake: RP Alex Javier, Washington

8. Third Watch: SP Joe Gleason, Milwaukee

9. Second Place...: 1B Al Cruz, Norfolk

10. Hugo First: SP Russell Newson, St. Louis

Round 13

1. Hugo First: SP Sammy Garrido, Salem

2. Second Place...: SP Miguel Reyes, LA

3. Third Watch: RP Ted Reese, Vancouver

4. Four Pete's Sake: 1B Andre Eckenstahler, Charlotte

5. Five Alive: 2B Jack Hunt, Seattle

6. Six Shooters: SS Jim Gibson, Vancouver

7. Seven Signs...: RP Matt Skinner, Austin

8. Ocho Stinko: RP Garry Wright, Jackson

9. Nine Lives: 3B Justin Gordon, Austin

10. Base Ten: RP Alex Cornejo, Boise

Round 14

1. Base Ten: SP James Morton, Boston

2. Nine Lives: RP Paul Schwartz, LA

3. Ocho Stinko: 2B Bob Hauser, Cincinnati

4. Seven Signs...: 3B Albie Torres, Atlanta

5. Six Shooters: RP King Burns, Milwaukee

6. Five Alive: RP Bernie Corino, Trenton

7. Four Pete's Sake: SP Johnnie Reagan, Monterrey

8. Third Watch: CF John Baldwin, San Juan

9. Second Place...: RP Dave Stewart, Cincinnati

10. Hugo First: RP Pablo Rijo, Monterrey

Round 15

1. Hugo First: RF David Rushford, Fargo

2. Second Place...: SP Graham Costello, Washington

3. Third Watch: SP Antonio Perez, St. Louis

4. Four Pete's Sake: SP Turner Darr, Philadelphia

5. Five Alive: RP Cristian Price, Huntington

6. Six Shooters: SP Barry Rader, Milwaukee

7. Seven Signs...: RP Heath Rollins, Kansas City

8. Ocho Stinko: RP Bert Price, Fargo

9. Nine Lives: RP Carlos Carrasco, St. Louis

10. Base Ten: SP Patrick Clifton, Monterrey

Round 16

1. Base Ten: RP Larry Driskill, Boston

2. Nine Lives: RF Magglio Perez, Trenton

3. Ocho Stinko: SP Jerry Terry, Charlotte

4. Seven Signs...: 2B Ned Leonard, Scranton

5. Six Shooters: RP Tex Howell, Atlanta

6. Five Alive: SP Pedro Limon, Boise

7. Four Pete's Sake: SS Doc Bowen, Philadelphia

8. Third Watch: RP Felipe Calles, Salt Lake City

9. Second Place...: RF Trot Turner, Monterrey

10. Hugo First: SP Jerome Oliver, New Orleans

Round 17

1. Hugo First: 3B Frank Campbell, Boston

2. Second Place...: RP Jason Franco, New York

3. Third Watch: SP D'Angelo Martin, Buffalo

4. Four Pete's Sake: RF Placido Sanchez, St. Louis

5. Five Alive: IF Andrew Clayton, Washington (AAA)

6. Six Shooters: SP Rod Walters, Norfolk

7. Seven Signs...: SP Rob Cepeda, Salt Lake City

8. Ocho Stinko: DH Mel Messner, Charlotte

9. Nine Lives: SP Bruce Stairs, Boise (AAA)

10. Base Ten: SP Ivan Webster, Jackson

Round 18

1. Base Ten: 1B Tony Percival, Pittsburgh

2. Nine Lives: SP Miguel Benitez, Seattle

3. Ocho Stinko: CF Butch Swift, Boston

4. Seven Signs...: SP Enrique Gutierrez, LA

5. Six Shooters: SP Alex Samuel, Jackson

6. Five Alive: SP Vin Espinosa, New York

7. Four Pete's Sake: LF Donny Mirabelli, Louisville

8. Third Watch: IF Steve Bako, Vancouver

9. Second Place...: 1B Matty Matos, New Orleans

10. Hugo First: RF Harold Lewis, Boston

Round 19

1. Hugo First: SP Glen Bush, Las Vegas

2. Second Place...: OF Ted Riggs, Boise (AAA)

3. Third Watch: RP Jim Clyburn, San Juan

4. Four Pete's Sake: SP Peaches Thompson, Anaheim

5. Five Alive: RP Kid Johnstone, Philadelphia

6. Six Shooters: DH Rex Kent, St. Louis

7. Seven Signs...: 2B Nate Cox, Monterrey

8. Ocho Stinko: SP Mateo Guerrero, New Orleans

9. Nine Lives: SS James Palmer, Pittsburgh (AAA)

10. Base Ten: CF Paul Turnbow, Atlanta

Round 20

1. Base Ten: RP Del Aquino, Norfolk

2. Nine Lives: RP Jared McMahon, Pittsburgh

3. Ocho Stinko: SP Woody Hiller, Trenton

4. Seven Signs...: RP Archie LeCroy, Buffalo

5. Six Shooters: RP Eduardo Moya, Ptitsburgh

6. Five Alive: OF Jerry Powell, Vancouver

7. Four Pete's Sake: SS Reggie Ducati, Salem

8. Third Watch: RF Abdullah Dillon, Huntington

9. Second Place...: SP Vernon Taubensee, St. Louis

10. Hugo First: SP Marv Starr, New York

After Big Win, Trenton Star Argues With Reporters

Trenton 1B Stephen Mills was not happy, and he let everyone know it.

