Tuesday, February 23, 2016

S34 Mid-Season Blog

Midseason Classic

Season 34 Pine Tar All-Star Game: American League defeats the National League 7-2
HR Derby Winner: Neifi Gil (Roughnecks)
All-Star Game MVP: Phillip Bruske (Yardbirds)
Winning Pitcher: Lonny Gonzalez (Volcanoes)
Homeruns: Bruske, Santo Herrera (Black Sox), Neal Hartzell (Komodo Dragons)

Teams with the most All-Star selections:
Houston Roughnecks (bagwellbuff) - 6
Salem Volcanoes (jkenned) - 5
Nashville Merchants (blapo21) - 5
Kansas City Yardbirds (holleybard) - 4
Scranton Red Barons (reggie988) - 4
Jacksonville Juice (greygoose123) - 4
Syracuse Orange (joekendall) - 3
San Juan Marichals (sermonauthor) - 3

Teams with zero All-Star selections:
Boise Coursers
Colorado Springs Iron Horseman
Philadelphia Moneymakers

All-Stars by Division
**This is much closer than the past few years
AL North - 9
NL South - 9
AL South - 8
NL North - 8
NL East - 8
AL East - 7
AL West - 6
NL West - 5

*Links are posted - click on an individual player's name to open their HBD profile
First Time All-Stars – American League

First Time All-Stars – National League

All-Stars Making Their 5th Appearance or Greater
P - Sticky Farquhar (Juice): 11th Appearance
P - Geronimo Estrada (Marichals): 7th Appearance
LF - Gus Justice (Juice): 7th Appearance
P - Alex James (Merchants): 6th Appearance
RF - Roger Byrne (Sultans of Swat): 6th Appearance
P - Wilt Sizemore (Roughnecks): 6th Appearance
2B - Eugenio Canseco (Red Barons): 6th Appearance
3B - Jim Hawpe (Wildcats): 6th Appearance
P - Yoshinori Zhou (Volcanoes): 5th Appearance
P - Lonny Gonzalez (Volcanoes): 5th Appearance
SS - Wendell Werth (Merchants): 5th Appearance
SS - Bartolo Ortiz (Marichals): 5th Appearance


Playoff Tidbits

-Nine Pine Tar clubs are looking to end playoff droughts as they are within striking distance of a postseason berth at the midway point:
Chicago: 16 seasons
Kansas City: 11 seasons
Jackson: 10 seasons
St. Louis: 8 seasons
Tampa Bay: 6 seasons
Wichita: 6 seasons
Dover: 5 seasons
Iowa City: 4 seasons
Cincinnati: 3 seasons

-Five division leaders are looking to extend their current streak of consecutive division titles:
Salem: 6 consecutive AL West titles
Scranton: 6 consecutive NL North titles
Nashville: 5 consecutive AL South titles
Milwaukee: 5 consecutive AL North titles
San Juan: 3 consecutive NL East titles

-Seattle has a 6-game lead in the NL West with a surprisingly low payroll of $48 million.  Of the remaining seven division leaders, Scranton's payroll is $71 million, while everybody else is greater than $90 million.  On the other side, Boston is 6 games below .500 with a payroll of $116 million and Texas is 8 games below on a $101 million player budget.

-The AL North is looking for their first playoff wildcard berth since Season 22.  You heard that correctly...11 seasons of only sending 1 team to the postseason.  Kansas City is currently in the second wildcard position, while Chicago is 3 games behind.

-Some of the American League teams feel comfortable in seeing that league powerhouse Salem is ONLY on pace to win 106 games this season, while Nashville is on pace to win less than 100.  These two teams have put up win totals of 110 or greater SIX times in recent Pine Tar seasons.  Although nobody really knows what to expect come playoff-time after an 83-win Boise team advanced to the World Series last season.

Early Trade-Deadline Moves
-Seattle added power to its lineup by trading for 1B Willie Tarasco, who has already hit 12 homeruns in 39 games with the Strikers.  Seattle leads the NL West by 6 games.
-Cincinnati, who are currently sitting 1 game out of the NL East lead, strengthened its bullpen by acquiring Hades Phillips (5 time all-star, 414 career saves).
-Wichita ranks 15th in the NL in runs scored, but made a move to improve its offense by adding all-star 3B Jim Hawpe, who has a .383 on-base percentage and 55 RBIs this season.  The Tornadoes are below .500, but only 6 games behind division-leading Scranton.
-St. Louis looks to be dealing as the trade deadline draws closer.  They have sent SS Jhonny Castro to Nashville and RP Andy Ganzel to New York in the hopes of building for the future.  St. Louis is 5 games out of first place in the NL North.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Chicago Scandal 3rd Edition.



