Tuesday, December 29, 2009

rxw1 - The Newest Owner Hall of Fame Inductee!

Congratulations to rxw1, this season's inductee into the Owner Hall of Fame!

One of the league's original owners, rxw1 has been the mastermind behind the Tampa Bay Thunder for 10 seasons. The team's humble beginnings saw a lukewarm first 4 seasons, marked by a surprise 91-win season and the first of several trips to the World Series (an epic 7-game loss to fellow Hall of Famer Starbuckdc's Fargo Wood Chippers). The Thunder's fortunes have fared much better over the past 5 seasons, however, with the team finishing 1st in the AL South each of those seasons and boasting an unprecedented 3 straight World Series appearances (including season 8's sweep of the Charleston Riverdogs for rxw1's first World Championship). The Thunder have gotten off to a comparatively rocky 43-38 start this year , but they currently sit atop the division once again and have shown few signs of slowing down despite growing divisional competition.

Welcome, rxw1, to the Owner Hall of Fame, an honor you have clearly earned.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Owner Hall of Fame: Season 10

Well, it's that time of year again: the owners of the 32 major league clubs will be voting one of their own into the Owner Hall of Fame. This year, however, there are a few tweaks to the system.

First, in order to qualify, an owner must have had his team for at least 5 years (unless no suitable candidates exist with 5 years' experience to round out the 5 nominees). Length of time with the league and amount of success are both factors for nomination-- owners who have taken their team to the playoffs many times, and those who have had success while in the playoffs, will be preferred, although exceptions may be made for owners who have only been to the playoffs a few times but have reached or won the World Series multiple times. Also, an owner must still be with his team at the time of the vote in order to qualify for nomination; bpdelia, for example, is not eligible for nomination even though he brought home 2 championships because he is no longer an active owner in the league.

Finally, last year's winner, Starbuckdc, will have the tiebreaking vote in case there is a deadlock, though unless there is a tie his vote still only counts as one. In the event of a tie, all active members of the Owner Hall of Fame will collectively get to cast a tiebreaking vote, and if there is still a tie after that has been done, the most current active winner get to cast the deciding vote.

Phew, well, now that all the ground rules have been covered, it's time to vote! You have until Sunday, December 27th, at 8:00 PM EST to cast your ballot, at which time the newest member of the Owner Hall of Fame will be crowned! Good luck to all our outstanding candidates.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Season 10 outlook: NL West

Seattle Strikers

The Strikers were most definitely the surprise team of the season last year, going from 79-83 in season 8 to 98-64 in season 9 to win the division crown and make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. Not content to rest on their laurels, Seattle has attempted to better themselves this offseason with some key acquisitions. Naturally, this also means getting rid of some dead weight like 6-time All-Star Miguel Aguillera (he's been an All-Star 6 times??) and former All-Star and Gold Glover Harry Flores. Aside from those moves, however, most of Seattle's major changes have been additions. LF Joel Moore won't win any MVPs, but he's versatile and provides a not-awful bat in the lineup. Taylor Standridge, generally well-regarded for his fielding, makes a decent addition up the middle. And Vince Jefferson and his career .834 OPS should be a welcome addition to a lineup with a below average .777 team OPS last year. But of course, the strength of this team continues to be its pitching staff, which was top of the majors in ERA last year. Newly acquired Rodrigo Roque will be a sturdy reliever (though the team oddly traded Phillip Allen to get him). Alex Montero, Brooks Mullins, Angel Suarez, and all the rest seem to be picking up where they left off last season-- their team ERA of 3.84 currently ranks fourth in the majors, and it looks to be another good year for baseball in Seattle.

San Francisco Giants

If Seattle was last year's biggest surprise, one could make a case for the Giants being the 2nd biggest; they went from 83 wins to 93, securing a Wild Card spot and their first playoff appearance in team history. They did a bit of tinkering this offseason, but nothing too major: the loss of starter Bingo Baker will probably hurt them, but their only other major loss was Aaron Murphy, which probably constitutes addition by subtraction (his OPS last year was .499, which was beaten by many slugging percentages). While the Giants neglected to make any big free agent moves this winter, they did call up several prospects. Yeico Mercado, the highly-touted Dominican reliever, had a 2.76 ERA in 245 minor league innings before getting brought up. Cody Jennings is a former second rounder with a 3.62 ERA in 71 minor league starts (he is starting his ML career in the bullpen). And Carlos Benavente, a utilityman with a .949 minor league OPS, should give the G-Men an offensive and defensive boost. The Giants floundered in obscurity for so many years, it's a breath of fresh air to see them become a dominant force and build their team the right way: from the ground up, using prospects, and eventually becoming good enough to compete. There are bright days ahead for this team.

Colorado Springs Night Watchmen

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. It was just 3 years ago when Colorado Springs won 96 games and a hard-fought World Series title. Last year, the Watchmen won 76 games and watched the playoffs on TV. So what did they do to right the ship? First, they cast off the misfits-- Victor Mendoza, Bartolo Bournigal, Andres Amaro, Ramiro Alvarez, and Miguel Martinez all failed to pull their weight last year, so they're gone. Even Roy Franco was deemed too old, so he was jettisoned as well. Then they went out and got some new faces. Former starter Mark Matsumoto is playing the role of setup man for the Watchmen this year, though Hugh Hudson was given up to get him. Bigtime slugger Matty Padilla was brought in to provide a great middle-of-the-order bat, and Danny Busby, while not the slickest fielder, will provide some good offense while playing up the middle. Alex Melendez, coming off the best year of his career, will likely play a backup or platoon role this year as a free agent acquisition. Colorado Springs probably won't be going back to the World Series this year with their current team, but it's hard to deny that they're moving in the right direction after taking some big steps backward the past two years, and they should certainly be at least .500 or better this season.

Scottsdale Scorpions

The Scorprions were an absolute mess last year, losing 108 games in their only year in Los Angeles and being forced to continue ticking the option clock of the man who was formerly their best prospect, Omar Cornejo, until his development and future were thrown into question when he was boneheadedly called up to the majors 2 years ago at age 18. The franchise's fortunes were not greatly helped by its offseason moves. Daniel Porter was allowed to walk, as was borderline player Walter Mullin (but even a borderline player would be useful to this team). The team's free agent signings weren't awful, but they won't do much to help this team. Among Darron Haad, Joshua Park, Homer Browning, and Alex Grey, there's not a true impact player in the bunch. Jorneymen J.T. O'Donnell, Rafael Flores, and Ralph North were also promoted, but they'll just act as stopgaps. The bottom line is that this team will need a massive overhaul in order to even sniff competitiveness within 3 years; the franchise needs to pray that Cornejo is ready for the bigs as of his 21st birthday and that prospects like Raymond Simmons and Alex Allen pan out like they should. If the franchise doesn't build a solid foundation with its young players, it may never get out from under its own futility.