Fresh off his team's important 2-1 win over archrival Atlanta, an Atlantic City Press reporter kept asking him about the possibility of a work stoppage after this season. Although accommodating at first, the normally unflappable Mills eventually dismissed the reporter after repeated questioning. He said, "Do you want to talk about the game or not? David (Dunwoody) gave us a great start in a key spot and Watty (Miller) hit a walkoff shot. Is that not enough of a story? We're trying to make the playoffs. I'm not addressing anything else. This interview is over". Mills then left the clubhouse.

Minutes later, GM gumbercules came into the clubhouse to address the reporters. He backed his star player, saying, "Stephen may be our player rep, but I want him and the other guys in this clubhouse focusing on one thing: the playoffs. A work stoppage seems remote at this point, so it's not even worth discussion. If there is more to it, you can address it with me. But the story tonight is not the off-the-field stuff, it's that we beat Atlanta and took another step toward the playoffs.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Fantasy Draft Rounds 3-10

More from the Trenton office fantasy draft:

Round 3:

  1. Hugo First: SP Carter Leonard, Washington

  2. Second Place...: CF Raul Vallarta, Jackson

  3. Third Watch: SS Carlos Batista, Salt Lake City

  4. Four Pete's Sake: CF Turner Dolan, Scranton

  5. Five Alive: SP Sammy Pierce, Fargo

  6. Six Shooters: 2B Tommy Jordan, Boston

  7. Seven Signs...: SP Mateo Batista, Anaheim

  8. Ocho Stinko: SP Dan Benard, Austin

  9. Nine Lives: RF Ryan Snyder, Boston

  10. Base Ten: SP Fred Carter, Atlanta

Round 4

  1. Base Ten: CF Luis Martinez, Washington

  2. Nine Lives: SP Kazuhiro Whang, Atlanta

  3. Ocho Stinko: 1B Osvaldo Johnson, Seattle

  4. Seven Signs...: C Junior Tabaka, San Juan

  5. Six Shooters: SP Vladimir Bibby, Austin

  6. Five Alive: CF Watty Miller, Trenton

  7. Four Pete's Sake: 3B Jordan Newfield, Salt Lake City

  8. Third Watch: SP Miguel Castilla, Austin

  9. Second Place...: SP Fausto Almanza, Jackson

  10. Hugo First: 1B Ricardo Martinez, Fargo

Round 5

  1. Hugo First: 2B Albert Castro, Kansas City

  2. Second Place...: C Vasco Lopez, Trenton

  3. Third Watch: SP Stone Curtis, Atlanta

  4. Four Pete's Sake: SP Dwight Salmon, Trenton

  5. Five Alive: LF Fernando Ibanez, Kansas City

  6. Six Shooters: 2B Tony Johnson, Jackson

  7. Seven Signs...: SP Neifi Gonzalez, Atlanta

  8. Ocho Stinko: SP Hipolito Maradona, Louisville

  9. Nine Lives: CF Dewey Greenwood, Louisville

  10. Base Ten: C Ted Robertson, New Orleans

Round 6

  1. Base Ten: SP Bernard Robinson, Philadelphia

  2. Nine Lives: 1B Stan Starr, Atlanta

  3. Ocho Stinko: SS Ryan Hamill, Boise

  4. Seven Signs...: RF Dweezil Milligan, Anaheim

  5. Six Shooters: 1B Wilton Petrick, Boston

  6. Five Alive: C Odalis Lopez, Atlanta

  7. Four Pete's Sake: 2B Bob Stewart, Anaheim

  8. Third Watch: 1B Julio Diaz, Buffalo

  9. Second Place...: SP Ozzie Acker, Kansas City

  10. Hugo First: SP Kenneth Graves, Huntington

Round 7

  1. Hugo First: 3B William Nomo, Los Angeles

  2. Second Place...: SP Yogi Anderson, St. Louis

  3. Third Watch: SP Luther Brush, Monterrey

  4. Four Pete's Sake: LF Albert Martin, Louisville

  5. Five Alive: SP Slash Ruffin, Seattle

  6. Six Shooters: LF David Cortez, Austin

  7. Seven Signs...: 1B Stephen Mills, Trenton

  8. Ocho Stinko: 2B Alex Saenz, Buffalo

  9. Nine Lives: SP Juan Cabrera, Huntington

  10. Base Ten: SP Rob Cather, Kansas City

Round 8

  1. Base Ten: RF Damaso Brogna, Boise

  2. Nine Lives: LF Bret King, Huntington

  3. Ocho Stinko: CF Scott Diaz, New Orleans

  4. Seven Signs...: SP Osvaldo Astacio, Vancouver

  5. Six Shooters: SP Louie Martin, Las Vegas

  6. Five Alive: RF Butch Russell, Boston

  7. Four Pete's Sake: RP Coco Hines, Las Vegas

  8. Third Watch: LF Pedro Candelaria, Anaheim

  9. Second Place...: CF John Baldwin, San Juan

  10. Hugo First: RP Quilvio Sanchez, Seattle

Round 9

  1. Hugo First: C Dean Buerhle, Buffalo

  2. Second Place...: 3B Orlando Franco, Louisville

  3. Third Watch: 2B Victor Flores, Boise

