Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wildcard Races in AL/NL are...............wild!!!

With 15 games to go both the AL/NL have multiple teams locked into a tight battle for the wildcard playoff berths.  As far as bigparb is concerned, the more the merrier.  I truly believe that one clear indicator of the "health" of a world is how many teams are vying for playoff spots. 


In the NL there are 4 teams, including 3/4th of the NL South----Tampa, Iowa and Texas; along with the S17 World Series Champion St. Louis Red Birds in the race for the two wildcard spots.  Tampa is currently leading the race, with Iowa 3 games back, St. Louis 4 games out and Texas 9 games out, but it is ronazbill and his Red Birds who are riding a hot streak, winning their last 5.   Iowa's schedule is clearly the most difficult of the four and will likely leave the Rounders on the outside looking in.  Tampa, St. Louis and Texas's schedules are all pretty equal, and the Wildcats could get hot, but the blog feels that Tampa and St. Louis will find a way to the post-season.  (all this assumes that New Orleans maintains its hold on the NL South---Frank Robbins better not sleep walk down the stretch!!!)


The AL wildcard race is even more competitive with 7 teams fighting for those last two spots, with the AL South representing big-time!!!  Jackson has fought back from some adversity this year, perhaps struggling under the weight of expectations as the Colonels were the blogs pre-season poll pick to win the World Series in this S18.  Jackson is followed by Little Rock (1 game back), Anaheim (3 games back), Santa Fe and Toronto (4 games back), with Kansas City and Montreal on the outside looking in (9 games back).  Jackson and Anaheim are the two hottest teams heading into these final two games and the blog fully expects ml4ku to get his talented team into the wildcard, but who's gonna grab the last spot??  Based on schedules down the stretch Toronto has got to be the favorite to grab the last spot, but how can I look past Anaheim and that lineup....WOW!!!  Don't sleep on Kansas City, isumedici has KC in the mix, and with the most favorable schedule of all may just have something to say about that last spot.  The blog is going with the upset and is picking KC to snag the last spot on the last day of the season!!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

S18 Draft Review by holer

Washington D.C. Senators

Needs: MIF, CF
Catching duties on the Senators are shared by David Soriano and Derek Conigliaro. Both are very good hitters, and average fielders, but most importantly, they are both still relatively young. At 1B, they have a similar situation, albeit the two choices are slightly older, but still in their prime. The three infield skill positions all have solid choices, but absolutely nobody to back them up, or eventually replace them. The OF is solid at either end, but soft up the middle. Young Vic Pena is an option there, but the only option, and he is a very light hitter, as well as an average fielding CF. The Senators are in the process of developing their rotation, and they have stockpiled some considerable depth in doing so. Suffice to say that the starting rotation will not be a concern in the very near future. The bullpen situation isn't quite as clear, but they do have plenty of talent to get the job done.

Draft Expectation: Low
The standard 5 picks in 5 rounds, and the first pick is at number 12 overall. Considering Washington's needs are not that excessive, only having 5 picks in the top 5 rounds is not really a problem.

Draft Preparation:
Having the 6th highest payroll in the league, that is primarily distributed to only a handful of players, has left Washington with few options on how to prepare for the draft. As discussed in the previous paragraphs however, this does not really present a major problem as Washington has little to prepare for. As their highly expensive handful of millionaires reach free agency again in a few seasons, the Senators will not only gain extra picks, but also gain a whole lot of extra money to bolster the scouting departments. As it is this year, Washington spent a little bit on high school scouting, and a little more into the prospect budget. Really, at this point, it is all they need.


Round 1 Pick 12 SP Farmer Mathewson
Although this pick came in an area which Washington did not really have a need, it is never a bad idea to pick quality starting pitching. Mathewson is a classic number 3 starter. A very effective sinkerball pitcher, he will work long innings, and keep the ball on the ground. Besides his sinker, he has 3 other plus pitches, giving him a very impressive array. As the number 12 pick overall, he about what you should expect.
ML Projection: 220-230 IP/15-17 W/.240-.260 OAV/3.25-3.75 ERA

Round 2 Pick 69 SP Brady Briggs
Again, choosing to bolster their rotation, Washington chose Briggs in the 2nd round, but this time, their choice of selection wasn't as successful. Briggs will probably have some success as a minor league pitcher, but that will not translate to ML success. In fact, he will probably never make the ML.

Round 3 Pick 101 SP Bret Stafford
The quality keeps going steeply downhill here. Stafford will probably top out at AA, and may only make it as far as high A. I guess a couple of million dollars just doesn't go as far as it used to!

Round 4 Pick 133 SP Terry Sveum
SP option number 4. At least we are heading back in the right direction. Sveum will undoubtedly have a strong AAA career, but will probably never see the bigs. There is an outside chance he could get a sneak peek.

Round 5 Pick 165 RP Joey Trujillo
Trujillo is just too risky a prospect to give any time in the ML bullpen. Although many of his talent numbers are strong, he has serious control problems, and his left/right splits just aren't quite there. If he by chance were DITRed, he could become a solid ML bullpen option.

Hidden Gems: None Foreseeable

Overall Grade: C-
With very little to look forward to, at least Washington made their first pick count. They did not find a player in an area that they needed help, but they did find a good quality SP, which can always come in handy.

S18 Draft Review by holer

Buffalo Springfield

Needs: C, 1B, 3B, SS, OF
Behind the plate, Miguel Martinez just doesn't have what it takes to be a ML catcher. Young Jesus Soto is capable of filling the role, but he desperately needs time to develop, and he will need help. Davey Gardel also represents a weak option at 1B, so a much bigger bat is needed there. 2B is well covered, but 3B and SS are in need of new blood. I also have to ask, why isn't Miguel Goya up in the bigs playing 1B? The outfield is in total disarray, however jlarsons does have prospects in the minors capable of doing a better job than the group on the big team. They just need some developmental time. jlarsons also has the players within his system to have a capable starting rotation, and an excellent bullpen. He just has to re-structure what he has to bring out their full effectiveness.

Draft Expectations: Moderate
Similar to New Orleans, jlarsons has 6 picks in the first 5 rounds, including 2 in the first round. His first pick is number 5 overall, which he needs to make count considering his task at hand.

Draft Preparation:
Buffalo is just above the league average for player payroll, meaning they will have some room to move with their finances, but it will be limited. jlarsons fairly evenly distributed his funds, with a little more emphasis on high school and international scouting, than on college scouting.


Round 1 Pick 5 SS Max Kelly
Kelly brings a little bit of everything to the table. His defense is good, but his range is a bit weak. He has excellent speed, and good base-running ability. He is a good hitter, especially for a shortstop, but not a great hitter. In essence, he is the solid all-around player you would expect to get at no. 5 overall. Considering he fills a major need on the Springfield, he was the right pick to make.
ML Projection: 20-25 HR/.290-.320 BA/30-40 SB

Round 1 Supp Pick 35 1B Douglas Karl
Although there may have been more talented players available at pick 35, Karl fills another pressing need for jlarsons and again, was probably the right pick to make. He is not the best defensive 1B in the world, nor does he carry the biggest stick, but he is good enough to fill both those roles, and he brings the rare element of speed to 1B.
ML Projection: 20-25 HR/.250-.270 BA/25-30 SB

Round 2 Pick 63 P Andy Meadows
not scouted enough and unsigned

Round 3 Pick 94 RP Johnny Coleman
A nice pickup at pick 94, Coleman should provide an option in long relief for jlarsons. He tends to get the ball up in the strike zone, but he has enough velocity and control to get away with it most of the time.
ML Projection: 120 IP/5-8 W/.240-.260 OAV/3.00-3.50 ERA

Round 4 Pick 126 RF Floyd Joyner
Joyner has the numbers of a standard AAA outfielder, and that is probably as far as he will go.

Round 5 Pick 158 3B Sawyer Dunston
The same as Joyner, with the same results.

Hidden Gems: RP Donatello Lampkin?, RP Felix Yosida?

Overall Grade: A
Considering the overall makeover this team needs with it's position players, jlarsons did very well in this draft targeting the right picks, especially in the first round. Landing a solid long reliever and 2 long shots in later rounds makes this a very successful draft.

S18 Draft Review by holer

New Orleans Pelicans

Needs: 1B, 3B, SS, CF
By far, one of the best developmental farm systems ever to exist in ARod world. As would be expected, gjd is right on top of covering the developing holes on this team as he goes through a period of transition. Behind the plate, incumbent Trevor Prince is as solid and consistent as they come, and he should be around for awhile. Even if he falters, there are a number of options behind him. At 1B, future HOFer Frank Robbins is beginning to age. He is the big bat at the heart of the order and will be difficult to replace. Future gold glover and all-star Rusty Rowan has 2B well in hand. 3B has been covered by committee, and is in desperate need of a solid prospect to bring continuity. The same applies to the SS position, where long-time Pelican Benji Mangual made his home for so many years. Mangual has since been moved to RF, and even if this is only a temporary situation, it exposes the need to find his replacement at SS soon. In the outfield, gjd is pretty set at the COF positions with Moreno in LF and Mangual in RF, but they desperately need an upgrade over Clarke in CF. The pitching staff has been the focus of gjd in recent years to start his rebuild, and he has done an excellent job in establishing continuity between his old staff, and the new generation. There is no need to continue focus here.

