Friday, June 7, 2019

NL North Season 46 Preview

Wichita Tornadoes (Owner pinetaar-20th season)

Season 45/ 90-72 (Division Champ)

Owners Thoughts/pinetaar’s take-Not sure what my aversion to being available during arbitration hearings, missed third season in a row.  Fortunately, this squad should be able to overcome a retarded owner and still be in the playoff mix.  Hitting Coach phenom Reid Radlosky will have this NL best season 45 offense ready for battle.  Unfortunately the pitching situation didn’t improve, and took a small step backwards…along with the defense. 

Key acquisitions:  Rubi Ozuna (SP from JAC), York Paulson (SP from JAC)

Key losses:  Daryle Wise (2B, to PHI), Jorge Lee (SP, to PHI), Edwin Wallace (SP, to PAW)

Toronto Nice for What (Owner iain-2nd season)
Season 45/ 86-76 (2nd place, Wild Card)

Owners Thoughts:  We are returning the best part of our young starting rotation intact. We lost our best RP from last season but have more depth in the 'pen. Added some bats to lengthen the lineup around our returning stars and improve the bench. Defense probably won't be as strong as last season, but the hope is that improved hitting will make up for that.

pinetaar’s take:  Manager Of The Year candidate iain has taken this franchise and made them immediate playoff contenders, much to the chagrin of the NL.  To build on the success he’s already had in his inaugural year, iain has been hyperactive cleaning house/chopping dead weight/signing muscle.  Expect this squad to be around for a while, their window has opened.

Key acquisitions:  Junior Martin (RP, from TB), Pedro Florimon (3B, from DUR), Dan Rhodes (CF from MIL)

Key losses:  Abraham Logan (LF to OMA), Stewart Crade (RP to ALB)

Iowa City Hawkeyes (Owner tk21775-31st season)
Season 45/ 75-87 (3rd place)
Owners Thoughts:  Only real move was to trade for Jeimer Servet (P) so pitching should be better; failed to land a power hitter in FA or trade. Expect to be better than last season and hopefully compete for division

pinetaar’s take:  I missed on this squad last year, thinking they would take the division pennant.  Underperformed across the board.  I can’t see that happening again (and again…).  Iowa’s rock solid defense returns, but it won’t be enough…offense and defense need to step up and play to their ratings.  If that happens, danger, Will Robinson!  If they don't, the Clouds of Curse remain hovered in Iowa.

Key acquisitions:  Haywood Poole (LF, from SCR),  Jeimer Servet  (SP from SLC)
Key losses:  Aaron Kimbrel (SS, to SLC) 


Pawtucket Patriots (Owner bigronnie-10th season)

Season 45/ 71-91 (4th place)

Owners Thoughts:  None provided

pinetaar’s take:  Several minor leaguers brought up offensively, Harry Williams should be used as trade bait to start the process of getting some quality pitching prospects in the organization.  Pitching still stinks, a few lateral moves.  A rule 5 draftee (Alex Ortiz) is slotted to be in the starting rotation, a 15+ loss season isn’t out of the question.  It doesn’t help when your defense can’t catch or throw the ball, not much changed from last years NL worst defense. 

Key acquisitions:  Harry Williams (2B, from AAA), Edwin Wallace (SP, from WIC)
Key losses:  Darrin Atkins (LF, to ALB)


You’ll see a wild card from this division.  I think it’s going to be close between WIC/TOR/IOW.  PAW still has a lot of work to do.


Thursday, April 4, 2019

Season 45 All-Star Blog

Season 45 Midseason Classic

Seven seasons have passed since I posted the what used to be the annual Pine Tar All-Star blog.  The all-star blog highlights all-stars by team and division, first time all-stars, youngest all-stars, veteran all-stars, highest paid all-stars, and "diamond in the rough" all-stars.  I didn't have much time for analysis, so I made some points below.