Season 10 outlook: NL South

Charleston Riverdogs

The Riverdogs appeared in the World Series just two years ago, but you may not have known it from watching last year's team, which won only 89 games despite playing in arguably baseball's worst division. Nevertheless, it's hard to fault a team that made its second consecutive ALCS appearance, though they were involved in some give-and-take this winter. The team's biggest loss was likely that of 6-time All-Star Einar Tatis, and they also dealt Felipe Ibanez and Del Moya. But the Dogs also gained a few valuable new pieces. Juan Otanez has been dynamite in his first 19 games since being acquired via trade from Minnesota, and Ivan Perez is a defensize whiz. But potentially the biggest acquisition is that of Rafael Gutierrez, a man who was very up-and-down with Oakland but who clearly has the potential to be a staff ace (albeit without the ability to pitch even 170 innings). Charleston gave up a lot this offseason, and their hopes largely rest on their core players rather than their newest roster members, but perhaps it's easy to play it safe when the rest of the division is so far from contention. Anything can happen in the playoffs, and getting there is 90% of the work; if the Riverdogs think they can shed some talent and still make it there, who are we to argue?

Iowa City Crystal Innseekers

The Cursed Franchise is under its 7th ownership group in as many years, and it already has a new look to it after a flurry of moves this offseason. Former All-Stars Luis Ramirez and Tony Santana are gone, as well as Barney Gabriel (easily the team's most valuable pitcher last year). Ken Harvey, who was decent in season 9, was released, as well as the mediocre Richard Andrews. In their places sit various new acquisitions. 3-time All-Star Luis Valdes was signed to a long-term deal, as was useful reliever Stan Woodson. Career minor leaguer Jerome Maxwell was signed to be the team's backup catcher, though he isn't very useful either on offense or defense. Wayne Jones was taken in the Rule 5 draft and has allowed a .915 opponent OPS so far this year; Barry Brown was also taken in the Rule 5 to be the team's main catcher even though the pitchers have complained that he doesn't have a great understanding of calling games. It should come as little surprise that with these moves, Iowa City has begun the year tied for an ML-worst 6-14 record, and it only looks to get worse from here. If the new ownership is planning to bruild this team from the ground up, it had better dig a very deep hole to accomodate the foundation it will need for this team to succeed.

Texas Beavers

Everything's bigger in Texas, and the Beavers took this rule to heart when they instituted perhaps the biggest roster overhaul of any team this offseason. Former All-Star Harry Quinones is gone after a disastrous Season 9 that included an endless DL stint, and the pitching changes continued with the departures of Alton Bevil, Ricardo Encarnacion, and Orlando Johnson. And those who didn't leave (like Ernest Bruske and B.C. Nunez) were given their outright release. And for those who survived even that round of jettisons, the talented young Clay Park was dealt for setup man Bernard Hoffman. Then came the free agent signings: durable starter Albert Farnsworth and minor leaguers Bernard Yeats and William Davenport were first (Farnsworth seems to be the only one who will help the team solidly). Darryl Bergen, a former minor leaguer and 4th round draft pick, was given an astounding $15 million, 3-year deal. The Beavers made some more reasonable signings with Willie Barajas and slugger Tom Chambers, but overall their choices were puzzling. Texas also called up Lorenzo Guererro and Zeus Collins, though it appears the mediocre Don Brown will be joining them. It is exceedingly unclear what the Beavers' plan is to compete, but since many of these moves look like stopgap measures as best, don't look for Texas to be particularly competitive as this season wears on.

Monterrey Jacks

It hasn't quite happened in Monterrey, as the Jacks again made very few moves this offseason to bolster a club that once again lost over 100 games last year. The good news, sad as it seems, is that the Jacks didn't really lose anyone of consequence this winter; new Bead Buster John Huang and his career ERA of 5.50 was probably their biggest loss. The bad news? The most impactful player the Jacks obtained is David Bako, a former outfielder/utilityman for Minnesota now riding Monterrey's bench. So why do the Jacks look a little better this year? Their young players. Former 2nd overall pick Dock King continues to mature, even though his ERA is a bit high at the moment and he will likely never be able to pitch too deep into games. Season 7 1st overall pick Oscar Osterbrock was called up and has been struggling at the ML level (though he is an improvement over the team's other options). Highly touted Dominican free agent Miguel Mesa is also on the roster, though he hasn't exactly torn things up either. Ok, so it's a learning process for these guys, and the team lacks true mentors for many of its young stars. Still, expect the Jacks to be very competitive once these young players mature-- just not this year.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Season 10 outlook: NL East

New York Moneymaker

The Moneymaker surprised everyone last year with a 94 win season and the team's first division title in 3 years. What did the Cha-Chings do to celebrate this success? Nothing. Well, nothing good, anyway. New York did not make a single addition to their team this offseason, unless you count the promotion of reliever Rafael Lima (and his current ERA of 6.52 in 9.2 ML innings). The team isn't that much different from last year's, but they lost some key players: Jorel Gray (barely any stamina, but in his 26 innings last year he posted a 1.73 ERA), Alejandro Sierra (starting off the year strong with a 1.371 OPS in his first 17 games as a Canary), and Phillip Savage (solid 4.17 ERA last year in relief). New York obviously hasn't been devestated by its losses, as the team is still a respectable 10-8 so far this season, but shedding talent is never a good thing and there is little to make people believe the team will crack 90 wins again this year. In a tough division that included the 87-win Kardinals and 82-win Juice last year, New York may have seriously hindered their chances to repeat as division champs through lack of improvements this offseason.

Kansas City Kardinals

Perhaps someone forgot to tell the NL East that the Winter Meetings were going on; the Kardinals also seemed asleep at the wheel this offseason, though their amount of moves still made them look like wheelers and dealers compared with the Moneymaker. Kansas City almost lost Kiki Duran and Louie Cruz to free agency, but they negotiated for days and finally resigned them both to good deals. They also signed Wes Sanders, who has performed well for them so far this year. Now, the bad news: the Kardinals let go of Julio Parra and Tom Chambers, and while neither of those losses will kill the Kards, they were both good pieces for them last year. Overall, this is mostly the same Kardinals team we were treated to last year, though that might not be good enough, even in a somewhat weakening division. The Kards didn't win enough games to stay in the thick of the Wild Card race last year, so Kansas City fans had better hope for weak divisional competition if they want to make the playoffs this year.

Jacksonville Juice

At the beginning of the offseason, Juice star Lloyd Patrick declared "We'll be back. Nobody's keeping us down next year." Indeed, a 16-win drop from season 8 to season 9 seemed odd to many people, and the majority of baseball pontificators have picked Jacksonville to reclaim the division crown with a good season. The Juice added some excellent pieces like 2-time All-Star Jake Koch, stud reliever Albie Johnson, and workhorse setup man Raul Hernandez to bolster an already impressive roster. They traded Domingo Navarro and allowed the aging Frankie Herman to walk, but the Juice have definitely improved their team overall. A somewhat overlooked move has been the promotion of starting pitcher Robert Singleton, a very pleasant surprise with a 2-0 record and 1.31 ERA in his first 3 starts. They also cut some dead weight like Randy Reynolds, who was basically just taking up a roster spot. Yes, things are looking awfully bright in Jacksonville, and while they now lead the division by only a slim margin, that gap may soon grow as Jacksonville is clearly the only one of the 3 top teams in the division to make any serious improvements.