The Chicago Scandal 3rd Edition.

Author’s Notes
Welcome owners, to another edition of the Chicago Scandal. I got a lot to cover, so let’s get to it. We have seen a lot transpire as the season nears the mid-way point. First off, I want to point out that a major player could be the New York Sultan of Swat. They currently sit atop the AL East with a 43-29 record. Owner bluenoser44 took over the team this year and is not only thinking divisional title, but also to challenge the AL favorite Salem Volcanoes. This team is about middle of the road statistically, but they have the right combination of offense and defense that give teams the fits. 2-time MVP and multi-time all-star Roger Byrne-RF leads the offense with 28 HRs, 62 RBIs and 16:1 SB to CS ratio.  Alex Toregas - P is the Ace of the pitching rotation. He has racked up a 9-3 record in 100.2 innings, striking out 71 for an ERA of 3.67. New York is by no means a lock for the division, with Syracuse hot on their tails 4 games out. But, I think with the balance this team has, the AL should definitely take notice.
The state of the AL West
Every division seems to have some sort of competitive race for the divisional title, either by illusion or genuine competition, with the exception of the AL West. Currently, Salem is 10-0 in the division and a whopping 17 games ahead. Now, this could be taken for a grain of salt, considering Season 33 saw Salem win the division by 36 games. However, last season gave us the incredible run of godao’s Boise Coursers all the way to the World Series. As one of two wild card teams to play in the title game, their run last year was nothing short of miraculous.  Yet this year, they sit in last place. I don’t expect much from the west’s bottom feeders, but the season is long and there is still plenty of time to contend for a wildcard spot.
Houston regains control
Earlier in the year I made a strong case for Jackson Juggernauts (38-35) to take the NL South. As we close in on the midway point, they intend to prove me wrong. Houston (46-27) has regained control of the division going 7-3 in the last ten.  They sit 8 games ahead of division rival Jackson, but only 1-2 against them head-to-head this year. Houston looks like the stronger team and their play is backing that up. They are poised to send 5 to the all-star game and have the best record in the NL. I am still sticking with my Jackson pick, but I am going to up the ante and say the NL representative is coming out of the South. Although, I do suspect that Scranton may have something to say about that.

Inter-league Play
The AL goes 100-90 vs the NL.

Season 34 Draft top 5 picks

1.      Dean Gillheeney P Chicago
2.      Ralph Wood P  Philadelphia             
3.      Antone Shipley SS Louisville
4.      Kory Washington P New Orleans
5.      Darrin Atkins 2B Colrado

Owner Draft Grades
Too early to tell yet for me...depends if I can sign my 1R pick Glover or not, and how his ratings turn out if I sign him. If I can't sign him, then my draft is a D. German's power is too low for a DH and PC too low for a C. Franco's stamina and control were much lower than projected. Jacobson looks decent, but he's already 21 and probably won't hit projections.

Like any other team drafting in the top 10, I would have been thrilled with any player who fell to me. This was such a deep draft with stud pitching and hitting prospects that, I imagine, not many people are disappointed with the results. My number one target was Antone Shipley, who went to Louisville. I think he's the perfect player, and I realized that he was a dream target who would have no business falling to 10. He went 3rd and easily could have been the top choice. Next on my list was Rafael Valdes, who went 7th to Tampa. I was also crazy about Bartolo James (great name) who went to Boston in the 6th slot. That left me with the mythology-sounding pitcher, Hades Zambrano. Predraft, his ratings made him seem like a devastating setup A who could log 140 IP per season. Now that he's signed, I'm pleasantly surprised to see that he's a starter (his stamina jumped from 54 to 63). Not a 240 IP horse by any stretch, but certainly 180 to 200. He's got great control, velocity, and splits. He's durable. His first two pitches are plus-plus. I'm glad we got him. He's the only pick of mine worth talking about, but that's all right with me. Grade: A.

greygoose123: Jacksonville Juice
I pretty much abandoned the draft this year by design. I signed a Type A FA that gave away my number one pick and I lowered my scouting budgets way down. However, my first pick (92nd overall) was a pitcher that has an outside chance of making the majors. So I'd call that a win under the circumstances.

We didn't pick until 38th in the draft so really didn't have any expectations or solid picks this year.