-The National League jumped on the AL early and never looked back, as they won by the score of 10-2.  Click here to view the box score.
-Seattle Strikers' 2B Juan Carlos Guzman was awarded the Most Valuable Player award in his first all-star appearance. The 25-year old Guzman hit a 3-run bomb in the 3rd inning to break the game open.
-The Homerun Derby champ was also making his first all-star appearance.  Syracuse Nationals 1B Henderson Rolls, who only has a power rating of 79, scored an upset win over Durham's Cleatus Wallace in the finals.
-The Durham Doormats and Seattle Strikers led Pine Tar with 6 all-star selections apiece.  These two clubs also lead their respective leagues in wins.
-The AL East and NL South tied for the most all-stars by division.  These divisions would earn both wildcard berths for their respective leagues if the season ended at the all-star break (Syracuse and Boston for the AL East, Louisville and Little Rock for the NL South).
-Over 50 percent (31 out of 60) of the all-star rosters were made up of first-time all-stars.  The last time that this blog was posted, in Season 38, only 35% of the rosters were making their first appearance.  It is nice to see young talent flourishing!
-El Paso Walkers' veteran reliever Alex James made his 12th all-star appearance.  The 36-year old James has 519 career saves and 6 Fireman-of-the-Year awards.
-Jackson Juggernauts pitcher Benny Caminiti is trying to prove that Diamond-in-the-Rough players aren't exactly worthless.  Caminiti made his 3rd all-star appearance and pitched two innings of shutout ball for the National League.

Teams with the most All-Star selections:
Durham Doormats - 6
Seattle Strikers - 6
El Paso Walkers - 4
Honolulu Kamehamehas - 4
Iowa City Hawkeyes - 4
Little Rock Riddlers - 4
Houston Hot Dogs - 4
Syracuse Nationals - 3

All-Stars by Division
AL East - 11
NL South - 11
NL West - 10
AL South - 8
AL West - 8
NL North - 7
AL North - 3
NL East - 2

First Time All-Stars – American League
P - Francisco Tavarez (Doormats)
P - David Hudson (Nationals)
P - Max Almanza (Walkers)
P - Dave Weiss (Kamehamehas)
P - Gabriel Moreno (Screaming Babies)
P - Stan Smith (Walkers)
P - Kenshin Martin (Magnitude)
C - Theodore Sheldon (Rogues)
C - J.O. Valenzuela (Volcanoes)
1B - Dillon Osbourne (Doormats)
1B - Henderson Rolls (Nationals)
2B - Alex Valentin (Volcanoes)
SS - Vic Torcato (Nationals)
SS - Torey Flores (Waiver Claims)
CF - Robert Payton (Oracles)
RF - Tom Burch (Oracles)
DH - Mark Payton (Kamehamehas)

First Time All-Stars – National League
P - Macbeth Raines (Hot Dogs)
P - Rusney Alvarez (Riddlers)
P - Rob Taylor (Strikers)
P - Miguel Ibarra (Phillies)
P - Rondell Maday (Hot Dogs)
P - Arismendy Rijo (Sound Puget)
P - Danny Brede (Hot Dogs)
P - Tony Lecuona (Strikers)
P - Don Cheung (Tornadoes)
C - Danry Polanco (Hawkeyes)
1B - Nick Simmons (Hawkeyes)
2B - Juan Carlos Guzman (Strikers)
2B - Reymond Aparicio (Sound Puget)
SS - Al Javier (Komodo Dragons)

All-Stars Making Their 5th Appearance or Greater
P - Alex James (Walkers) - 12th Appearance
P - Dillon Abbott (Strikers) - 9th Appearance
RF - Roy Wilson (Juice) - 9th Appearance
3B - Jairo Cedeno (Hawkeyes) - 8th Appearance
2B - Naoki Martin (Corduroy) - 7th Appearance
C - Nash Cone (Tornadoes) - 7th Appearance
P - Omar Mercedes (Strikers) - 6th Appearance
3B - Julian Santana (Riddlers) - 6th Appearance
RF - John Rivera (Riddlers) - 6th Appearance
P - Bert Jordan (Thunder) - 5th Appearance
CF - Del Doyle (Kamehamehas) - 5th Appearance
LF - Abraham Logan (Nice for What) - 5th Appearance

All-Stars Who Are 24 Years Old or Younger
RF - Tom Burch (Oracles) - 21 Years Old
2B - Alex Valentin (Volcanoes) - 22
P - Arismendy Rijo (Sounds Puget) - 22
P - Kenshin Martin (Magnitude) - 23
SS - Torey Flores (Waiver Claims) - 23
P - Macbeth Raines (Hot Dogs) - 23
P - Rondell Maday (Hot Dogs) - 23
2B - Reymond Aparicio (Sounds Puget) - 23
P - Max Almanza (Walkers) - 24
P - Don Cheung (Tornadoes) - 24
C - Danry Polanco (Hawkeyes) - 24