Cincinnati Firestorm

With a 70-92 record in season 9, the Firestorm were faced with a legitimate question: add immediate improvements to try to contend now, or cut losses and attempt to build for the future? It seems the Firestorm has still not resolved that question, as it's unclear what their goals were heading into this offseason. The team cut ties with pitchers Junior Johnson and Jorel Austin, as well as journeyman Vern Dillon, seemingly for salary reasons. But then the Storm signed Robin Sanders to a $21.6 million deal and traded for Domingo Navarro, a good pitcher who nonetheless still has $12 million left on his current deal (they also dealt prospects in Lefty Moehler and Patrick Haley for the privledge). They also recently acquired Phillip Allen from Seattle. These moves are all well and good, but the question remains: why? It's noble to want to increase the team's win totals even by just a few, but the club is tying up quite a bit of money in players who likely won't even be around when the team actually becomes competitive again. Cincinnati has probably improved a bit this offseason, and should be a bit tougher for teams to beat, but don't be surprised to see them finish last (or close to it) again this year.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Season 10 outlook: NL North

Fargo Wood Chippers

Hope springs eternal in Fargo, and why wouldn't it? Their fearless leader wasn't inducted into the Owner Hall of Fame for nothing, and indeed this offseason was a prime example of what you should do if you have a very strong team: very little. Robin Sanders is gone, but Fargo knew very early on that he wasn't coming back. Eric Presley got dealt, but he was a weak hitter anyway. The Chippers did deal young reliever Omar Sanchez, a former 2nd round pick, but with his career ML ERA of 6.39, I think we can all but declare him a bust. Other than that, Fargo's management seemed to take an extended vacation this winter. They promoted two decent young relievers in Miguel Gabriel and Grant Young, and they got touted shortstop prospect John Li in the Rule 5 draft, so in effect the team has in fact marginally improved-- but this is largely the same Wood Chippers team we saw last year, and seeing as how the franchise has won at least 93 games and won the division every year of its existence, resting on their laurels and cruising to another division title doesn't seem like a half bad idea. At 7-2 thus far, look for another 100-win season for the Chips.

Helena Ass Clowns

Helena had an easy road to the playoffs last year, finishing 5 games ahead of Kansas City to nab the 2nd Wild Card spot even while playing in a division that included the stellar Wood Chippers and the alright Clementes. That road may not go through Helena this year, and if it does, it may be a bit bumpier. The Clowns lost several major pieces this offseason, including 3-time All-Star catcher Antonio Zhang, 3-time All-Star CF Luis Valdes, and Albie Johnson, an excellent closer with a 2.89 career ERA. They attempted to replace the talent with inferior relievers Howard Fischer and Ruben Mesa and career underperformer Willis Walter, but their free agent acquisitions will fall short of the expectations set for them. The Ass Clowns are still a very effective team and are still capable of soaring to another playoff appearance this year, but they cannot continue shedding talent and expect to consistently win.

Pittsburgh Clementes

The Pittsburgh Clementes have often been the "sexy pick" of preseason pundits, only to fall short of expectations and miss the playoffs year after year. They have certainly set out to change that this offseason with a major overhaul of personnel. Harry Cedeno, Otis Hyers, and Samuel Calderon are just a few of the big names that are no longer present on the Clementes roster, and in their places sit guys like 2-time Cy Young winner Andre Plesac and 4-time All-Star Bob Wood. These would seem like dream pickups 5 years ago, but both of these players are aging rapidly and are clearly not the same players that once dazzled fans with their abilities. Still, they do potentially bring somethin to the table, expecially if they can recapture some of their old glory. Meanwhile, the highly decorated Einar Tatis, who is still in his prime, should provide a big improvement. Chris Thompson isn't the greatest pickup, but he will provide marginal depth at the back end of the rotation. It's difficult to predict whether the Clementes will climb out of the hole this year, and their early 3-6 record indicates that improvements still need to be made, but at least their fans can sleep soundly knowing that management is making an effort to reverse their fortunes.

Sioux Falls Canaries

If Canaries management has any sense of reality, they'll be the first to tell you that Sioux Falls is not winning the division this year. But that doesn't mean they can't try to make improvements, and the Canaries' offseason moves are proof positive that the club is heading in the right direction. The franchise cut ties with Danny Busby (who seems like he's been in decline forever), injury-riddled reliever Charlie Holdridge, and the aging Esteban Uribe. In their places are 2-time All-Star Alejandro Sierra, solid CF Toby Thompson, and shortstop Kirk Kirby. Alright, so they're not exactly building for the future, but if this team can go from 60 wins to, say, 75 wins, that would be a huge improvement and a great relief for the fans. Perhaps the team's greatest offseason victory was grabbing 22-year old Max Guillen, who has changed cities more times in the past 2 years than I can count, in the Rule 5 draft. Some thought he wasn't ready for the majors, including myself, but he hasn't let up a run thus far in the majors so a reservation of judgement may be warranted. Sioux Falls has the right idea, and as long as they draft and trade wisely, they could steadily climb their way up to .500 and beyond.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Season 10 outlook: AL West

Los Angeles War Rhymers

The strength of this team has been its pitching for several years now, and the Rhymers (formerly the St. Louis Start of Something) finished in the top 3 in ERA last year yet again. So what was management's plan to secure a 6th straight division title for the franchise? Err... clean out its pitching rotation. Rabbit Williams, Richard Giovanola, Ryan Gragg, and Antonio Glynn all had ERAs of 4.03 or less, and they've all been let go; Raul Hernandez, another sub-4 ERA reliever, was released. Former Cy Young winner Ivy Christensen is also gone, and slugger Alfredo Kelly has been allowed to walk. These losses, however, were not without gains-- the new-look War Rhymers include free agent signings John Becker, J.R. Spooneybarger, Cody Lloyd, and Samuel Calderon, all of whom have had success. Overall, it certainly looks like the franchise will be worse for the wear this year-- even with some good signings, they have lost too much talent to realistically expect to win 97 games again this year. But 90 isn't out of the question if things go well, though a figure in the 80's seems more likely. With rumors swirling that other players are on the block, LA might not yet be done changing the faces on the roster, but this still appears to be a winning franchise for the moment-- perhaps the only one in the division.


This is a totally different team than the one we saw at the end of last year, and not just because of the new stadium or the logos on their uniforms. Clayton Kennedy, Wes Brown, J.R. Spooneybarger, Alex Melendez... the list of key departures goes on and on, and in their places, several free agent signings. Bingo Baker is now a Butcher, as professional platoon man Nick Miles. But Arizona is clearly in a massive rebuilding mode, and with so much talent shedded from the roster with little effort to replace it, look for this team to take a drastic turn this season. They aren't going to lose 100 games, but they may well end up on the wrong side of .500 very quickly. Stopgaps like Bobby Wheeler aren't going to help much either.

Las Vegas Madness

The Madness are clearly tired of losing, and they've made the moves to prove it this offseason. In a blockbuster deal with Ottowa, the Madness snagged Jose Bravo, Benito Terrero, and Ober Torres, three players the other teams will be sorry to have in their division. They also took the talented Dallas Phillips in the Rule 5 draft, a player with the potential to have an immediate impact as a rookie. Meanwhile, Vegas made a huge splash in the free agent market by signing closer Carlton Harding to a $35 million deal, and they snagged other decent players in Darryl Michaels and Wayne Tanner as well. The Madness have indeed been busy this offseason, and while they likely won't become a winning franchise overnight, they are prime candidates for most improved team in the majors and they may just creep up to 2nd in the division. With their vastly improved pitching, they may just beat the odds and become true contenders this season, but their success remains to be seen.

