Friday, August 31, 2012

S3 NL East Preview

S3 NL East Preview

The NL East provided the team with the highest win total in the majors last season with the Durham Blue Devils.  It also resembled the NL North in that 1st and 2nd place were separated by 33 games as the Blue Devils coasted their way to the #1 seed of the NL.  Will any team step up to challenge for the division title in Season 3 or will the Blue Devils run away with it again?

Charlotte Tar Heels
S2: 71-97 (4th in NL East)
Payroll: $25.3M

Owner hopkinsheel and team management stayed quiet this offseason, completing one trade and that was about it.  They seem to be content with the plan that they laid on in season 1, rebuilding from the ground up through the draft and international market.  Ken Powell headlines the offense and Arthur Nelson looks to pick up on his production.  There isn't a starting pitcher that's very intimidating, which is a reason that they finished 26th in team era last season and gave up the 3rd most runs in the NL, even with a solid defense behind the pitchers.  With identical records of 71-97 the last two seasons, I imagine the same sort of season for them this season as well.  Look for them to be a major player in the international market this season and continue to build through the draft.

Baltimore Terrapins
S2: 79-83 (3rd in NL East)
Payroll: $90.6

The Terrapins took a big step backwards last season, going from 99 wins down to 79 and missing the playoffs.  They also stayed quiet in the offseason, not making any big changes and management opinion was that last season was a fluke.  They've got some of the main players wrapped up for a few more seasons, such as S1 Cy Young Winner Miguel Lira , Vance Taschner , Timothy Stein and Will Park.  Lira and Taschner, along with a solid bullpen, helped them obtain the 8th best era last season.  It was a slight drop-off from season 1, but shouldn't explain a 20 game drop when their offense remained consistent between the two seasons.  Going 5-13 in extra innings doesn't help out a ballclub, but given that the Terrapins scored 777 runs while only allowing 718 and falling below .500, I'm going to believe in the management and say last season was a fluke as well.

Durham Blue Devils
S2: 113-49 (1st in NL East by 33 games)
Payroll: $86.0M

Last season the Blue Devils took the #1 seed in the NL and best record in baseball all the way to the World Series where they fell to 2 time defending champs Pittsburgh Panthers in game 7.  They led the majors in team era and fielding percentage, while finishing tied for 5th in batting average.  While they didn't bring home the trophy, they weren't left empty handed as Doug Booker brought home the NL Cy Young and Erick Doerr the NL Fireman of the Year award, along with 8 players making the All-Star game.  And I haven't even mentioned Bobby Clayton or Hideo Park, two future All-Stars in the making.  With hitting, pitching, and defense, the Blue Devils don't seem to have any flaws on paper.  I wouldn't be surprised to see them back in the World Series, only this time bringing the trophy back to Durham.

Atlanta Yellow Jackets
S2: 80-82 (2nd in NL East)
Payroll: $28.9M

Owner dgtrache took a 53 win team from season 1 and transformed them into a team that fell one game shy of .500 baseball in one season.  While they didn't move much based off of team stats in the league (from last in batting average to 29th; 13th in team era to 9th), they did double the amount of stolen bases in a season which could help explain the 154 increase in runs scored.  If Daniel Ray Courtney can get back to season 1 form and Trent Johnstone can have a season like last, I think the Yellow Jackets can break over that .500% bump this season.

Right now Durham has a strong hold on this division, too much to see any team taking over in season 3.  I think the Terrapins bounce back similar to where they were for season 1 and can see the Yellow Jackets improving by a few games with the Tar Heels finishing in 4th this season.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

S3 NL South Preview (Done by Meece)

S3: NL S(EC)outh
S2: Fla 83-79
      LR 74-88
      Jak 73-89
      Mon 57-105

Florida Gators (83-79)
Payroll 76.7M
+30 Run Diff
4th NL team batting avg
10th NL team ERA
2nd NL Field%
2 time Division Champion

The Gators look to 3peat the NL South after finishing 9 games ahead of second place Little Rock

in season 2. Lead by all around great 3B Bobby Ray Levrault look to hold of their division foes who

are rebuilding and ready to pounce. TK21775 choose to keep his team mostly in house and

promote from within. TK has yet to make a trade this or last season, however, he did sign one free

agent this off season in SP Melvin Berger who looks to bolster the starting rotation. The

big promotion in Gainesville is power hitting catcher Earl Gibbs whose good eye and power vs rhp's.

