Sunday, October 31, 2010

Henriquez wins sixth career Cy Young Award

Duvall wins third career MVP Award

What many thought would be a rebuilding year in Fargo turned into another division title and it was largely because of what their ace was able to do on the mound. Javier Henriquez captured the sixth National League Cy Young Award of his career by posting a 19-5 record with a 2.47 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 234 strikeouts in 233.1 IP. Henriquez received 17 of a possible 32 votes to take home the award.

In the American League it was St. Louis pitcher Billy Nation taking home his first career AL Cy Young Award, receiving 15 of a possible 32 votes. Nation had a career-year in season 11 going 19-6 with a 3.09 ERA and four complete games in 32 starts for the River City RAGE.

The two MVP votes were not as close as the Cy Young votes. The National League vote went Monte Duvall's way for the third time in his career. Duvall led Huntington's offensive attack this season, batting .301 with 53 homeruns, 141 RBI with a 1.009 OPS. The 30-year-old third baseman received 22 of 32 votes to win the award.

Monterrey's Sean Simpson was awarded the American League MVP award as he also received 22 of 32 votes to win the award. The Sultans of Swat outfielder batted .327 with 46 homeruns, 129 RBI and a .980 OPS. The MVP award is the second in Simpson's career -- he also won the National League MVP in season 3 with what is now the Minnesota franchise.

Atlanta/St. Louis meet in unlikely WS matchup

Season 11 World Series pits #5 seed against #6 seed

The Atlanta Bandits and the St. Louis River City RAGE both had their work cut out for them as the season 11 playoffs began. Atlanta enetered the playoffs as the sixth seed in the National League while St. Louis entered as the fifth seed in the American League, despite winning 100 games during the regular season.

While St. Louis wasn't viewed as your typical underdog #5 seed when the playoffs started due to their regular season success, Atlanta had it's work cut out for them as the team with the second lowest regular season win total to reach the playoffs in the NL. But the Bandits were up to the challenge, defeating the top three seeds in the National League to reach the World Series for the third time in franchise history.

Now the Bandits will try to win their third World Series title in their third appearance while the River City RAGE will try to make a splash in their World Series debut by taking home the crown.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Quinn walk-off sends Fargo to NLDS

Rule 5 rookie winds up Fargo's playoff hero

The Fargo Dirtbags slashed payroll by over $30 million after a disappointing season 10 saw them miss the playoffs with a $100 million-plus payroll. Expected to rebuild and miss the playoffs, the Dirtbags used a late-season push to win their division. Now they're headed to the NLDS with a little help from a Rule 5 selection.

With the decisive Game 5 of the ML Division Play-In Series tied at 5 with two outs in the bottom of the 9th, the Dirtbags turned to rookie Eddie Quinn to pinch hit for reliever Dan Young. The backup outfielder delivered with the biggest hit of his short career, blasting a solo home run to centerfield to propel the underdog Dirtbags into the NLDS. Quinn's solo shot also ended the title defense of the season 10 world champion Huntington Riverdogs.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Hernandez the first to 2,000 hits

The Bigs' hit king surpasses 2,000 mark

Earlier in this season, long-time Salt Lake City Shaker and current Boston Bambino Ruben Hernandez became the first player in the history of The Bigs to record his 2,000th career hit. Hernandez, who is in the first year of a four-year $24.4 million contract he signed with Boston this past off-season, also hit his 450th career home run earlier this season.

Now playing in Boston at age 32 and with great makeup and durability ratings, it's reasonable to think that Hernandez will reach the 3,000 hit mark and the 600 home run mark (the latter of those two probably being less likely). Career numbers like that will ensure Hernandez a spot in the Hall of Fame once he retires.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Aginor's Season 11 Draft Review

Year 11 – Draft Review

1 Charlotte Lions – Keith Sele SS (Bonus 4 Mill)
My scouts saw this prospect and to be honest what owner wouldn’t drool over this guy’s offensive and defensive potential ratings. The thing with Keith is can you get him to the potentials?? With a marginal health rating and just okay makeup rating, it will be a challenge. Though positional players don’t usually get the injuries that really hammer the ratings. It’s playing time that is a really key in development and if he spends at a lot of time on the DL instead of playing…those ratings could be impossible to reach. So will Keith hit his MVP potential ratings…we’ll see; though my feeling is that he’ll fall short. Still he has a good chance of being a solid MLer
Rating 8.5