Honolulu Aloha

The Alohsa have been busy themselves doing a lot of house cleaning this winter. Franchise anchors Rafael Gutierrez and Miguel Sierra have moved on, and the Alohas have tried to fill the void by singing a flurry of pitchers including starters Roger Kelly and Alton Bevil and relievers Phillip Savage, Otis Hyers, and Marvin Barker. Normally quantity is no replacement for quality, but these pitchers all have the potential to be effective enough to give the Aloha some real quality in the bullpen and the rotation. On the offensive side, players who produced well last year like Neifi Romero and David Billingsley are gone, only to be replaced with mediocre "prospects" like Emmanuel Romero and Kent McRae. Their biggest offensive upgrade is undoubtedly rookie Harry Mateo, who provides middle-of-the-order hitting ability. All in all, it's difficult to say exactly how all these moves have affected the Aloha, but on paper it seems they have improved themselves this offseason. They're focusing on youth on their offense and effectively patching holes on their pitching staff. The new franchise ownership seems to want to make baby steps toward respectability, but if things keep going the way they are, they should be a competitive franchise before you know it.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Season 10 outlook: AL South

Tampa Bay Thunder

The Thunder were devestated this offseason by their high-profile departures, most notably that of Warren Hargrave, last year's Cy Young winner and the subject of a bitter bidding war (and ultimately a trade) that sent him out of the division for good (after being signed originally by the rival Nala Bears). But they also managed to lose 2-time All-Star reliever Ron Owens, reliable starter Albert Farnsworth, and the still useful Trey Borland (who still hasn't found a home). Erubiel Bennett and Chuck Carson have been brought in to patch up those holes, but the Thunder's biggest move was trading for the young Clay Park, a former 6th overall pick who the Thunder hope will fully blossom this season in Tampa Bay. Rookie Lyle Stoddard will also be asked to pick up some of the slack for the team. The Thunder can expect to feel the losses of the aforementioned players, but they have done an admirable job of replacing them and they should still be good for a playoff appearance this year. The question is, will it be as a division winner or as a Wild Card team? With New Orleans in the division, the Thunder can't feel too safe this season.

New Orleans Bead Busters

Despite losing a few players (of varying usefulness) to free agency, New Orleans has improved slightly through various means. They made a shrewd Rule 5 pickup with former first rounder Bret Holzemer, signed big-time free agent Clayton Kennedy, and promoted a couple of talented role players in utilitymen Rogers Simpson and Bo Bailey. Their biggest coup, however, was capitalizing on Mark Matsumoto's surprising season and turning him into Hugh Hudson, an immediate upgrade at closer for the Busters. Management in New Orleans seems to have a clear idea of what it wants, and they are taking appropriate means to get it. This does not bode well for the other teams in the division, or in the league for that matter, as New Orleans is poised to cross the 100-win mark for the first time in franchise history. Getting to beat up on the Nala Bears and Illegals will only bolster their win totals, and this team should have very minimal trouble finding themselves in the playoffs once again.

Nashville Nala Bears

The day will come when Nashville, heretofore referred to as the laughingstock of the league, will be the most dominant team in baseball. With all their high draft picks and shrewd moves, they will easily become one of the deadliest teams in the league. Unfortunately, that day will probably not be today, although the team has made massive strides to bring itself to relevance. Big time prospects Brian Tomlin, Arthur Roosevelt, and Tommy Parker are ready for primetime and will start the season with the big club. Puzzling free agent signing Warren Hargrave has been dealt for superstar pitching prospect Jeremi Rice, a smart move for the future. Not much has been done externally to improve the team's chances this year, but the entire club is young and the development of core players alone from last season to this one will almost guarantee an increase in the Nalas' win totals. There's almost no way they lose 100 yet again this season, but 90 isn't out of the question until the reinforcements start to arrive over the next few seasons and push Nashville to the correct side of .500. They may surprise this year, but I would call a .500 record this season a supremely lofty goal.

El Paso Illegals

If I had to predict the team that would finish this season with the worst record, last year's 52-110 El Paso Illegals (formerly the Texas Express) would be the most likely guess. As bad as the team was last year, several players with glimpses of talent like Fernando Renteria are gone, and practically all the team's moves this year have been to allow players to leave or retire. Virtually the only positive move made this winter was the signing of journeyman Derrin McMillan (who's back in the majors for the first time in 3 years, although he did hit a combined 114 home runs in the past 2 AAA seasons). There's not much to say about this franchise other than that it's heading in the wrong direction. After an astonishing 31-win drop from season 8 to 9, El Paso enters the season after having had the 6th-lowest team OPS in the majors (.744) and by far the worst team ERA (6.80!) last year, and although Christopher Cora should bounce back from a disastrous season 9 campaign, there is frankly little significant help on the horizon on either the pitching or hitting side. This team will have to be rebuilt from the ground up for sure.

Season 10 outlook: AL East

Philadelphia Cheesesteaks

The Cheesesteaks have gone 6 straight years without failing to make the playoffs. Will this be the year to break the streak? In a word... maybe. Make no mistake about it: Philadelphia has gotten worse. They lost Kirk Kirby and Chuck Carson to free agency, which would have been bad enough, but they also lost longtime starter and 2-time Cy Young winner Andre Plesac. To make matters worse, those holes were patched by promoting 29-year old rookie Adrian Champion and 32-year old rookie Rico Romano, not exactly what you'd expect from a team looking to make a run at the World Series. Their only free agent signing was 36-year old Carlos Perez who, despite looking great for New Orleans last year, came into spring training looking like he had aged ten years (they're on the hook for 3 years/$16m, by the way). Maybe the organization believes there's not much to change after winning your division by 14 games the previous year. But with the entire team getting a lot older and with valuable pieces moving on to greener pastures, it's hard to say whether this team will be its usual impressive self or whether it will begin to sink in the division. Their only saving grace might be the weakness of the other teams in the East, but that sure won't help them come playoff time.

Durham Doormats

Confidence wasn't exactly inspired when the Cherokee moved to Durham and named themselves the Doormats. But this team that surprised everyone with an 86-win season last year likely won't find themsevles at the bottom of the standings any time soon. The bad news is, it's unlikely they'll find themselves near the top, either. After losing a slew of players to free agency like Matty Padilla, Heath Duffy, and Taylor Standridge, most of the Doormats' offseason moves involve promotions. Brian Wan should be a dependable defensive shortstop with home run power, Harry James has been an excellent all-around hitter in the minors, and Dale Simon has shown the ability to crush bad pitches. But none look like they will be legitimate superstars, and while they will be good major leaguers, the Doormats' pitching looks to be even weaker than it was last year (with a 4.93 team ERA) which will provide an uphill battle for the team all year. It's also hard to predict how the team will do with so many people being replaced this season. If anyone makes a run at the division title besides Philadelphia, it will be Durham, but they need to make sure they have the pieces in place to take advantage of their opportunity this year.