As good as Gibbs handles the bat he greatly upgrades this Florida team in how he handles a pitching

staff which should improve from last year. TK's other notable call ups to start the season is RP screw

baller Al Rivera and slick fielding SS Reid Patterson. The Gators in season 3 will show that defense

surely does win championships and should remain in the hunt till the end. 88 wins is in reach for this

team but will it be enough to hold off the rest of the division?

Little Rock Razorbacks (74-88)
Payroll: 41.1M
-60 Run diff
Fewest runs scored and 4th fewest runs allowed in NL

The Razorbacks who are always scouting the world for the next world phenom (Richard Kwon &

Lariel Bazardo) have also aquired some new faces both in the free agent and trade markets this offseason.

Drichar 138 who grabbed league headlines when he dealt 1B Terrance Glauber, RP Jack Ryan, and

Hector Cruz to Oakland for potential ace Cecil Traynor, lrp Corban Witse and RF Farmer Snow. If

Traynor can live up to expectations and keep himself off the DL, he could catapult the team to the top of the

division. Through free agency a major defensive upgrade in CF as Angel Alvares comes over from the

Trojans. Also upgrading the defensive side were the additions of 2B Sterling Sterns and SS Damaso James.

RP Victo Valbuena looks to improve on an already strong bullpen as Louie Lee looks to help improve the

rotation. Getting the call up to the big club are knuckelballer Ed Knight and contact 1B Kane Hall.

From the outside looking in the Razorbacks have the ability to oust the Gators from the top spot as long

as they can stay healthy. With this pitching staff lead by Lee and Traynor should be a division winner

in the next couple of seasons, however, for season 3 LR will struggle to reach .500 and hope to reach 80

wins if they can stay healthy.

Jackson Rebels (73-89)
Payroll: 77.7
-95 Run Diff

Ole'Miss survived the 200 loss mark by 4 games to finish of season 2. The Rebs are my darkhorse pick

to take over the division as his minors are stacked at the top, especially at SS and CF. This season will

be very interesting to see what coach simon does with his squad. Coach who hasn't made a trade since

season one but fished out 3 players from free agency in C Alex Koch, SS gold glover Miquel Ciriaco, and

pitcher Harry Morales. Another move of note occurred in the Rule 5 Draft with pitcher Stan Cole who

looks to help right away. Also, selected was SS Curtis Douglas who will fight for time off the bench.

This Jackson team has the ability to win the division. Look to see the moves he makes after game

20 to see who is called up and who could be traded. An unamed scout form the Pacific North West

believes that an OF containing Barnes, Jacquez, and Harper will be the best OF in baseball. Also on the

doorstep is Gorkys Calderone who is ready to start everyday at 3B. Coach Simon is in the drivers seat

with this franchise and has the potential to win 90 games and win the division, lets just hope those 20

games isn't enough cushion for Florida.

Montgomery Crimson Tide (57-105)
Payroll: 94.5M
-301 Run Diff

Absemem who was called into league offices to explain to the jury for his past lack of performance,

upon review and 5-0 vote the Tide will be on a 1 year 70 win probation period. The correct moves have

been put into place for this organization to move forward. The Tide boast a very good young crop of

players who in time will vastly improve this team. Via free agency 3 moves were made to march towards

70. 3B Fred Bucholz is ready to bolster the top of the Montgomery lineup hitting rhp exceptionally

well. LF Will Betancourt comes over as an unsigned draft pick form Colorado and improves on an already

good COF spot. However, the big offseason acquisition is SP Gerald Park which will be inserted

at the top of the rotation come opening day. Robin Reboulet who was left unprotected after being dealt

to Penn State from Oakland. This every day RF was just the right amount of luck Montgomery needed as

they have been dealt the least amount so far and is shown with yesterdays 60 DL SP Clem Hill bulging

disc in his back. I just hope that Absemem's plan works for him.  The outlook for the Tide this year looks

to be just as grim as the previous two seasons, but, the team is in the right direction and should win 71

games just making it over the 70 win plateau. I hope for the health of this organization and its players.

