Friday, May 29, 2015

Season 14 - Season Previews

Thank you for everyone who participated!

Salem Beavers

C Enrique Nieves, 2B Eddie Donovan, SS Torey Benavente, 1B/DH Pepe Cordero, RF Julian Sosa, RHP Jeurys Gomez, RHP Rolando Ramirez

SPs Ezdra Valdes, Duane Abbott, Jeromy Stern, Eswalin Fernandez (129 GS)
RPs Shep Coleridge, Iago Worthington, Roland George, Patrick Stechschulte, Keith Lankford, Danys Pizzaro, Peter Wang (227 G, 360 IP)
1B Ted Huff (.286/.387/.520), 3B Tito McCallum (.242/.316/.325), CF Buddy Ducey (.275/.350/.404), DH Lance Lewis (.242/.311/.384)

New Players: 
CF Yunesky Megias, RF Alving Lugo, LF Andre Kerr, SS Sherman Ducey, 3B Charlie Lyons, 1B/DH Zeke Snyder, C Ernesto Olivares, SS Humberto Casilla, SP Britt Maurer, SP Louie James, SP Jesus Lee, SP Raymond McKay, RP Bubbles O’Neill, RP Pedro Romero, RP Houston Rose, RP Norman Pierce, RP Virgil Payton, RP Adrian Standridge
After a season of disappointing results, the Beavers look to make some noise this season. Only a few players remain from last season’s disappointment, and those are guys who should be able to contribute. The lineup and pitching staff were a lot of addition by subtraction, as only one starter and one reliever return to the team and only 3 position players will be back in the starting lineup when the season starts. This team that returns has been one of no major acquisitions, but a bunch of under-the-radar signings and trades that hopefully improve the overall team. The least improved part of the team is the rotation, but that saw moving some very good starters for the betterment of the overall team. While the top-end of the rotation is not as strong, the back-end is much better. Nothing less than the playoffs will be acceptable this season.

Iowa City Hawkeyes

Same cast of characters returns this season hoping to return to Season 12 form and get back to the playoffs. The starting rotation, led by Bono Keefe should be solid and much better than last season. The staf has added roonie Sean Spooneybarger, who has had a rough spring, but will hopefully settle down for the regular season. Offense is led by Glendon Roosevelt, who belted 53 Home Runs last yearHe will be assisted by Yogi Harnisch who hit 35 Hr's and Carlos Barrios, who had 33 HR's and 101 RBIs. Table setters Lunar, Kotchman, and Sherman have to do better than their .250 or worse averages. The window for this team is closing fast and they only have a couple more seasons together at best.

Wichita Jayhawks

When season 13 ended it looked like the good ole days of winning division titles and going on deep runs in the playoffs had ended. Players Yadier Ciriaco, Barry Graves, Don Perisho, Ruben Perez, Julio Andujar, and Terry Peterson were going to be free agents. We managed to sign Perisho,Perez and Ciriaco during free agency. We would have liked to resign Andujar for one more season but we ran out of money. Taking his spot in some form at DH or 1B will be Rickey Gaillard. Our pitching after Ruben Perez, Alexander Fitzgerald, Hugh Blalock, Peter Woodson, Jason Roosevelt is not good, but it's been like that way for a few seasons. Staying healthy and getting production at 1B and DH will be key this season. Barring injuries to key players, we expect to win the division. Once in the playoffs who knows what will happen.

Colorado Buffaloes

Notable Departures: 2B/3B Alving Lugo (Type A); RF Patrick Norman (Type B); RP Mike Kelly (Type B)

FA Signings: SP Domingo Melendez (5 yr/$100M); RP Hunter Giambi (2 yr/$10.4M); RP Kris Benson (4 yr/$20.8M)

Trade Additions: SP Jeromy Stern; 2B Troy Malone; RF Hiram Satou; SS Cesar Torcato; RP Miguel Matos

New Faces: 1B Eddie Baxter (promoted); RF/DH Esmerling Sardinha (R5)

COL begins S 14 with several new faces, including a change in management that actually took effect late in S 13. 

While COL had acquired many pitching prospects, it was felt bolder moves were necessary. COL brought in established SP's (and possibly HOF candidates) Domingo Melendez and Jeromy Stern to anchor the top of the rotation. COL committed 5 yrs to Melendez, although the 5th is a M option. Stern will sign a contract extension at some point this season. These 2 addition will the rotation down 2 spots in hopes of increasing its effectiveness. 3 new faces join Bernie Rios (the only BU holdover from S 13) in the BU. All the new pitches have very good GB ratings, and 

COL leveraged its pitching prospects to gain young, salary controllable POS players. While not possessing superior PC, Al Garrido does just enough to be an asset at C. Long time 2B Ernie Wuertz will move to CF, while Troy Malone will make his ML debut at 2B. SS Cesar Torcato brings strong D skills and the RH side of a L-R platoon with veteran SS Yamid Villano. JJ Rose will set up at 3B. The IF is rounded out by power+eye 1B Eddie Baxter. The IF is young with average age of 25, and only Torcato has entered his arb years. The OF will be ably manned with Spud Heiserman in LF, Wuertz moving to CF, and Hiram Satou making his ML debut in RF.

While there is some optimism in COL, it is unreasonable to think anyone will catch ARI in just 1 season. But if COL can play .500 ball and close the gap on the WC, it will be a good season.

Trenton Scarlet Knights

After an unprecedented 20-2 run to end last season and capture the last wild card spot in the playoffs, Trenton's front office has made some significant changes to the Knights roster. Almost a dozen players have departed from last years team with the following message being sent, time to get younger. Of course fresh/younger faces means some growing pains and this year expectations are not high in Trenton. While there are new faces all over the Knights clubhouse, there is still veteran leadership with high expectations. Multiple CY Young award winner Ken Nix leads the Scarlet Knights revamped rotation once again this season. Defending AL MVP winner Jimmie Butler will anchor the teams offense as usual along side Brandon Maroth as both all three players look to add to their Hall of Fame resumes.

Players No Longer with Organization:

Dick Nelson-DH
Nicky Mattes-SS 
Dave Ross-SP
Edgardo Soto-RP
Ervin Bradley-RP
Hector Pena-SP
Hunter Giambi-RP
Joaquim Cabrera-RP
P.J. Bunch-SP
Arthur Nelson-C
Rory McBride-RF

Key Additions on ML Roster:

C-George Leonard: Leonard gets the opportunity to replace Mr. Nelson who's option was declined by management this season. While Leonard lacks experience and brains behind the plate, he swings with a decent stick and hopes to add to the offense.

Infield-Quentin Ford: While Ford lacks pop with his bat, he will work the leather all over the park helping boost our late game defense.

RP-Junior Gimenez: Looks to be the bridge between our starters and relievers out of the bullpen. Should log numerous innings this season and hopefully the wins as well.

RP-Mike Kelly: Seemed to struggle in the high mountain air of Colorado. Hoping the Jersey shores will bring new life into an aging arm.

Arizona State Sun Devils

ASU prepares to defend the title entering season 14. The core of the team is starting to show signs of aging, with top-2 SP Kaline & Glass turning 33 & 34 respectively. Keeping those guys healthy (along with WS superhero Louie Crespo) is going to be the key to the season.