Hartford Stags

Hartford was dealt a serious blow when 4-time All-Star Bob Wood headed to Pittsburgh, and a slightly less serious one when reliever Brian Aaron went to division rival San Juan and weakened a pitching staff that already had a 5.42 ERA last year, 5th-to-last in the majors. They did add Jorel Austin and Geraldo Balboa, but they'll need to do a lot more to improve that pitching staff if they want to be contenders. As for their offense, while Wood is clearly in decline, it's unreasonable to expect guys like Robert Rogers to pick up the slack (after having a career year last season), or a guy like Kane Hobbes who is clearly on his last legs. Overall, there's not much to say about Hartford except that they don't look to come close to contending this year, and in fact it wouldn't be too surprising if they manage to regress from last year's 77-85 record.

San Juan Slumpbusters

San Juan has had a bit of a strange offseason. They lost Jake Koch and Walter Miceli this winter, and they replaced those players with the inferior Rob Michaels and Brian Aaron, respectively. Then they bagged Lonnie Cox, who didn't even play in the majors last year. It seems their strategy was to patch holes through the Rule 5 draft, but the only player of any value that they obtained was the mediocre Aramis Leon. For a team that finished the year with only a .758 OPS and a 4.95 team ERA in season 9, they needed to do more than that to compete. The Slumpbusters will likely be able to stay afloat with around 70 wins, and may even break out of the cellar if the Stags decline, but the team is clearly in a massive rebuilding mode and it seems it will be several years before we can expect a good baseball team in San Juan.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Season 10 outlook: AL North

Hello all, and welcome to another exciting season of Continental League baseball! Over the next 8 posts, I will be going division-by-division, taking a look at each of the teams and ultimately making predictions for the playoff teams, LCS winners, and eventual World Series Champion. In this edition, we will take a look at what was undoubtedly the strongest division in baseball last year: The AL North.

Minnesota Peacefrog

The 'Frog won baseball's strongest division last year with 101 wins, went 22-8 within the division, and employed 3 All-Stars. They could have stood pat and coasted to another playoff appearance, but instead they have made offseason moves to strengthen their already dominant roster. They traded for Del Moya to give themselves a power boost at catcher, then promptly made him a backup when they went out and signed Antonio Zhang. Felipe Ibanez (despite coming off a down year) should prove to be a steal for the Peacefrog in the same deal. Minnesota cast off some dead weight this offseason, but last year's core still remains, and the team looks to be even deadlier this time out. The biggest strength of this team is its pitching-- a rotation consisting of Jonathan Grebeck, Dan Shipley (coming back from elbow surgery), William Busby, Blake Robinson, and Omar Siqueiros? Forget a playoff appearance; I wouldn't count Minnesota out of the running for its first-ever World Series appearance this season.

Ottowa Otters

Benito Terrero, Jose Bravo, and Ober Torres all had down years last season. So when the Detroit Red Dogs moved to Ottowa, they decided not to take the trio with them, trading them to Las Vegas in a massive deal that sent three minor leaguers to the Otters. Wolf Ramsey will be on the 25-man for Ottowa this year after posting a 1.039 OPS in 3 minor league seasons, so he could provide an offensive boost for this team, but the loss of the three aforementioned players could prove disastrous if they reach their true potential in Sin City. Meanwhile, players like Lou Cassidy and Stone Faulkner have been promoted to patch holes at the major league level, skipping minor league levels along the way. The Otters signed a bunch of free agents as well, including pitcher Jake Canseco (who spent last season in the minors) and Miguel Aguilera (who has aged very rapidly over the past few years). Miguel Sierra will start for the O's, but will likely log only the 22-25 or so starts per years he saw in Oakland after having fatigue issues. It sounds like Ottowa is making a lot of moves to improve the team, but truth be told, this season's moves seem oddly like those of a team preparing to rebuild rather than one looking to make another run in a very crowded division. To be fair, this team won 102 games two season ago, so perhaps they believe last year's 89 victories were an anomaly and that the team will have no trouble making the playoffs this year despite taking a few downgrades. But even with an explosive offense that ranked third last year in runs scored, their lack of true pitching depth might cause the Otters to be the odd team out in the division this season.

Milwaukee Cream Citys

The Cream Citys saw several players from last year's roster, including former Cy Young candidate Earl Hammonds, file for free agency or get released this offseason. The solution? Go on a free agency spree. They resigned most of their departed players, plus a few new ones, like former Tampa Bay workhorse Ron Owens and former Snow Pirate Tim Juden. The biggest blow to Milwaukee this offseason would have to be the injury of superstar slugger Frank Martin-- while he is expected to be back in 2 weeks, his age and injury history beg questions regarding whether he will be as effective (and healthy) this season. Overall, the Citys look to be in a similar position to the one they were in last year, when they won 85 games and missed the playoffs by a nose-- but in this division, where it's often sink-or-swim, did the Cream Citys do enough to keep up with the Jonses? They don't strike most people as a team that can compete for the AL North crown this season, and unless they bring up some prospects or strike a big trade, this season may be another of scrapping for a Wild Card slot.

Syracuse Snow Pirates

After tying an AL record by winning 80 games as a last-place team in season 8, the Snow Pirates outdid themselves by breaking the all-time ML record by finishing last in season 9 despite recording 84 victories. After a much-publicized failure to land last year's Cy Young winner Warren Hargave during free agency, the team made a block buster deal that sent phenom Jeremi Rice to Nashville, ultimately snagging Hargrave before the Nalas had time to stitch his name into a uniform. Other than that, Syracuse has been very quiet, making only one other acquisition (reliever Frankie Herman) this offseason. Are the Snow Pirates doomed to improve upon their win total but finish last yet again? Well, with a better second half from Cyrus Torres and the additions of key minor leaguers, coupled with the fact that Syracuse is still maturing as an offensive team, expect the Snow Pirates to be improved this season, especially with their addition to the starting 5. Will they win the division? Probably not. Will they take a Wild Card spot? If a few things go particularly well, it's not out of the question to expect them to find themselves in the postseason for the first time in years.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Owners Hall of Fame

Friday, September 18, 2009

Starbuckdc is the first owner to be inducted into the Owners Hall of Fame voted in by his peers. His record is outstanding, eight straight division titles, six division series championships, three league series championships, and two World Series Titles. If that wasn't enough, he has managed to have six seasons with over one hundred wins. It will be near impossible to match his amazing record.
This season, no surprise, his team is in first place looking to add on to his already impressive resume. It should be interesting to see how many more titles he will win before he retires.