2 Las Vegas Snake Eyes – Kevin Lawson 2B/COF (Bonus 3.9 Mill)
While I’m not convinced Kevin will have the ratings to be a ML Second Baseman, I’m very sure he has the potential to be a great ML hitter. The potential is all there to become a silver slugger at what ever position he plays, he’ll hit for average and power. Considering where he is now and where his potential is, he’s got a good shot at making these ratings
Rating 9.5???

3 Minnesota North Stars – Braden Carroll SP (Bonus 3.8 Mill)
Braden was one of the many SPs available in this draft with great splits but only okay pitch ratings (nothing rated in the 80+). So being part of this crop of young pitchers, he’ll be part of the old HBD question for pitchers … Splits versus Pitch Quality. Again this is an older prospect and therefore closer to his potential ratings. The thing is pitcher don’t develop as fast as positional guys, so there Braden may not make these potential ratings despite being fairly close. Still Braden should make for a solid ML starting pitcher
Rating 9.0

4 Scranton Janitors – Howie Harding SP (Bonus 3.7 Mill)
Overall mostly likely one of the better pitchers available in the draft as far as pitching ratings go. He has one major drawback however, his stamina. We’re talking 5 maybe 6 innings maximum an appearance. He’s going to depend on a strong bullpen to get his wins. Still, they should be 5 quality innings and should give his bullpen a shot at holding on to a lead
Rating 8.5

5 New York Knickerbockers – Posiedon Hemingway SP (Bonus 6.0 Mill with STI)
Definitely one of the more unusual player names available in this draft. I’d of the pitchers that were chosen, he’s no doubt one of the best. Yes his LH split is weak when compared to his RH but that is really a big deal. His makeup rating is fantastic and that should give New York a good shot at getting him to these potential ratings. While an expensive draft pick to sign, I think New York will get their money’s worth
Rating 9.5

6 Philadelphia Phantoms – Henry Sewell 2B (Bonus 3.5 Mill)
Unlike the previous second baseman taken, Henry does have the defensive rating for that position and maybe CF too. BUT his bat is weak for the ML level. Yea sure he’ll be a great base stealer, his speed and base running ratings are fantastic; the thing how often will he get on base…enough to make him a useful leadoff hitter?? I seriously doubt it. His splits are just too low and while his contact rating is good but not good enough to make up for his weak splits and batting eye. I see Henry becoming a defensive specialist and pinch runner IF he makes it to the big league
Rating 5.5

7 Norfolk Destroyers – Francis Peterson SP (Bonus 3.4 Mill)
My pick was one of those pitchers this draft seemed to have lots of (great splits, just okay pitches). The other thing some these pitchers had was a great potential durability rating (40+) for a starting pitcher. He’s got a couple things over the previous two taken, that is his stamina potential is definitely better. Still will his splits overcome his just okay pitch quality… I hope so!!
Rating 9.5

8 Fargo Dirtbags – Rodrigo Melendez C (Bonus 10+ Mill)
Without a doubt the most expensive prospect in the draft (I think the most I’ve ever seen paid). The thing is, is he worth it?? I’d say YEP. A catcher who has these potential hitting ratings and can still be a decent catcher is rare in HBD. Not to mention his durability potential, that is high for his position, and his health rating. If Fargo can get him to this potential, you’re looking at a guy who is going to be a yearly All Star and maybe MVP nominee.
Rating 9.75
(not a 10 or pick of the pay 10 mill for a draft pick he’d better be the best available!!)