Draft Expectation: Moderate
gjd has 6 selections in the first 5 rounds, including 2 first rounders, starting with overall pick no. 19. With such a strong pitching staff, he needs to concentrate on picking up some quality position players.

Draft Preparation:
New Orlean's player payroll is just below league average, which should still allow an old pro like gjd some flexibility to do whatever he needs to make his draft successful. He chose to spread out his finances quite evenly, to have at least some degree of access to whatever drafting/signing opportunities may arise.


Round 1 Pick 19 3B Herbert Johnstone
An outstanding targeted choice by gjd with his first pick to aptly fill one of his most pressing needs. Johnstone is a solid hitter, with some considerable power, who also has a very sure glove. For a 3B, he has a below average arm, but should make up for it with that sparkling glove.
ML Projection: 35 HR/.275 BA/5 SB

Round 1 Supp Pick 50 SP/RP Jamie Daily
Although daly has some nice numbers, I can't get past those low left/right splits. His other numbers will help him move past those splits to some extent, but the big league hitters will take him long, and take him long often. His ground ball/fly ball ratio isn't strong enough to overcome that. My projection is that at some point he will be tested by gjd in a long relief role, but will not make the grade. Ceiling AAA.

Round 2 Pick 76 SP Tyrone Wagner
Although his overall rating does not reflect it, Wagner represents a better option to make the big league squad than Daly does. He has much better left/right splits, and is better at keeping the ball on the ground. 4 very effective ML quality pitches seals the deal, and if Wagner does not end up at the end of the rotation, he will at the very least find a home for himself as a long reliever.
ML Projection: 150 IP/8-10 W/.270-.280 OAV/3.80-4.50 ERA

Round 3 Pick 108 DH Christy Cintron
A monster hitter, Cintron is a defensive liability as a catcher. Obviously his greatest value is as a DH. Unfortunately he has been drafted by a NL team, but I have to believe somebody in the AL would love to have that bat in their order.
ML Projection: 30-40 HR/.290-.310 BA/0 SB

Round 4 Pick 140 1B Charley Bellhorn
Another solid bat, Bellhorn could find a home on most ML teams as a 1B. He has average fielding skills for that position, but his bat is good enough to supply extra power and run production to the latter-middle part of the order.
ML Projection: 25-30 HR/.280-300 BA/0 SB

Round 5 Pick 172 IF Alfonso Nunez
Nunez is a very versatile performer, who can play almost any position. A strong arm, and good range, means that he will make the perfect utility player. He has the added benefit of being an effective hitter against right-handed pitching.
ML Projection: Utility Player

Hidden Gems: none foreseeable

Overall Grade: A-
An outstanding pick with Johnstone at number 19 overall, makes gjd's grade. The fact he picked 5 possible ML prospects only strengthens that grade. Where he faltered slightly was picking up a career minor leaguer with his supplemental pick, but that is just a minor glitch in an otherwise very successful draft.

Monday, April 25, 2011

S18 Draft Review by holer

Tampa Bay Don Ceasars

Needs: 1B, SP
Tom Hardtke has the main catching duties well in hand for Tampa for the foreseeable future. As long as they keep filtering through high quality defensive back-ups to share the load, there is no need for concern. Once again, Tampa is another team that loads up on middle infielders, and then chooses the two corner infield positions from amongst them. As stated in another review, it is rare to find a player that is both gifted defensively, and a monster offensively. Usually, those players are only available in the top 5 or so picks in the draft. In other words, cebola is in need of a big bat in his infield. Derrick Grissom, who is due to make the jump, will help with this, but an even bigger bat is needed to anchor the middle of the order. In the outfield, cebola is already set with a surplus of talent. If anything needs to be looked at, it is the eventual replacement of Eugene Moreno in RF. The main area where Tampa could really use some help is with the starting rotation. They have very few prospects on the way up to take over from the staff currently in place, and the current staff could use some upgrades anyhow. The bullpen is in pretty good shape, so any help here would simply add depth.

Draft Expectations: High
Three first round picks, including the 10th overall, and 7 picks in the top 5 rounds means cebola should expect some good quality players to come out of this draft.

Draft Preparation:
Tampa sits in the bottom third of the league in player payroll, meaning they have some significant funds to spread around to the various other departments. Cebola had a very unique way of dispersing his funds, but one that I can fully understand and appreciate. He has managed to accumulate several highly talented prospects over the last few seasons, so he completely maximized his training and medical budgets to help the development of those prospects he already has in the system. The down side to this strategy is that he has to completely sacrifice elsewhere. The areas he chose to slash were high school, and advance, scouting.


Round 1 Pick 10 2B Keith Rivera
Fortunately for Tampa, they found that exception to the rule and drafted stud infielder Rivera, who is one of those rare defensively talented sluggers. Even more amazing is that they found him at pick number 10.
ML Projection: 30-35 HR/.300-.330 BA/15-20 SB

Round 1 Supp Pick 46 LF Santos Chavez
Chavez is a solid hitter and will make a home for himself on virtually any ML team. Although he won't hit for an especially high average, he has a knack for getting timely and productive hits, especially against right-handed hitting. Although capable of holding down a full-time job in LF, it is more likely he will platoon and be used for situational pinch hitting assignments.
ML Projection: 10-15 HR/.250-.260 BA/15 SB

Round 1 Supp Pick 56 2B/LF Richard Petrick
Petrick is a strong base runner, and a solid hitter against left-handed pitching. In fact, he compliments the selection of Chavez quite well. Much like Chavez, he would be best used in a platoon situation.
ML Projection: 5 HR/.270-.290 BA/30 SB

Round 2 Pick 67 RP Morgan Alston
A solid RP, Alston will add depth to an already capable bullpen. The only flaw to his game is a propensity to sometimes leave the ball up in the strike zone, resulting in a few too many long balls. He is otherwise very reliable, and consistent.
ML Projection: 60-70 IP/.230-.260 OAV/2.80-3.30 ERA

Round 3 Pick 99 RP Willie Sadowski
Another solid, if unspectacular RP, Sadowski sometimes has trouble locating the strike zone, which can lead to some big innings. Overall, his numbers are good enough to eat plenty of relief innings, and allow his more talented teammates to stay fresh for the closer, more important, games.
ML Projection: 70-90 IP/.260-.280 OAV/3.50-4.20 ERA

Round 4 Pick 131 1B/LF Rico Nieto
A surprisingly good hitter found at pick 131, Nieto has the bat to contribute on some of the lesser talented teams in this league. Unfortunately for him, Tampa has far too much talent ahead of him, and he will only get a fair opportunity if he is moved to another team.
ML Projection: 15-20 HR/.240-.260 BA/5 SB

Round 5 Pick 163 IF Larry Cooper
Not enough hitting ability to make it past AA.

Hidden Gems: RP Yoo-Nah Irabu?, RP Kelly Steenstra?

Overall Grade: A
In Keith Rivera, Tampa got both the big bat they needed, and a talented infielder to go with it. Although they failed to address the need for starting pitching, they managed to pick up a staggering 6 future ML prospects, plus a couple more long-shots further down the draft. If only the rest of us could add that much depth in a single draft, and cebola managed this with very little funding put into either high school, or advance scouting.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

S18 Draft Review by holer

Iowa City Rounders

Needs: 1B, COF
Iowa is loaded with quality catchers, and won't have to worry about that position for quite a long time. Ahsowhat is another owner who drafts/signs loads of middle infielders, and then mans all of his fielding positions with them. The problem is, it's really hard to find shortstops and second basemen who are also monster middle-of-the-order hitters, which is what Ahsowhat needs more than anything. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Ahsowhat has a couple of excellent options to patrol CF, but his outfield as a whole is very thin. A couple of hard hitting corner outfielders are what is needed here. Iowa's greatest strength by far is it's starting pitching, definitely the envy of the league. All are young, and as if that's not enough, all are ace quality! Denny Tazawa is a future number 3 starter on any other team, but he can't even crack the rotation here! His bullpen is not at the same level as the rotation, but it does have some talent already there, and others on the way.

Draft Expectations: Low
Iowa has the standard 5 picks in the top 5 rounds, and does not pick until number 26 overall. This means Ahsowhat will not have great expectations for this draft.

Draft Preparation:
Like division rival Texas, Iowa has a player payroll in the bottom third of the ARod world. What Ahsowhat has chosen to do with that financial freedom is very interesting, but makes complete sense. With so little expected from his draft, Ahsowhat chose to maximize funding to all his departments that are not directly draft related, such as advance scouting, training, and medical. He then dispersed what little was remaining to the draft related departments.