  4. Four Pete's Sake: C Sam Brumfield, Austin

  5. Five Alive: SS Darren Dessens, Huntington

  6. Six Shooters: CF Rich Porter, Austin

  7. Seven Signs...: SP Louie Feliz, Austin

  8. Ocho Stinko: SP Danny Little, Louisville

  9. Nine Lives: 2B Rico Guevara, St. Louis

  10. Base Ten: LF Burt Stevenson, Washington

Round 10

  1. Base Ten: SS Ignacio Diaz, Trenton

  2. Nine Lives: 1B Jimmie Williams, Austin

  3. Ocho Stinko: LF Pete Duvall, Atlanta

  4. Seven Signs...: SS William Satou, Austin

  5. Six Shooters: SP Stephen Michaels, Cincinnati

  6. Five Alive: SP Albert Herzog, Philadelphia

  7. Four Pete's Sake: SP Ivan Castilla, Huntington

  8. Third Watch: RF Ken Keagle, Austin

  9. Second Place...: 2B Jason Walker, Atlanta

  10. Hugo First: SS Alex Suh, New Orleans

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Fantasy Draft- 1st 2 rounds

Going into Season 10 the Trenton office of TBDN decided to have a fantasy draft (yes, I know, a fantasy draft in a fantasy league just seems like overkill but that's just the way the Trenton office seems to operate). Now gambling is not allowed in the office, but if a few friends want to put a few dollars down outside of work, the bigwigs can't really say much, can they? So anyway, here are the players and the teams (for simplicity's sake, the office members were required to include their draft position somewhere in the team name):

1. Hugo First- Hugo First

2. Anita Dolla- Second Place is the First Loser

3. Randall DeWayhome - Third Watch

4. Abby Normale- Four Pete's Sake

5. Ida Noh - Five Alive

6. Al B. Arownd- Six Shooters

7. Wybie Normale - Seven Signs of the Apocalypse

8. Sue Yu - Ocho Stinko

9. Charlie Horse - Nine Lives

10. Seymour Duless - Base 10

The rules for the draft are as follows: 10 team league, each team drafts each of the eight starting positions plus an extra infielder, outfielder, and utility player on offense. Each team drafts 5 starters, 2 relievers, and two extra pitchers for a total of 20 players. Snake draft. Points are awarded in 10 categories (Offense: Batting average, runs, home runs, RBI, stolen bases. Pitching: Wins, Strikeouts, ERA, WHIP, Saves) from 10 to 1 (e.g.: Top team in each category gets 10 points, second place team gets 9... last place team gets 1).

Before the draft, Wybie Normale complained about picking three spots behind his sister and Hugo First was universally derided for (naturally) drawing the first pick.


1. Hugo First: RF A. J. Leonard, Buffalo

Hugo: It's a tough choice, but I'll take Leonard first. He's the MVP of the AL at this point and he leads both leagues in 3 of the 5 offensive categories. He's not bad in the other 2, by the way.

2. Second Place: SS Amp Palmer, Louisville

Anita: He's not the second best player in the league, but he's awfully good at a position that's hard to fill. There are very few good hitting shortstops in The Bigs, so I felt I had to grab one early.

3. Third Watch: 3B Calvin Chang, Fargo

Randall: Yeah, he's way overpaid. Yeah, his best years were in San Juan. But yeah, he's hitting for a really high average and is driving in runs at a premium defensive position.

4. Four Pete's Sake: SP Javier Henriquez, Fargo

Abby: One of these days he'll win as many games as he should. I guess I'm betting that it's next year. Even if not, he dominates in strikeouts, ERA, and WHIP.

5. Five Alive: 1B Ruben Hernandez, Salt Lake City

Ida: Pretty good deal grabbing a slugger who can also hit for a high average, even if he is a 1B. He was arguably the best hitter in the game before this season.

6. Six Shooters: LF Barry McEnroe, Boise

Al: "The Beast" has already proven himself an MVP candidate and he'll just get better.

7. Seven Signs... : LF Sean Simpson, Monterrey

Wybie: Can you believe he's still only 27? He could have gone first if he was still playing third base.

8. Ocho Stinko: RF Vic James, Salt Lake City

Sue: All-Star MVP and possible batting champion available at #8? OK.

9. Nine Lives: SS Daniel Koch, Boston

Charlie: As long as he's butchering- er, I mean playing- shortstop, his value goes up. He and Palmer are the only good hitting shortstops, so I'll grab him now.