Moving forward the prospects should continue to develop and with 3 picks in the top 40 including the top

pick in the draft this team still is a few years away from competing. The #1 thing to look for is how the

starting rotation progresses with the addition of Park to go with youngsters Spivey, Zorrila, and last

years FA Vina.

Season Prediction
Jackson Rebels
Florida Gators
Little Rock Razorbacks
Montgomery Crimson Tide

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

S3 NL North Preview

S3 NL North Preview

Can Detroit Be Stopped?
S2 didn't provide much anticipation as the Detroit Wolverines flew away with the division by a commanding 30 games after claiming the division in S1 by just a game.  Can division mates close the gap and make things interesting like S1 or will this be another runaway?

Detroit Wolverines
S2: 107-55; Claimed NL North by 30 games
Payroll: $97.3M

From the lack of offseason moves it looks like the Detroit Wolverines and management were satisfied with last season's results and didn't feel the need to shake anything up.  They didn't lose or pick up anyone significant in free agency this season, which when you finish tied for 5th in batting avg, 6th in team era and tied for 5th in fielding percentage, why mess up a good team?  Darby Bukvich remains not only the top offensive threat on the team but in the majors after hitting 70 homeruns and driving in 185 rbi's last season.  Andre Kerr will help alleviate some of that pressure of Bukvich, looking to increase his 30 HR/100RBI streak to three consecutive seasons and Benito Wilfredo looking to get to the 50HR/150 RBI club that he's flirted with the last two seasons.  Alex Yamamoto will lead the pitching staff, throwing in his final contract season for the Wolverines with no press conference scheduled yet to talk about any extension.

Owner mexd781 has put together a solid club here in Detroit, jumping from 88 wins in season 1 to 107 in season 2.  A lot of the players mentioned above are playing in their final contract season so Detroit may have one final shot at the playoffs where they lost 4-2 in the NLCS last season.  The Wolverines have the bats and defense to compete with any team this season, and while their starting pitching looks a little weak, having great defense and a powerful offense, along with a solid bullpen can help hide that.

Iowa City Hawkeyes
S2: 63-99 (3rd in NL North)
Payroll: $51.9M

Fans of Iowa City may be confused as they fill up the stands of the Hawkeyes' stadium come opening day, wondering if they are in the right place as the lineup is announced.  Seven major league players from last season decided to file for free agency, 5 pitchers and 2 position players, the most notable Preston Holmes who hit 40 home runs and 99 rbi.  Charlie McMillan and Miguel Lee (Rule 5 pickup) will get the call up from the minors to help fill the void, along with free agent signings Emil Sanchez Alan Montgomery and Del Dawley.  McMillan should help fill the gap that Holmes will leave, but the Hawkeyes finished dead last in batting average last season so they're going to need some other players to step up.  They do have some help in the minors this season with at least 3 players I could see getting the call up depending on how the season goes for them, but this looks to be another rebuilding year as most of the vets from last season are putting on a different team uniform this season.  The top 3 rated players in the majors are 22, 23, and 24 years of age and with the other 3 players in AAA, I don't expect the Hawkeyes to be down for long though.

Columbus Buckeyes
S2: 77-85 (2nd in NL North)
Payroll: $56.3M

While Hawkeye fans will be busy reading the team program, Buckeye fans will find all familiar faces this season on opening day.  Finishing 30 games out of the division, although in 2nd place, remains to be seen whether the fans will be relieved or disappointed.  The offseason was a quite one for owner anml34, allowing a bullpen pitcher to leave for free agency and picking up Hong-Jin Tamura to fill the void.  The Buckeyes will once again lean hard on youngsters Gerrit Cornelius Terry Peterson and Henry Beech to put up big numbers on offense.  Starting pitching seems to be the weakness for this team so the trio is going to have to put up some big numbers, although defensively they should be solid.  They've got a couple solid arms coming up in the minors, but it looks to be a few seasons before we'll see them in the majors.