Round 1 Pick 26 RP Terrence Riggs
A very high quality relief pitcher, Riggs is a perfectly acceptable option at pick number 26. He has good control, and is virtually unhitable vs right-handed hitters. He will probably become the premier set-up guy, but would also do fine as the closer.
ML Projection: 60-70 IP/5 W/5-10 SV/.190-.220 OAV/2.00-2.50 ERA

Round 2 Pick 82 SS Louis Daniels 
Defensively, Daniels is sound with a good glove, and a rocket launcher arm. Offensively though, Daniels is extremely challenged. At best he will become a defensive replacement, and will only be allowed to hit against left-thanders.
ML Projection: Defensive replacement

Round 3 Pick 114 CF Victor Castellanos
Phenominal range is Castellanos' long suit. Unfortunately, he doesn't bring enough else to the table to justify any time spent in the big leagues. Ceiling AA or AAA, if he is actually signed.

Round 4 Pick 146 2B Gil Clark
Not enough talent to climb to the top, and not signed anyhow.

Round 5 Pick 178 LF Craig Hill
Another minor league player not signed.

Hidden Gems: CF Jermaine Hicks?, CF Kent Cash?

Overall Grade: C
Although another relief pitcher wasn't necessarily needed, I'm sure Riggs will be a welcome addition to the bullpen. At pick number 26, he is at the appropriate level of prospect you would expect. After picking up another couple of longshots further down the draft, Ahsowhat wound up with about what should be expected.

S18 Draft Review by holer

Texas Wildcats

Needs: 1B, CF, SP
With the arrival of Rich Lewis, Texas is set behind the plate for many years to come. Overall, this is a very young team, and although the pickings at the ML level are currently slim, there is a lot of quality talent making it's way up through the system. With the skill positions in the infield well covered with prospects, the highest priority for carseneau is to find that heavy hitting bat to man the 1B position, and galvanize the batting order. In the outfield, at age 30, Jimmie Estrada is the senior statesman on this squad. He also has good enough fielding ability to man 2B if need be. There is also some good talent here on the way up, but carseneau is in desperate need of a capable CF. The two players who have manned that position this year, Gerald Lui and Gary Lo Duca, have made a combined 15 errors and 11 poor plays so far. Currently, carseneau is employing a band-aid rotation until some of the prospects arrive. He still needs another couple of SP prospects to complete a solid future rotation. He has a pretty full stable of young talent in the bullpen as well, so no extra help is needed there.

Draft Expectation: Low
Texas has the 6th overall pick, but that represents their only chance for a quality ML prospect. The next pick they have is in the 4th round, and is 127th overall. Altogether, they have 3 picks in the first 5 rounds.

Draft Preparation:
Being near the bottom of the league in player payroll allows Texas much versatility with their finances. Interestingly, they chose to provide the smallest budget to their advance scouting department, while funding all the other departments quite generously. The effect of this is that carseneau will be able to find plenty of prospects, but may have a somewhat skewed idea of what their actual talents are.


Round 1 Pick 6 SS Eddie Wooten
While Wooten has some very nice numbers, he also has two glaring weaknesses that really stand out. First, he loses a lot of his effectiveness at the plate against righthanded pitching, and secondly, he has a poor makeup rating. This means he will struggle to reach his full potential, and then he will struggle to maintain that potential as he ages. He was otherwise a very nice selection and will help this team both offensively and defensively.
ML Projection: 25-35 HR/.290-.310 BA/10 SB

Round 4 Pick 127 RP Scott Dorsey
Considering he was a 4th round pick, Dorsey was actually a pretty nice find. He should be able to find work somewhere in the ML as a long relief specialist, and while not flashy, his numbers are good enough to eat some important middle innings.
ML Projection: 70-90 IP/5-8 W/.265-.285 OAV/3.75-4.50 ERA

Round 5 Pick 159 SP Mike Daley
Daley will be an effective minor league pitcher, but that will mark the extent of his career.

Hidden Gems: RP Billy Green?

Overall Grade: A-
Considering carseneau did not expect much from this draft, he came away with more than he could have. Even though he selected players that did not fill his most pressing needs at CF and starting pitching, he did get that solid bat for the middle of the batting order in Wooten.

S18 Draft Review by holer

Vancouver Shock

Needs: C, 2B, 3B, SP
Catcher Juan Diaz is starting to approach the age where a suitable replacement must be sought. Michael Winston has some nice numbers, both offensively and defensively, but he can't do it himself because his durability is so low. One possibility is Kip Reilly, but ideally you would like a little stronger bat from your other tandem catcher. In the infield, bigparb has been plugging gaps with the players he has available. Starting with slick fielding, light hitting SS Albert Oropesa plugged in at Shortstop, natural SS Louie Farley has been moved to 2B, and natural 2B Josias Vega has been moved to 3B. The result of all this is that bigparb needs a natural 3B, and possibly a replacement 2B for down the road. That way everyone can swing back around to their regular positions again. Bigparb is set in the outfield for the next several years, as long as he can re-sign Jason Swann long-term. It would be nice to have another high quality prospect coming up through the system soon for future needs. The starting rotation is another matter. Aside from ace Rich Sobolewski, and youngster Spike Worthington, bigparb's rotation is in dire need of some replenishment. He has some marginal starters in the system to use as bandaid solutions, but the problem won't go away, and needs to be addressed now. The bullpen situation is not as critical, but in a few seasons it will have to be addressed as well.

Draft Expectations: Very Low
With only 4 picks in his first 5 rounds, bigparb shouldn't expect much from this draft. Still he does have the number 16 pick overall, and should be able to take something from that.

Draft Preparation:
In one simple statement , bigparb has sacrificed this year's draft. He is currently 2nd overall in player payroll, resulting in little funding left over to distribute elsewhere. With what he had left, bigparb chose to take his chances with the international market.


Round 1 Pick 16 RP Louis Castillo
Castillo is an elite relief pitching talent and would be a welcome addition to virtually any pitching staff. For whatever reason, he remains unsigned even though his bio states he should have no problem signing. I'm thinking bigparb has run out of prospect funding while signing IFA prospects, and now has his back against the wall because of his team's high payroll. In any event, it appears that Castillo won't be signing this year.

Round 3 Pick 105 DH Paulie Jefferies
Originally listed as a catcher, Jefferies obviously does not have the defensive ability to succeed at that position. He does however, make a pretty decent DH. Again, the problem here is that bigparb appears to not be able to sign him. Not as big a loss as Castillo is, but still a loss of some hitting talent that may have come in useful in a trade scenario.

Round 4 Pick 137 SS Del Chase
Again, unable to be signed, however in this case, bigparb isn't really missing anything.

Round 5 Pick 169 P Neftali Mercedes
unscouted - no information available

Hidden Gems: none foreseeable

Overall Grade: F
Bigparb has put me into a bit of a conundrum, and the purpose of this review is now brought into question. My intention was to grade teams based on how they drafted with respects to what their pre-draft expectations were, and how well they filled their most pressing needs. While bigparb had very low expectations going into the draft, he actually drafted two decent prospects. Because of his sacrifice of this year's draft, he was unable to come away with those players signed. As a result, the only grade I can realistically give him is an F, even though he was able to draft better than what was planned for.

S18 Draft Review by holer

St. Louis Red Birds

Needs: C. CF, SP
Chuck Merrick's eventual replacement behind the plate is the first order of business for ronazbill. Ernest Puffer is an outstanding defensive catcher, but is certainly not an everyday player, and ideally you would like a catcher with a little more pop at the plate. This team is a very nice mixture of youth and experience, with about 70% youth and 30% experience, and is blessed with copious amounts of team speed and defense. The one area where they might be a bit lacking is long ball power from the batting order. With all that speed however, they are quite capable of producing runs by other means. The one fielding position in need of a replacement right away is centerfield, where incumbent R. A. Howell is both aging quickly, and coming to the end of his contract. Not to mention, the defense in centerfield will soon begin to suffer if he stays there much longer. The rotation is also a mixture of youth and veteran presence, and could use a couple of extra arms to maintain continuity. The bullpen is solid, with a number of highly talented options already available.

Draft Expectations: Very High
9 picks in the first five rounds, including 4 first rounders, gives ronazbill plenty of opportunities to deepen an already talented and deep organization. Although his first pick isn't until number 33 overall, he has 6 picks in the top 100, and should allow him to select 4-5 players of ML quality.

Draft Preparation:
ronazbill has a player payroll in the top third of the league, which is not surprising, considering the number of high quality veterans on his team. The good news is that most of these veterans are in their prime right now, and this team is structured to be a contender for the next 3-4 years. The way ronazbill has distributed his remaining finances is to give each department an equal mid-range share of about 10 million, with the advance scouting department being left out.