Amateur Draft Results

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

1. Nashville. Heinie Rice 1B. He should become a great hitter, look for him to be in the majors within three years to four years.
2. Monterrey. Craig Adkinson 1B. Back to back first basemen picked in this year's draft. Adkinson should also become a great slugger, he just has to make sure not to injure himself on and off the field. Projected to make it to the majors within four years .
3. Los Angeles. Raymond Simmons SP. A stud pitcher that any team would like to build around. He should become one of the best to ever play for the Los Angeles franchise. Look for him in three years for Cy Young considerations.
4. Syracuse. Jeremi Rice SP. A great pick, and a great pitcher to build your franchise around. Just like Simmons keep and eye for Rice since he should put up great numbers within three years.
5. Mexico City. Jeff Moore. Contract negotiations ongoing.
6. Las Vegas. John Rucker. Contract negotiations ongoing.
7. Hartford. Daryl Bonham SS. Thanks to his great defence he could be play any position beside catcher and pitcher. He should also become a great batter within four years.
8. Sioux Falls. Cozy Corbin SS. Great player that can play anywhere in the outfield and infield. Not only he poses a threat with his bat, once he gets on base he is a threat to steal a lot of bases. Projected to make it to the majors within three years.
9. Atlanta. Bobby McCarthy SP. He should become a great pitcher, will definitely make life hard for any right handed hitters. Projected to make it to the majors within five years.
10. Augusta. Jesus Amezaga RP. He should be a great long relief or even set up man. Has to work hard on staying healthy and should make it to the big show within four years.
11. Pittsburgh. Corky Whitehead. Contract negotiations ongoing.
12. Omaha. Rex Billingsley. Contract negotiations ongoing.
13. Seattle. Peaches Vasquez RP. He should become an outstanding reliever. Great pick up with the thirteenth pick. Should be making his debut in the majors within five years.
14. Cincinnati. Lefty Moehler 2B. A great overall player who will be a great addition to the Cincinnati line-up. He should make it to the majors within four years.
15. Oakland. Walter Heredia SP. Great pitcher who should lead the Oakland pitching rotation for a long time. He should make it to the majors within five years.
16. Syracuse. Josh Nixon 2B. Already picking a great pitcher with their fourth pick in the draft, Syracuse went out and great power hitter in Nixon. He should start making some noise in the majors within five years.
17. Texas. Roy Harvey. Contract negotiations ongoing.
18. San Francisco. Aubrey Simmons SP. Should make it to the big league within five years, but he has to be careful not to get injured along the way.
19. Kansas City. Robin Murphy. Contract negotiations ongoing.
20. Colorado Springs. B.C. Harper RF. Great pick so late in the draft. Should become a power hitter within three years. Must work hard on staying healthy.
21. New York. Mandy Whitfield. Contract negotiations ongoing.
22. Jacksonville. Davey Decker C. First catcher drafted in this year's draft, should become a great player. He is sound defensively and can become an outstanding hitter. Projected to make it to the big league within three years.
23. Philadelphia. Jay Fiore RF. Great pick, should become a great every day player, but it will be tough to break into the Philly line-up. If there is a spot, should make it to the majors within three years.
24. Omaha. Hal Burns RF. Another pick for Omaha in the first round. Burns should become a great hitter, and will probably be the lead-off hitter for Omaha within four years.
25. Houston. Fergie Hill. Contract negotiations ongoing.
26. Oakland. Shane Thurman SP. It might be a tough road to make it to the majors, but will see how he does four years from now.
27. New Orleans. Billy Kashmir SS. Should become a great player, both defensively and offensively. Great pick so late in the draft. Projected to make it to the majors within three years.
28. Helena. Trevor Jamison LF. Should be interesting to see if he will make it to the majors, has great speed so he could definately become a valuable pinch runner.
29. Milwaukee. Patrick Wilson. Contract negotiations ongoing.
30. Atlanta. Glenn Hafner SP. Should become a decent starting pitcher, might walk a few batter every now and again with his control. Look for him to be in the big league within five years.
31. Jacksonville. Doug Jodie SP. Picking someone like Jodie so late in the draft is very impressive. He should make his debut within five years.
32. Tampa Bay. Hank Jacquez CF. Outstanding pick by the reigning Champions. Picking this late folks, it's unreal they got such a great prospect. We should see Jacquez in the majors within five years.
33. Detroit. Spike Maxwell. Contract negotiations ongoing.
34. Charleston. Darren Miller RP. Another great late pick in this year's draft. Outstanding job done by the scouts. Miller should make it to the majors within four years.
35. Fargo. Harold Daly RP. Ridiculously great pick with the thirty-fifth pick... At least now we know how this great franchises keep on winning year in and year out, great drafting. Daly should use his great pitches within three years.

Division Reviews

Saturday, August 29, 2009

American League

AL North

Minnesota PeaceFrog missed the playoffs last year for the first time in their history. They will look to improve on the eighty nine wins they had last year. They have been busy signing free agents plus making some deals. Howard O'Brian and Hugh Brewer were signed to multi-years deals and a major deal bringing in Dan Shipley were some of the moves done to get them back in contention. The injury bug hit Minnesota hard right from the start of the season. Shipley being gone for the entire year and his salary of over sixty millions over four years is hard to overlook. The team has reacted quite well thus far, leading the division and having multiple winning streaks.

Detroit Red Dogs are coming off their best showing in their franchise history. It will be hard to repeat the season success they enjoyed last year but management believes it's possible since there have been no moves at all. Notable additions to the club are the promotions of Chick Linden and Orber Torres.

Milwaukee Cream Citys is hoping that last year was no fluke and try to make it to the post-season for the second time in franchise history. When you win ninety games in the previous year you are doing something right, hence there have been no major moves made by Milwaukee. They did make a free agent signing, getting Archie Metzger for a couple or years. Will see if they will remain quiet or they will make a blockbuster trade.

Syracuse Snow Pirates have managed to get themselves back on track after a disastrous start of the season. Having a lot more pressure now, with " The Frozen Galley" closely following the day to day team operations, Syracuse hasn't dissapointed. So far, they are on pace to surpass the eighty wins they had last year. Although Syracuse is trying to get into the playoffs for the first time in Syracuse's history, they have made trades that makes the team better long term. Getting young players, through trades, such as Bart Hamelin and Max Guillen.

AL East

Atlanta Cherokee is looking to improve on the seventy two wins campaign they had last year. Thus far, they are on pace to not only surpass that mark but even win the division and furthermore get into the playoffs for the first time in Atlanta's history. Ofcourse it's still early in the season, but at least we got people talking in Atlanta about the good start their team has had.They have made a lot of moves, especially in the free agents market. Some of their signings are: Jin Pan, Sidney Ryan and Willie Barajas.

Philadelphia Cheesesteaks are in danger of ending their streak of five straight division titles. There is still a lot of baseball to be played and last year they had a rough start too and still ended up with eighty eight wins and the division crown. Philadelphia have been quite active making some big trades. They hope Benji Villafuerte and Kirk Kirby will help them get closer to that elusive title.

Hartford Stags is having a decent start of the season, definately looking on improving on the sixty six wins the team had last year. After moving the team, management is trying to see how the team accomodates to the new environment. So far, there have been no major moves, either signing free agents or making any major deals.

Augusta Mainiacs is having a tough start of the season so far. Trying to make it to the playoffs for the first time in team history, management has worked overtime to get some talent in town. They have made a lot of additions to the club, some of the major ones are free agent signings of: Jaime Kojima, Walter Miceli and Richard Tanaka.

AL South

New Orleans Bead Busters has started the season on a good note. They are trying to improve on the great season they had last year when they won ninety games and appeared in the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. Louie Caballero and Carlos Perez are some of the additions to the team, maybe there are more moves coming for New Orleans. Currently New Orleans are fighting for the division lead with Tampa, should be an interesting battle throughout the season.