Highest Paid All-Stars
3B - Jairo Cedeno (Hawkeyes) - $30,000,000
P - Gabriel Moreno (Screaming Babies) - $22,250,000
P - Omar Mercedes (Strikers) - $20,000,000
P - Greg Lamb (Hawkeyes) - $15,800,000
RF - Roy Wilson (Juice) - $15,500,000
P - Cleatus Lundquist (Blizzard) - $10,750,000

"Diamond in the Rough" All-Stars
P - Benny Caminiti (Jaggernauts) - 3rd Appearance
P - David Hudson (Nationals)
P - Dave Weiss (Kamehamehas)

Saturday, March 2, 2019

NL North Season 45 Preview

Wichita Tornadoes (Owner pinetaar-19th season)

Season 44/ 95-67 (Division Champ)

Owners thoughts/pinetaar's take- Missing Arbitration hearings is bad.  Especially two years in a row.  Self inflicted wounds are NOT helping, considering this year's Tornadoes may be more a fart in the wind losing Hades Zambrano to the reigning NL Champs Little Rock.  This team returns the same offensively (above average), defense above average, pitching staff includes 3 new free agent starters that will need to outperform their ratings to contend for the NL North crown.  I'm a cheap bastard and was never going to resign Hades.  I may need to reconsider my frugal ways watching talent drain.  

Key signings:  Jerry Corino (SP, via NOR), Ehire Fernandez (SP, via CHI).  Key losses:  Hades Zambrano (SP, to LR), Rusney Alvarez (SP, to LR)  **pinetaar note.  this is the first i noticed LR ganked not only hades, but the traitor rusney. war!**

Iowa City Hawkeyes (Owner tk21775-30th season)

Season 44/ 72-90 (2nd Place)

Owners thoughts-Really satisfied with the way FA went this off-season, missed out on a few guys last year so was left with a bunch of unused cash. Paid more than I wanted for Jairo Cedeno (3B) but needed another impact bat which he should provide, plus he's capable of playing multiple positions for me. Bolstered the bullpen with Ben Boyer (P) and Clayton Webster (P). Webster's contract isn't as bad as first looked at since I gave him $bonus to help land him as I had the cash available. Missed out on Hades but assumed going in my chance was small to land him even at max contract and instead it took the max to land Cedeno. I've got a young nucleus that is mostly making min. salary so I knew going in I could afford to sign some bigger contract this offseason and it wouldn't handcuff me later on as those contracts will be over by the time I need to start paying my younger guys. Still 1 or 2 pitchers short of feeling confident which I hope to land next off-season but I believe this year we can get back into the playoffs and from there it's always a crap shoot. Also get to land a decent draft pick this season which I'll try and turn around and trade to pick up a SP next season.

pinetaar's take-I liked it last year when you had 2 sentences, and Iowa under performed ;-)  This team on paper should kick some ass.  Iowa City also likes to under perform.  If the pendulum can swing the other way, this will be a dangerous squad.  Iowa Cities offense with the huge Cedeno signing should be top third.  Greg Lamb leads an otherwise meh but capable starting rotation.  Better do your damage there, because this bullpen is lights out with future HOF Ben Boyer anchoring long relief.  Excellent defense, best in the division.

Key signings:  Jairo Cedeno (3B, via LR) (*huge*), Ben Boyer (RP, via BUF).  Key losses:  Dave Coleman (RP to ALB), Ray Henry (SP to LOU)

Pawtucket Patriots (Owner bigronnie-9th season)

Season 44/ 71-91 (3rd Place)

Owners thoughts-None provided

pinetaar's take-bigronnie has found himself a bargain with legit rotation ace Ivan DeRojas' salary of only $3.4M.  5th starter Luigi Nieves fills out a starting rotation that otherwise may be better served in AAA.  The bullpen fares a little better.  This squad will give up a ton of runs.  Offense is set up for small ball, excellent contact hitters, good speed, marginal power.  Above average.  Defense C-.  Pitching needs to be addressed for PAW to reclaim its old glory.