Not my best draft but I am going to be very happy with the pitcher I drafted first if he ends up signing. Keeping my fingers crossed. Otherwise, my draft was very mediocre. I did end up with quite a few pitchers which should keep my minors stocked. No position players I drafted will make it to the majors.

sudbury1111: El Paso Walkers
Given how little money I spent on college players and how many I ended up drafting, I'm amazed I got anyone who should play at MLB level. Given myself a C for luck. Top guy I drafted showed a 100 overall rating. How could I not put him highly even though I knew it was inaccurate. Dropped to 80 ovr but still will hit well.

Jkenned: Salem Volcanoes
Salem the grade would be N/A. We consciously punted the draft and all scouting to allow for the payroll to keep this squad together. In terms of a draft grade I would give it an A in that we are serious world series contenders again, in terms of player's acquired in the draft it is a solid F for future talent.

The Thunder were very surprised to see Rafael Valdes slide to them at #7. He projects to be an incredible leadoff hitter. He was rated an 88 at Draft Time but no idea what the drop off will be since he still has not signed. #2 Pick Tony Hissey looks to be a defensive wiz at SS but also has not signed.

If Valdes does signs, pairing him with International Signing Naoki Martin (CF), makes Season 34 an "A" for prospects acquisition.

Hot or Not
Team Hotness:
Milwaukee Magnitude is new to the list with a 5 game divisional lead in the Al North. They have quietly gone 8-2 in the last 10.
Houston Roughnecks 7-3 in their last 10 started slow but have bounced back to the NL South lead with an 8 game lead.
Salem Volcanoes remain on the list. Still the top team in baseball.

Team Notness:
Wichita Tornadoes make the list this week after going 2-8 in their last 10. They have been abysmal on the road this season (15-26). Despite their poor play, they are only 6 games from 1st and can still make a run at a potential Wildcard spot, if not the division.
Philadelphia Moneymakers are no stranger to the list. They went mostly with pitching in this season’s draft, taking pitchers in the first five rounds. Now we wait and watch. Will this be the team of the future?
Colorado Wildcats round out the team posting a 2-8 record in their last 10. They had 8 1st round picks this year. Clearly, they are building for the future. I don’t expect much from them this year being 17 games back. It looks like a 3 team race for the number 1 pick next year with New Orleans and Philly.
                                                                     
Rumor Mill
According to sources, Jesus Dali (P) was promoted back to the SJ ML club after a shocking and ignominious ST demotion to preserve his arb status in future seasons. This shameful and blatant exploitation of a player contract not only reinforces owner sermonauthor's reputation for his robber Barron-like executive actions, but also seems to confirm sermonauthor is in it for the long haul, having sacrificed the first 50 days of his ace to AAA. When reached for comment on how he could treat a pitcher of this magnitude so shabbily, owner sermonauthor told this reporter, "Like this other guy I golf with once said, "I have a pen and a phone and I'm prepared to use them both to do the things I must to improve this once-great franchise. Good. Maybe add a player given this type treatment might normally be angry but given he was named for both Jesus and the Dali Lama he wishes only peace and prosperity for the man who sent him to the hellhole for 50 days.
Since his call up, Jesus Dali has started 5 games with a 1-1 record and 4.45 ERA.

Special thanks to the owners who assisted with the article.
The players club will be in the 4th edition. I have been a little under the weather lately.  
Disclaimer: Hot or Not and the Players Club are entirely opinion based. Even though stats are considered, future players and teams will be selected based on what the blogger/writer decides. As always inputs are always appreciated.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Around The League 2-12-16

PROMOTIONS
Cookie Tapia-Milwaukee Magnitude
Tapia is a 1b/lf with some great hitting abilities. He could put up MVP type numbers offensively. He can hit for a high average, get on base and he will hit a lot of homers. I wouldn't be surprised to see him win multiple MVP awards and he has a good chance to win the AL rookie of the year this season.

Phillip Braun-Boise Coursers
Braun is strictly a DH. Offensively he has good contact and a good batting eye. He will hit some homers, but he's about average with his power. He should hit well and get on base enough to make him a good play as a DH.


Jesus Dali-San Juan Marichals
This is a nice call up for the Marichals. Dali is going to be a really good starting pitcher in the league for quite a while. He has good control and really good splits. His top 2 pitches are above average. His stamina is a little low, but he has good durability. With room to grow a little still, Dali should become a top end of the rotation starter.


