Friday, April 18, 2014

Top 3B - S14

  1. Phil Gao - PHI (.319/.426/.540; 306 HR, 1,359 H)
    Tremendous defensive 3B, Gao makes great contact, drives the ball relatively well and knows the strike zone well. He's got enough power to make pitchers fear him, and can run the bases well. 9-time silver slugger, 10-time all-star, 3-time gold glover...he's one of the world's best. SCORE: 79.9
  2. Damaso Romero - TB (.267/.337/.515; 258 HR, 1,202 H)
    Romero is a hell of a defender. He's fast and a solid baserunner. He knows the zone fairly well, so he can work the count. He's got great power to go along with a great ability to drive the ball. He makes solid contact. SCORE: 78.4
  3. Benito Infante - NO (.282/.348/.490; 101 HR, 608 H)
    Infante plays tremendous defense. He is a solid baserunner with some speed. He will strikeout. Has some power. Drives the ball well. Decent eye.
Best Defense: Frank Rasmussen (ATL)
Best Arm: Frank Rasmussen (ATL)
Fastest: Alex Tarraga (TOR)
Slowest: Doug Lee (CH1)

Top 2B - S14

  1. Travis Evans - CIN (.310/.377/.524; 193 HR, 1,438 H)
    Evans has spent his entire career in the majors for Cincinnati, a rarity. He doesn't strike out much, hits a fair amount of home runs, drives the ball really well. He's got good range and a good glove. He's fast and can run the bases well. He is merely average at reaching base. Should reach 1,500 hits and 200 home runs. SCORE: 78.7
  2. Henry Crosby - DET (.319/.391/.524; 172 HR, 1,495 H)
    A Detroit lifer, Crosby has good range and a decent glove. Although his speed is in decline, he's still very fast. Solid power, drives the ball really well. Makes good contact. Can definitely work the count well. Should break both 200 HRs and 1,500 H's...the hits will come in game 2. SCORE: 78.3
  3. Henry Lennon - TB (.284/.375/.488; 95 HR, 577 H)
    A youngster, Lennon has solid power, is average at making contact. Sees the ball better against RHP than LHP. He can work the count and has decent speed once he gets on. He's about an average defender. Will break 100 HRs this season. SCORE: 77.6
Best Defender: Donzell Holmes (CH2)
Best Arm: Donzell Holmes (CH2)
Fastest: Guy Perez (SEA)
Slowest: Ed Gold (BAL)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Top 1B/DH - S14

1. Jeff Phelps - SF (.287/.406/.541; 281 HR, 1,113 H)
Phelps should hit for a high average with a lot of power. He'll walk quite a bit. He drives the ball well, but isn't outstanding at that. He should reach 300 HR in the first half of the season. SCORE: 86.0
2. Mark Ishikawa - MON (.327/.393/.648; 284 HR, 1,046 H)
Hits for power and average. Drives the ball well, especially against RHP. He won't lead the league in walks, but does have an idea of the strike zone. He should reach 300 HR in the first half of the season. SCORE: 83.4
3. Hipolito Iglesias - DET (.338/.426/.575; 389 HR, 2,153 H)
A steady performer who gets by on his ability to really drive the ball into the gaps. He lacks the power he had in his earlier years, but he's still got enough pop to put 20 into the seats. 8-time all-star and 9-time silver slugger, he can hit. He knows the strike zone and can reach base a lot. SCORE: 83.4

Best Defender: Anthony Ennis (STL)
Best Arm: T.J. Payne (MIN) & Julio Manuel (ARI)
Fastest: Sonny Ratliff (BAL)
Slowest: Ezdra Rosales (LA)

Top C - S14

  1. Nick Helms - PIT (.277/.336/.468; 198HR, 642H)
    The top ranked C can do it all. Helms has a solid arm and can really call a game. Best attribute is his top-notch power. He doesn't strike out too much, drives the ball well and can really work the count. Should see 200 HRs early in the season. SCORE: 78.9
  2. Cesar Cedeno - PHI (.300/.380/.600; 244HR, 840H)
    Cedeno can't call a game well at all. Decent arm, but not spectacular. He'll strike out more than you'd like, but when he hits the stays hit. He drives the ball well, has tremendous power, and can work the count really well. He should reach 1,000 hits this season and has a shot at getting to 300 HRs. SCORE: 78.4
  3. Moises Gonzalez - HOU (.318/.426/.633; 385HR, 1368H)
    Not much of a defensive C, Gonzalez, like the other 2 guys, is a very good offensive C. He drives the ball well, works the count well, and hits for power. He won't strike out too much. Can't call a game very well and has a weak arm. Should see him reach the 400 HR plateau this season. SCORE: 76.4
Best Arm: Rafael Olmedo (BOS) & Brian Cheng (STL)
Fastest C: Micah Mitchell (CH2)
Slowest C: Melky Morales (ATL)
Best PC: Lawrence Pelfrey (MON)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