9 Vancouver Golden Otters – Bob Zambrano 1B/DH (Bonus 3.2 Mill)
It’s rare to see a 1B/DH go this high BUT he’s unusual prospect. His potential durability could allow him to play all 162 games (rare for his position) and his potential hitting ratings are very good. He’ll hit for average and power as well being able to play every game.. That makes him a real solid top 10 pick.
Rating 9.0

]10 San Juan Dead Bunnies – Ron Rudolph SS (Bonus 3.2 Mill)
The stiff hares got themselves a potential solid future MLer with Ron. Of course that’s if they can get him to those potential ratings, with a marginal health rating that may prove to be a challenge. His potential range is a little low for a ML SS, so he may be more suited for the 3B role. He should be able to hit for a decent average. Overall, in the 10th spot, I’d say he’s worth the gamble.
Rating 8.0

11 Milwaukee Manic Maulers – Vinny King RP (Bonus 3.0 Mill)
Here the first prospect closer taken in the draft AND Vinny could be a great one. He’s another one of the older prospects taken in the draft, therefore closer to his potential ratings then others. His stamina is quite high for a closer. Combine that with a decent durability and he appear in a lot of games for Milwaukee.
Rating 9.5

12 Salem Sacrifices – Miguel Tavarez SP (Bonus 4.3 Mill)
Salem gets a solid future starting pitcher with their 1st round pick. His splits and overall pitch quality should be solid. His pitch quality is deeper than most pitchers. I don’t Miguel will become a #1 spot starter with a rotation but a solid #2 workhorse. He’ll be able to give his team a lot of quality innings.
Rating 9.0

13 Ottawa O-Jays – Harvey Simmons RP (Bonus 2.9 Mill)
Harvey has all the potential ratings to become a solid lights out closer (wait for it), except for one..stamina. Sorry say but 12 don’t really cut it. You’re talking 3 hitters at the very most. Now if his durability was say close to 100, this would help things, but it ain’t. Actually with a just OK makeup rating, there is a good chance he may not make these ratings. Still if he does, he’ll be good just that he’ll not be able to give Ottawa a lot of IPs
Rating 6.5

14 Buffalo Blue Cheese – Douglas Finnessey RF (Bonus 2.8 Mill)
Douglas has the potential to be a solid hitter at the ML level. The thing I’ve found though is with guys with both splits being just good; they tend to be inconsistent from one season to the next. Though Douglas could beat this rap with solid contact rating and great batting eye, if he reaches his potential ratings. The major drawback I see with this prospect is his durability, it’s a little low.
Rating 8.0

15 Seattle Killer Whales – Gregg Schierholtz RF/1B (Bonus 4.0 Mill)
From the 15th spot this is a good pick. Judging the money spent I’d say he was one of those guys who had a shot at NOT signing. With RH split potential and solid power combined with good contact & batting eye ratings..Gregg should be a real good contributor at the dish for the Orcas. He should hit for a decent average as well hitting his share of long flies.
Rating 9.0

16 Boston Bambinos – Otto Millar SP (Bonus 2.6 Mill)
Again another really good pick this far into the first round. One could very well argue this the best pitcher taken to this point and I’d be hard pressed to prove you otherwise. Solid pitch quality, a real good RH split, decent control and enough stamina to go 6-7 innings. Not to mention very good durability, so lots of appearances.
Rating 9.5

17 New York Knickerbockers – Manny Martin SP (Bonus 2.5 Mill)
With their second pick of the first round the Knickerbockers take another pitcher. Like the previous pick this prospect has pretty decent pitching ratings overall BUT this pick has a couple of very glaring weaknesses. Firstly his makeup rating is ‘iffy’ so even getting him to these potential will be tough. The most important weakness is his stamina, it’s definitely not starting pitching worthy. He could be very useful out of the bullpen, again that’s if they can get him to his potential
Rating 7.0

18 Louisville Legends – Gerald Robbins CF (Bonus 2.4 Mill)
Here is another one of the older prospect that was available in this draft. Gerald isn’t that far from his potential ratings. The only this is, I feel his potential is marginal MLer..sorry to say (at from I see). His splits don’t look like they will be good enough to be a steady contributor at the plate. Yes his contact should be good and batting eye okay but… His defensive ratings are definitely possible ML stuff, just will have to see if the bat gets better than what I see.
Rating 6.5

