Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Floyd dominates final round to win Derby

Chew outfielder puts on a show

Charleston Chew outfielder Floyd Floyd had some tough competition in this year's Home Run Derby but a monster final round secured the title. Floyd bashed 16 home runs in a final round showdown against Norfolk's Geovany Manzanillo to win the season 13 Home Run Derby. Floyd finished the Derby with a total of 38 homeruns with his longest being a 532 foot blast that came in round 3.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Season 13: Midseason awards

With the All-Star game fast approaching and all 32 teams now starting the second half of their schedules, it's time for a look at the season's highlights thus far, and to hand out awards for the league's best performances.

AL MVP: Floyd Floyd, Charleston
"Double F" is leading the Chew toward their best season in a decade. He's one of only three players in the AL with an OPS over 1.0, and is the only player doing so while playing home games in a pitcher's park. His defense at both 2B and LF has been excellent, and he's already nearing a 30/30 season.
Runner-Up: Vin Logan, Monterrey

NL MVP: Heath Christiansen, Vancouver
The Grizzlies' 55 wins lead the NL, and no Grizzly has been more instrumental to the team's leap into the league's upper echelon than Christiansen. He ranks in the top 10 in nearly every offensive category, including a league-leading 75 RBI. He has also played stellar defense at first base.
Runner-Up: George Lowe, Salt Lake City

AL Cy Young:Vernon Taubensee, St. Louis
The AL Cy Young may be the easiest piece of hardware to give out at this point. Taubensee rather incredibly leads the league in batting average against (.176), on-base percentage against (.264), slugging percentage against (.296), WHIP (1.01), and ERA (2.45). If he is able to maintain his torrid pace, he'll finish with one of the best individual seasons for any pitcher in AL history.
Runner-Up: Stone Curtis, Montgomery

NL Cy Young: Ossie Acker, Vancouver
Wins are a lousy indicator of pitching success - but Acker's 17-1 midseason record should still impress even the most ardent statheads. But that's not all: his 2.17 ERA leads the league, his 1.16 WHIP is fifth, and he's one of only a handful of pitchers with over 100 strikeouts already. He's also the only pitcher in either league who has recorded 2 shutouts.
Runner-Up: Javier Henriquez, Fargo

AL Rookie of the Year: Kent Swindell, Milwaukee
In a down year for American League rookies, Swindell's .797 OPS and 13 steals stand out. The 24-year-old CF should develop into one of the league's better players.
Runner-Up: Ignacio Sanchez, Montgomery

NL Rookie of the Year: Antone Hoover, Syracuse
Hoover's 70 RBI not only leads all rookies in baseball, but it's good enough for 4th among all NL players. His .298/.357/.537 batting line is impressive as well. Hoover is proving a wonderfully capable replacement for departed free agent Jacque Puffer.
Runner-Up: Charles Hultzen, San Juan

Player of the Year: Raul Vallarta, Mexico City/Atlanta
Vallarta - who hasn't yet played enough games for Bandits to be considered an NL MVP candidate - is having a truly astounding year: 63 runs scored, 14 homers, 54 walks (to only 32 strikeouts), 21 steals in 23 attempts, a .363 batting average, and a jaw-dropping .463 OBP. And, oh yes, playing solid defense at both 2B and in the outfield.
Runner-Up: Ossie Acker, Vancouver

Best Games of the Year: Carter Leonard and Willie Pineda's No-Hitters
Few accomplishments in baseball - particularly in the offense-happy realm of WhatIf Sports - top a no-hitter. How wonderful it is that we've already seen not one, but two, no-hit games this season.
Runner-Up: Tony Javier goes 5-for-6, hits for the cycle

Manager of the Year: shobob, Vancouver
No manager has done more with less so far this season than shobob. Despite having a player payroll of just $52 million, and only 2 players with an overall rating of 80 or higher, the Grizzlies are not only in first place in the NL North, but have the best record in the NL and are on track for their best season ever.
Runner-Up: kjmulli, Fargo

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mexico City trades Vallarta, Lim in separate deals

Chupacabras continue to strip-down roster

The Mexico City Chupacabras unloaded two more superstars in two separate deals this week to continue the franchise's rebuilding process.