Other notable callups-
Benito Rodriguez-El Paso Walkers
Vic Dickerson-Jacksonville Juice
Hub Winkler-Boston Screaming Babies


KEY INJURIES
Mo Lee-Houston Roughnecks
Tim Daubach-Boston Screaming Babies
Dick Kohlmeier-Nashville Merchants
Gio Esposito-Tampa Bay Thunder
Delanor Guthrie-Kansas City Yardbirds


Waiver Claims
Kameron Moore-Omaha Oracles
Jose Lopez-El Paso Walkers



INTERNATIONAL SIGNINGS
Saul Pescado-Durham Doormats
This guy is a 20 year old leftfield/firstbaseman type IFA. He looks like he will have average pop(15-20 hr), and the ability to get on base at a decent clip. He's not an allstar caliber player, but he could put up decent enough numbers to make it on an allstar team or two. Especially in a hitters park like Durham

Edgmer Bournigal-Louisville ARF ARF ARF ARF's
Bournigal projects as a decent mid rotation starter. He should have good control with solid splits. He should pitch enough groundballs to be effective in Louisville, but his pitches are not very good. At worst he will pitch at the back end of the rotation in a few years.

Harry Alou-Louisville ARF ARF ARF ARF's
Another pitching prospect signed by Louisville in the past couple weeks. I see a trend. This guy has some concerns with the possiblity of injuries. His durability looks lower and will hold him back some. He projects to have good control with decent splits. He also has good velocity with a couple of average pitches. Alou could end up pitching at the back end of a rotation or in a long reliever type role. He does have big league potential though.


OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE
The league has seen 4 players hit for the cycle this season. Boone Brow of Syracuse, Rich Miller of Boise, Buddy Berry of Milwaukee and Stan Stroud of Nashville have accomplished the feat.

Jim Hawpe-Colorado Wildcats is hitting a .350 with a .411 obp. He also has 11 steals and 12 homers.

Williams Nakano-Chicago Black Sox leads the league in triples with 6 and also has 17 doubles and 14 homers. His 56 runs scored are second in the league, and he ranks 7th in steals with 22.

The longest hitting streak this season belongs to Maikel Martinez with 27 games in a row.

3 pitchers have 9 wins at this point and they are Yoshinori Zhou, Rymer Tavarez and Kendry Martin.

Rodrigo Andujar-Houston Roughnecks is the first pitcher to 20 saves. He has 20 in 21 opportunities and also has a .84 ERA.

Ben Boyer-Wichita Tornadoes has just a .90 WHIP through 13 starts and a 1.39 ERA.

Julio Fuentes-Colorado Springs has 7 minus plays at second base. This is because he's left handed. He has great range and glove, but a lefty can't play the position.



Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Chicago Scandal 2nd Edition.





Author’s Notes

Welcome to another edition of The Chicago Scandal. There have been some interesting developments over the past weeks, to include a healthy dose of trades, international free-agent signings and of course the injury bug. First, congratulatory comments go to Buddy Berry, who hit for the cycle during 1/23/16 PM2, Milwaukee Magnitude @ New Orleans B&G Steelers. The 5-time all-star is batting .308 for the year, while racking up 5 HRs and sitting in the top ten of the AL with 29 RBIs. In other news, the AL North divisional race is heating up with the dubbed “War in North”. The Milwaukee Magnitude sit atop the division with an 18-12 record. Hot on their heels though, owner holleybard’s Kansas City Yardbirds sit at 17-13, only a game out of 1st.  My Chicago Black sox and the Dover Dinklebergs round out the division at 16-15 and 15-15 respectively.  Barring any major setbacks for either of these teams, we could be headed for a down to the wire divisional race. Let’s keep our eyes on that as the season progresses.


Trades
The El Paso Walkers traded SS Phil Starr to New York Sultans of Swat for Pitchers Vin Cornejo and Sal Clayton.

Albuquerque Komodo Dragons traded P Glenn Karl and P Tony Perez to Texas Galveston Wave for Major League P Glen Brooks.

Albuquerque Komodo Dragons also traded Pitchers John Carter and Lou Montgomery to the Boise Coursers for P Antonio Simms.

Boise Coursers traded RF Willie Oropesa to Iowa City Hawkeyes for P Nate Bush. 

Boise Coursers traded C Morgan Stephens and Scooter Snell to Scranton Red Barons for 3B Alex Moreno.

Boston Screaming Babies 3B Wily Toca to San Juan Marichals for P Quilvio Benitez.

In a series of deals, the Chicago Black Sox sent P Khiry Carlson, P Freddie Brower, and P Clayton Webster to the Jacksonville Juice for 3B Bunny Barber, LF Edgard Villano, P Kameron Moore, P Bernie Wolf, P Gordon Ramirez. 

