Monday, May 30, 2011

Opening Day in Tweets Part II

North Stars shine over Grizzlies in Vancouver.

Sultans of Swat protect their goats from Chupacabras in Monterrey.

Bambinos keep their Knickers from bunching in New York.

O-Jays calm the RAGE in St. Louis.

Bandits tip some Cows in Atlanta.

Killer whales crunch on some Crackers in Seattle.

Bombers get Shaken and implode in Salt Lake City.

Bunnies are Dead Wood in San Juan.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Opening Day in Tweets

Blue Cheese are Mauled to death in Milwaukee.

Hillbillies get Chewed up in Nashville.

Janitors clean up the Red in Cincinnati.

Wolves eat Chiles for breakfast in Anaheim.

Voodoo doesn't work on Dogs in New Orleans.

Sand covers up the Dirt in Fargo.

Sabercats eat the Sacrifice in Salem.

Blue Coats avoid Destruction in Washington.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Bigs Anti-Tanking Act

Please choose one of the following rules to be set in place for all owners in The Bigs beginning season 14:

A. Owners must have a minimum player payroll of $30 million.
B. Owners must have a prospect budget that does not exceed $30 million.
C. Owners must win a minimum of 50 games at the ML level each season or they will be automatically ejected from the league the following season.
D. Owners must win a minimum of 50 games at the ML level each season or they will face a league vote to determine whether or not they will remain in the league.
E. Owners must win a minimum of 168 games at the ML level over any three season span or they will be automatically ejected from the league the following season.

B: 2
C: 10
D: 3
E: 4

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Stevenson retires

Two-time MVP calls it quits

One of the greatest hitters in the history of The Bigs has decided to call it a career. Long-time Milwaukee outfielder/first baseman Burt Stevenson has announced his retirement from baseball at the age of 39.

A four-time All-Star, Stevenson won two American League MVP Awards (seasons 2 and 6) while with Milwaukee and was a part of two World Series championship teams (Milwaukee, season 4 and St. Louis, season 11).

The future Hall of Famer finishes his career tied for second all-time in career slugging percentage with a .610 mark. He totaled 440 home runs, 1249 RBI and 1042 runs scored as well as a .310 batting average and 1.000 OPS.

Sandmen capture World title

Syracuse sweeps Buffalo for crown

The Syracuse Sandmen may have flown a bit under the radar all season and entered the season 13 playoffs as the underdog six seed. But once the playoffs got underway, the focus of the entire baseball world shifted to the Sandmen.

Syracuse blew through each opponent they faced in the playoffs to the tune of a 14-1 record on their way to the franchise's first World Series championship. The Sandmen defeated the third seeded Washington D.C. Blue Coats three games to one in the first round. They then went on to sweep Vancouver in three games in the DCS, Salt Lake City in four games in the NLCS and, finally, the Buffalo Blue Cheese in four games in the World Series.

Sandmen ace Alberto Vidal was dominant throughout the playoffs for Syracuse, winning all four games he started. Vidal posted a 1.80 ERA and 1.13 WHIP with 58 strikeouts in 30 playoff innings pitched.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Hoover/Christiansen named Co-MVPs

Record-setting Acker takes NL Cy Young

The National League MVP voters just couldn't decide whether to give the award to Heath Christiansen of Vancouver or rookie Antone Hoover of Syracuse. So, they gave it to both of them. Christiansen paced the Vancouver Grizzlies with a .327 batting average, 31 home runs, 127 RBI and a .954 OPS while rookie first baseman Hoover led the world champion Sandmen by hitting .325 with 36 home runs, 130 RBI and a .955 OPS. Hoover also took home the Rookie of the Year honors in the National League.

Montgomery's Thurman Allen was awarded the American League MVP all to himself. Allen led The Bigs with a .340 batting average while also hitting 35 home runs, 114 RBI and posting a 1.004 OPS. The Alibamu first baseman also earned a Gold Glove for his stellar defensive play throughout the season.

Anyone assuming to see Javier Henriquez win another NL Cy Young Award apparently wasn't paying enough attention to the Grizzlies' Ossie Acker. Acker set a new single season record for wins by achieving a 26-6 record to earn him his first career Cy Young Award. Acker posted a 2.69 ERA and 1.09 WHIP for the season with 179 strikeouts in 254.2 innings pitched.