10. Base 10: 1B Nick Hernandez, St. Louis

Seymour: I'll take a high-average run scorer who will steal bases and hope to get the homers and RBI at other positions to make up for it.

11. Base 10: 3B Monte Duvall, Huntington

Seymour: Since I took Hernandez, I need power. Duvall won't hit for average but I can count on 50 bombs.

12. Nine Lives: SP Lonny Gates, Huntington

Charlie: Thought about a catcher here, but I'll take the guy who is probably the second best starting pitcher.

13. Ocho Stinko: C Tony Stieb, Charlotte

Sue: I was hoping Gates would fall here. When doing my draft prep I didn't have a clear cut best starter after Javy and Gates, so I'll go with a slugger at a position that's tough to fill.

14. Seven Signs... : LF Jacque Puffer, Seattle

Wybie: Puffer is that much better than what else is on the board for me right now, so I'll double up in LF. Puffer will be my fourth starting OF. I can deal with that.

15. Six Shooters: C Ernest Montgomery, Louisville

Al: I take him here because he caught enough games to qualify as a catcher. Not quite as valuable as a DH. Dangerous veteran hitter on a good team.

16. Five Alive: 3B Mitch Sobkowiak, Montgomery

Ida: Had he started the season in the big leagues he'd win the rookie of the year award in a landslide. He's got the 4th best OPS in all of baseball. The guy right behind him? Barry McEnroe.

17. Four Pete's Sake: SP David Dunwoody, Trenton

Abby: I'll go pitching 1-2 and try to dominate the pitching categories. Dunwoody isn't quite what he used to be, but he is still dominant on many nights.

18. Third Watch: LF Dennis Tamura, Jackson

Randall: Another well-rounded hitter who is a possible MVP candidate next season.

19. Second Place is the First Loser: RF P.T. Lee, Cincinnati

Anita: Superstar in the making, just not known to the average fan because he plays in Cincinnati.

20. Hugo First: LF Alex Lim, Fargo

Hugo: OK, I'll bookend Leonard with an MVP candidate in the NL in Lim. Our offense should be dangerous.

Traffic Jam Part 3

The latest news out of central NJ:

The Traffic currently sit in second place in the East, 9 games back of the hated Atlanta Bandits. They have a tenuous grasp on the last playoff spot, as they lead Vancouver by 2 games. But if they get in, they could be a dangerous dark horse with their starting pitching.

In other news, the Traffic reportedly will hold a news conference tomorrow to announce that co-ace Dwight Salmon will sign an extension with the Traffic. After negotiating with agent Nick Brown all season, Brown finally moved off his 4 year demand in order to get a deal done. Word out of Trenton is the deal is a 2-year extension for $16.6 million with a mutual option for a third year at $8.3 million. "We're glad to finally get this deal done", said GM gumbercules. "The length of the contract was the only sticking point, but Nick and I finally decided to meet in the middle and do what was best for both Dwight and the Traffic".

The Traffic made two roster moves, calling up C/DH Diego Martin and LHP Juan Marichal to the majors. Martin should see some action in a pinch-hitting role, while Marichal will slide into the lefty specialist role, a spot in the bullpen the Traffic haven't had all season.

The Playoff Races with 22 games to go

We're coming down the stretch in season 9 and although it looks like we know who most of the playoff teams are going to be, it looks like there could still be a few interesting races for the postseason.


In the East, Atlanta (88-52) appears headed for their sixth straight division title as Trenton (78-62) just can't keep pace and Washington (71-69) has taken a step back this season.

In the North, Fargo (81-59) has reestablished its dominance over this division as Philadelphia (70-70) could end up winning more games than last season and yet not repeat as division champions. Kansas City (69-71) has fallen off a bit after a good start, but still should consider their season a success.

In the South, Austin (103-37) just blew everyone away from the start of the season and appears a lock for not only a division title but the #1 overall seed. Huntington (85-55), as good as they have been, just could not keep pace. But who can keep up with a team that is on pace to win 119 games?

Out West, Salt Lake City (83-57) seems to have withstood an early challenge from Vancouver (76-64) to hold a seven game lead in the division. This is still the closest divisional race in the NL, but it's tough to see an upstart Golden Otter team overtaking the Shakers, although if they get hot it's still possible.

Wild Card

The wild card race could come down to the wire. Huntington (85-55), after barely missing out on the playoffs last season, appears to have a good grip on a spot this season, as they are 7 ahead of Trenton (78-62) and 9 ahead of Vancouver (76-64). The race is for the last spot, as Trenton is only 2 ahead of Vancouver with plenty of time to play. Washington (7 back of Trenton), Philadelphia (8 back), and Kansas City (9 back) are on the periphery right now, but are not dead and buried yet.


In the East, Louisville (93-47) have already clinched the division, leading Boston (68-72) by 25 with 22 games to go.

In the North, St. Louis (80-60) holds a healthy 12 game lead over early competitor Cincinnati (68-72) and are up 15 over Buffalo (65-75).

In the South, Monterrey (80-60) is being challenged by Jackson (75-65), which is only 5 games back. Montgomery (69-71) doesn't look like they'll be able to contend like they did the past two seasons.