The Chupacabras dealt CF Raul Vallarta to the Atlanta Bandits for starting pitcher Neifi Gonzalez and pitching prospect Harry Beltran. The 27-year-old Vallarta, a three-time All-Star, is batting .369 this season with 12 home runs, 41 RBI and a 1.054 OPS.

The second deal featured future Hall-of-Famer Alex Lim being shipped to Helena for designated hitter Tony Iglesias and pitching prospect Juan Ontiveros. Before the trade, Lim was batting .313 with 12 home runs, 31 RBI and a .960 OPS.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Chicago selects King with top draft pick

With their #1 overall pick in Season 13's amateur player draft, the Chicago Cows selected Oklahoma prep star Frank King. The 18-year-old King hails from the tiny town of Beggs, just south of Tulsa, and attended Tulsa's Bishop Kelley High School, where he primarily played second base and center field. While at Bishop Kelley, he set or tied numerous state records for hitting, including Mickey Mantle's mark for career home runs. The late Commerce Comet is one of King's baseball idols - he even started switch-hitting out of admiration for Mantle - and there's more than a passing resemblance between their skills as players. King has, as once scout put it, "power and speed that's simply unnatural to see in such a young kid, with plenty of potential to continue to develop both". The Tulsa World recently interviewed one old-timer who's been watching area baseball since World War II, who was quoted as saying "If you squint hard when you watch King hit, it's easy to think you're seeing Mickey Mantle all over again".

All comparisons aside, King was universally regarded as the best high school position player in the country (opinions are split over whether pitcher Antonio Bolton, drafted 3rd by San Francisco, is a better player overall) and has a scholarship offer from nearly every major NCAA baseball program. However, he's not a pick without any risks - like Mantle, he has a history of injuries, and Baseball America described his work ethic as "somewhat questionable". But for the Cows, his upside was just too great to ignore, and they hope that in a few years he can become the face of the franchise.

As of this writing, the Cows are still negotiating the details of King's contract with his agent, Harry Diaz, but a source close to the negotiations says that he will "almost certainly" sign with Chicago, perhaps in the next few days.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Dirtbags complete trade for Almanza

Starter gives Fargo formidable 1-2 in rotation

The Mexico City Chupacabras recently announced that the club will listen to offers for all players and now the first piece of the rebuilding puzzle has been moved. The Chupacabras sent former Cy Young winner Fausto Almanza to Fargo in exchange for pitching prospects Vic Lopez and Vinny Meares. Almanza will join Fargo ace Javier Henriquez at the top of the Dirtbags rotation, giving the team a formidable 1-2 punch.

Almanza is 5-4 this season with a 4.01 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 13 starts for Mexico City. Mexico City also sent $4 million to Fargo to help with Almanza's salary for this season. The starter is scheduled to make $7 million in the final year of his contract next season.

To make room on the roster for Almanza, the Dirtbags designated starter Yogi Hissey for assignment.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dirtbags win bid for Gonzales

Dominican receives third-highest bonus ever

Though the Fargo Dirtbags recently lost out on the bidding for international sensation Tito Whang, they managed to sign another international star with just as bright a future ahead of him. The Dirtbags announced the signing of Dominican 1B prospect Cesar Gonzales to a 3-year major league deal that includes a $30 million bonus. The $30 million bonus is the third-highest given to an IFA in The Bigs history and narrowly edged the total amount offered to Gonzales by Charleston. Scouts around the league say that Gonzales has the potential to be a future Hall-of-Famer and the durability to play 162 games a season. He began his professional career with Fargo's HiA team earlier this afternoon and went 0-3 with two walks.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Pierce hits DL again

Loses two more points off overall rating

Future Hall of Famer Sammy Pierce was placed on the 15-day disabled list with soreness in his shoulder. The 35-year-old Huntington starting pitcher has now been placed on the disabled list twice since joining the Riverdogs prior to season 12. Last season, Pierce was placed on the 60-day DL for the first time in his career with a shoulder sprain.

Pierce has now lost a total of seven points off of his overall rating since the beginning of season 12, thanks in large part to the pair of injuries.