As the team ages, salaries hit very high levels. We've had to make some difficult decisions recently including a trade of reliable SP Francisco Pujols, mostly for salary purposes. The other notable trade brought back a big bat in Daichi Johjima. He's a man without a position and we are going to plug him in RF and hope his bat outproduces the negative plays.

The rest of the lineup should be strong and we expect a top 5 offense this season. The pitching will be good as long as the top of the rotation holds up. On the backend, I wanted to add another good RP but wasn't able to find a fit on the trade market. Perhaps something will materialize in-season.

Oakland Golden Bears

The return to glory continues in Season 14 for the Oakland Golden Bears. The ML roster was enhanced with the addition of two fine catchers, Arthur Nelson and B.J. Neal who possess very good PC abilities and decent bats along. In addition, the Bears signed converted SS Todd Patterson to patrol CF. These additions should add to an already very good defensive squad. 

The pitching staff is anchored by Cam Wilson (17-12) and Alex Seanez (42 Saves). George Westbrook after a 12 win rookie season, and 22 year-old Rule 5 draftee Tony Escalona will be looked upon to add depth to the rotation.

While the Oakland franchise is built around pitching and defense, the Bears will need continued contributions at the plate from returnees Wayne Murphy (24 HR, 69 RBI), Damon Minor (70 RBI, 29 SB), Endy Valentin (19 HR, 63 RBI) and Jhonny Alfonseca (18 HR, 84 RBI) in order to make a postseason appearance in Season 14.

The Golden Bears minor league system is packed with young stars with high ceilings. These include Brett Torres (22, DH), Greg Torres (22, 2B) and Danys Olivares (19, 3B) who could make their presence felt offensively in the majors at some point in Season 14. The Bears also have young pitchers, Georger Simms, Felix Leary and Norberto Delgado who will look to take the next step forward this season.

The playoffs are a realistic goal this year and not achieving this would be a disappointment.

Little Rock Razorbacks

The Little Rock Razorbacks have suffered 3 consecutive seasons of 90+ losses and the time has come to start seeing some of the prospects gathered during that time get called up to pay dividends at the major league level. Look for up to 5 rookies to make their way to the majors either out of spring training or shortly after the season starts. Included in that group are former first round draft picks, Sean Bottalico, Bonk Satin and Kordell O’Brien. These youngsters will join budding superstar Oswaldo Candelario who completed a very successful rooking campaign in season 13 with 31 HR and a .944 OPS. While the infusion of young talent may make the Razorbacks more exciting, it may be a stretch to predict they will be back in contention to win the division. A .500 record seems like a reasonable step forward in season 14.

Charlotte Tar Heels

Last season was a complete tear down of a tar Heels squad who seemed to consistently under perform.  Whats funny is that last years team of cast offs managed to overperform and put together a pretty solid season all things considered.

The good news is that it appears the tear down has resulted in several key pieces added that will hopefully be the cornerstone of the next Tar Heels dynasty.  We did make a couple of trades during the Winter Meetings.  Marc Gilbert was brought in and immediately signed to a long term deal to help anchor our bullpen.  Ezdra Valdes was brought in as an innings eater/middle of the rotation SP on a one season rental.  Typically we wouldn't make a move like this while rebuilding, but we realized that we were going to promote quite a few rookies who we have high hopes for and wanted to hedge our bets on making a wild card run.  If that doesn't work out, we'll cross our fingers he will be a type A/B free agent and can get some draft picks back.

Del De La Vega has already been promoted and will start off in the starting lineup and eventually be relegated to a utility role.  The big time prospects will wait until around game 20 to make their appearance.  Those include Takuya Bang ($24 mil INTL FA) and Nathan Strauss (#14 pick) and will slot in the rotation along with Orlando Mendoza (#2 pick) who will be our leadoff hitter and position TBD, Don Mori ($17 mil INTL FA) to play CF, Terry Murray (#12 pick) for the bullpen, and last but not least, big Stan Hurst, all of 20 years old and former #3 pick to anchor the lineup and play 1B for hopefully a very long time.

If everything breaks well and we can keep our head above water until the reinforcements show up, we're aiming for a wild card berth.

Chicago Blue Demons

The Chicago Blue Demons are under new ownership and in a new stadium, the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field. They lost two of their best sluggers to free agency, but will likely call up Cuban phenom Jose Ortiz to fill the gap. They doubled down on pitching in free agency, signing four hurlers, including right-handed SP Virgil Villalona. The Blue Demons hope to continue last season's success, which completed a dramatic turnaround for the franchise. Their new owner has shown a frustrating knack for fielding barely above average teams, however, and is planning to mollify the fan base with lots of give-aways, dancing girls, and nickel beer nights.

Florida Gators

Florida is hoping to contend again in Season 14 after a 97 win season and has added a number of quality veterans. We traded for power hitting C John Damon and solid SP Francisco Pujols. We also signed SP Aneury Lopez and LF Bobby Clayton to FA deals.

Richmond Cavaliers

The lineup for the Richmond Cavaliers remains pretty much in tact. The squad returns all but 3 contributors from last seasons AL Champions. The lineup changes have been filled from within and Joey Whitehead will see more AB’s this season. Two new faces are entering the starting rotation. Albie Puig will be a mainstay and Brad Hundley will fill a spot until Oswaldo Sosa is ready. Rule 5 pick Octavio Olmeda will work in long relief. Management expects the Cavaliers to make the playoffs this season and anything less would be a great disappointment.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Season 13 - Amateur Draft

Thank you to everyone who participated.  I apologize for the format issues.  Its best when they are sitemailed to me, but several sent trade chats instead and thats where you see the type change.

As always, these reviews are using a mixture of my HS/Coll/ADV Scouting and analysis.  Without a doubt, people will disagree :-) Enjoy!

1. Boston College - <a style="color:black;" href="" target="_blank">Corey Franco</a>

Franco looks like he will be a solid SP, but is a disappointment when seeing how loaded this draft class was.  He'll definitely be an innings hitter, but I think we'll see several players more worthy of #1.

kdfan35 - The scouts saw franco as the best pitcher who was willing to commit to pro ball- he should be a future horse- throwing a lot of innings at the front end of th Boston rotation

2. Texas A&M - <a style="color:black;" href="" target="_blank">Jumbo Badilla</a>

Badilla has an unbelievable bat and should hit a ton for the Aggies once he develops. It will be interesting to see how his glove develops because obviously if he can even play average defensively at a premium position, his value will skyrocket. He is worth every penny he demanded.

tbone66 - With the second overall pick I choose SS Jumbo Badilla. Although he probably won't be a ML SS his batting potential it to the roof as a hitter and for power. I can see him one day being a 2B or a heavy hitting 1B. Hopefully it pans out as his demands just rose substantially and I am going to have to pay and arm and a leg to get him on board

3. Cincinnati - <a style="color:black;" href="" target="_blank">Augie Quackenbush</a>

One of, if not the best pitcher in the draft, Quankenbush easily could have gone #1 and similar players like him do all the time in other worlds.  His righty split is ridiculous and has a couple great pitches.  Top of the rotation ace material and a legitimate steal at #3.

4. Anaheim - <a style="color:black;" href="" target="_blank">Carl Griffey</a>

Is this Ken Griffey Jr's long lost twin brother?  Carl Girffey sports a fantastic bat and hopefully will also play a premium defensive position.  Yet another guy who easily could have gone #1.