Round 1 Pick 33 RP Trace Burns
Burns has to be considered a major disappointment by ronazbill with his top pick. At best, Burns will be a marginal ML reliever, and will only be relying on one ML quality pitch, which is a fastball. This is not a good thing. The league's best hitters will have a field day with Burns, and he will probably bounce back and forth between the ML and AAA.
ML Projection: 80 IP/3-5 W/.270-.300 OAV/4.00-4.50 ERA

Round 1 Supp Pick 43 LF Juan Fernandez
A far better pick than Burns was at no. 33, Fernandez is a solid option in LF. His outstanding batting eye, coupled with a solid contact rating means Fernandez will get on base quite often. He has little power, but is effective against both left and right handed pitching. Although he does have some good speed and baserunning ability, his inability to bunt will probably land him in the bottom third of the order.
ML Projection: 5-10 HR/.280-.300 BA/30-35 SB

Round 1 Supp Pick 55 SP Clarence Wallace
A deceptively effective SP, Wallace has two quality pitches to rely on, his sinker and curveball. Unfortunately, he also uses 3 other pitches that may become more of a hinderance than a help. Still, he has enough tricks in his bag to hold down either a no. 4 or no. 5 position in the rotation. His incredible stamina will also allow him to work late into many games, giving his bullpen some much needed breaks.
ML Projection: 220-240 IP/12-15 W/.270-.290 OAV/4.00-4.50 ERA

Round 1 Supp Pick 57 SP/RP Benjamin Belinda
Belinda is another one of those 4A players who seem to be right on the verge of holding on to a steady ML job. He may even be closer than most because of his versatility as both a starter, and a long reliever. His control and velocity are both good, and his left/right splits are right on the fence. His role will probably be as the first arm to be called up whenever a replacement arm is needed.
ML Projection: Emergency replacement

Round 2 Pick 89 SP Arthur Bragg
Another 4A type player, Bragg will remain in the minors until his services are desperately needed as a replacement.
ML Projection: Emergency replacement

Round 3 Pick 96 SS Talmadge Dougherty
Dougherty does not have good enough numbers overall to hold down a permanent ML position, however, he does have good enough defense, and he hits righthanders well enough, to take a position as a utility infielder.
ML Projection: Utility Infielder

Round 3 Pick 121 CF/LF Al Wood
His defense is a bit lacking for a CF, and since he is a southpaw, he would not make a very good 2B. So that limits him to a corner OF role where his defense would be more than effective enough. His hitting just isn't good enough to maintain a steady role in the bigs, and he will probably play out his career as a perennial AAA all-star

Round 4 Pick 153 RP James Buehrle
Buehrle will make a great minor league relief pitcher, and might even get a shot at the closer role on a few minor league teams, but he will never be able to make the jump to the bigs.

Round 5 Pick 185 1B Harold Henderson
Another borderline player, Henderson will play his way onto several minor league all-star squads, but doesn't have the talent to make the final jump.

Hidden Gems: None foreseeable

Overall Grade: C-
The drafting of Burns at pick 33 has to be one of the major disappointments of this draft. ronazbill did somewhat make up for it with his next two picks, but overall, he should have come away with more than 3 full time MLers. Fortunately for him, he already has a very talent-laden organization, so the effects of this draft should be minimal.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

S18 Draft Review by holer

Las Vegas Bishes

Needs: 1B, SP, RP
Behind the plate, funhat appears to be set up quite well with a young Nicholas Sexton shouldering the lion's share of the load. Better yet, he has a solid young tandem in Branch Skinner and Alex Callaspo coming up behind Sexton, who will one day probably share the catching duties. Both are very solid hitters and can work the pitching staff quite capably. Funhat also has a talented young infield that will only get better with experience. The recent IFA signing of RF Geraldo Segui completes a capable young outfield as well. This is strengthened by a couple of young CF in the minors who will fill in capably as backups when needed once they are ready to make the jump to the bigs. On the mound, funhat is slowly assembling an outstanding young pitching staff that just needs some time to develop. It was very difficult finding any real weaknesses on this team which has such a bright future. All funhat needs is a little bit if fine tuning, and some patience, until this team claws it's way to the top. Maybe another quality SP, a little more RP, and a big bat to anchor the middle of the batting order is all that is required.

Draft Expectations: Low - Moderate
Las Vegas only has the standard 5 picks through round 5, but they start with overall pick no. 8. This should allow them to add to their already substantial stable of quality young talent. With the remainder of his picks, if funhat can pick up even one more solid future ML player, he can consider this draft a success.

Draft Preparation:
Las Vegas is in a very enviable position, both with it's team, and with it's finances. funhat has done an outstanding job setting this team up for the future. With the second lowest payroll in the league, funhat has left himself open for countless different possibilities on which direction to take. Ultimately, he settled on a very balanced distribution of his funds across the board. This fits well with his situation, as he will now get a good look at all the possibilities, and choose what to do accordingly.


Round 1 Pick 8 SP/RP Theo Washburn
Depending on how funhat chooses to use him, Washburn can either be a short-inning starter, putting in 5-6 innings per start, or as a dominant long reliever. Talent-wise, is well worth the number 8 pick, especially when you consider what funhat's pre-draft needs were. Pin-point accuracy and bat-splitting velocity will make him virtually unhittable at times. This is strengthened by his top-of-the-rotation left/right splits. His two dominant pitches are a fastball and curveball, and they are so good that when opposing batters do make contact, they usually drive the ball straight into the ground.
ML Projection: 150-160 IP/15 W/180 K/.190-.230 OAV/2.00-2.50 ERA

Round 2 Pick 65 RP Darwin Lankford
Again, sticking to his draft blueprint, funhat chose a talented relief pitcher for his second pick. Lankford has all the numbers of an elite reliever, except for his questionable control. What I have found however, is that if all the remaining numbers are good enough, questionable control can be overcome, as long as the control isn't too bad. A 42 control ranking can definitely be overcome, and with Lankford, it probably will be. His other numbers are that good.
ML Projection: 80-100 IP/5 W/5 SV/.180-.220 OAV/40-60 BB/
2.50-3.00 ERA

Round 3 Pick 97 SP Jose Bocachica
A good set of minor league numbers will make Bocachica a dominant minor league starter, but he will never see the big leagues, especially with the talented rotation ahead of him. Ceiling AAA

Round 4 Pick 129 RF/1B Buddy Jenkins
Jenkins has plenty of power, but not much else to make that power work for him. He will be a slugging monster in the minors, but unfortunately, that's where he will probably stay. Ceiling AAA

Round 5 Pick 161 SP/RP Matty Ugueto
Another strong minor league pitcher, Ugueto will max out at either AA or AAA.

Hidden Gems: none foreseeable

Overall Grade: A
Not only did funhat get the two prospects he should have, but he got them in areas where they could be the most beneficial. This is a team on the way up and will become a force in the future.

S18 Draft Review by holer

Scottsdale RAIDERS

Needs: C, SS, OF, SP
In desperate need of catching help as incumbent Malachi Corey is sinking fast. In the rest of the infield, the Raiders are one of those teams that employs the "4 shortstop" system, whereby they try to fill all infield positions with natural shortstops. The problem with this in Scottsdale is that nobody has good enough fielding ability to man the actual shortstop position. In the outfield, rightfielder David Unamuno would be better off at 1B, leaving few options to cover RF, especially with Patsy Crow and Tomaas Marquez approaching free agency. The starting pitching is below standard overall, starting with their ace. The problem is, they don't have one. They do have a decent number 2 and 3 starter, but fall off again after that. This team was built almost as an afterthought just to surround Dante Ming with a collection of stuffed uniforms, and it is really beginning to show as Ming quickly succumbs to age. Focus for Scottsdale in the draft has to be to find the long-lost ace, and then to find an everday catcher capable of handling him, while providing some offense of his own.

Draft Expectations: High
Even though they only have 5 picks in the first 5 rounds, 3 of them are in the first round. Starting at number 7 overall, Scottsdale has 3 picks in the top 36. deerhunter should expect a lot from this draft.

Draft Preparation:
The Scottsdale Raiders player payroll is right at the top of the league, by a substantial margin. As a result, deerhunter has virtually no money to throw at any other department. Amazingly, he found enough nickels in the couch to pay 9 mill to any and all prospects who might get lost in the desert.


Round 1 Pick 7 SS Carlton Mortensen
deerhunter has managed to find a top ten pick who will have difficulty even making the big leagues, ever. As a SS he will self destruct. He would best be moved to 3B. At 3B, his bat might be able to fill in as a utility infielder.
ML Projection: Utility Infielder

Round 1 Pick 25 RF/1B Pat Lewis
See Mortensen above, except with no chance of making the ML. At RF, or 1B, you would like to see a player with a far superior bat to Lewis, pounding the ball out from the middle of the batting order. Ceiling AAA.