Tampa Bay Thunder after having a great season capped with the World Series title last year are looking for a repeat. Winning that World Series ring in the previous year has made management content to stick to the same team. Therefore, no major trades nor free agent signings have been made for Tampa Bay.

Texas Express is having a tough start of the season, quite a surprise after winning at least eighty games the previous three seasons. Additions such as Brandon Jacobs and Lawrence Butler were brought in to solidify this team and give them a push for the playoff race. Will see how they accommodate to their new team.

Nashville Nalas is looking on improving to the forty nine wins they had last season. Although they haven't had a great start in the current season, they are on pace to surpass their last season total in wins. Couple of additions to the team are Derrek Newfield and Ivan Sweeney.

AL West

St. Louis Start of Something is looking for another division title, and have started the season on a great note. They are on pace to surpass the ninety six wins they had last year. The additions of Darell Price and Adam Podsednik have helped propel St. Louis into first place in the AL West division. Will see how the rest of the season will look for St. Louis and if they manage to win the division, it will be interesting to see if they can go all the way to win the World Series title.

Omaha Hot Pockets is trying to get into the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. Although there is still a lot of baseball to be played, they should be happy with their start and maybe with a few moves they can overtake St. Louis for the division crown. Management hasn't made any major moves thus far, they are content with what their current team as it is.

Las Vegas Madness is having a tough start, but they have plenty of time to recover. Management has been very active through trades and free agency. Additions such as John Chen, Sammy Lee, Rudy Grey and Bret Schneider have improved the team considerably on paper, it's just a matter of time until the wins pile up.

Oakland Renegades is also having a tough start, especially after winning eighty wins last year. Additions of Toby Thompson and Neifi Romero haven't helped thus far like management expected. Management might need to make a couple more moves to get the team back on track or maybe they need to be patient and see how the new acquisitions accomodate to the team.

Division Reviews

Thursday, August 27, 2009

National League

NL North

Fargo Wood Chippers are playing great baseball like always. They have won eight straight division titles, and they also have two World Series titles to their credit. Additions to the already ridiculously successful dynasty are top notch relievers Polin Castillo and Al Lyon. Will see if their dominance in the division continues.

Pittsburgh Clementes is looking to make an appearance in the playoffs for the first time in team history. They have started the season on a good note, hopefully it continues in the hard fought division. Havent made any major trades yet, but the season is still quite early.

Helena A** Clowns are tired of being in the shadows of Fargo year in and year out. The team that won ninety games last year is basically the same this year. A small tweak is the acquisition of pitcher Al Rivers. Is this the year Helena comes out on top? We shall see...

Sioux Falls Canaries is looking to improve to the sixty seven win campaign from last year. If they keep playing like they have thus far this season, they will have no problem surpassing the previous year winning record. They have shown a lot of effort in improving their team, signing multiple free agents. Kevin Wanatabe, Hod Adams and Samuel Hughes are just a few examples of the additions done to the team. Will see how the new players accomodate.

NL East

Kansas City Kardinals have only one appearance in the playoffs in the past seven years. That to them is unacceptable and this season are looking to improve their playoff experience. Early signs are good, KC just gotta keep on rolling. No major changes made to the team that won eighty three games last year, maybe the chemistry already built is gonna be the deciding factor in them making it to the playoffs.

New York Moneymaker is looking to improve on the second place in the division and the eighty six win campaign from last year. Being on a seven game winning streak definately gives them a good shot at reaching their goal of making the playoffs. No major moves made thus far, but no moves needed either, team is doing just fine.

Jacksonville Juice is in uncharted territories. They havent had less wins than losses since season three. Winning ninety eight games last year, it comes as a surprise to see them have a losing record so far this season. They have been quite active signing free agents and doing some trades. Thus far those moves havent paid off like they wanted but never count out Jacksonville.

Cincinnati Firestorm is having a tough start so far in the season, which comes as a surprise since they've won at least eighty games in the previous two years. No major trades done so far, but that might change if the team doesn't start improving.Will see what's gonna happen in Cincinnati.

NL South

Houston Roughnecks are playing some great baseball. Following the fourth franchise move in the team history, this season seems to be going on quite well. Being extremely active on the trading front also has been essential to the great start the team has had. Some of the big additions: Clarence Cain, Jeremy Stanley and Clay Park.

Charleston Riverdogs is looking to get back to the World Series after losing to Tampa in the previous year. Based on past years, they have started quite slowly at home, already losing ten games. They have made a few blockbuster trades getting players like Einar Tatis, Pepper Sanders and Osvaldo Tatis.

Mexico City Invaders are coming off another franchise move. They are already on pace to surpass the fifty seven wins from previous year. No major trades made thus far, but will wait and see how the season evolves for Mexico City. An interesting free agent signing is already paying dividends, Bip Clayton has been perfect winning four games already and posting a measly 1.70 era.

Monterrey Jacks are experiencing another tough start of the season. Hoping to improve on their previous campaign of fifty three wins, management might need to make some moves. We shall see how the season unfolds for Monterrey.

NL West

Colorado Springs Night Watchmen is starting the season with the usual winning attitude that they've had for years. Two years after they won the World Series, Colorado is hungry for another trip to the finals. A few notable additions to the club: Rob Lee, Harry Paz and Tomas Baez.

Seattle Strikers is eagerly awaiting for that elusive playoffs appearance. On pace to win more than seventy nine wins they got last year, this franchise looks to be heading into the right direction. No major moves made thus far regarding trades or free agent signings.

San Franciso Giants came close last year on getting into the playoffs, but to them close means nothing. Hoping to break the streak of no shows in the playoffs San Francisco is counting on their pitching staff to step up. Major free agent signing Lonny Sojo has been spectacular. Let's see if this is the year for Giants fans to celebrate.

Los Angeles Pride of the Dodgers team is coming yet another move. A tough start of the season is definately putting some pressure on management to make a few moves. Already made a few moves such as Daniel Porter and Joel Moore , management is not afraid to pull the trigger on trading any of its players.

Owners Hall of Fame

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Players, coaches, trainers, they all play a key roll for the success of a franchise, but more often than not, the overlooked person that stands behind the scene is the owner. They have to put in time, finances and a lot of heart ache for their beloved franchises. This year one lucky owner will be inducted into the Owners Hall of Fame. The thing that is even more rewarding is that this will be decided by all the other owners. The voting will be tallied during the All-Star Game. There will be five owners available for being inducted into the Owners Hall of Fame. Although, only one owner out of the five will be inducted this season, it doesn't mean they can't be inducted in future years.
The five choices are: rxw1 ( Tampa Bay Thunder), domiisgod (Philadelphia Cheesesteaks), Starbuckdc (Fargo Wood Chippers), greygoose123 (Jacksonville Juice) and toe64 ( Colorado Springs).