5. Salem - Chief Luetge

Headed to college breaking the collective heart of the Beavers

hurricane384 - Chief Luetge was the #5 pick overall. He isn't signing. He was going to be a very good hitter, but him not signing isn't a bad thing either.

6. Los Angeles - <a style="color:black;" href="" target="_blank">Ted Stange</a>

Really nice prospect and probably a 2B or maybe 3B depending on how his defensive ratings develop.  Always nice to grab a really good hitting player at one of those positions who is also a solid fielder.  A notch below the other guys who have gone so far, but a nice pick at #6.

mamidu - Really happy to grab Stange at #6. I had him as my highest rated prospect. He'll be an above average defensive player at a premium position that can hit for power and steal a few bases to boo twith no glaring weakness. Overall, I'm very excited to have Stange as a Bruin

7. Little Rock - <a style="color:black;" href="" target="_blank">Herm Cecil</a>

I'd love this pick if his glove was good enough to play CF or he was right handed.  Unfortunately he is left handed and there is no way he will be good enough defensively to station in center full time so now we have to look at him as a COF and although he has a nice bat, great hitting COF aren't that hard to find.

drichar138 - The Little Rock Razorbacks selected Herm Cecil with the 7th pick of the season 13 draft. Herm is a player that does everything well. He is a switch-hitter that has elite level contact and good splits against lefties and righties. Herm doesn't have a great eye and is kind of tweeter in terms of position. He doesn't project to be a centerfielder and the fact that he is left handed, excludes him from playing the infield. In the end he might end up being a gold glover caliber corner outfielder.

8. Detroit - <a style="color:black;" href="" target="_blank">Damian Ball</a>a>

Love this pick.  Ball is a really good SP prospect who could have gone in the top 5 even in this draft and I wouldn't have batted an eye.  Not quite ace level, but certainly top 2 in a rotation.

10gks - With the 8th pick in S13 amateur draft Detroit looked to fill their obvious need for starting pitching with the selection of California HS standout Damien Ball. This little 18yr old shows up at the signing table appropriately wearing a black ski mask. The little thief increased his signing demand to $4.2 mil earning him the highest payout thus far this year. Management folded like a tent and paid him the cash but swore to have Damien Ball's BALLS if he does not perform. Damien begins the defense of his private parts at the Hi A level.

9. New York - <a style="color:black;" href="" target="_blank">Richie Ransom</a>

If Ransom can develop his glove enough to be even average at SS in the bigs then this picks a solid, if not spectaculr top ten pick.  However, he has a long way to go to get that glove into the mid 80's and if he falls short than he will be an awkward fit in the everyday lineup.

cbf88 - Richie Ransom he should be able to handle SS and with his combination of power and speed he should be a fixture on offense for awhile

10. Austin - <a style="color:black;" href="" target="_blank">Yamil Caballero</a>

Nice pick to roud out the top 10 as Caballero projects to be a solid high middle of the rotation pitching with a really good righty split and some nice pitches.

11. Montgomery - <a style="color:black;" href="" target="_blank">Rip Torres</a>

Could be the steal of the draft so far.  I am surprised he dropped all the way to #11 and could have gone 5 spots higher easily. One of the best righty splits in the draft and boasts several above average pitches.  He should help solidify the Crimson Tide's rotation for quite awhile.

abesmem - At number 11 Montgomery was very happy to get pitching prospect Rip Torres. Rip has all the tools to be a dominant SP at the ML level someday. He should dominate right handed hitters with a rising fastball and nasty curve. He should also develop a credible changeup and slider to keep hitters off balance. While some might question his makeup, he’s already a fairly well developed pitcher who has great control and amazing stamina. She should be a top of the rotation starter in a few years.

12. Portland - <a style="color:black;" href="" target="_blank">Bobby Joe Paramore</a>

Paramore looks like an great leadoff hitter to me rather than a middle lineup type guy.  I'd call him elite if his batting eye projected to higher than it does.  Regardless, he should have a very high OBP and be able to force the issue on the basepaths and thats always a plus.

meece - The Ducks working on year 4 of their rebound to the road to glory has decided it is time to focus on offense with the selection of RF Bobby Joe Paramore. Duck GM Meece was very happy to land his #3 ranked player available to him at pick 12.  Bobby Joe has the potential to become a dominant middle of the order hitter with his contact ability and enough power to get Portland back to its winning ways.

13. Colorado - <a style="color:black;" href="" target="_blank">Edgar Segui</a>

Absolutely love this pick if Segui can develop into a SS, but more likely is a 3B and in that case its still a really nice pick up.  This draft continues to show how deep it is when guys like Segui are going #13.

14. Oakland - <a style="color:black;" href="" target="_blank">Greg Torres</a>

Very similar to what I just wrote for Segui above, Torres projects to be a really good hitting 2B and those guys are not easy to find.  To be able to grab someone like him as we enter the middle of the draft is great value.

15. Atlanta - C.C. Jay

Hasn't signed

16. Syracuse - <a style="color:black;" href="" target="_blank">Harry Gutierrez</a>

Gutierrez should be able to slot in as a middle of the rotation type SP sooner than later as he is already quite developed. He is the type of pitcher who should put up solid numbers with the occasional season where he crushes it.

17. Jackson - <a style="color:black;" href="" target="_blank">Joey Lamb</a>

I don't think he'll quite get to SS material, but should be able to be a decent hitting 3B who coers the hot corner pretty well.  In a perfect world he'd have a little bit more power.

18. Cincinnati (type A from Pittsburgh for Stubby Stevens) - Joseph Matsuzaka 

Hasn't signed

19. Durham - <a style="color:black;" href="" target="_blank">Wayne Lowery</a>

Our first pure reliever goes and he is really good with excellent splits and pitches.  He'd be excellent if his control was just a tad higher.

20. Florida - <a style="color:black;" href="" target="_blank">Kendry Camacho</a>

Camacho's health issues probably helped lead to him dropping down some draft boards, but if he is able to stay relatively healthy, he should be able to be a fixture for the Gators in their rotation.

21. Charlotte - <a style="color:black;" href="" target="_blank">Ben Young</a>

I was hoping to grab someone a little higher on my draft board because it was such a loaded draft, however I'm excited to see how Young develops.  He has fantastic contact and righty splits.  I'd love for his batting eye to be better and then I'd be really comfortable saying he has a great future as a leadoff hitter.  We'll see what happens.

22. Kansas City - <a style="color:black;" href="" target="_blank">Felipe Seguignol</a>

Felipe should be able to help in the bigs especially with his righty split.  I doubt he'll be able to play 3B, but he definitely has a future as a COF.  By now in the draft I'm typically able to point out a bust, but we haven't found one yet.

23. Chicago - Humberto Pichardo

Hasn't signed

24. Iowa City - <a style="color:black;" href="" target="_blank">Brad Loney</a>

Really nice bat for someone who should be able to play a premium defensive position while being picked up so late in the first round.  I'm not sure I see SS in him because of his arm strength, but maybe I am seeing something quite different.  Regardless, a very nice value pick.

smuck22 - Brad Loney should be an above average defensive SS, and decent at the plate against lefties. Solid pick up for a late 1st round draft pick.