In the West, Las Vegas (81-59) has been able to sustain their good play to lead, but 2-time AL champion Seattle (75-65) looms at 6 games back- don't count them out yet. Boise (67-73) appears to be out of the race this time around.

Wild Card

It looks like the second place teams in the South and West (right now Jackson and Seattle, respectively) are going to grab the wild card spots, but the order is still undecided. So in the AL it looks like the 6 teams are set with seeding left to be determined. Montgomery (6 back of the last wild card spot), Cincinnati and Boston (both 7 back), and Boise (8 back) would need to get very hot to break into the top 6 at this point.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Cat Mewlings IV

Been waiting a few days to post this one and last for the season maybe.

Coco Hines Has set two records this season. For one he has captured the organizations single season Save record eclipsing Dave Stewart's record of 47 in season 4. To go along with that he has now captured the leagues single season Saves record blowing away the old record of 52 saves posted by Dude Huskey in season 2. With 25 games left in the season, he may set the record so high that it could be tough to beat. There is even talk that he could capture the AL Cy Young award this season as well as the Firemans award, although that feat is highly uncommon but not unheard of. He is going against some pretty tough competition and very nitpicky owners also. The organization applaud his record feats!!!

With 25 games to go we are pretty confident in our chances to make the post-season once again. Our feeling at the beginning of the season was that it would take 90 wins to make the playoffs. Needing 10 wins to accomplish that may seem rather easy to say we are in. We are not counting our chickens before they hatch however, we still have a tough schedule with 17 home games to finish the season and anything could go wrong.

Tony Burnitz is out for the season with a torn hamstring, which at least ended his playing days in Las Vegas and possibly his career.

We called up Zeke McDonald to take the open roster spot. His play at 2B is outstanding but needs work at the plate. He very well could be the starting 2B next season as Paul Ingram has opted for FA at this time. Paul has actually been a bit of a disappointment for us so letting him go will not bother us all that much.

The mid season signing of Felipe Cela from the FA pool was the final piece of the puzzle that made the Cats a better team this year. Solidifying the 5 spot in the rotation, he is 5-1 in 9 starts at home but only 3-3 in 9 starts on the road.

We were hoping that Adrian Hendrickson would be the answer to our rotation problems. Maybe it was too much to hope for from a rookie but has been excellent out of the pen. Next year we will give him another chance as experience always seems to help.

Randy Stull still is a mystery to us. He can come into games in the early middle innings with the game on the line whether a small lead or behind by a run and be very good but is terrible at any other time. It seems as though if he probably can't win the game he shows indifference as to how he pitches.

As for the offense and defense, well that is another story in itself. The defense combined with the great pitching doesn't allow many runs across the plate, we lead the AL in that remarkable stat. The offense though just isn't lighting up the scoreboard either as we have scored fewer runs than most teams. But then again,that has been our MO in seasons past.

Since it is roster expansion time, we had plans to bring up Edwin Corey, Johnny Guerrero and Walter Ewing at a minimum. With the AAA team probably heading to the playoffs we are not sure it is a wise idea. With the AA and Hi A teams also heading to the playoffs, promotions would seem counter productive to make it happen.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Season 9 Draft Review

Prologue: I think this is the first time the P.O.D. has been the 1st overall pick. There was some competition for it but in the end, I’d say the Charlotte did indeed get the best player with their pick. I gave the 20th overall pick the Sleeper award. I was really surprised that that guy slipped all the way to the that spot!!

1 Charlotte Lions (AL) - Floyd Floyd 2B/COF (5 Million Bonus)
Well we can make fun of this name BUT we can’t make fun of the potential this draft has! He was #1 on my list. He’ll hit for average and power, as well as steal his share of bases. Here could be a future Triple Crown winner, MVP AND he very well could be a 50/50 man (homers & SBs). He has a decent ‘makeup’ rating so he’s got a good chance of getting to this awesome potential. If there are any drawbacks, they are his glove and durability. Doesn’t quite have a glove of a ML 2b and his durability will limit his playing time some what. Still this is a bat ANY owner would love to have in their lineup
Rating: 10/10

2 Buffalo Blue Cheese (AL) - Richardo DeSoto SS (3.9 Million Bonus)
This is pick is a risky one, no doubt there. While Richardo has the potential to be a solid MLer, most likely at 3B (his glove & range are a little shy for the ML level). BUT the thing is will he make these projections? With a health rating at present below 40, there is a good chance that injuries will hamper him reaching these potential ratings. There is even a chance he might not make it to ML rating levels. His makeup rating will help if he does get injured. So, this is a wait and see prospect
Rating: 7.5/10

3 Vancouver Golden Otters (NL) – Virgel Vega CF (3.8 Million Bonus)
With the third overall pick Vancouver takes a prospect who should become a solid ML CFer. Virgel will not be a superstar but we could see him in a few A/S games. He hit for a really good average and also hit a few long flies. He’s got great speed but his base running skill will prevent him from stealing a lot of bases at the ML level. Also, his RH split and durability ratings are both just OK. With a solid Makeup rating, this will give him a really good shot at meeting these potential ratings. This is a solid pick both from a offensive and defensive point of view.
Rating 8.5/10