19 Cheyenne Frozen Rope – Alfonso Reynoso SP (Bonus 2.3 Mill)
I saw this guy in my prospect list and started to think ‘here is the guy I want’. THEN I saw his control rating and that thought disappeared pretty fast. I’ve found that while splits and pitch quality can make up for marginal control, bad control is another thing altogether. Now, I feel he still can make for a respectable LP guy out of the pen, but I seriously doubt he’ll be a consistent ML starter.
Rating 6.5

20 New Orleans Voodoo – Livan Guillen C (Bonus 2.2 Mill)
Here is what has to be the steal of the draft, especially when you consider when he is taken, price paid AND then you look at Livan’s potential. A catcher that can hit and is solid catcher (has a good arm and PC ability). I mean this guy will hit at the ML level and not be a liability behind the plate…actually he’ll be an asset. The only thing is he has the usual durability of a catcher. Still if the Voodoo can get him to these potential ratings, here is an annual A/S.
Rating 10

21 Boise Shadow Wolves – Ismael Delgado SP (Bonus 3.3 Mill)
Once again here is a prospect that at first glance looks like he should’ve been a much higher pick. His splits and pitch quality should be excellent and his control is okay. BUT it’s his stamina and health ratings that dropped him. His potential stamina is just barely SP material with the ability to maybe go 6 innings at most. Also his health rating is marginal, so keeping him off the DL may prove difficult and his make up rating is just okay as well. So getting him to these potential rating will be a challenge
Rating 7.5

22 Trenton Traffic – Neil Clark RP (Bonus 2 Mill)
I mentioned before this draft a fair number of pitchers with really high splits and just okay pitch quality. Here is a closer prospect with this combination. The thing he also has is the potential for really good velocity and he’s a lefty. If the Traffic can get this prospect to his potential, they very well could have potential Fireman Award winner. Only knock on this one might be his stamina and durability combination, a little low but still I’d say acceptable.
Rating 8.5

23 St. Louis River City RAGE – Chad Phillette CF (Bonus 1.9 Mill)
While there is nothing really wrong with this prospect, he’s not exactly spectacular either. He’s got the potential to be a steady everyday player for St. Louis. His potential RH split should enable him to hit with a decent average. Also, his potential power isn’t bad, so Chad might make a decent #5 guy in the batting order. Again while not great, still not bad either
Rating 7.5

24 Salt Lake City Shakers – Denny Stetter 2B (Bonus 1.8 Mill)
This could practically be a repeat of what I said for the previous draft pick. Denny should make for a solid MLer if he makes these projections. Unlike the one above, he does have speed but his durability is just marginal. So he could make for a decent #2 man in the order who will have to be platooned. Good thing his RH will be pretty good
Rating 7.5

25 Kansas City Scouts – Gregory Robinson C (Bonus 1.7 Mill)
Well here is the third catcher taken in the first round of the draft. Also, he another one who should be an asset hitting and catching. His stamina is usual for the his position, still he’ll be a solid contributor to the line up when he does play. Taken at this point in the draft, I’m sure the Scouts are really pleased at this pick.
Rating 9.5

26 Austin City Limits – Albert Ford CF (Bonus 1.7 Mill)
At this point in the first round it’s not unusual to see his type taken. He again fits into the category of good but not great group. His splits will mean he’ll be a little inconsistent offensively but defensively he should be a solid fielder. If he makes these potential he’ll be a bottom of the order type of hitter. Still for this spot in the first round, this is a safe pick
Rating 7.5

27 Anaheim Chiles – Kelly Perez CF (Bonus 1.6 Mill)
This is another one those picks I’m curious to see what kind of MLer he’ll make. His defensive potential for CF looks great. His speed and contact should make him a lead off hitter; his solid split will help there too. I’m not sure if his very low batting eye will hinder this potential. His health could definitely hamper him getting this potential. This rating is marginal but again this is a positional guy so long as he doesn’t spend long stints on the DL, he should be able to get the playing time needed
Rating 8.0

28 Montgomery Alibamu – Bernie Alou SS (Bonus 3.1 Mill)
Montgomery took a shot and picked a prospect with a chance of not signing. To be rather frank, when considering the price paid and what I see as his potential maybe it would have been better if he’d hadn’t signed. He’s defensive potential isn’t really ML calibre and his hitting ratings are overall marginal at best. I don’t see Bernie being a starter at the ML level, maybe bench material IF he makes it at all.
Rating 4.0