25. Wichita - Deven Lopez 

Hasn't signed

26. Columbus - <a style="color:black;" href="" target="_blank">Jim Pie</a>

I don't see Pie as a CFer, but a nice player at 2B hopefully, but that may even be a stretch.  I've rarely seen a 22 year old with a 57 glove rating be able to improve to >80 glove rating.  However, he should at least be able to be a great lefty platoon and utility player.

anml34 - Wasn't hoping for much at 26 so if we can get a solid bat and potential gold glove at cf....we will take i

27. Richmond (from Trenton for Hunter Giambi) - <a style="color:black;" href="" target="_blank">Dennis DePaula</a>

My scouts aren't showing much growth in STA which would make this a bullpen type of pick, but reading opie's comments, I think my scouts are off.  If his STA does get to the point where he can start, then its always nice to grab a solid SP with decent splits and pitches in the back half of the first round.

opie5 - Dennis DePaula will be a solid spot starter/long reliever for the Cavaliers. DePaula projects to an excellent 1st pitch with 3 above averages pitches. He also has a solid control and vs L split. His vs R split is a little low - hopefully he'll grow beyond current projections.

28. Jackson (from Scranton for Jhoulys Castro) - <a style="color:black;" href="" target="_blank">Salvador Rogers</a>

I don't see his splits getting much better and if they don't then he is destined to be a mop up/long reliever type. He has a couple decent pitches so he if he able to develop those splits than his upside is as a back of the rotation type pitcher.

29. Baltimore - <a style="color:black;" href="" target="_blank">Glenallen Perez</a>

Absolutely love this pick and one of the steals of the draft.  Great hitting catcher who can also field the hell out of his position. This may be THE steal of the draft just in terms of value.  He could have gone top 10 and I wouldn't have blinked.  To get him at #29 is awesome.

30. Arizona - Brian Conti

Hasn't signed

31. Richmond - <a style="color:black;" href="" target="_blank">Pierce Buchanan</a>

I like this pick for the Cavaliers more than the pitcher they got at #27.  The tail end of the first round is always a nice place to pick up great reliever as they tend to be overlooked.  Nice value.

opie5 - Pierce Buchanan projects as a solid RP with excellent control. Buchanan should be solid vs R with nice ratios and solid pitches. His vs L split is a little low but hopefully develops beyond current projections.

32. Seattle - Brett Post

Hasn't signed

Scranton - llcc - The Scranton Nittany Lions did not have a number one draft pick this year because we signed Jhoulys Castro who was a type A free agent.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Season 13 - Hall of Fame

NCAA II officially has its first two Hall of Fame inductees!  Congratulations to both <a style="color:black;" href="" target="_blank">Miguel Lira</a> and <a style="color:black;" href="" target="_blank">Darby Bukvich</a> on the honor.  Lira and Bukvich were our two most dominating players through the first 10 seasons of the world and the owners decided to honor them accordingly.

A few words from owner mcgupp on Lira - Lira is the most dominant player I have been blessed to have on a team in all my experience with this game. When I saw him on my first team I thought I had hit the lottery. He delivered immediately winning the Cy Yong and leading the team to game 7 of the World Series. He got a second shot at a title in season 4. In both post seasons he turned in great performances. His regular seasons 1-6 are as good as almost any player in the games history. I am ecstatic that he was voted into the hall of fame. It is so unusual to see an original world player who doesn't get to play a full career elected. I am very glad so many recognize the dominance he exhibited during those initial seasons. Thank you to all who supported him.

Hopkinsheels words on Bukvich - 6 Time All Star, 2 Time AS MVP, 4 Time CYC, 1 Time HRD Champ, 5 Time MVP, 5 Time Silver Slugger 1B, 1 Time Silver Slugger RF, 1 World Series Ring pretty much says all you need to say about Bukvich.  He was the most fearsome hitter in the world for a long time and racked up some monster stats. Unfortunately the owner who had him for the longest time is no longer in the world so I don't have a first hand recap.  I'll say that I hated playing against the Wolverines because Bukvich would always rake against me and I'm guessing many owners would say the same thing.   

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Season 13 Previews

Thank you to everyone who took the time to participate.  I really appreciate it!

NL North

Detroit Wolverines

Year 13 is one of anticipation for the city of Detroit. Management was able to lure BC Billy Cedano away from last year’s division champions and it is hoped that his leadership can add a few more wins to this overpaid bunch of prima donnas.

Once again Detroit’s success is tied to the performance of Bobby Clayton. Clayton is entering the 4th year of his 5 yr 100mil contract and his only chance of seeing a 5th year on this team is tied to his performance. The other diva is Walter Grove. Like Clayton he conned management into a 5 yr deal that is way beyond what this clown is worth. Fans will continue boo his every move with the hope of this guy getting out of town.

The SS platoon of Cesar Torcato and Fernando Beato will provide solid D at SS although neither one knows where the on deck circle is much less how to hit.

Rookie Matt Holmes is being counted on for some power. His 50 minor league HR last year has given The Big League team something to look forward to. Last year’s Waiver pick up Rubin Park has locked down RF and a repeat of his .308 average is anticipated.

Pitching remains the major area of concern for the Wolverines. Wil Yamato and Neifi Williamson are the overpaid bums returning for another season. Hopefully both can continue to avoid those line drives up the middle that they constantly seem to surrender. Or maybe it might be better if they don’t. FA Vern Capps and Freddy Starr are being looked to for some much need improvement with Starr being given the closer role for S13.

It is hoped that S13 will mark the arrival of 22 yr old Benji Tatis to the big Club. Benji’s .295/37/102 led the AAA mini wolves to last year’s conference title.

Although the WS Title remains our long term goal, Detroit is hoping for significant improvement this season as they continue to close the knowledge gap between themselves and some off the established owners in this extremely well run league.

 Iowa City Hawkeyes

FA Signings- None

FA Lost- #4 Starter Kennie James and 1 short reliever

Returns virtually the entire team that was one game away from the world series. Calling up #5 Draft Pick Bill Hensley to fill the vacated starters position. Every Position player returns with most of them being under the age of 30. This team has a pretty good starting lineup, but the strength is the starting 5.
Scranton Nittany Lions

The Nittany Lions are expecting nothing less than a World Series Championship this upcoming lucky season number thirteen. The Lions have won 5 out of the last 6 division titles but have not gone any further in the playoffs than the DCS. Even with two time Cy Young award winning pitcher Randy Cooper pitching has been the biggest weakness in past seasons. The Lions have signed free agent pitchers Stubby Grabow and Jhoulys Castro to improve the pitching staff. The Lions hitting is our biggest strength with all stars Ralph Austin, Izzy Grieve, Piper Strittmatter, Paul Hayes and MVP Sean Service combining for 213 home runs last season. Rookie pitchers Henderson Evans and Victor Santiago are expected to help the Lions this coming year.