Round 1 Supp Pick 36 SS Carter Calero
Probably the most talented player taken by Scottsdale in the first round (but not by much), Calero is still very doubtful as a full-time big league player, making deerhunter 0 for 3 for the 1st round of the draft.
ML Projection: Utility Infielder

Round 4 Pick 128 RP Joe Sherman
Although most of his numbers don't look too bad, one glaring weakness will seal his fate. An absolute lack of control will keep Sherman from ever seeing any time in the bigs.

Round 5 Pick 160 2B/LF Lynn Scott
Not even worth writing about

Hidden Gems: none foreseeable

Overall Grade: F
I'm afraid deerhunter may be better off just sticking to the free agent market to build his teams. The summers just keep getting longer and drier in the Arizona desert.

S18 Draft Review by holer

Arizona Sun Dogs

Needs: Everything but middle infield
Arizona has a somewhat confusing catching situation. 40_dog has 3 very capable hitters available for the job, but all 3 would be much better off as DH's. The only one able to handle a pitching staff is Manny Tabaka, but even he is well below average defensively. At 1B, ARod world legend Omar Castillo is already on the decline, but still has a few good years left in him. Again, he is another player who is much better off as a DH, but because of the lack of defensively proficient players on this squad, 40_dog has pressed him into service at 1B. The middle infield is set with Scott at 2B, and upcoming defensive stud Clifton set to take over at SS.. 3B could use an upgrade over Santayana, and his contract runs out next year anyhow. The outfield is solid, but behind the impressive ML trio, there is nobody on the way up. 40_dog is going to need help on his starting rotation very soon, if not already. Gonzalez and Johnson are aging quickly and need to be replaced. The bullpen is not much better off, and work needs to be done there as well. In summary, without a lot of work now, 40_dog's squad is looking at a major re-build in the next year to 2 years.

Draft Expectations: Very Low
Because of 40_dogs past successes, his first pick wasn't until 28th overall, and with only the standard 5 picks in the first 5 rounds, this is very unfortunate, because he could really use the help. As some of his veterans reach free agency, he should be able to obtain a few more picks in the next few drafts.

Draft Preparation:
The Sun Dogs are near the top of the player payroll list, leaving little flexibility in draft preparation. Right off the top, he slashed international scouting, and with it, the prospect payroll. He also cut his draft scouting payroll to a bare minimum, meaning he has little information to go on for the draft. The only scouting department he left with a considerable budget was the advance scouting.


Round 1 Pick 28 CF/2B Sam Griffith
A pretty good find considering it was the 28th selection, and how little scouting 40_dog had available. What is most unfortunate is that 40_dog, for whatever reason, is unable to sign him. This could be a catastrophic loss for the Sun Dogs who desperately need his talents.

Round 2 Pick 84 P Olmedo Terrero
No information available on this player. This does not matter as 40_dog appears either unable or unwilling to sign this prospect as well.

Round 3 Pick 116 RF/1B Heinie Newfield
A very ordinary outfielder with very ordinary talents. Newfield will max out as either a RF or 1B in AAA before retiring, if not sooner.

Round 4 Pick 148 CF/2B Sam Lewis
Another standard AAA player, Lewis has good enough defense to become a solid 2B, but will be challenged at CF. Offensively, he may not even be able to reach a productive level at AAA.

Round 5 Pick 180 CF/2B Sergei Votto
Defensively, better than Lewis. Offensively, worse than Lewis, but at least he has good speed! He will probably top out at AAA.

Hidden Gems: SP Posiedon Taylor

Overall Grade: F
Considering what is at stake for 40_dog, he has missed an opportunity to start injecting some new life into his franchise. The only way to save anything from this draft, is to somehow get Sam Griffith to sign. Over the next few years, 40_dog either has to get a lot better in the draft, or spend huge amounts of money in the free agent market to try and salvage his team.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

S18 Draft Review by holer

Augusta Polar Bears

Needs: OF, RP
Try as I might, it was extremely difficult finding any real weaknesses on this Augusta team. Whatever holes existed on the big team, dengodd already had some very talented youngsters in line to plug them. In the end, it was determined that he needed another solid arm in the bullpen to offset aging studs JP Gonzalez and Albert Jackson. The depth in his outfield was also found to be a bit lacking, so the addition of another player there would be advisable. All in all though, this was just nit-picking.

Draft Expectations: Low-Moderate
Although he only has 6 picks in the first 5 rounds, and doesn't pick until no. 23 overall, having 2 picks in the first round for dengodd is like giving Picasso a second paint brush. I would expect no less than for dengodd to find 3 gems in this draft.

Draft Preparation:
Being in the bottom of the league in player payroll, means that dengodd has plenty of flexibility in preparing for the draft. As so many others have done, he has completely sacrificed his scouting budget in one of the 3 main areas. dengodd chose to sacrifice the college talent pool. As such, he was able to max out his advance scoutiing, and his high school scouting. Considering he left himself with only 7 million in his prospect budget, I found it interesting that he sent 12 million to his international scouting department.


Round 1 Pick 23 RP Alex Butcher
Butcher falls into that category of "Elite Closers" that can be chosen in the late 1st round. Once he reaches the ML, he will be dominant. He has pin-point accuracy in his pitches, and his all-world left/right splits will largely offset the only blemish in his talents, which is allowing plenty of balls in the air. This will lead to a few long balls along the way, but not enough to really hurt his effectiveness.
ML Projection: 60-70 IP/40-50 SV/.180-.220 OAV/1.70-2.30 ERA

Round 1 Supp Pick 51 SP Felix Lee
Another fine pick-up, this one being even more impressive than his first, considering it came at pick no. 51, Lee will prove to be a solid addition to an already outstanding young rotation that is developing in Augusta. Now if Maine only had the fan base to actually appreciate the possible championship team that is emerging there! Lee is a typical sinkerball pitcher of the same style as Derek Lowe, who will frustrate hitter after hitter, making him the perfect no. 3 or no. 4 pitcher in a rotation. In this rotation however, it is already so talented, he may find himself anchoring the tail-end.
ML Projection: 200-220 IP/15-17 W/.240-.260 OAV/3.20-3.50 ERA

Round 2 Pick 79 SS Ryan Lamb
About what you would expect from no. 79 overall, Lamb would make a better 3B than SS, and doesn't have strong enough hitting to start at any ML position outside of SS. He will probably either serve as a utility infielder, or an emergency call-up when needed.
ML Projection: Utility Infielder

Round 3 Pick 111 CF Wayne Dickson
Signability issues makes any examination of his talents irrelevant, but you gotta love that range!

Round 4 Pick 143 RF Chuck Stewart
A speedster with not enough hitting to make a significant mark in the bigs. May get a few late-season call-ups just to add some speed on the bench.

Round 5 Pick 175 C Bip Davies
Nice find at pick no. 175! Davies is a more than capable defensive catcher who can do some damage with the bat as well. Don't be surprised to see him make a solid career for himself as a ML backup.
ML Projection: 150-200 AB/5 HR/.260-.280 BA/0 SB

Hidden Gems: SP Red Morgan?

Overall Grade: A-
Excellent picks with both selections in the first round, coupled with a beauty of a find in round 5 with Bip Davies, re-assures that dengodd still has the touch.

S18 Draft Review by holer

Toronto Legion

Needs: C, SS, CF, SP
Toronto is another of those teams filled with aging veterans that need to be backfilled now. There are several young stars to build the next generation team around, but pitchers like Poppell, and Martin, or position players like Johnson and Speier have very little time left.

Draft Expectations: Extremely high
thisdude62 is loaded with high end draft picks this season. Four 1st round picks starting at number 24 overall, and 10 picks in the first 5 rounds, means Toronto could theoretically field an entire team based on the first five rounds of their draft.

Draft Preparation:
Toronto's payroll is pushing 100 milion, meaning they have limited options in how to distribute their funds. thisdude62 chose to emphasize college scouting at the expense of high school and international scouting. Considering the extensive number of draft picks at their disposal, this severely limits the number of prospects they will have access to. The absence of international scouting means that the mil set aside for prospect signing should be more than enough.