Season 9 Has Started Finally...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

New season new hopes...
All the teams can think that maybe this year is the year to win that elusive World Series Title or in some cases, add on to the previous World Series Title.
Last year champions, Tampa Bay Thunder, will look to repeat, and they will have their hands full, as per usual, since there are no easy games in this league. Added into the mix for the championship title are five new teams. In the American League new comer Hartford Stags will need to battle it out with Philadelphia, which has won their division five straight years.
In the National League, there are three new teams: Houston, Los Angeles, Mexico City and Seattle.
We shall wait and see who can survive the grueling 162 games and then manage to outlast the competition to gain the status of World Champions.

World Series

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Congratulations to Tampa Bay Thunder for winning their first World Series Title. Also congratulations to Charleston Riverdogs for a great playoff run and a great season .

Game 1 Tampa Bay at Charleston 4-2
Game 2 Tampa Bay at Charleston 6-3
Game 3 Charleston at Tampa Bay 3-8
Game 4 Charleston at Tampa Bay 6-7

World Series

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

There will be a new champion...

Tampa Bay is going to the 'World Series' for the second straight year. After out-classing Detroit in a four game sweep in the 'Conference Finals' they will face Charleston in a best of seven match up for the 'World Series Title'. Charleston came back in their 'Conference Finals' match up after falling two games to none in the best of seven series against Helena. They went on to win four straight games, to win the series in six games.

Playoff Action

Monday, July 13, 2009

Round 3

American League

Detroit vs Tampa Bay. These two teams meet again, after fighting it out in last year's AL Championship Series. Tampa Bay were victorious, and went on to play in the 'World Series'. This current season, each team won five games, so therefore expect a grueling and long battle to ascend to the 'World Series'. While Tampa Bay is trying to play in the 'World Series' for the third time in franchise history, Detroit is attempting to get there for the first time.

National League

Charleston vs Helena. Just like in the American League, the National League Championship Series showcases a rematch of last year's 'Division Play-in Series'. Helena ended up winning that series in a hard fought five game series. During the current season, Charleston has an edge in wins, winning six of ten. Both teams are hoping to make their first appearance in the 'World Series'.

Round 2

American League

Detroit vs Milwaukee. Detroit won the season series, winning six of ten.Tampa Bay vs St. Louis. St. Louis won the season series, winning an impressive nine out of ten ganes.

National League

Fargo vs Helena. Helena won the season series, winning eight of ten, as impressive as St. Louis.Charleston vs Nashville. Charleston won the season series, winning six of ten.

Round 1

American League

Philadelphia vs Milwaukee. Philadelphia won the season series, winning six of ten.

St. Louis vs New Orleans. New Orleans won the season series, winning six of ten.

National League

Colorado vs Helena. Season series split, both teams winning five games each.

Jacksonville vs Nashville. Jacksonville won the season series, winning six of ten.

Playoff Race - 15 games left

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

American League

In the American League, the division titles are almost locked up baring disasters by the current teams in the lead. Detroit, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay and St.Louis are projected to make the playoffs winning their respective divisions.The fight for the two 'Wild Card' playoff spots is ongoing. At the top there is New Orleans and Milwaukee, followed closely by Minnesota and Texas. Mathematically still in the race are Oakland and Syracuse. It should be interesting to see how things line up at the end of the season.

National League

In the National League, one of the four divisions is still left to be decided. Fargo, Jacksonville, and Charleston are projected to win their divisions. Colorado is the favorite, leading by five games ahead of San Francisco, but it's too close to call, especially since it would prove the previous prediction wrong.Helena is leading the 'Wild Card' race followed closely by Nashville, Kansas and New York. San Francisco and Cincinnati cannot afford to lose any more games if they want to stay in contention.

West Division Review

Friday, July 3, 2009

NL West

Colorado has the 'World Series Title' in the clubhouse, and they will put up a helluva fight to keep it there. Although they will come short of the games won last year, never count them out. They will make the playoffs for the eighth straight time. Top performers: Hugh Hudson, Craig Radke and Ernest Buck.

San Francisco is fighting hard to stay involved in the playoffs hunt, trying to go into the post-season for the first time in franchise history. Similar to other teams in the National League they need to do a better job of winning at home. Top players: Russell Robinson, Bill Cohen and Denny Lui.

Seattle is going through some hard times, winning only two games out of the last ten. Off-loading some veterans before the season ends for some prospects will give them a jump start for next season. Top performers: Vince Jefferson, Angel Suarez and Gerald Richardson.

Albuquerque will improve from previous year, but unfortunately they will hit the century mark in losses for the second straight year. They should try making some moves for some prospects to get a head start for next year. Top players: Carl Coles, Reggie Bowman and Anthony Stroud.

AL West

St. Louis is predicted to win their fourth straight division title. With the playoff spot assured, it remains to be seen how well they will do in the playoffs. Their season success can be attributed to their pitching staff which ranks second in the entire league. Top performers: Felix Wilson, Eli Mercado and Jim Byrne.

Oakland already has won more games then they had last year, so they are on the right track. Look for them to be active before the end of the year on moving some veteran players. Top players: Roberto Flores, Rafael Gutierrez and Wallace Nunnally.

Omaha will fall short of their winning record from past two years but they are not too far from competing for a playoff spot next year. They need to make some moves in the pitching department since their batting ranks an impressive third in the entire league. Top performers: Tony Cummings, Clayton Kennedy and Vinny Evans.

Las Vegas is having another tough season, couple of things to look up for are the season is almost over and next year they will draft at the top. There are is no word from ownership on what will happen next season, we shall wait and see. Top players: Jared Brown, Alejandro Sierra and Dick Wunsch.

South Division Review

Friday, July 3, 2009

NL South

Charleston is having a great season thus far, posting a league best fifty wins on the road alone. Pitching has been their strength this season, ranking fourth in the entire league. If they can get their batting going, they will be tough to beat. Top performers: Felipe Ibanez, John Ashley and Al Mota.

Nashville is on pace for a fifth straight second place finish in the division thanks to Charleston. Having won thirty-eight wins on the road, they need to play better at home to keep up in the heated race for the two playoff positions in the National League. Top players: Benji Villafuerte, Dan Shipley and Hunter Healy.

Mexico City is having a tough season, and they definitely have to look on making some major changes. It should be interesting to see what moves they will make early next year. Top performers: Harry Iglesias, John Chen and Troy Jefferson.

Monterrey is also looking forward for next year, just like Mexico City look for them to be very active on the trading front and free agency. Top players: Al Keeler, Dean Franco and Alfredo Price.

AL South

Tampa Bay is looking to get back to the world series and avenge their tough loss from last year. With their winning record projected to hit the century mark, it's no surprise they are ranked at the top in both hitting and pitching. Top performers: Ron Owens, Ivan Silva and Will McCarthy.

New Orleans is in a close race for one of the two remaining playoff spots. They have to maintain the current streak of winning seven of the past ten games. On the road, they have been great having won forty-one games already. Top players: Joe Keisler, Steve Minor and Rob Lee .

Texas needs to step out of their current downfall, winning only three games in the past ten games will not be enough to keep them in the race for the playoffs. Top performers: Phil Shaw, Harry Figureoa and Alan Krause.

Florida will improve significantly from their miserable last season. With commitment for next season already shown from the owner, look for Florida to be very active on the free agency front. Top players: Bobby Valent, Ken Abbott and Ben Morton.