NL East

Baltimore Terrapins

Season 12 saw the Terps return to the form they showed in the first 4 seasons of NCAAII. A brilliant regular season performance was negated by playoff failure. Despite the frustrating playoffs no major changes occurred as the vast core of the team is locked up for a little more time. 2 former Terps returned to fill holes and improve the roster. C Placido Melendez will see 300+ at bats and should improve the offense from that position. SP/RP Kosuke Donald also returns and will likely get the majority of his innings in long relief.RP Dennis Shigetoshi was brought in via FA to get important late inning outs vs. RH batters. 1B Ellis Wells was promoted from AAA. Management is very excited to see if he can win the job outright from the disappointing Jack Mirabelli. RF JT Morton hit the offseason harder than ever. He was extremely disappointed to be 1 SB away from the 50/50 club and lag behind in votes for MVP. He and SS Alex Rosales highlight the outstanding offense. SP David Lopez headlines the pitching staff. RP is another point of strength as Luther Ross, Richard Kwon and Jesus Rodriguez form a formidable front line. Management hopes the rest of the SP can deliver. If they do, this team can go far.

Charlotte Tar Heels

Two severely underachieving seasons in a row led management to decide to blow up the team and start over while we could still get some good value for a lot of our veterans. Out the door went future hall of famers Myron Kaline and Andre Kerr and probably future hall of famers Marc Breen and Jeremy Stern.  Past All Stars like Dion Jones, Eddie Donovan, and TJ Moran were also sent packing along with several other good players.  Looking at all of the talent that was shipped out, one has to wonder how the Heels severely underachieved the last couple seasons.

Regardless, we're on the rebuild path now and are pretty excited about the pieces we were able to get back for all of that ML talent. In comes Kyle Truman to anchor the rotation while we wait for our prospects to develop like Orlando Mendoza, Takuya Bang, Stan Hurst, Nathan Strauss, Bret Porter, and the list goes on and on.  We also added a lot of cheap, decent talent to help keep us competitive for the next couple seasons.

Speaking of future talent, we are hoping Season 12's draft is as good as advertised as the Heels now have 3 of the top 7 picks in Orlando Mendoza (2), Stan Hurst (6), Bret Porter (7), and 6 of the top 39 if you include my original two picks, Don Ward (25) and Haywood Rigdon (39) along with Allie Warden (33) who is another new Heel.

We're excited for the future here in Charlotte and it will be fun seeing how all of the former Heels perform for other teams.

Durham Blue Devils

Durham spent the offseason dealing a couple of SS with contracts so that Evereth Martin can take over. While appearing to be a team in transition, Durham did add Grant Brown to a bullpen that struggled last season. The team continues to try to build around C Brad Edwards, 2B Darren Bauer, SS Evereth Martin, OF's Jerry Stgrickland and Terrance Glauber as well as a strong SP staff. It will be interesting to see what their GM has in store for the future as their staff is starting to cost more money.

NL South

Florida Gators

Florida is looking to improve upon last year's surprise 85 win season. As the rotation is returning intact, and most of the team was promoted to the ML in the last 2 years, we used this offseason FA period to build up the bullpen with RP's Javier, Gutierrez, and Barrios, and to add a good catcher in Uggla. Two quality prospects, the Guzman brothers, SS Kendry and RP Harry, will be called up early in the season.

Little Rock Razorbacks

After two consecutive seasons of 90+ losses, The Razorbacks appear to be poised to return to a respectable win total in season 13. The improvement should be felt in the line up more than on the mound. The team signed Type A free agent, Racardo Ramirez in the off season and should get a significant boost when minor league star, Oswaldo Candelario makes his way to the majors. Insiders estimate that we will be called up 20 games into the season and will instantly provide a presence in the middle of the line-up against right handed pitchers. In addition to Candelario, Russell Patterson will get his first taste of the majors as well. Patterson is the classic low batting average, high home run rate catcher, but his power in the line-up should be welcomed for a Little Rock team that finished dead last in the majors in home runs last season. While a playoff push, may not be in the cards for this group, I think a .500 record is not out of the question.

Montgomery Crimson Tide

The Crimson Tide is mildly optimistic about season 13, but in all honesty we’re probably not in any position to compete for a playoff spot unless all things broke just right. The biggest change in the off season was the FA acquisition of veteran RF Gorkys Calderone who should add some needed pop to the lineup and provide solid defense in RF. Other changes will be the promotion of rookie Brian Morris at C and waiver acquisition Alfredo Estrella at CF who will both be part of a platoon. Unfortunately, the pitching staff remains solid if only mediocre and I’m hoping for some career or bounce back years from much of the staff. There are some good young arms in AAA who may get called up early if the season starts slipping away.

NL West

Arizona State Sun Devils

We begin our title defense returning most of last season's key offensive pieces. The only notable loss was the decision not to re-sign Lon Pribanic, who takes his .400 obp elsewhere. He will be missed but money is getting tight and he was an aging platoon only bat, so the difficult decision was made. Everyone else returns, and the offense should continue to be quite strong. Last year's unsung hero was Vicente Castro, who played double digit games at 5 different defensive positions and raked at the plate (.913 OPS, 31 HR, 21 SB). His super utility role will continue this season and we hope for similar production with the bat.

The big changes happened on the mound during the offseason. We shipped away most of the young future talent in the org to bring in the world's all-time strikeout leader, Myron Kaline, to co-anchor the rotation alongside Jack Glass. The rotation struggled at times after my top 2 last season, so adding an ace to the mix will certainly strengthen that. We also return Louie Crespo from his 14th major arm injury (only a slight exaggeration), and his return should help strengthen the back end of the rotation until his arm inevitably falls off yet again. The bullpen was solid and returns just about everyone.

As long as we can avoid major injuries to key players, this should be a team poised to compete for another championship. Hopes are high this season.

AL North

Chicago Blue Demons

The Chicago Blue Demons are looking to improve on last season’s 87 wins, which included a wild card round playoff series win and ended when they were swept by Richmond 3-0 in the DCS.
Chicago lost longtime bullpen workhorse D’Angelo Machado who signed a $29 million free agent deal, and declined a $3.2 million option on Carlos Flores who had an OPS of .870 in 495 Abs last season.

The Blue Demons made some aggressive trades acquiring 11 time AllStar Andre Kerr, SP Marc Breen and RP TJ Moran all from Charlotte in 2 separate deals. Kerr is NCAA II’s all time leader in runs scored and doubles, and 2nd alltime in hits and will provide a big time spark for the offense. Breen will be penciled in as the #1 man in Chicago’s revamped rotation, and gives the Blue Demons their first true #1 starter for the first time in many seasons. Moran will slide into the bullpen role vacated by Machado. The Blue Demons said good bye to SP prospect Nathan Strauss, and beastly 1B prospect, Stan Hurst to get these deals done.

Chicago also traded for SS Tony Mateo, who will replace the aging Peter Matthews, whos declining range made it impossible for him to play short anymore.

While Chicago was very active in trading, they were very quiet in free agency. They signed SP Juan Mercado, who will compete for the 4th or 5th spot in the rotation and brought in RP Virgil Payton, who is currently on the 60 day DL recovering from elbow surgery. If Payton can get back to where he was before the injury, he and Moran will form a very good one-two punch out of the pen.
Look for IF/OF Wilson Rothschild to make his ML debut some point this season for the Blue Demons, Chicago believes the #14 overall pick from season 9 is ready to contribute.
Internally, Chicago believes they can approach 90+ wins, and win their division this season.

Trenton Scarlet Knights

The Scarlet Knights are desperately trying to keep their grip on the division title once again this season. After a slow start to last season, management expect to give the starting rotation more depth behind long time ace Ken Nix. However in true Trenton fashion, the Knights came up empty in their FA quest and made some decisions that have left the fan base wondering if this franchise is on its last legs of glory. 