29 Anaheim Chiles – Reginald Blank 1b/DH (Bonus 1.4 Mill)
Well Anaheim gets two round pick this close together and they take a decent future first baseman with the second of the picks. Reg should become good hitter at the ML level, with very good splits, contact, eye and decent power ratings. He’ll hit for a good average and hit his share of homers, but again he does have the common flaw for his position; that being durability – platoon city. Still a decent pick this late in the round.
Rating 7.5

30 Boston Bambinos – Storm Cassidy SP (Bonus 1.3 Mill)
Well at the risk of stating this again, here is another one of those usual late first round safe picks. Storm will not be a top of the rotation guy but could be a solid dependable #4 guy. That’s not bad really at this point in the draft. Nothing really bad here just nothing great either.
Rating 7.5

31 Atlanta Bandits – Edgar Ortiz SS (Not signed – wanted 1.1 Mill)
My scouts didn’t see Edgar so I’ve got no exact ratings on him. But judging from what his demands are, he doesn’t look like a guy who was at risk of not signing. Could be wrong though. My guess is that Atlanta didn't think he's worth the price.
Rating Zero

32 Washington D.C. Blue Coats – Adam Jones (Bonus 1.1 Mill)
Adam has the potential to become a decent bullpen pitcher; he doesn’t have the pitch quality of a starter. Also, he doesn’t have the splits to make up for the lack of pitch quality. Still he might make for decent lefty coming out of the pen IF he makes these potential ratings.
Rating 6.0

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Amateur Draft Season 11

For a lot of cities (especially in those with fans who know they won't be buying playoff tickets this season), the Amateur Draft is a lot like Christmas, as their team gets to unwrap and get to know what they hope is a future star. But, as we know, not all Christmas presents are the same. So which teams got the latest electronic gadgets and which teams got the ugly sweaters?


Pick: IF Keith Sele

For the third time in 4 seasons, the Lions get the first pick in the draft. Sele is an interesting pick to head an interesting class. He may have the most talent on the board and should be a very good hitter, but I'm not convinced he's a sure star like Joe Grace and Floyd Floyd seemed to be going into their respective draft years. He's listed as a SS, but I'm not sure he can play it in the majors. He also missed some time at Spoon River due to some injuries that some scouts say could nag him throughout his career. It remains to be seen. Grade: A-


Pick: 2B Kevin Lawson

He's no defensive wizard, but Lawson has a rare combination of ability to make contact and power. Should be a middle of the order hitter in the majors someday. He seems like more of a sure thing than Sele, but Sele has a bigger potential upside. Grade: A


Pick: SP Braden Carroll

If he can put his pitches together, he's got the look of an ace. He's a hard throwing lefty and lefties in his college league had a really hard time picking up his sinker due to the way he throws. Good starting pitching is hard to find; Minnesota just got a potential #1 starter. Grade: A+


Pick: P Howie Harding

He's got four solid pitches and fairly good stuff, but is he a starter or a reliever? Scranton management is really going to have to keep an eye on him to try and get as many quality innings out of him as they can. His stuff is good, but not great. He's a first-round talent, but I'm not sure a guy with this many question marks should go in the top 5. Grade: C


Pick: Posiedon Hemmingway

New York's Posiedon Adventure could be a dud for all the quality right-handed hitters in the AL East, as Hemmingway was untouchable against them in high school. Scouts say that you can't always go by high school numbers, but this guy's stuff should translate. The questions about him are having only two decent pitches and that lefties stand a chance. Grade: A-


Pick: 2B Henry Sewell

Sewell is a solid (not great) hitter, but he seems to be a future #2 hitter: he's got a lot of speed, can bunt, can move runners, and runs the bases fairly well. Grade: B+


Pick: SP Francis Peterson

As a fellow NL East denizen, I am not going to enjoy seeing this guy around for years to come. He's a bulldog who will easily throw over 200 innings in his prime. He throws hard and is dominant against righties. The only question is he doesn't have a dominant pitch; he's got three decent ones. I think it will be enough. Grade: A+