Scranton Nittany Lions
S2: 61-101 (4th in NL North)
Payroll: $30.4M

Scranton Nittany Lions were in the press this offseason but with the investigation still pending, little is known as to what happened.  Manager rcktchamp managed to pull off one of the few trades in a relatively quite offseason, only to have lost them in the rule 5 draft.  A quick apology was issued by rcktchamp but reports off beer, chicken, and video games have been swirling around in hushed whispers, along with an anonymous source saying that management's office was under "reconstruction" after shouting and sounds of objects breaking could be heard from within.  The team will have to continue on, although in a bright spot they finished near the middle of the pack in both fielding and pitching last season.  Also it will be hard to repeat the 15-32 record in 1 run games, which I see improving and also meaning they were in 32 games that could have gone either way.  They find themselves much like the Buckeyes in that there is some help in the minors, just not for a few seasons.

With the Buckeyes and Lions putting out most of the same roster from last season, and Iowa City completely shaking things up in their organizations, I'm going to have to stay with the Detroit Wolverines winning their third consecutive NL North title.  Depending on what happens with their mass of free agents next season, the NL North could be up for grabs but that's still a season away.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Probation Decisions

As I've discussed on the world chat, we unfortunately had two members pass the 200 loss mark over two seasons and came up for review.  Below is the decisions on each member:


Abesmem has been granted probation by a vote of 5 in favor and 0 against.  He will have to reach 70 wins next season or it will be automatic expulsion.  Below is each committee member's reasoning...

Abesmem's Defense:  In defense of my Crimson Tide squad and my own GM methods over the past two years, I have 4 basic factors for your consideration. First, I was dealt a pretty bad hand to start. Second, my rule 5’s are ready to help. Third, young pitchers from the minors are also now ready and 4th, we have some solid ML hitters in place for next season.

On the first issue, the pitching staff that was presented to me at the start was by far the worst I have ever seen. The closest thing I had to a SP was Steve Vina (still on board) who has the remarkable control rating of “6”. So, I went out into the Free Agent market and picked up Kendry Gonzalez (who is still on the team). Still, the pitching staff was very, very weak. As the record reflected, my offense was also suspect. But, I decided to try and build a pitching staff. 

In year 2, the plan was to focus on talent thru Rule 5 acquisitions. In this manner, I was able to pick up starters Sweeney and Hill, reliever Smart and CF Julio Fuentes. While all 4 were not quite ready for prime time this year, they all should be positive contributors next year. Sweeney projects to have 62/63 splits with 5 pitches (4 average or better). Hill projects to have 71/72 splits with 77 control and 4 pitches. Lefty, Smart will have 70/50 splits with 2 pitches over 80 and 88 control. In CF, Fuentes is simply going to be an excellent defensive CF with very good speed, but a relatively weak bat. He can play every day however and should shore up the defense for the developing pitching staff. Clearly he was not ready this year. All 4 of these guys should be much better next year.

As an aside, the team actually got off to a pretty good start, as I recall. Unfortunately, our closer (Jackson Black) also a developing young player, went down with a season ending injury about a month into the season. This put way too much stress on an already questionable staff and they simply collapsed. Jackson will be back and improved in year 3.

I purposely held on to Kendry Gonzalez, even though logic told me to trade him, since I was trying very hard to win as many games as I could. I executed a couple of trades that brought some offense and needed bullpen help mid season, to try and right the ship. I even altered management strategies twice to light a fire under the team, which had only temporary effects.

While the record this year was poor, well, very poor. The pieces are in place to see significant improvement next year. There are some very solid hitters here and Encarnacion is ready to be an elite leadoff hitter. Hector Zorrilla and Ted Spivey, both up from AAA, will be in the rotation or battling for spots with the rule 5 guys. The bullpen will be better and deeper and there’s Bronson Chiba in AAA that could compete for a spot in the pen, as well.

Finally, for next year, I will make every effort to add one big arm to the rotation. With Gonzalez back, the continued improvement of the 4 young starters (plus Vina, he’s interesting as a 4th or 5th SP) and one significant free agent, the staff should be set.