Round 1 Pick 24 RP Gorkys Cano
In the late 1st round, I can be convinced of the merits of selecting an elite closer with the first pick. I don't consider Cano to be an elite closer. His overall rating is deceptively high, and is largely based on his durability/stamina split. His obvious weakness will be against good righthanded hitting. This will limit him to setup duty, and against a righthanded hitting batting order, he will often get shelled.
ML Projection: 100-140 IP/5 W/.270-.280 OAV/4.00 ERA

Round 1 Supp Pick 39 OF Brian Huskey
He is listed as a CF, but that position may be too demanding for him. He is a very light hitter, but in his case, that is ok because he is a poster boy leadoff hitter much in the mould of Juan Pierre. He has a very good contact/batting eye split, which means he will often find ways to get on base.
ML Projection: 0-5 HR/.280-.300 BA/.400 OBP/40-50 SB

Round 1 Supp Pick 44 2B Jumbo Hinske
Hinske represents an average ML player that can fill in capably at a position until a more talented player can be found. He will probably put in 8-10 years at the ML level, putting up very average-mediocre numbers.
ML Projection: 20-25 HR/.250-.260 BA/20-25 SB

Round 1 Supp Pick 52 OF Benny Simpkins
Simpkins is a notch below Hinske and will spend a lot of time moving back and forth between AAA and the bigs. 4A player a sretch pick in the supp round.
ML Projection: emergency replacement

Round 2 Pick 64 RP Sean Hernandez
Hernandez should have a very long and productive career as a long reliever. He may be thisdude62's best pick in this draft. He doesn't come without his weaknesses, the most obvious being his low durability, and his questionable control. He otherwise has very impressive numbers.
ML Projection: 50-60 IP/5-7 W/.230-.240 OAV/3.25-3.50 ERA

Round 2 Pick 80 LF Hamlet Fabregas
Typical 4A player does not have what it takes to claim a big league job. Will put up impressive numbers at AAA until he decides to pack it in.

Round 2 Pick 81 SP Patrick Swan
Will be an outstanding AAA pitcher, but will get clobbered by big league hitting if he ever gets promoted to the majors.

Round 3 Pick 112 SS Terrence Hughes
Better off moved to 3B, Hughes is another 4A player that will reach AAA, and only dream of the bigs.

Round 4 Pick 144 3B Ben Outman
Defense not good enough for 3B, so he should be moved to RF. Outman is different from the previous few players in that his hitting ability is good enough to warrant a few call-ups in case of injury on the big team.
ML Projection: Emergency Replacement

Round 5 Pick 176 RP Arthur Bennett
Similar to Sean Hernandez, but not quite as talented. Still he will get his innings in the bigs somewhere.
ML Projection: 60-70 IP/3-5 W/.250-.270 OAV/3.80-4.20 ERA

Hidden Gems: None foreseeable

Overall Grade: D+
Oh how I wish I had the picks Toronto had in this draft. Considering thisdude62 had 10 picks in the top 176 players available, coming away with only 4 ML prospects, none of which project to be anything special, has to be seen as a major missed opportunity.

S18 Draft Review by holer

Montreal Coqs

Needs: Everything but Catchers
Unless sir_hc21 can re-sign some of his aging, soon-to-be free agent talent to long term contracts, we will be seeing a major re-build take place in Montreal. The only position not in need of a major overhaul is behind the plate, where sir_hc21 has a number of options, culminating with 19 yr old Abraham Grabowski. On the bright side, with the number of potential Type A FA's Montreal will lose in the next couple of years, there will be plenty of high draft picks in compensation to help with the re-build.

Draft Expectations: Low
The standard 5 picks in 5 rounds beginning with no. 17 overall. No windfall of talent can be expected, but this is the draft where sir_hc21 starts building his future.

Draft Preparation:
The 4th highest payroll in the league was not created by sir_hc21, but it is the burden he has been left with. Montreal, as a result, has low scouting budgets across the board. sir_hc21 did try to adjust his numbers a bit to give himself a higher prospect budget, but he will be limited to trying to pick a rabbit out of the hat in the amateur draft.


Round 1 Pick 17 SP Bob Sisco
A very wise choice. While faced with a major rebuild, there is no better, or more important, place to start than your starting rotation. While not a future hall-of-famer, Sisco will grow to become a very solid no. 2 starter, and a good core player to start building around. His relatively low durability/stamina combination means he will only put in about 6+ innings per start, but they will be quality innings. A solid left/right split, and control/velocity split, means there are few weaknesses for opposing hitters to exploit. He also sports 5 different ML quality pitches. Quite an impressive arsenal.
ML Projection: 170-190 IP/15 W/.220-.240 OAV/2.80-3.20 ERA

Round 2 Pick 74 SP/RP Alfonso Ortega
A very disappointing 2nd pick, Ortega lacks the talent and skill levels needed to break into the bigs. Ceiling AA or AAA long relief.

Round 3 Pick 106 SP/RP John Collins
His numbers are only slightly better than Ortega's, but that may be enough to warrant a sneak peek in the majors. Otherwise, his primary role will be much like Ortega's as a long relief specialist in AAA.

Round 4 Pick 138 RP Jensen Bowman
A scaled down version of Ortega and Collins, which isn't saying much.

Round 5 Pick 170 RP Ahmad Dickens
See above, only scaled down even further.

Hidden Gems: None foreseeable

Overall Grade: D+
With so much on the line, only getting one future ML player in this draft has to be a big disappointment. The only thing that saved this from an "F" grade was Montreal's 1st pick Sisco.

S18 Draft Review by holer

Cleveland Curse

Needs: IF, OF
Cleveland's future catching situation is well in hand with last season's 1st round choice Juan Lira on his way up. The remainder of the infield, with the exception of Mathewson at SS, are all below the current league standard and could use upgrading. The outfield is in much better shape, but has been spread thin as a result of several natural outfielders being pressed into service in the infield to cover there. By far Cleveland's greatest strength is its pitching. Fast_eddie is set in both the rotation and bullpen for years to come. Wholesale commitment to drafting positional players would be my advice.

Draft Expectations: Moderate
With his first pick at 13th overall, fast_eddie should expect a star quality player with that pick. He also has a supplemental first rounder to give him two chances at a good quality player within the top 50 picks. Overall he has 6 picks in the first 5 rounds.

Draft Preparation:
Middle of the road player payroll means that with some planning, fast_eddie should have a successful draft. He chose to forego the international market, and opted to put all his faith in the domestic draft. He sank a bit more funding into college scouting than high school scouting, and kept his prospect budget relatively low.


Round 1 Pick 13 RF Hector Borders
Although he may be better suited to play 1B, Borders will give Cleveland some much needed pop in the middle of the batting order. His outstanding speed and batting eye means he will most likely hit 3rd.
ML Projection: 25 HR/.300-.320 BA/30-40 SB

Round 1 Supp Pick 47 RP Cliff Larkin
Very solid relief pitcher will have a long career as a set-up man. His high make-up rating means he should come very close to his projected ratings. He has good control and very effective splits, and could also fill in as the closer if needed.
ML Projection: 70 IP/3-5 W/.210-.230 OAV/2.00-2.50 ERA

Round 2 Pick 70 SP/RP Adrian Gardner
Signability issues. If he had signed, he might have been a deceptively effective pitcher.

Round 3 Pick 102 SP Thumper Withem
Nice name. Unfortunately, that's about the only thing worthwhile about Thumper from a ML baseball point of view. AA or AAA ceiling

Round 4 Pick 134 SP  Alvin Jacobs
Has some intriguing numbers. While his control and groundball/flyball ratio numbers are huge red flags, he sports ML quality left/right splits, and 3+ ML pitches. He is a player worth considering for a brief tryout at some point.

Round 5 Pick 166 C Javier Mercedes
Is borderline defensively for a catcher, and may be better served as a DH. His hitting numbers are good, but may not be good enough for a ML DH. He probably will top out as either a AAA C or AAA DH.

Hidden Gems: C King Rowe?, C Buddy Green?, RP Bud York

Overall Grade: C-
fast_eddie's 1st pick Hector Borders at no. 13 overall is right about what should be expected. The second pick, RP Larkin was a nice find in the supplementary round. After that though, the pickings get a bit lean. Hopefully for fast_eddie, some of the lower picks get a good bump from the DITR lottery.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

S18 Draft Review by holer

Syracuse Psychos

Needs: C, IF, SP
Paddling into uncharted waters, ARod great gydk suddenly finds himself in a situation where he has to start filling in some glaring holes. Starting with a quickly deteriorating situation behind the plate, gydk has a catching tandem of two aging defensive stars that are going from little offense, to no offense at all. The infield is a patchwork of veterans coupled with some young OF talent being forced into the infield to fill the gaps. The OF situation looks much better with a number of options available, but with players already being forced into the infield, the outfield ranks have become thin as well. In the rotation, Syracuse has several good pitchers that are getting quite old. The quality then drops off dramaticaly to the next tier of prospects coming up. Help is obviously needed here as well.

Draft Expectations: Very Low
Following up on his last great, dominant season, gydk did not experience his first pick until no. 29 overall this year. Coupled with just the standard 5 picks in the first 5 rounds, gydk should not expect much help to come from this draft. This may change starting next year as he has several top end stars approaching free agency, but that is next year and this is this year.

Draft Preparation:
There was not much gydk could do this year in terms of draft preparation. He has a high payroll being paid out to a few select aging stars. As a result, he had little money left over for scouting or prospects, and this season's draft could reflect that.