Key signings:  Irv Henry (C, via DUR), Cy Ackley (3B, via JAX).    Key losses:  None

Toronto Nice for What (Owner iain-1st season)

Season 44/ 69-93 (4th Place)

Owners thoughts- An underrated pitching staff should lead a lineup which added some depth in FA but still lacks a bit defensively. Expect a stronger fight from this team than they showed last season.

pinetaar's take-Prior ownership(s) kept the franchise afloat, not much more imo.  Involved/long term ownership will get this franchise to .500 sooner than later...and build.  iain has the pedigree to turn it around.  Average offense, some pop, a little slow.  C+ pitching with a strong bullpen, below average defense.  Another high round draft pick coming, this squad is a few years off, has potential.

Key signings:  Eduardo Aguilar (RF, via FLO), Abraham Logan (LF, via BUF).  Key losses:  Ehire Fernandez (SP, to WIC).


Wednesday, November 28, 2018

NL North Season 44 Preview

Wichita Tornadoes (Owner pinetaar-18th season)

Season 43/ 93-69 (Division Champ)

Owners thoughts/pinetaar's take- It's now or never...or deal with a retooled NL North that should all be above .500 soon, while my squad is peaking right now.   This is essentially the same team as last year, lateral moves made at CF and 5th starter.  Average offense with excellent speed, excellent starting pitching with reliable bullpen.  Average defense.  Minor leagues have some talent, not deep. 

Chicago Hawks (Owner awind-3rd season)

Season 43/ 75-87

Owners thoughts:  None provided.

pinetaar's take- Another rebuild year in Chicago.  Two free agent signings, veterans CF Steve Redmond & Pinch Hitter (?) Esmil Benitez won't do much to help improve from last year.   Offense is capable, but aging, decent speed still.  Starting pitching may have issues.  Solid bullpen.  Below average defense.  Minor leagues don’t show much promise.

Iowa City Hawkeyes (Owner tk21775-29th season)

Season 43/ 73-89

Owners thoughts:  I decided it was time to move my draft picks and guys I traded for the last two seasons up to the bigs and land a couple good FA’s.  Struck out on one and got the other pitcher I targeted.
pinetaar’s take- The rebuild has been released!  Major free agent signings and minors upcalls will bring Iowa in the Wild Card conversation this year, and perhaps the Division Title. 4 pitchers signed for $45M just this season shows tk’s serious about winning now.  Veteran CF Jack Westbrook a savvy signing at $3M.  Average offense with decent speed, Solid starting rotation with a very good bullpen.  Average defense.  Minor leagues stocked with talent.

Pawtucket Patriots (Owner bigronnie-8th season)

Season 43/ 68-94

Owners thoughts:  After all those seasons at the top, this team got old, without much upper minors talent.  The offense was weak last season, hopefully I have bolstered that a bit with the following players Darrin Atkins (2B), J.O. Leon (3B), Raul Roque (2B).  Pitching was OK last season, hopefully improved with additions of Ivan DeRojas (P) Dean Taylor (P) and Dennis Martin.  I don’t know if it’s enough to take down your team, but hopefully I can spank the other 2 guys in the division.

pinetaar’s take- After a lengthy time away, Pawtucket’s making some moves.  The FA signings ronnie mentioned may get this franchise out of the Division cellar where they’ve resided the last 4 seasons.  Playoff material?  Not likely…yet.  Good offense, slow as a turtle.  Below average starting pitching, with a marginal bullpen.  Poor defense.  Great minor league talent.

El Paso Walkers (owner sudbury1111-11th season)
Season 43/ 82-80

Owners Thoughts:  In El Paso, spring and summer are where hope blossoms and grows.  Fall is when it dies.  For several seasons now, El Paso has been expecting a contender and has been relying on its depth to make it happen.  It didn’t happen.  With only a few critical pieces remaining among the critical positions players, El Paso decided that this was the year t pick up a couple of affordable veteran clutch pitchers and try to reach that next tier.  They’ll be complimented by Wisler, a solid prospect coming out of AAA.  Time will tell if we pulled the trigger too soon.

pinetaar’s take- The AL sucks (Thanks for your contribution sudbury!)

Iowa City