4 Cincinnati Simpletons (AL) – Alberto Arias RF (3.7 Million Bonus)
This season the Simpletons’ scouting team got it right. Here is a prospect that will definitely be a major asset at the ML level. Alberto should become a really good ML RFer who’ll have a great arm from the outfield. If he hits these potential rating, he’ll hit for a solid average and steal a few bases. Alberto should make for solid #2 in the batting order. Also, this is another prospect we should see in a few A/S games at the ML level in a few seasons
Rating 9.5/10

5 Salem Sacrifices (NL) – Wilton Jang 1B (3.6 Million Bonus)
This is a prospect I’m curious to see how he’ll do against ML pitching. That is if he make these potential ratings. His potential Batting Eye, Contact and Power rating are great but his RH/LH splits will be average.
All his other ratings are pretty typical of a 1B/DH prospect. Time will tell if Wilton can be an effective ML hitter.
Rating 8.5/100

6 Milwaukee Manic Maulers (AL) – Kent Swindell SS (3.5 Million Bonus)
This is an interesting prospect, because most of his potential in key ratings are just OK. Overall his potential defensive ratings are just marginal for ML SS. Other than his power rating, his offensive ratings are in the same category. The thing is his health and makeup ratings can also be described in the same way. So this could hamper is progress to these potential ratings. His overall potential rating is pretty high, I can only figure that’s due to a very high potential durability. While not a bad pick, I think there are better players overall taken later in the first round.
Rating 8.0/10

7 Norfolk Destroyers (NL) – Keith Singleton 2B (3.4 Million Bonus)
With my first pick in this initial round of the draft I got my #2 rated guy. The chance to get a solid defensive second baseman with a very high power rating (!! Keith has the potential to hit 40+ long balls at the ML level) was way too good to pass by. Also he has a very good makeup rating, this should help me get him to this potential. I’m hoping that in few seasons, Keith will be ready to take the #5 spot in my batting lineup
Rating 9.0/10

8 New York Knickerbockers (AL) – Humberto Valenzuela SP/RP (3.3 Million Bonus)
New York with their pick took the first pitcher of this draft. From what I saw, he is the best SP available in the draft, as far as pitching ratings go. His major drawback is his is durability! With a durability rating well below 20, it means he’ll be limited with the innings he can pitch in an appearance. Also, he will likely miss his spot in the rotation from time to time during the season. Still, when he does take the mound, he should be an effective pitcher. So it’s either a SP can only 5-6 innings and gets skipped every so often OR a LR guy out of the pen. Not quite want you want for a top 10 pick in the draft.
Rating 7.5/10

9 Kansas City Scouts (NL) – Taylor Tolbert SP (3.2 Million Bonus)
Here is another pick of a prospect that overall is OK. Another than fact he should develop great velocity and control, also has a great makeup rating (helping him get to his OK potential). His pitch quality while deep doesn’t have an out pitch, his splits are just ‘good’, his stamina will marginal for a starter. Taylor will be a solid LR or a #5 SP if he makes his potential. As mentioned before not really what you hope to get with a top ten pick
Rating 7.0/10

10 San Juan Dead Bunnies (NL) – Andrew Smith SP (3.1 Million Bonus)
The ‘Stiff Hares’ take what a prospect that should become a solid SP at the ML level. His makeup rating is a little low, so making it to his potential could be a struggle. Still if San Juan can get him close to these projections, they’ll be happy with this pick. His 3 to 5 pitches are quite a drop in quality, so he’ll need a good PC catcher. Still even without that, his split should help overcome that little weakness. This is the potential you’re looking for a SP taken in the top 10 of the draft.
Rating 9.0/10

11Scranton Janitors (AL) – Earl Chambers C/DH (Not signed yet, asking for 3.3 million)
With the eleventh pick Scranton took a flyer at a player with a risky signability. But I’d say this is a good risk take. If it pays off, the Janitors will get the best bat available in this draft! These potential hitting ratings are in a word ‘scary’!! So, his durability is marginal; just play him against RH pitching (not a problem).
Rating: N/A (BUT if signed 10/10)

12 New Orleans Voodoo (NL) – Phil Uribe P (Not signed yet, asking for 8.5 million)
I didn’t see this prospect so got no idea of his potential. Judging for his asking price I’m guess he’s highly unlikely to sign and his projections are decent.
Rating: N/A

13 Pittsburgh Land Sharks (NL) – Wes Jacobo SS (2.8 Million Bonus)
Wes should become a solid ML SS, who will be a decent hitter. That is not bad at all for a pick in this spot. As well, Wes has pretty good pop in his bat. While it’s true Wes may not be Gold Glove or MVP material etc. Still if he can make it to these projections, he be a valuable asset on the Pittsburgh roster.
Rating: 8.5/10