The Chicago Black Sox sent RF Howard Atchison to Louisville ARF ARF ARF ARF's for SS Max Owen and RF Lee Jefferies who was drafted via Rule 5 by the Syracuse Orange.

Chicago also sent long time Catcher Brad Schneider Nashville Merchants for DH Dilson Betances.

Cincinnati Firestorm trade 3B Travis Taylor to Louisville ARF ARF ARF ARF's for P Ringo Thomas.

Colorado Springs Iron Horseman traded P Mike Franklin to Jacksonville Juice for RF Ralph Hatcher, 3B Rex Bradley, RF Chris Gibson. 

Houston Roughnecks traded RF Donnie Benard to Seattle Strikers for C Phil Simmons.

Kansas City Yardbirds traded P J.R. Priest and SS Don Morris to St. Louis Miracles C Cesar Santos.

Louisville ARF ARF ARF ARF's traded 1B Hipolito Arredondo and 2B Bengie Uribe to St. Louis Miracles for LF Bono Durham and  P Wascar Azocar.

Wichita Tornadoes 1B Cookie Tapia to Milwaukee Magnitude for P Ben Boyer and P Aramis Mendoza.

The Nashville Merchants sent RF Wilfredo Soria to Texas for P Dennis Jones, C Benji Valverde , and RF Erasmo Johnson.  

San Juan Marichals traded P Miguel Garza  to Seattle Strikers B.C. Nunez. 


Trade rumors
Albuquerque (15-15) is in the market for some prospects. They are willing to move Benny Garcia - RF, Ed Paul - P, Ernesto Mendez - CF. Sources have confirmed that the Cincinnati Firestorm (19-12) are actively shopping for a closer and a center fielder.  El Paso (12-18) is possibly looking for a SP as well as an upgrade at SS. They are looking to pair LF Vic Ward with a prospect in order to bring in a ML level SS.

Hot or Not
Team Hotness:

Salem Volcanoes remain atop Team Hotness. They have the best record in the show and 7-3 in their last 10.  These road warriors are 15-1 when playing outside of Volcanoes Stadium. They are still my favorite to when the AL. Their team pitching sits at a whopping 3.10 ERA. This is a powerful team offensively and defensively. Let’s see who has the skill to knock them off their perch.

Houston Roughnecks have also gone 7-3 in their last 10 after a slow start. They appear poised to give Jackson some competition for the NL South crown behind the arms of aces,  Wilt Sizemore – P and Albert Olivo - P. H-town is definitely hot right now.

The AL North made the list because of their brutal battles for division supremacy and remaining the only division with every team playing .500 ball. One can only wonder how this will play out in the weeks to come.

Honorable mention: Omaha Oracles (9-1) in their last 10. Colorado Springs Iron Horseman (16-15) are in second place in the AL West after the abysmal start. I’d keep my eye on this team.  


Team Notness:
Boston Screaming Babies currently riding a 6 game skid have managed to go 1-9 in their last 10. With one of the highest payrolls in Pine Tar, expectations are pretty high. We can only hope that this is just an early road block and that this team can use the talent they have to bounce back. I do like their chances, but I do wonder if owner kcclark may decide to abandon ship and begin a rebuild or stay true to the course.

New Orleans B&G Steelers made the list this week. They are a young team in rebuilding mode. However, the lack of runs scored have really hampered their ability to be competitive. The future does look bright for the B&G Steelers with the talent pool they have in the minors. It should also be noted that they have tons of cap space. The question is, will they use it?

St. Louis Miracles round out team Notness. Not because of their record, but because I think they are truly under-performing. They are statically a top 5 pitching team with a 3.64 ERA. Where they are hurting, is their ability to generate runs. They have only scored 100 runs, which is the lowest totals in the Majors. I would love to see them go after a power hitter like Gus Justice or  Keith Williamson just to add some much needed offense.


The Players Club

Buddy Berry – Hit for the cycle, .308 avg., 5 HRs, 29 RBIs.  
Michel Pena - .367 Avg., 10 HRs, 30 RBIs, 14:1 SB to CS ratio.
Hamlet Allen – 4-1 in 7 starts, 2.81 ERA, 43 strike outs
Rymer Tavarez – 6-0 in 6 starts, 1.27 ERA, s8 strike outs and the most impressive stat: 0 HRs given up this year. Sniff, Sniff…. what’s that smell, “the CY Young”.

The Minor League Minute will be delayed this week. Look for it in the 3rd edition. 

Disclaimer: Hot or Not and the Players Club are entirely opinion based. Even though stats are considered, future players and teams will be selected based on what the blogger/writer decides. As always inputs are always appreciated.