The AL Cy Young Award went to Buffalo's D'Angelo Martin who sported a 23-4 record with a 3.33 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 178 strikeouts in 243.1 innings pitched.

Rounding out the voting, the AL Rookie of the Year Award was presented to Jose Gonzalez of the Scranton Janitors. The rookie third baseman batted .304 with 12 home runs and 64 RBI in 112 games of major league action while posting a .815 OPS.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Season 13 in Review, Part III: Awards

With season 13 now complete, it's time to hand out a few awards.

Antone Hoover, Syracuse

NL Rookie of the Year and co-MVP, World Series champion - what more needs to be said about this kid? Although he wasn't, statistically speaking, the best hitter in the majors this season, Hoover is probably the biggest story of the season. This may be the first of many Player of the Year awards for an emerging superstar.

Runner-Up: Raul Vallarta, Mexico City/Atlanta

Ossie Acker, Vancouver

After years of Javier Henriquez being the league's most dominant pitcher, another top pitcher has finally emerged good enough to compete with Fargo's Ace of Aces. Acker carved up the majors in impressive fashion while helping Vancouver to its second-ever division title. He and Henriquez put up nearly-identical stats this season, but Acker pitches in a tougher home park, so he gets the Pitcher of the Year nod.

Runner-Up: Javier Henriquez, Fargo

flipdog0, Buffalo

It's a tough call on this one as there were several deserving candidates (particularly shobob, who won 96 games while spending just $53M in player salaries), but flipdog0 takes the cake for bringing Buffalo to its first postseason berth ever, and then taking them all the way to the World Series.

Runner-Up: shobob, Vancouver

As we remember the previous few months, it's important not only to remember the good, but to be able to laugh at ourselves for some of the bad. In that spirit, here are the winners of the "prestigious" Iron Glove and Tin Slugger awards for Season 13.

Presented to the worst fielder at each position

P Don McConnell, Boise
C Rick Anderson, Boston
1B Ruben Hernandez, Boston
2B Gerald Duran, San Francisco
3B Andres Paniagua, Huntington
SS Ignacio Diaz, Cheyenne
LF Dennis Tamura, Cheyenne
CF Roscoe Peters, Cheyenne
RF Harold Lewis, Boston

Presented to the worst hitter at each position

C Chuck Reed, Cheyenne
1B Wally Harvey, Cheyenne
2B Alex Beltran, New York
3B Brook Teut, Milwaukee
SS Harold James, Mexico City
LF Ray Tucker and Ramon Chang, Syracuse
CF Bartolo Barcelo, Seattle
RF Tony Burnitz, Atlanta
DH Oswaldo Guerrero, Seattle

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Season 13 in Review, Part II: International FAs

Continuing the look back at season 13, here's an examination of this season's major ($4 million signing bonus or more) international free-agent signings. (Players are listed in alphabetical order.)

Age 18 - Dominican Republic
Signed by Chicago for $8.4M

Carrasco is an excellent defensive shortstop with good speed who projects to be a decent ML hitter, with average contact and power and an above-average batting eye. He's good enough with the glove to merit a spot in a big-league starting lineup someday, but will probably spend his career at the bottom of the batting order.
Season 13 stats: .300/.424/.375, 1 HR, 0 SB in 19 games (Rookie League)
Player Potential:
Draft Equivalent: Late Round 1/Supplemental Round
Signing Bonus Value: B-

Age 18 - Dominican Republic
Signed by Scranton for $13.7M

Cortazar is the best reliever to come out of the international market this season, with a 1-2 punch of fastball and curve that both project to be among the best pitches in the bigs someday. He throws them with oustanding control and velocity and is equally effective against lefties and righties. His poor stamina and durability limit how much he can be used, but he's still terrifically effective at getting outs.
Season 13 stats: 2.29 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 10 BB, 46 SO in 39 1/3 innings (Low A)
Player Potential:
Draft equivalent: Mid/Late Round 1
Signing Bonus Value: B

Age 18 - Panama
Signed by Scranton for $13.6M

Cortes is another excellent two-pitch reliever. Like Cortazar, he throws very hard and has very good control, and although his pitches (a fastball and palmball) aren't quite as impressive, they certainly have great potential. Unlike Cortazar, Cortes has the durability to see frequent use as a setup man or closer.
Season 13 stats: Did not play (Signed late in season)
Player Potential:
Draft Equivalent: Mid/Late Round 1
Signing Bonus Value: B