14 Fargo Dirt Bags (NL) – Mark Rogers SP (2.8 Million Bonus)
A very interesting prospect Fargo has taken with their first round pick. The only major weakness in his projections is his RH split; with a slightly low durability rating and his overall pitch quality is deep but no real ‘out’ pitch. I’m curious how guy with these rating will do at the ML level. My guess…. Well since the bulk of hitter are RH, he’ll either be a #5 starter or LR from the pen.
Rating: 7.5/10

15 Philadelphia Phantoms (NL) – Antone Hoover RF/1B (2.7 Million Bonus)
While Antone was drafted as a RFer, his glove is very weak for that. Since the Phantoms are a NL club it’s 1b for prospect. NOW, if he reaches these projections..his is a bat Philly will definitely want in their lineup. This guy should be able to put up really good numbers at the ML level. Yea, his RH split is just OK and his durability is marginal but this is a bat that can contribute. Not bad for the 15th overall pick, not bad at all
Rating 9.0/10

16 Montgomery Alibamu (AL) – Glen Barker 2B/COF (2.6 Million Bonus)
This is another one those guys whose overall rating is bumped by his durability. His projected hitting rating while not bad, they not great either. It’s put him in the bottom half of the order. The real thing with Glen is his arm strength, no a ML 2B doesn’t need to have a great arm but his doesn’t even project over 50?? This is one I’m up in the air about really. His range and glove are solid but the bat isn’t enough to make up for a weak arm….
Rating 6.5/10

17 Anaheim Chiles (AL) – Andres James SP (3.9 Million Bonus)
Again another solid pick for the middle area of this first round. Anaheim gets a solid left handed starting pitching prospect. I don’t think he’ll be the #1 guy of the rotation but 2 or 3 for sure (an effective one at that). Andres will be death on LH hitting and should be able to hold his own against from the other side too. The thing that keeps from the ace designation is while his #1 & #2 pitches are solid neither is speculator.
Rating 8.5/10

18 Jackson Vipers (AL) – Harvey Anderson 2B (2.4 Million Bonus)
Durability bumped overall rating. Again not that this is a bad pick. Though his defensive skills don’t look like they will get up to ML standards for the 2b position. Also, his offensive ratings are just average overall. Harvey should make for a decent COF at the ML level but he’ll be hitting in the bottom part of the order.
Rating 7.5/10

19 Boston Bambinos (AL) – Bobby Ray Giambi SP (3.1 Million Bonus)
Bobby Ray should (if he gets to these projections) become a decent ML SP. He’ll be a bottom of the rotation guy. The main thing that could prevent him from getting to the ML is his health. This rating is marginal and pitchers if they get injured severely, it can spell the end of those dreams. Boston is hoping that they can keep him from serious injuries. Because if they can this will be money well spent
Rating 8.5/10

20 Austin City Limits (NL) – Mark Ferguson C (2.2 Million Bonus)
Without a doubt the surprise of this draft. The surprise being that Mark was still available at this point in the draft. I had him #3 on my list and honestly thought I had a good shot at landing him. I felt Floyd and Singleton both would be gone by the time the 7th spot came up! Mark should become just an okay defensive catcher. That though is more than good enough when you consider his hitting potential. He should hit for a solid average and have good power numbers. He has one thing most catchers don’t, that is a solid RH split! The ONLY drawbacks is a slightly marginal health and makeup ratings. Either could hinder him getting to this potential. Still Austin must be glad to get this kind of prospect in the 20th spot.
Rating 9.95/10

21 Boise Shadow Wolves (AL) – Damasco Cornejo RP (2.1 Million Bonus)
The Dark Hounds take the first closer prospect of the draft. While the potential pitching ratings are there for a decent closer, his stamina is really marginal. I doubt with that rating he’ll be able to pitch the whole 9th inning very often. That could make him more valuable as a set up guy. Again this prospects heath rating is marginal and his makeup rating is just ok; so he may hampered getting to his potential.
Rating 7.5/10

22 Los Angeles Poseidons (NL) – Adam Byrne SP (2.0 Million Bonus)
With their first of the three picks they have in the first round, LA takes a future middle of the rotation prospect. The only thing keeping him from being a #1 or #2 man, are his splits. They are just OK for a ML starter. At present is control is not good and has long way to go, to be ML quality. So Adam is a project, but one that could be worth the time and effort.
Rating 8.0/10

23 Las Vegas Sand Cats (AL) – Dick Milliard SP (1.9 Million Bonus)
This pick is almost a carbon copy of the last one. Another decent middle of the rotation prospect. He’s not quite the project though. So he might make it to the ML level a little before Adam does. Still for the price and place taken in the draft, this another good pick
Rating 8.0/10

24 Los Angeles Poseidons (NL) – Claude Logan SP (3.6 Million Bonus with STI)
Considering the price, I’d guess this pick was a little risky as far as signability went. The burning question is, was he worth it? As this was their 2nd of 3 picks, it’s not a bad gamble to take really. Claude does have the potential to a quality #2 guy in the rotation. Though, his stamina is questionable for a starter. Still despite the fact he’ll only be able to give LA 5-6 innings, they should be quality innings. He also should give his team a chance to win when he takes the mound.
Rating 8.5/10