Round 1 Pick 29 CF Shawn Durocher
Considering it was pick no. 29, Durocher was a pretty good pick-up. Defensively he is a mixed bag. He will get to a lot of balls, but will also make plenty of mistakes. He has good speed and base running skills, and plenty of power, but will struggle to get on base at times. Considering the task at hand for gydk, he did well to get Durocher.
ML Projection: 40 HR/.250-260 BA/25-30 SB

Round 2 Pick 85 SP Devaris Collins
A poor man's 4th or 5th starter, Collins may find himself somewhere in the Syracuse rotation within 3 to 4 years due to Syracuse's current predicament.
ML Projection: 200 IP/8-10 W/.280-.290 OAV/4.00-5.00 ERA

Round 3 Pick 117 C Milt Hillenbrand
Nice pickup in round 3 for Syracuse. Hillenbrand's defense isn't the best, but with a couple of elite defensive catchers already onboard, his bat is what Syracuse needs at this position.
ML Projection: 25-30 HR/.260-.270 BA/5 SB

Round 4 Pick 149 SP/RP Eli Sandoval
Huge signability issues. Why so many controlling mothers? Be a man Eli and make your own decisions!

Round 5 Pick 181 SP Luis Ontiveros
Standard AAA SP.

Hidden Gems: None foreseeable

Overall Grade: B-
Considering gydk was between a rock and a hard place going into this draft, coming away with 2 solid quality prospects was an admirable achievement. I am looking for him to achieve even better results in the next few drafts.

S18 Draft Review by holer

Trenton Thunder

Needs: C, OF
Orber Furcal does a more than adequate job at, and behind, the plate, but with a low durability rating, he desperately needs another capable catcher to help shoulder the load. The infield is already loaded with talent. Any more talent added there will only mean somebody is going to be used as trade bait, likely to add SP's. The outfield is surprisingly thin considering all the infield talent 50below has, but he does have a couple of young studs coming up through the system. Another one wouldn't hurt. 50below is also largely set on the mound as well. While his big league rotation currently looks a bit thin, he has obviously been addressing this problem in recent years, and quality help is coming up through the system.

Draft Expectations: Moderate
Two 1st round picks in the top 25 could make this either a very successful, or a disastrous draft for 50below. The remainer of his picks are all standard, but he should be able to come away with 3 future big leaguers.

Draft Preparation:
Trenton's payroll is near the bottom of the league, allowing 50below a great deal of flexibility, which is a good position to be in considering he has those two 1st round picks. He has chosen to conduct his scouting in the high school ranks, and to also take his chances with the internationals. With a 20 million prospect budget, he is obviously looking at signing some serious talent, one way or another.


Round 1 Pick 20 2B Jonathon Hamelin
Sweet pickup with #20 overall. Hamelin's outstanding range will win him plenty of gold gloves over his long, award-winning career. He has star-power written all over him, and what he can't get accomplished with his glove, he'll take care of at the plate. The only thing lacking is speed on the bases, but with his top-notch batting eye, and significant power, he will be a force in the middle of the batting order.
ML Projection: 35-40 HR/.290-.310 BA/5-10 SB

Round 1 Pick 22 SP Zeus Britton
2 for 2 and having a great day at the plate, 50below has brought home his second stud in as many picks. Seeing Briton go at 22nd overall made me immediately go downstairs and slap both my chief scout and my director of player personnel around (considering my first pick was the sandwich pick at no. 21). Briton is a tailor-made number 2 ML starter. Not quite ace stuff, but pretty darn close. He has 3 plus pitches to choose from, and has impeccable control. Outstanding durability and stamina means he will go deep into many games, and will probably hold the franchise record for complete games when he is done. Good velocity and splits to go along with his control means a good shot at 200k's every year.
ML Projection: 250+ IP/200 K/15-20 W/.240-.250 OAV/
3.00-3.25 ERA

Round 2 Pick 78 RP Ernie Ledee
A solid ML RP. All the right numbers are in all the right places. Outstanding control/velocity splits will offset a slightly low left/right split. Two superior pitches (and vicious ones at that: sinker and cutter) are the primary contributors to an outstanding groundball/flyball ratio. Look for him to spend 15 seasons in somebody's bullpen.
ML Projection: 70-75 IP/3-5 W/5 SV/.230-.240 OAV/
2.40-2.60 ERA

Round 3 Pick 110 SP/RP Chili Ashley
One of those "almost there" 4A guys. He has 4 very nice pitches, but falls just a bit short in most of the essential categories. He will probably live out most of his career in AAA, but may get a few call-ups.
ML Projection: Emergency replacement

Round 4 Pick 142 SS Louis Padgett
Outstanding defense, but virtually no offense. His ability to spend any time in the bigs will depend largely on the patience of some owner putting up with virtually nil production from one of the slots in his batting order.
ML Projection: Defensive Infield replacement

Round 5 Pick 174 SP Steve Vander Wal
Another pitcher with some nice pitches, but not enough raw talent behind those pitches to climb the ladder to the top. Final stop will either be AA or AAA.

Hidden Gems: None Foreseeable

Overall Grade: A
50below's grade is based primarily on his first two picks. All too often we see owners with more than one 1st round pick squander at least one of those precious picks, but not 50below. He got outstanding bang for his buck. Forget that he didn't really find the players to fill his most pressing needs, he simply got the best two players that were available in the draft at that time. Besides, with all his talent now, he can trade to fill his needs.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

S18 Draft Review by holer

New York Yankees

Needs: C, CF, SP, RP
Like a number of other teams, New York has to start thinking about their future catching situation. They have a solid backstop right now in Darren Green, but like many of this league's front line catchers, he is aging. Dick Easley will rise to become a solid defensive replacement, but he can't carry the full load, and there is nobody else in the system capable of making an impact at the ML level. In the rest of the infield I don't presume to understand who acesspade has playing where and why, but he does have all the pieces necessary to fill out a pretty capable infield. New York's biggest problem in the outfield is in CF. The two corner positions can be adequately covered by existing players, but Kevin Grahe is marginal at best and needs to be replaced. On the mound, acesspade has a lot of marginal ML talent, but not many soilidly reliable ML pitchers. He needs to spend the next few drafts shoring up this area.

Draft Expectations: Moderate
Two 1st round picks, including number 4 overall, and 6 picks in the first 5 rounds. With those numbers, acesspade should be able to pick up at least 3 rock solid future big league players.

Draft Preparation:
acesspade's current payroll runs right about mid-pack. Obviously he likes his draftees young as he has sacrificed the college players, and has evenly distributed his funding to the high school and international scouts. He has also maxed out his prospect budget to ensure he can sign some high-end talent this year.


Round 1 Pick 4 SP/RP Calvin Curtis
Definitely a stretch at number 4 overall. Curtis is a solid pitcher who will have a long ML career, but he isn't even close to being a future ML star, which ideally is what you want from your 4th overall pick. He will probably end up in a long relief role as his stamina is way too low to be a starter, especially in the bigs. He will give a solid 2-4 innings of work whenever he is called upon, and if surrounded by good talent could be a vital lynchpin in the bullpen for a team trying to get to the top. But he is a role player, not a core player.
ML Projection: 90-110 IP/6-8 W/5 SV/.230 OAV/2.75 ERA

Round 1 Supp Pick 34 2B/CF Duane Andrews
I know, I know, he really is a natural 2B, and a good one, but because he would still do just as good, or better, than Kevin Grahe at CF, I had to slip that in. To be completely honest, he will probably have twice the impact that Curtis has, even though he was selected 30 picks later. Defensively, he is a stud at 2B, and would be adequate at CF. He has great speed, but the coaches will have to keep a tight reign on him as he doesn't always make the best decisions while running the bases. He is a good hitter with little power, but those swift legs will come in handy as they allow him to pick up countless infield hits.
ML Projection: 5-10 HR/.290-.300 BA/25-30 SB

Round 2 Pick 73 SS Miguel Maduro
A very nice pickup at 73rd overall. His outstanding defensive ability is only slightly hampered by below average range. Outstanding speed, and decent baserunning ability, makes him a legitimate basestealing threat. Offensively, he will add some runs from the bottom of the order, but because of his limited durability, he will have to share SS duties with another player.
ML Projection: 120 G/15 HR/.250-.260 BA/35 SB

Round 3 Pick 93 LF/CF Clarence Strange
His range and glove make it possible for Strange to play both LF and CF. He is a deceptively effective player, and it would not be surprising to see him hold down the 4th outfield position for just about any team.
ML Projection: 5-10 HR/.250 BA/5 SB as utility outfielder

Round 4 Pick 125 RP Chris Stuart 
Stuart is a bit of an enigma in that his talent ratings are loaded with extremes, both good and bad. He can pitch a ton of innings for you - good. His lack of control is scary - bad. He can be effective against righthanders - good. Don't let him pitch against lefties - bad. He has a phenomenal groundball/flyball ratio - good. Opposing hitters would actually have to swing the bat to produce groundballs - bad. In the end, I just don't see any big league managers signing up for the carnival ride that is Chris Stuart.
Ceiling AAA.