The Knights pitching staff was going to be thin and over worked coming into this season, but with the season ending injury in spring training to rotation pitcher P.J. Bunch, there are more questions than answers on how far this team can go.

With growing salary demands and aging players, look for the Trenton management team to make significant changes to the roster and begin the rebuilding process if a playoff berth is unlikely by the All-Star break.

AL East

Boston College Eagles

Boston is pretty pleased with its offseason- thought we were unable to land the big players we were chasing we added a couple of solid veterans.

With the promotion of a couple minor leaguers this year- led by pitcher
we hope to bring the team's record back over .500

Richmond Cavaliers

After consequtive losses in the LCS, the ownership in Richmond decided to shake up the team this season. The mainstays of the lineup all remained with Richmond, but new SS Ryne Nagy will bring a solid glove and a welcomed LH bat to the lineup. And 3b/RF pep Johns will get a full season in the majors. Ownership traded some starting pitching, a deep position in the minor leagues, for position prospects. That leaves Oswaldo Sosa and Albie Puig vying for a spot in the ML rotation. Jhoulys Tarrasco, Jerrod Bridges and Robinson Osoria are vying for an opening in the bullpen. Richmond’s lineup remains solid and it’s pitching staff has gotten younger, but ownership expects a return to the post-season.

Syracuse Orange

Season 13 will be a roster transition year for the Orange.  New management refused to resign several players who were not in the long range plan.  And began the process of getting the payroll under  control.   Gone are pitchers  Howard Lawrence  Matt Moseley  Steve Connelly  and  Wallace Narveson .  Six veterens were wiaved to free up $29M in cap space.  Pitchers   Bruce Ennis  Aroldis Nunez  and  Neftali Javier  along with position players Pepe Cordero  Clay Stanley  and  Phil Bong  all found new homes within the league.

 In their place, Syracuse focused on one and two year contracts and began to focus on rebuilding the prospect base.   The Orange will be relying on cheaper ageing vets to keep the team competitive in season 13.  37 year old veteran   Richard Ni  will be given the task of #2 starter.   At 37, all eyes will be on pitching coach Thom Krueger  to see if he can coax another solid season from Ni.   Ni will join Yunesky Callaspo at the top of the order.  The rest of the staff is made up of a few holdovers and five free agent pitchers who were all signed for less than $2M after the initial wave of Free Agency.  All of the signings were on one or two year contracts with team options, so the team has some flexibility as they retool.  Offensively only two large contracts remain as the team dipped into the Rule 5 Draft pool to fill out the ML roster.  

There is good chance that the future will start 20 days into the season when theOrange will be able to promote players without losing a control year.   Look for Dingo Lieberthal Maicer Amezaga  and Jose Martin  to arrive from AAA early in the season.  The Orange front office shared with me that although the transition plan is expected to take three or four seasons, they looking for some early results by season’s end.  

AL South

Wichita Jayhawks

Our team will be very much like last season. We signed Wilfredo Johnson and Trey Wilhelm to replace the departed Dayan Flores and Virgil Payton . Hopefully our hitting dominates the AL as it did last season, because pitching wise we are weak as we were last year. This team could make the playoffs or just as easily miss. Staying healthy will be a key for this team. It's an older team and it could be our last kick at the can with this group.

AL West

Oakland Golden Bears

Here are a few notes on the Oakland Golden Bears franchise in NCAA2. The Oakland franchise is in the midst of rebuilding and last year we were able to continue this process without losing any more games than we did the season before.

The Oakland franchise has a solid core to build on veterans Terry Seaton (former #4 pick), Endy Valentin, Rodney Brown and Alex Seanez. Last year, trades also garnered two youngsters that look to be the Keystone combination for many years in Damon Minor and Wayne Murphy.

We lost some key free agents last year that allowed us to get 5 1st round picks and 7 picks out of the top 84 selections. We picked up some nice prospects, Hulk perisho, Hipolito Rivera, David Wohlers, Norberto Delgado and Dorssys Perez to name a few. Our top two picks Perishho and Rivera tore up the rookie league last year and look to have bright careers in front of them. In order to bolster the Oakland pitching staff, Rivera and Perisho were dealt during Spring Training for Cam Wilson and George Westbrook, two SP that will start in the majors this season and look to be fixtures for years to come as both are just entering their prime years.

Although we are still young and rebuilding, the financials are in very good shape and we are moving in the desired direction for our budget targets. I feel that reaching the playoffs this year is an attainable goal.

Salem Beavers

The Salem Beavers...a team that has never quite gotten good enough for this owner's preferences made several moves to improve. We added 3 new starters and an entirely new bullpen to the mix. The bullpen is worse while the rotation improved. The real improvement comes for the offense where SS Benavente 2B Donovan, and DH Lewis look to really prop a group that was weak last season. The team added some pop to the bench as well, so hopefully you can see some real fireworks out of Salem this season. The team spent right up to their budget, so we're really looking at this team for the rest of the season. As far as potential newcomers this season, 1B Aramis Campos, 3B Josias Guerrero, and OF Tomas Ordonez might not be ready, but could well be thrust into the spotlight.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Rule Change Amendment

Rule Change Amendment

Hello everyone, I have been considering a slight change to the MWR for quite awhile. A lot of you are already aware of this because of the conversation we've had in NCAA..

Action Required - Please trade chat or sitemail me if you'd like to voice your support or opposition to the rule change. If you'd like to make your thoughts public, please feel free to post a reply to this post and it will appear on the blog.

I feel that the world rules need to evolve as the league and HBD evolves. To be clear, I have ZERO interest in weakening the competitive requirements. I want to provide the opportunity for a good owner to have the choice to stay in the world if they don't hit the MWR and accept strong penalties which will still dissuade any tanking.

The other change I have decided to make after discussing with other commissioners is I am going to take the competition committee out of the process initially when someone hit 200 losses over 2 seasons. Now you'll automatically get probation, however the competition committee will retain the right to review all situations on a case by case basis and if there is documented issues with tanking (ie - throwing out fatigued pitchers for the last 2 weeks of the season to generate losses) then they can still be voted out. The process will be the competition committee voting on the situation and if its severe enough to bring to the world, then the world will vote.

Old Rule - 1. 200 losses or more over a two year period and the owner will be asked to state their case as to why they should be allowed to stay. If allowed to stay the owner must reach 70 wins or be replaced.

New Rule 

1. 200 losses or more over a two season period and the owner will go on probation and have to hit 70 wins. If the owner does not hit 70 wins, then the owner has a choice of leaving the world or accepting the following penalties:
- Forfeiture of next season's first round pick by selecting a player chosen by the commissioner 
- One season IFA ban on signing anyone for more than $1 million. IFA's under $1 million can be signed as minor league filler.
- If either of these rules are violated, the result is immediate expulsion from the world
- The competition committee reserves the right to vote on each MWR situation and if its severe enough, then the world will vote on the offending owner. 

The last benefit to this rule change is it will allow me to set up a very clean spreadsheet on tracking MWR offenders for all of my worlds. Although I go out of my way to be unbiased when the competition committee votes, I felt that I wanted to make the process more objective than subjective and these rules reflect those changes while also allowing the world to retain good owners who want to stay in the world.