Please let me know if you have any questions or if you need any clarifications. I believe this team is on the right track and will continue to improve every year from now on.
Hopkinsheel: I've known abesmem for a long time now and I know he is not a tanker.  While his strategy isn't something I'd recommend and believe if he had a chance to do it over, he's go in a different direction, I also don't believe he was purposefully tanking.  He has a great track record in my worlds and I'm inclined to vote for probation.

Train: So there might be some holes in his logic, such as relying on rule 5 guys as a competitive strategy, but I certainly don't believe he's tanking.

He kept an 80+ mil payroll both seasons and added large salary guys in a deal this year (ironically from a brisque dump). Not a tanking strategy.

Also, I'm a firm proponent in keeping talented owners who WANT to be in the league. He fits in this category so this is an easy yes for me.
tk21775: While abesmem's plan might not have been the best approach, it's not like he went way over the 200 mark and different approaches are what make this game interesting. It sounds like he has a plan in line for what he wants to do with his team next season, he's a good owner who wants to be here by outlining his defense quickly for us, and next season it's either make it or not so I say let him try.

ajwalton:  I do think that he employed some poor strategy (relying on Rule 5 is a bad idea--especially when he knew he'd be close to the 200 loss mark), but I also don't think he was trying to lose.

My only concern is that if you are dealt a poor hand in season 1 of a new league (which he undoubtedly was), you should not get worse, and markedly worse, in season 2. There are limited opportunities to improve in year 1, but you can definitely take steps to improve (or at least match season 1 production) by season 2. 

Ultimately, as you said, he is a good, reliable owner, and he put forth some effort to defend himself (showing that he wants to be here) For that reason, I'm inclined to say yes. 
mcbain: Vote is for abesmem to stay


Brisque was not granted probation by a vote of 5 against to 0 for.  Brisque chose not to give a defense. We thank him for his time in NCAA II and wish him the best of luck moving forward.  Below is each committee member's reasoning...

Brisque's Defense: None given

Hopkinsheel: In my opinion, it is relatively easy to avoid 200 losses over two seasons.  I believe it is pretty easy to avoid 100 losses per season.  That is how I came up with my rule set.  I HATE going through this process.  I HATE having to go through the deliberations.  I love it when no one hits the mark.  Its proof of a well balanced world.  I was dealt a very poor hand in this world and turned over practically my entire roster to get it competitive so the argument about "being dealt a bad hand" only takes you so far. Brisque came highly recommended from an owner I trust so I was pretty disappointed when he rolled out in season one with 120 losses.  I don't think that is possible unless you are actively trying not to win.  Brisque did a decent job of improving the win total in season 2, however he did a poor job budgeting which lead to some embrassing games the last stretch of the season.  Again, thats indefensible.  He didn't even make an attempt to fix it.  Trades could have been made to at least make an effort.  Furthermore, he is the first person that has ever chosen NOT to submit a defense.  I was pretty shocked with that decision and made me feel like he had no interest in the well being of the world.  With all of the said, I feel like its in the best interests of everyone to go our separate ways.

Train: Well its gonna take one hell of an argument from him to sway my opinion. 120 losses in season 1 followed by zero stamina pitching the last 20 games of season 2 is unacceptable. All he had to do was roll out 100% arms the last 20 games and he had a shot at .500, which would have possibly been enough for me to overlook his tankalicious first season. Alas, he blew it. 

tk21775: As far as Richmond, looking at the two week window for him I come up with a record of 2-15, being outscored 271-78. The 2nd highest runs allowed (Richmond being 1st), was Crimson Tide at 957 for the entire season. Richmond gave up 28% of what the 2nd highest runs allowed team did but in 17 games. Throw in the fact it was with fatigued pitchers when he should have been doing everything he could to win and it won't matter what his arguement is for me. Luckily it didn't affect any playoff races but still an easy no for me.

ajwalton: I don't know what he could say to get me to vote yes. 120 games is absolutely ridiculous, but I could MAYBE buy an argument that he improved 30 games, is on the right track, etc.....IF he hadn't failed to field a competitive team for the last few weeks of this season. To me, that is inexusable, and I think it would be reasonable to ask him to move on just for that (even if he didn't have 210 losses). So, I guess we owe him the opportunity to defend himself, but I'm not sure that it will least for me.

mcbain: Vote is for Brisque to be evicted.