Pick: C/1B Rodrigo Melendez

Benji Stewart was the 5th overall pick in season 1 and, until this pick, had the highest signing bonus in the history of the league. Melendez is the first draftee to get an 8-figure bonus. If he winds up at catcher and hits like he's capable of hitting, Fargo fans are likely to think he's worth every penny. This grade goes down if he winds up at 1B. Grade: A+


Pick: Bob Zambrano, 1B

For a 1B to be picked this high, you'd hope he'd be special. Zambrano isn't special, but he is awfully good. This is a pick I would love in the mid to late teens; this may be a little high. On the other hand, he went right to AA ball and is ripping up the pitching there, so he may be for real. Grade: B+


Pick: SS Ron Rudolph

He's going to get a long look at shortstop in the minors because if he can cut it, he'll be one of the best hitting shortstops in the league one day. That is, if he can stay on the field, which is a big time question about this guy. This pick is a very significant gamble. Grade: B+


Pick: RP Vinny King

He's a versitale reliever capable of going multiple innings and is very tough on righties. His fastball is very good; his slurve is serviceable. It will be interesting to see how the Maulers decide to use this guy. Grade: A


Pick: SP Miguel Taverez

If Salem was looking for a lefty in the mold of Sammy Garrido, I don't think they got it. If they were looking for a guy to fall into the rotation behind Garrido, they may have found it. He's got 4 decent to solid pitches and is fairly good against both lefties and righties. So he's not exceptional at anything but is solid across the board. He could be an injury risk (notice a theme developing here?). Grade: B+


Pick: Harvey Simmons

As opposed to King, Simmons is more of your traditional 1-inning closer. He should be very effective at it. He's got a nasty curveball that gets both lefties and righties off balance. Grade: A


Pick: RF Douglas Finnessey

A bit of an oddity, as he's a lefty who seems to hit lefties a lot better than righties. The lack of hitting against right handed pitching may hold him back, but he's a good hitter with an outstanding knowledge of the strike zone and a solid right fielder. Grade: B+


Pick: RF Gregg Schierholtz

We have two back-to-back picks at the same position but who are very different. Schierholtz is a righty who crushes righties and is mediocre against lefties. He's not as good defensively as Finnesey, but he's got massive power in his 6'1", 188lb. frame. Grade: A-


Pick: SP Otto Millar

Boston has needed pitching since dinosaurs roamed the earth. They get a fairly good one in Millar, who isn't overpowering but pitches cerebrally and tries to trick hitters. Righties have a hard time with him (lefties see his stuff a little better) and, unlike some of the other heralded prospects in this draft, he's not likely to get hurt badly. Grade: B+


Pick: SP Manny Martin

Four picks in the AL East, four starting pitchers. This ain't a division, it's an arms race. Lefties are going to want to face Martin about as much as righties will want to face Hemmingway; that is to say, they won't be running up to the plate. His lack of a dominant pitch is his big question mark. At #17, this is a solid pick. Grade: A-


Pick: CF Gerald Robbins

And just like that, the AL East streak is broken. Instead of a pitcher, Louisville gets a centerfielder who can run, is great defensively, and is a very average hitter. Grade: B-


Pick: SP Alfonso Reynoso

I just don't know what to make of this one. The scouts agree he's got great stuff, but he doesn't know where the ball is going, and most think it will completely inhibit his ability to be a quality or even a serviceable major league pitcher. He's likely to dominate the lower minor levels, but scouts don't think he'll ever pan out. I won't fail him (a la Bob Ramsey), just in case he does somehow find a way to overcome his lack of control. Grade: D


Pick: C Livan Guillen

Guillen has the potential to be a solid defensive catcher and a great offensive one. He's got a world of power and hammers lefties. If New Orleans sees him as the catcher of the future, they should get a second catcher who can play fairly regularly, as Guillen won't be able to play 120 games in a season. But he will be a force in the lineup when he does play and is well worth it this late in the first round. Grade: A