Thanks for being a part of this world and community,


Friday, February 28, 2014

Season 9 Team Previews

Charlotte Tar Heels

Its been an exciting off season in Charlotte and big expectations abound for Season 9! The Tar Heels didn't allow a really depressed trade market get them down as they completed several big trades (although many many more conversations were started).

The Tar Heels SP received a decent overhaul. Stern and Breen were locked up long term and will anchor the rotation for many seasons to come. Alston was signed to a long term deal. His future was in doubt, but once we made the decision to trade Zheng, we had to lock him up as a solid middle of the rotation guy. Former IFA bonus baby, Robinzon Bonilla will make a return to the rotation after being a super set up guy the last two seasons. Several deals were discussed to bring in long relievers/spot started, but in the end we are promoting from within.

The lineup should be very similar to the past few seasons. Craig was brought back on a FA deal as he has been an extremely solid 1B for us. We also imported John Uehara and he will be a backup C, RFer, and great pinch hitter. In the same deal where we moved SP Zheng and RP Hines, we also traded longtime 3B Roland Vitiello and were able to get back a big time talented youngster in Ben Collmenter, former #3 pick from last season. This also allows us to move Dion Jones from RF to his original position of 3B.

Our offense looks primed to be extremely strong. It wouldn't be a surprise if our pitching took a step back after losing Ricardo Perez to FA and Oscar Zheng in a trade, but we're exciting about the pieces we got back.

Our goal is to win the division and earn a bye and let the chips fall where they may in the playoffs.

Florida Gators

The Gators finished 7 games out of the lead for the division last season, which surprised us as we didn't figure to be that competitive for another couple seasons. We added Alan Leary to help take over CF and depending on how the season progresses we may see Esmailyn Ortiz and/or Everth Martin called up, although management still seeking to trade a few bats for better pitching

Arizona State Sun Devils

Looking to build off the momentum from last season, we return the same core from last season. In my original plan, this would be season 2 of the Louie Crespo era, however his arm fell off last season and he received zero recovery bonus, so he's basically two seasons behind. He will get the call this year, but I'm far less excited about his long term prospects following injury.

Crespo will join a solid rotation, and despite his ratings hit, should still be the #1 guy. For as long as this franchise has been in existence, the bullpen has been terrible. I attempted to change things with a deal for William Chang, who has sta/dur concerns but should slot in nicely as a closer where high innings aren't needed. I'll address the innings piece by calling up Ezdra Rosado, who should be able to approach 100 innings out of the pen (hopefully 100 good innings). I'm still one arm short but couldn't find the right guy in the trade or FA market, so I'll look for an upgrade midseason. Either way, the pen is in much better shape than previous seasons.

On offense we return all of the same guys from last season and expect a solid performance again. I once again toyed with the idea of dealing Javier Borbon, and once again decided not to. The only changes on offense are to a few bench spots so nothing too impactful. 

Overall, a return to the playoffs is our goal, hopefully with a little more success than last season.

Richmond Cavaliers

The Cavaliers are beginning their rebuild after an early management change last season. More attention has been paid to getting the salary structure under control and to improving the defense this off season. Key acquisition Chick Heilman will sure up the infield D and RP Albert Malone will provide BP stability. The lineup centers around Al Cruz, with several solid contributors, and the pitching staff is solid and centers around Andrew Foster. More acquisitions are set to come and prospect Wascar Ramos may make his debut at some point. The Richmond Cavaliers are in a rebuilding year but feel there is an outside chance of making the playoff tournament.

Baltimore Terrapins

The front office in Baltimore began a rebuild of the organization during the 2nd half of the season.  The Terps treaded into FA but for the most part missed on any big stars. Ron Fitzgerald was signed to play great D in LF and get on base in front of Devin Roth and Apollo McCormick .The bullpen is the strength of the team with Luther Ross and Spud Blank closing out games. Miguel Lira decided he could not go out off his 7-14 5.50 ERA performance and management decided to take the gamble that performance was a fluke. His HOF credentials could use all the stat padding he can still muster. With the #2 pick excitement is about the future here since the ML squad will struggle to compete.

Scranton Nittany Lions

Scranton Nittany Lions hope to win the NL North for the third year in a row and advance further in the playoffs. The Lions signed free agent pitcher Ricardo Perez to help improve a weak starting rotation.Randy Cooper is the top minor league prospect and he is a year or two away from the big club.

Detroit Wolverines

The Wolverines are rebuilding. A lot of young positional players will be relied on, led by Enrique Pineiro and Masao Chang. The front office also took a chance on some overlooked pitchers (probably for good reason) in order to field a competitive team this season. Duane Abbott, Jerrod Mailman, and Sam Hart will all have important roles on the pitching staff this season to support young stud Bruce Ennis. The Wolverines are hoping to be somewhat competitive this season, but the focus will be on current prospects in the farm and capitalizing on the IFA market and draft this season.

Colorado Buffaloes

This will be a transition season for the Colorado Buffaloes. The payroll is still high, but the team is aging and will probably struggle to even contend for a playoff spot. Colorado traded for Yorman Abreu as a defensive specialist and will bring Ernie Weurtz to the bigs to play 2B. The hope for the Buffaloes is the offense can come up huge and overcome a lack of pitching depth and a suspect defense to at least stay in the race until the end.

Montgomery Crimson Tide

The Crimson Tide will be looking to rebound this season based on a revamped pitching staff and new 3rd sacker and the continued development of some of their young stars. Pitching was a major disappointment last season so this off season saw Montgomery pick up SP Oscar Zeng and set up man Ben Hines through trade. The Tide also grabbed FA SP Chris Scelfo. All three should be major contributors this season and for seasons to come. Prince Sheehan should continue to shine as the Tide’s closer while now veterans, Hector Zorrilla, Nicholas Greenwood and Dave Stanley should round out the starting rotation. Veterans Roland Vitiello (by trade) at 3b and Derek Howard (thru FA) in RF should provide clutch hitting and solid defense. Behind the plate Glen Myer will continue to be guide the staff and provide a solid bat. The continued growth of stars Darren Bauer at 2B, Warren Dimaggio at SS, Miguel Trevino in LF and Pedro Bennett in CF should only help the flat out great hitting of veteran 1B Kevin Sample. All in all, Montgomery has all the tools needed to compete for a division title….. we hope.

Little Rock Razorbacks

Key adds: C Julio Zapata, RP Tike Everhart, RP Tony Lopez, RP Doug Booker

Key losses: RP Bubbles O’Neil, RP Tim Weathers, C Dolf Sparks

Outlook: The Razorbacks return most of players that played on last season’s NL South division winning team. None of the players lost in the offseason where key to the division championship run and the players brought in to replace them are not significant upgrades. The Razorbacks should be able to contend for the division again in season 9, but are not a World Series contender. They are the classic case of a team that is caught in the middle. To good to get a high draft pick, but not good enough to win it all. 

Atlanta Yellow Jackets

Atlanta was not very active during the offseason, hoping to build upon last season’s playoff run and the continued development of its younger players. The Yellow Jackets will miss the bat of Gerrit Cornelius, who the picked up during the stretch run last year but were unable to keep in free agency. 

Juan Mercado and Jose Matos should continue to carry a large burden for the pitching staff, while the team hopes to see Scott Burns and Aaron Foster continue their development. Reese Waterson, Santiago Toca and Lance Lewis will form the middle of the lineup. Infielder Kevin Wong and pitcher Alejandro Bennett should see the big leagues not long after the start of the season. 