25 Trenton Traffic (NL) – Kirk Torres C (1.7 Million Bonus)
Trenton takes the 2nd catcher picked in the first round. While Kirk doesn’t quite of the bat potential of the previous one, he none the less should put up decent numbers at plate. This on top of some decent defensive potential at his position makes this a quality pick. Overall there really isn’t a down side to this pick, other than the fact he’ll not be a superstar. BUT at the 25th spot, do you expect that to be available?
Rating 8.5/10

26 Los Angeles Poseidons (NL) – Sammy Quentin RF/1B (1.6 Million Bonus)
Now we have LA’s final pick of the first round. With it they take a prototypical RF prospect. All his potential ratings are solid, if not spectacular. I don’t think we’ll see Sammy in too many A/S games. Still he should become a good contributor at the ML level
Rating 7.5/10

27 Washington D.C. Blue Coats (NL) – Norman Eckenstahler RP (1.5 Million Bonus)
This is another one of those prospects I’m curious to see how they do if they make it to the ML level. Norman has all the ratings to be a real decent closer (or set up guy). But the second pitch... are his splits and the first pitch enough to make up for a real weak pitch? I don’t know really. If I had to guess..I think it will hurt but not too much.
Rating 7.5/10

28 Monterrey Sultans (AL) – Craig Pratt RP (1.4 Million Bonus)
Craig has the splits and stamina to make him decent ‘short man’ out of the bullpen prospect. His durability is way too low for the closer role really and the fact his best pitch is his #2 pitch. He should be effective if he is able to make it to these projections however, just not as a closer.
Rating 7.5/10

29 Salt Lake City Shakers (NL) – Danny Griffiths CF (1.3 Million Bonus)
For this late in the first round, this is a really good pick up by the Shakers. While Danny has what now seems to becoming very common for CF/SS/2B, which is a marginal (if not low) RH split. Also, his makeup rating is marginal, so getting him to these projections may be tough. Considering when they are taking him, I’d say he’s worth the money and risk.
Rating 8.0/10

30 Altanta Bandits (NL) – Elmer Lankford COF (1.3 Million Bonus)
Elmer due to his low durability will be platoon material at best, if he makes it to the ML level. Also, I don’t see him as anything more than a bench guy too. While his batting eye and power ratings are really good, all the other batting ratings are marginal at best. Add the fact that his defensive potential is just okay, my overall conclusion on Elmer is he’s not really 1st round material (late 2nd or 3rd). Though, I have to say he does have some base stealing potential.
Rating 5.5/10

31 Norfolk Destroyers (NL) – Happy Diaz SS (1.2 Million Bonus)
With my second pick in the first round, I got a prospect that should become a solid defensive shortstop. His bat is weak, so he’ll have to depend on his glove to get him to the ML level. Considering his make up rating, that might be hard. Still, this late in the first round a prospect like is worth taking a shot with.
Rating 7.0/01

32 Seattle Killer Whales (AL) – Dale Hogan RP (1.1 Million Bonus)
This draft did have quite a sharp decline in the talent level, but I didn’t think it was this sharp. While Dale has the splits and stamina for ML short guy, his quality is way too weak. I see this guy making it to AAA at best but no further. He would not be effective at the ML level (might be marginal at the AAA level).
Rating 4.0/10

33 St Louis River City Rage (AL) – Marc Phillips CF/2B (1 Million Bonus)
I’d say out of the late first round picks, this is the best of the bunch. Yea his durability is marginal, but hitting potential is pretty darn solid. The only thing missing is speed and you have a future lead off guy at the ML level. Like I said the talent drop in this draft was sudden and swift. So to guy like this in this spot is doing pretty darn good.
Rating 7.5/10

34 Huntington River Dogs (NL) – Quentin Nolasco SS (960K Bonus)
With their supplemental pick, the River Dogs take a defensive SS prospect. This picks hitting ratings are weaker than the guy I got and his health rating is really suspect. Again considering this draft, this isn’t really that bad of a pick; though I don’t see this guy making it to the ML level. While the glove is good, it isn’t good enough to make up for the fact he’ll struggle to make the ‘Medoza Line’
Rating 5.0/10

35 Norfolk Destroyers (NL) – Michel Alomar RP (920K Bonus)
With my supplemental pick, I got a prospect that could become bullpen material. That is if he makes it to these projections. His splits are marginal and his pitch quality takes a major drop after that #1 pitch. Still his velocity and control are both decent enough. Still I, put this one as a 50/50 shot to make it to the ML level and if he does most likely will not last (there will be better available). Journeyman Material
Rating 6.0/10

36 Pittsburgh Land Sharks (NL) – Dummy Duncan RP (880K Bonus)
I normally review the supplemental picks. BUT had to this time!!! Come on Dummy Duncan… who could resist??? Okay this guy is pretty much the same as my pick above (with a better name). His splits are a little better but his #1 pitch is weaker and his durability is lower. Again this is bullpen material at best really, but who knows. Good ole DD might just stick at the ML level for a little while.
Rating 6.0/10