Pick: SP Ismael Delgado

Delgado appears to be a solid #2 or #3 type starter, which is a pretty good haul this late in the draft. His control is a bit questionable (he's not nearly as wild as Reynoso) and he throws really hard. He's another injury risk, though. Grade: B+


Pick: RP Neil Clark

Another prototypical closer, Clark is a flamethrowing lefty who is almost unhittable from the left side. He'll be a very good closer if he can get righties out enough; if not, he'll be a good setup guy. Grade: B


Pick: CF Chad Pillette

He's a skinny looking kid, but he can sure hit. He's solid defensively and has good speed, and he's a good hitter. An absolute steal this late in the round. Grade: A


Pick: 2B Denny Stetter

Just what Salt Lake City needs: yet another dangerous hitter. Has middling power and doesn't necessarily own lefties, but does everything else well- he's good defensively, can run, and is a nice line drive hitter. Grade: A-


Pick: C Gregory Robinson

Robinson is a solid two-way catcher; he's got a good arm and will definitely hit. Like Guillen, he's never going to play 120 to 130 games a season, and he's a bit of an injury risk. But at pick number 25, it's probably a risk worth taking. Grade: A-


Pick: CF Albert Ford

Austin gets a centerfielder who is quite good defensively and has some pop in his bat. The lefthanded hitter isn't a great pure hitter, but he should hit more than well enough to stay in an ML lineup. Good, solid pick. Grade: B+


Pick: CF Kelly Perez

An intriguing pick. Scouts say he'll be outstanding defensively with plus speed and hits both lefties and righties. He's a top-notch bunter and runs the bases well. He seems to be tailored to a leadoff position, so the lack of power is excusable. His only issue could be his plate discipline- in high school he sometimes swung at pitches Vladimir Guerrero would take. Grade: A-


Pick: SS Bernie Alou

Where does he fit in? His glove is borderline for shortstop, but he won't hit enough for a corner position. He's either a SS or a CF. He's a natural athlete that Montgomery trusts they can find a role for in their organization. Grade: B


Pick: 1B Reginald Blank

This guy may not ever put up MVP, but he'll be a middle of the order type hitter. This lefty should hit righties well and knows the strike zone. For a 1B, he's solid defensively (I wouldn't try him out anywhere else, though). Grade: A


Pick: SP Storm Cassidy

Big surprise: Boston takes a starting pitcher. Not sure if there's a future Hall of Fame member in the group, but more importantly, I don't think they missed on any of them. Cassidy is a solid middle of the rotation type guy who can get guys out (righties in particular) with a plus curveball. Grade: B+


Pick: SS Edgar Ortiz

Still unsigned.


Pick: SP Adam Jones

Jones is a lefty starter who won't turn out the be the best baseball player ever from Havre de Grace, MD (some guy named Ripken owns that distinction). But he's a middle of the rotation type guy with good control and a decent fastball. Another solid pick at the end of the round. Grade: B+


Pick: SP Brent Gagnon

The Sultans head to the islands for this one. Gagnon, a Hawaii native, is a junkballing lefty with a tough slider and a pretty good forkball. Another middle of the rotation type guy who, oddly enough, can probably outrun a fair number of the position prospects in the round. Grade: B

After fast start, AL needs comeback to best NL

Cheyenne's Weston takes MVP honors

Early on, it looked as though the American League would cruise to a victory in this season's All-Star Game.

Cruz tops Terrero for Derby crown

Norfolk first baseman Al Cruz captured this year's Home Run Derby crown by blasting a total of 29 home runs over three rounds. Cruz notched 20 home runs through the first two round which was good enough for him to enter the final round where he faced Huntington's Yorvit Terrero. Cruz would mash nine home runs to Terrero's six en route to being crowned Derby champion.

Cruz actually needed a swing-off to even make it to round two, as he and Huntington's Monte Duvall were tied with five homeruns a piece after round one. Cruz won the swing-off and then crushed the field in round two with 13 home runs, nearly double the next highest total for the round.

Though he fell short of winning the Home Run Derby, Terrero did earn the distinction of having hit the longest home run in the contest. In the final round, Terrero hit a 533-foot bomb to left field.