Los Angeles Bruins

The Bruins had a quite and uneventful offseason. After missing out on some of the big FAs, we decided to go into the season with what we have and bring up young guns #p5822086Geronimo Colome#p & #p5635568Brandon Bryant#p. We're going to be really good against lefties agian this year and hope to improve drastically against righties. Hopefully I am surprised, but we'll be missing the playoffs again this year.

Iowa City Hawkeyes

This team is extremely young, of the 12 position players on the major league roster 6 of them are rookies and 4 others are entering their 2nd year in the bigs. The team shouldbe led by 27 year old 2B Alex Lunar who will hopefully rebound from a subpar season that saw him with only 18 HR's and a .242 AVG. Rookie 1B Peter Shigetoshi should hit for a decent AVG and be a compliment to Lunar.

On the pitching side of things this team will struggle, there is no clear cut #1 starter, but we should have a decent pen, espescially in middle relief. Howecver the loss of blossoming middle reliever Omar Javier for the year will hurt. Pitching will be patch work and spotty all year.

Seattle Huskies

Last season the Seattle Huskies showed to be a few season ahead of schedule. Is a season that was planned as being a building season. The team would not stop winning. And we were forced to make a few moves to have a fighting shot on the playoffs. We were able to bring in 1B Darby Bukvich, 2B Vinny Bonds, RP Lariel Bazardo and SP Vance Taschner without jeopardizing the future. 

And that future for the Seattle Huskies is a bright one. With a bunch of young talent that made there debut last season. The group that fans have taken to calling the “Young Guns” includes C/1B Pedro Chavez (a steady everyday player with a strong bat that will dominate left handed pictures), SS Brett Hewitt (Another work horse that will stay on the field and play above average defense. While being a steady 30/30 guy). And lights out closer Earl O'Brien (If any player is to get credit for turning things around its O’Brien. Closing the door on 44 or 46 games. He did not give up an ER the first 100 games of the season.) 

In the end the Huskies fell short not having the SP needed in the playoffs. Entering the mix this season will be SP Cesar Gonzalez. Gonzalez is a hard throwing left hander with the stamina to complete every game. 

With all these young players and a few vets in place. There were not a lot of open spots in the off season. The one thing that was needed was a front line SP. There were really only two options in the FA market. It was a decision that was passed back and forth right up to the last moment. And in the end it was Domingo Melendez. Melendez is another work horse that will be able to jump up spots in the rotation to get more starts. He is a hard throwing ground ball pitcher that should fit in well in Seattle’s extreme pitchers park. 

With all these players leaving the farm the past few season. There is not a lot of depth left in Seattle. But there is still some star quality with two blue chip players. SS Otis James looks like he is going to be very strong at the plate hitting both left and right hands well. And RF Sherm Webster that has elite power and loves to hit right handed pitching. Webster is working hard with his glove to be able to play in the field every day. We make sure not tell him but with that bat he will never have problem finding playing time. The future is bright for these two Huskie pups. 

Wichita Jayhawks

Didn't make any trades this season. We were able to fill our needs through free agency. Went into this offseason targeting a CF and a SP, we were able to hit on both counts, signing Hulk Barnes and Ruben Perez .

We also added Nicholas Morgan , Chris Chatwood , Felipe Prado , and Benny Cortes . We promoted Gustavo Chacin and Hugh Blalock . Waiting in the wings is Freddy Martin who will be called up at some point in the season. Wichita expects at the very least to grab a wildcard spot this season and with a bit of luck win the division.

Oakland Golden Bears

Goals for the season: 

Seasons 5-8 were rebuilding seasons for this franchise. Key injuries in Seasons 1 through 5 to Ace SP's just gutted this franchise and the rebuilding process was initiated. About mid-way through Season 8, the ML team really gelled and pushed Seattle for the Division Title. In the end, the Golden Bears only made it in as a Wild Card, but that was really saying something considering how far below .500 they were for much of the 4 seasons of rebuilding. The next step is to take the Division or, at least, advance in the playoffs. We aren't quite ready for legitimate consideration for the WS Title, but we think we fit the role of "dark horse" pretty well. 

ML team makeup/strategy:

The Golden Bears feature passable SPs, a pretty decent BP, and an offense featuring 6 players with Power over 83 and all but two of the remaining players with Eye over 80. Defense is average. We are here to win the OPS battle, tire out your SP, and have our bullpen defeat your bullpen.


No trades yet, but we RELEASED former first round draft choice Felix Radke ( . Addition by subtraction, sadly.

Free agents:

The Golden Bears bolstered their bullpen by adding two former Arizona players. First is setup man Alex Seanez, respectable Setup B type of player who fits into the Team Strategy. The other guy from Arizona we added will also fit nicely into the Team Strategy. We helped out our offense by signing a SS with excellent plate patience, Lee Perkins. 

But, of course, the BIG signing was former MVP and HR king, Henry Beech. Getting him for $10M a season seems like a bargain to the Golden Bears' brass. Thank you Cleveland.

Rookies bringing up: 

No rookies are coming up to start this season, but there are a couple of gems in the system that fit the above-mentioned Team Strategy. The blue-chippers need a bit more seasoning down in the minors, though, so we are holding our breath that no major injuries force our hand this season.

Pittsburgh Panthers

The Pittsburgh Panthers are coming off a very disappointing season last year as we had high hopes of being a playoff contender. The offseason was fairly quiet with the biggest move was bidding farewell to DH Yamil Rodriguez. We also pulled the trigger on signing some of our younger pitchers to long term contracts before their arbitration years ended. This included Marc Bell and Welington Monlina who were both signed to 4 year deals. We’re still looking to solidify the roster before the season starts but this is the year that could either shape up for good things to come or be the year that we decide a roster direction change may be in order.

Austin Longhorns

The Austin Longhorns had a very quiet off season. Not much doing outside the normal off season activites. Management is still scratching their heads over last season's "first to worst" debacle.

The offense is evident through out the line-up, it just took a few steps backward. Ted Halman leads the offense from the DH spot with help from Enrique Benitez, Ricardo Ramirez (who enters his final year of contract) and slugging 1B Ryan Perez. David Pettite set a career high in HRs with 27 but dropped in average. Gabby Skinner had an average rookie year even though he hit 23 HRs to go with 80 rbi..his struggle with righties is his only flaw.

As for the pitching..another story. Footsie Maxwell has yet to live up to his potential outside of his sophomore season. Management will be monitoring his starts very closely..hoping to snap him out of his funk. George Strange has been the only consistent starter the past couple of seasons..his veteran leadership is key. Bump Harville anchors the bullpen once again..looking to follow up on his 31 saves from last year.

I am not putting lofty expectations on this team...just to do better than last season!

Boston College Eagles

Sad days in Boston as fans have a reason to be upset. Management made failed attempts to acquire some punch in the off season and were a distant second in the Gerrit Cornelius bidding. To compensate 36 year old former College Eagle, Stan Pearce was re-signed. So no changes have been made to increase the teams offence. Young Boots Karros has been promoted and will help shore up the pen.
There are funds available to transfer but little money in IFA budget. The team may explore taking on a high contract player

With no major additions or deletions the Boston team it is unlikely the team will reach the 90 win plateau this year.