Round 5 Pick 157 C Paul Thornton
Signability issues have prevented the Yankees from making Thornton another viable option at C for them in the future. Although he would be a marginal C at best, he would still give them a player to fill in at that position, which New York has precious few of.
ML Profection: emergency replacement (if signed)

Hidden Gems: none foreseeable

Overall Grade: C+
Full marks to acesspade for identifying his team's weaknesses, and actively trying to fill those holes in the draft. After a very shaky start with the 4th overall pick, he recovered well to pick up some good prospects in later rounds.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

S18 Mid-Season Awards

AL MVP:  My goodness the AL is loaded with guys having fantastic seasons......Brady Jones, Omar Castillo, Santos Torres, Sammy Cochrane, Roy Bell, Ralph Kydd and Abraham Matthews to name a few would be worthy candidates in most seasons, but this ain't no ordinary season being put up by 3-time MVP Pedro "Hack" Bonilla.  Bonilla has been nothing short of Ruthian, hitting .352 with a .417 OBP and 1.155 OPS.  In 91 games he's got 35 HR's, 101 RBI's, 94 runs, 130 hits, 27 doubles and the man has even stolen 20 bases!!!  Bonilla is on pace to crack the top 5 single season runs created list and is on his way towards MVP #4.  If he gets his 4th MVP award, only Dante Ming who won 9 MVP's would have more.

AL Cy Young:  Among the many worthy contenders, its comes down to two, but how can the blog choose between Marino Pena and Dan Shaw?  Both of these men have been flat out dominant so far.  Pena has gone 12-3 for Augusta holding opponents to .230 OAV, .297 OBP and posting a 1.14 WHIP and a 2.91 ERA.  Shaw has been just as good for barjaz and his Rocks of Wichita by going 11-3 and holding opponents to .214 OAV, .292 OBP and posting a 1.13 WHIP and a 3.27 ERA.  To further illustrate just how even these guys are, both have both put up 13 quality starts.  Coin flip.........Marino Pena is the mid-season AL Cy Young!!         

AL ROY:  This is a two person race between Geovany Molina and Enos Hoffman (my apologies to Edwin Sabathia who's saved 15 of 17 for Cleveland).  Hoffman is tearing up AL pitching and leads all rookies with 28 HR (4th in the league).  On top of this he's racked up 91 hits, scored 53 runs, picked up 57 RBI and has swiped 15 of 19 SB attempts.  The only knock against him are his OBP of .343 and the fact that he strikes out more than double the amount he walks.    Most years these mid-season stats would be enough to win ROY at the end of the year, but not with Molina around.  Molina who must certainly benefit from the monsters that surround him in the Anaheim lineup, has been a little monster himself, hitting .311 with a .423 OBP and a 1.046 OPS.  Monlina also has went deep 21 times, scored 69 runs and has walked almost 2x for every strikeout.  His number are impressive and thus Geovany Molina is the mid-season AL ROY.

AL Manager of the Year:  dengodd2 -  Augusta was ranked 17th in the pre-season power rankings and dengodd2 has led them to 58 wins and the 2nd best record in the AL.....very impressive.


NL MVP: This race is much less clear than in the AL, and I'd venture to say that there are 8-12 guys in the AL who'd be the NL MVP if they were in the NL.  That said the contenders in the NL include Chuck Merrick, Gary Girardi, Jason Swann, R.J. Ordonez, Groucho Hargrave, Raymond Brock, Nigel Lidge, Eugene Moreno, Tony Pena and Cesar Rios.  The mid-season NL MVP however belongs to none other than S17 NL MVP Frank Robbins.  Robbins has carried the Pelicans this season putting up 23 HR, 86 RBI, scoring 55 runs and walking 42x while hitting .332 with a .408 OBP.  Robbins is also leading the NL is runs created.

NL Cy Young: There are multiple pitchers having great seasons this year including Bronson Jiang,  Rico Roque and Robert Lambert to name just a few.  The blog also feels that Burlington's Gustavo Mateo deserves special recognition by going 11-2 with a 1.05 WHIP and a 2.36 ERA.  That said, the mid-season NL Cy Young has got to belong to the Downriggers Gregg Sweeney.   Sweeney has been a work-horse this year.  Not only is he 12-4 with a 1.25 WHIP and a 2.99 ERA, but he's pitched 4 complete game shutouts (already tied for #5 all-time) and has pitched 135.2 innings--2nd most in the NL.  Sweeney has also put together 15 quality starts on his way towards his first Cy Young award.    

NL ROY:  When Lee Fick went down with a serious early injury langer1979 must have been nervous.  Thanks to Les Callaway all those nerves are a distant memory and so is Mr. Fick's hold on the 1B spot in Chicago.  Callaway has been great so far racking up an NL leading 31 HR's to go along with 81 RBI and 66 runs on top of a near .300 OAV and .622 SLG. 

NL Manager of the Year:  langer1979 and tmantom3285 have their teams playing great ball, but both of these teams were top 10 in the pre-season power rankings.....cebola on the other hand has taken the pre-seasons 27th ranked team and lead them to the NL South division lead with 55 wins.....boy was the blog wrong on that one!!!  My bad...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

S18 Draft Review by holer

Toledo Mud Hens

Needs: C, MIF, SP
Toledo needs to shore up it's catching situation as Hector Pena is currently their only legitimate option big league option. At 2B, William Simpson faces free agency and may, or may not, re-sign. Diory Lopez is miscast at 2B and will be hopelessly lost there. At 3B, Odalis Sojo's all-world cannon of an arm is off-set by a very sloppy glove and Toledo needs to start a search for a capable SS to replace Jolbert Jacquez now. Now for the good news. Toledo appears to be as set in the OF as any team in the league. They have many outstanding options, and all are young and improving. Toledo also has a talented young foursome of SP making their way to the big team, but nobody after that. They need another 2 or 3 SP's to give themselves room to breathe.

Draft Expectations: Moderate
The standard 5 picks in the first 5 rounds, however their first pick happens to be the 2nd overall. Without any extra picks to count on, the importance of a good selection with his 1st pick is vital for this draft to be a success.

Draft Preparation:
With the lowest payroll in the league, Toledo is positioned to make the most of it's search for prospects this season. Moderately high amounts allocated to all scouting departments will ensure they will get a shot at most top end talent that is out there. Add an obscenely high prospect budget, and we can expect to see Toledo pull down a number of good prospects this year, both domestic and foreign.


Round 1 Pick 2 SS Dock Sanders
Dock Sanders is a solid, if unspectacular, choice at number 2 overall. He is listed as a SS, which should not be a problem as he ascends through the minors, but will become a problem as he reaches the big team. At that point he would benefit greatly from a move to 3B. He is not a basestealing threat, but will be more than capable at running the bases. His elite contact rating coupled with a plus batting eye will keep his batting average quite high, and the strikeouts down. Very nice effectiveness splits to go along with moderate power means he will probably be a doubles hitting machine with 15-20 HR power. Get ready opposing infields because the line drive is coming your way!
ML Projection: 15-20 HR/50 2B/.320-.330 BA/10 SB

Round 2 Pick 59 RP Ozzie Blake
Another safe/solid pick at no. 59, Blake will be a workhorse out of the bullpen for many years to come. As a sinkerball pitcher with a high groundball/flyball ratio, he will be coveted by many teams, and will have little trouble finding a home throughout his career.
ML Projection: 70-80 IP/5 W/.250 OAV/2.80-3.20 ERA

Round 3 Pick 91 3B Jerry Collins
Collins is one of those players who always seems to be just on the verge of making it. Often referred to as a 4A player, he will probably gain many frequent flyer miles as he shuttles back and forth between the big team and AAA.
ML Projection: Spot duty/injury replacement

Round 4 Pick 123 SS Henry Giles
An outstanding find at pick 123, Giles is a defensive phenom at SS. At Vanguard high school, he holds the distinction of being the only player in school history to both hit for the cycle and complete an unassisted triple play in the same game. His nickname there was "Henry Potter", an obvious reference to his defensive wizardry. Under proper instruction, he should easily rise through the minor league ranks to become Toledo's premiere utility infielder. The only drawback to Giles is his knack for being injury prone. But as a defensive substitute, this is not as great a concern as it would be if he were a starter.
ML Projection: Utility infielder

Round 5 Pick 155 LF Buck Ginter
Two words. Raw. Power. He should personally end the careers of several young, fragile minor league pitchers. He is the type of player who will fill the stands of minor league stadiums with fans who have hopes of watching him not only leave the stadium, but leave the county as well. At some point, a team in need of a power infusion into their lineup may actually give him a shot at the bigs, but probably only for some very brief stints.
ML Projection: spot duty/pinch hitter

Hidden Gems: none foreseeable

Overall Grade: B+
The theme of Toledo's draft seemed to be one of always making the solid, safe pick. Of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, and for a team looking to rebuild, Toledo appears to be on the right track.