Age 19 - Dominican Republic
Signed by Fargo for $30.0M

Gonzales became the best hitting prospect in the league the moment he signed. What else can you say about someone who projects to have perfect 100 ratings in not one, but two separate hitting categories? He's not much of a fielder or baserunner, but when you can hit like he does, who's to complain? A $30M signing bonus isn't a great value for anybody, but Gonzales almost totally justifies it.
Season 13 stats: .322/.409/.774, 58 HR, 1 SB in 112 games (High A)
Player Potential:
Draft Equivalent: Top 5
Signing Bonus Value: B+

Age 20 - Dominican Republic
Signed by Helena for $4.3M

James is one of the best pure hitters to enter the pro ranks this season, either through the draft or free agency. However, when I say "pure hitter", I really mean it: he can't field any position, run the bases, or condition himself well enough to play more than 2/3 of a big-league season. Still, a hitter like James will have a place in the majors someday, no matter what his deficiencies.
Season 13 stats: .444/.563/.937, 22 HR, 0 SB in 56 games (Rookie League)
Player Potential:
Draft Equivalent: Supplemental Round/Round 2
Signing Bonus Value: A

Age 18 - Japan
Signed by Minnesota for $16.0M

A high-school star in Japan, Katou bypassed the J-Leagues altogether to play in the states - a wise choice considering his potential. A finesse pitcher with excellent control and a killer sinkerball, Katou will make a great #2 starter someday so long as his low makeup doesn't hinder his development too much.
Season 13 stats: 2.45 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 14 BB, 60 SO in 62 1/3 innings (Rookie League)
Player Potential:
Draft Equivalent: Top 10
Signing Bonus Value: A-

Age 18 - Mexico
Signed by New York for $15.0M

Lee is very good at a lot of things, but not truly great at any of them. He projects to hit for good contact and power, have good speed, and should be a good fielder at his position; about the only tool he has that's truly outstanding is a great eye at the plate. He should be a good everyday SS someday, but don't count on him being a truly distinguished one in any way.
Season 13 stats: .316/.430/.480, 6 HR, 10 SB in 77 games (Low A)
Player Potential:
Draft Equivalent: Early/Mid Round 1
Signing Bonus Value: B

Age 22 - Dominican Republic
Signed by Washington for $6.0M

Lopez is a near-ML-ready prospect who is already a top power hitter with very good speed. He's a free swinger who has mediocre contact-hitting and batting-eye skills, but he can slug with the best of them. There's not much room for Lopez to grow as a player, but he should make an impact at the big-league level very soon.
Season 13 stats: .297/.355/.590, 22 HR, 10 SB in 79 games (AAA)
Player Potential:
Draft Equivalent: Mid/Late Round 1
Signing Bonus Value: A

Age 22 - South Korea
Signed by Huntington for $11.8M

Ma is a hard-throwing left-hander with good control and an outstanding split-finger fastball. However, none of his three other pitches really have better-than-average potential, and he's a bit weak against right-handed hitters. He'll find his way into a major-league rotation someday (and likely soon, given his age), but his potential doesn't seem to match his near-$12M signing bonus.
Season 13 stats: 1.16 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 5 BB, 18 SO in 31 innings (AA)
Player Potential:
Draft Equivalent: Mid/Late Round 1
Signing Bonus Value: C

Age 22 - Venezuela
Signed by Syracuse for $14.8M

Montanez is a dependable righty reliever with a hellacious sinkerball, a solid changeup, and good control. He's not a spectacular player by any means, but he does have the advantage of already being good enough to contribute at the ML level - no need to wait for him to develop. This was still a high price for the Sandmen to pay for him, though.
Season 13 stats: 1.13 ERA, 0.63 WHIP, 2 BB, 8 SO in 8 innings (ML)
Player Potential:
Draft Equivalent: Late Round 1/Supplemental Round
Signing Bonus Value: C+

Age 18 - Dominican Republic
Signed by Vancouver for $17.2M

Moreno is a truly terrific hitter and one of the highest-impact prospects to surface either in the draft or the international market this season. He excels in every way at the plate, and projects to be a fine corner outfielder to boot. It's quite honestly amazing that the Grizzles managed to get their paws on him for less than $20 million.
Season 13 stats: .276/.400/.538, 18 HR, 0 SB in 78 games (High A)
Player Potential:
Draft Equivalent: Top 5
Signing Bonus Value: A

Age 18 - Dominican Republic
Signed by Louisville for $17.0M

Ortega is one of the best all-around shortstop prospects to enter the league in years. He projects to be an excellent fielder at his position, has lots of speed, and hits well for both power and contact with a good eye at the plate. He's not quite "all-world" quality either offensively or defensively, but he's near the top in both categories. This is an excellent signing for the money.
Season 13 stats: .000/.000/.000, 0 HR, 0 SB in 1 game (Rookie League)
Player Potential:
Draft Equivalent: Top 10
Signing Bonus Value: A

Age 18 - Cuba
Signed by San Francisco for $4.3M

Ozuna doesn't quite belong as either a starter or reliever. He projects to have a starter's stamina, but with just three pitches - only one of which is truly good - he would probably do much better out of the bullpen. Overall, nothing about him is truly impressive, and other pitchers this good could be had for half as much.
Season 13 stats: 0.00 ERA, 0.33 WHIP, 1 BB, 10 SO in 6 innings (Rookie League)
Player Potential:
Draft Equivalent: Round 2/Round 3
Signing Bonus Value: C

Age 18 - Dominican Republic
Signed by San Juan for $4.9M

Roque is a hard-throwing starter with good control who comes equipped with mediocre L/R splits and an arsenal of good-but-not-great pitches. He projects to have plenty of stamina, but that's not terribly valuable if he's not very good in the first place. At best, Roque has the potential to be a back-of-the-rotation starter.
Season 13 stats: 3.32 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 44 BB, 109 SO in 132 2/3 innings (Low A/High A)
Player Potential:
Draft Equivalent: Round 2/Round 3
Signing Bonus Value: C-

Age 18 - Dominican Republic
Signed by San Juan for $5.7M

Sanches is one of the best values of any IFA signing this season. He projects to be a very good switch-hitting slugger with top-notch speed and a discerning batting eye. He likely doesn't have the fielding ability to stay at second base, but he'll likely make a very good LF someday. Sanches is nearly a four-star prospect, and San Juan brought him in for a two-star price.
Season 13 stats: .326/.404/.639, 20 HR, 12 SB in 74 games (Low A)
Player Potential:
Draft Equivalent: Mid/Late Round 1
Signing Bonus Value: A+

Age 18 - Dominican Republic
Signed by Syracuse for $4.6M

With excellent control and velocity paired with great pitch movement, Solano may have the best fastball of any international free agent this season. Unfortunately, none of his other three pitches are anything to write home about, and his projected L/R splits are merely average. Solano should be a decent back-end starter someday, but that's the extent of his potential.
Season 13 stats: 7.88 ERA, 1.63 WHIP, 4 BB, 14 SO in 8 innings (Low A)
Player Potential:
Draft Equivalent: Round 2/Round 3
Signing Bonus Value: C

Age 18 - Dominican Republic
Signed by St. Louis for $6.0M

Torres boasts an excellent combination of power and speed and hits left-handers very well, but just about everything else about him is average. He projects to have average power, average batting eye, and should be an average - at best - fielder at the hot corner. (Forget about him staying a shortstop.) In spite of all his flaws, he has a good future and came at reasonable price.
Season 13 stats: .250/.400/.250, 0 HR, 0 SB in 1 game (Low A)
Player Potential:
Draft Equivalent: Mid/Late Round 1
Signing Bonus Value: A

Age 21 - Japan
Signed by Cincinnati for $31.0M

Once you get past his name (How does someone from Japan get a Hispanic first name and a Chinese last name, anyway?), Whang is a terrifically impressive prospect who only needs a bit of minor-league seasoning before being big-league ready. He projects to be very fast and an excellent hitter and fielder. $31M is almost certainly too much to pay, but players like Whang are few and far between.
Season 13 stats: .357/.427/.704, 40 HR, 44 SB in 142 games (Low A/High A/AA)
Player Potential:
Draft Equivalent: Top 5
Signing Bonus Value: B