S13 Draft Review

1. SS Albert Puente (TEX)
Puente is the type of player owners dream of. He hits for average and power, and can run a little bit. He plays a premium defensive position and he can play it well. He can work the count and won’t strike out.
2. 3B Milton O’Leary (STL) 
O’Leary will strike out quite a bit, but in between those strike outs he’ll be driving the ball into the gaps and out of the ballpark. He can play 3B, but will make his fair share of errors. His range and arm are very good.
3. LF David Mijares (CH1)
Lacks the range to be a great defender at either corner slot, but who cares. He’s going to be an offensive star. He’s going to hit for average, knock the cover off the ball, and get on base a lot. I love this pick. It’s the type of player you build a team around.
tk21775 says: Chicago Cubs went with LF David Mijares with the 3rd overall pick in the draft; we had him at the top of our draft boards so we're pleased he was still available when it was our turn to pick; he should help put up some big numbers with his bat when he gets the call up to the majors and hopefully be playing LF in a Cubs uniform for a very long time.
4. RHP Stubby Pribanic (LA)
An interesting pitcher, he’s going to throw a ton of innings for the Dodgers, but he will struggle with his location a bit and LHB will knock him around. He throws hard and dominates RHB. Keeps the ball down in the zone and has some great pitches.
5. RHP J.C. Vaughn (TOR)
Another super reliever, he is going to miss his spots some. Throws hard and gets grounders. He isn’t dominate against RHB like Pribanic, but he’s more consistent from batter to batter. Doesn’t have that “out” pitch.
6. RHP Todd Rusch (CIN)**Analysis by hopkinsheel**
Solid selection. Arguably could be in the rotation right now if the Reds needed help. One of the most "arm ready" pitchers in the draft. Hopefully will develop a bit more over the next two seasons to be a solid #2/#3 guy.
hurricane384 says: We were very delighted to make this pick. Rusch can be a major part of this rotation very soon. Could very well be the Travis Evans of the Reds pitching staff.
7. RHP Bernie Bush (CH2)
Bush will be a solid and durable #2 SP in the White Sox rotation. He won’t walk many and can work deep into games and work deep into them often. Throws hard, induces GBs. Lacks a great group of pitches.
byers61 says: Bernie Bush has great control, good splits, excellent velocity, and three good pitches. Hopefully paired with a good pitch caller, he won't throw the change-up often. He should be a fixture in the White Sox rotation in a few years, and for many years to come.
8. LHP Ralph Shawler (BOS)
Shawler is a traditional SP who will dominate LHB more than RHB. Keeps the ball down. Throws hard. He’s not going to walk many guys. His pitch combination is something every SP is jealous of.
9. RHP Ramiro Castillo (MIN) – UNSIGNED
10. 3B Scott Wright (ATL)
Wright’s got the chops to be a SS in a pinch, but should be a gold glove 3B. He’s going to strike out a lot, but should walk a ton as well. He’ll hit for some good power. He’s better against LHP than RHP.
11. C Milton Braden (PIT)
The first C taken is a doozy. He’s a tremendous defensive C, who can catch almost every game. He hits for a lot of power and make solid contact. He drives the ball better against LHP than RHP. He does struggle with recognizing the strike zone while in the batter’s box.
12. LHP Carlos Bogaerts (FLA)
12 picks deep and the Marlins land a #2 SP. Good control, he also keeps the ball out of the hitting zone. He throws hard and keeps the ball down. His pitch selection is weak but his peripherals should offset that and allow for a solid pitcher.
13. LHP Hugh Davidson (WAS)
Not exactly a #2, but he’s a very useful pitcher. He’ll work deep into games and be able to go on short rest. He struggles vs RHB and is solid against LHB. He doesn’t hurt himself with walks, but lacks the power to blow guys away. Very good pitch combination.
heinzkill says: Hugh Davidson projects to be a back end of the rotation guy. Doesn't throw his four-seamer all that hard, but spots it well. Sets up his best pitch, which is his slider. Has a curveball and change-up he can sprinkle into his repertoire.
14. 2B/CF Kevin Stoops (CLE)
Stoops is going to be a gold glover, it just depends on where now. He’s fast. He drives the ball well against LHP and solidly against RHP. Decent eye. Decent contact and power.
abesmem says: The Indians well extremely happy to get a difference maker in Kevin Stoops with the 14th overall selection. The Indians had him rated 3rd overall on their board. Stoops will be an excellent fielder regardless of whether he ends up at 2B or CF. He has above average power and contact and should simply own left-handed pitchers while doing more than holding his own vs righties. He is a durable player that will make it to the big leagues in 2 years. He is starting out in AA.
15. SS Erick Silva (LAA)
Silva can work the count and drive the ball solidly. He’s not going to hit a ton of balls out of the park and will also strike out a fair amount. His value will be on defense where he has a few deficiencies. His glove stands to be below average and his arm could be a liability.
mskakunan says: Signability questions permitted the Angels to snag SS Erick Silva with the 15th pick. He was number 5 on our board so we were thrilled to get him, assuming we can convince him to sign. He doesn't project to have the defensive chops to be a ML SS, but he can be a top tier 2B with a live bat and a disciplined approach at the plate.
16. P Dee Glynn (MON)
17. P Orlando Uribe (SEA)
18. P Daryle Tewksbury (NY1)
mcgupp says: The Yankees were excited to get a Pitcher of Daryl Tewksbury's quality with the 18th pick . Good splits and 2 excellent pitches. Unfortunately, he significantly raised his asking price and will likely not be signed.
19. LHP Marcus Collins (CH2)
For the 19th pick overall, Collins is a solid pick. His splits are odd as he’s better against LHB than RHB, but he throws hard and gets a lot of ground balls. He’s not going to walk many. His pitch selection is good as well.
byers61 says: At number 19, Chicago drafted Marcus Collins. He too has excellent control and velocity, and a couple of real nice pitches. The big question with Collins is whether he will ever reach projections, since he is already age 22 and has a very questionable health rating.
20. RHP Benny Woods (NY2)
Woods is a solid pitcher, but lacks ideal durability to be much of a factor in the rotation. He does a good job of not walking guys. He keeps the ball down in the zone. Does a decent enough job of keeping the ball out of the hitting zone. Decent pitch selection.
21. 2B Wayne Payton (MIL)
This is a tremendous pick for the Brewers. Payton’s got good power, a great eye, and drives the ball well. He won’t hit for a high average. Can be a solid COF, 2B, or 3B. Solid speed.
s_gammon says: The hope is that Wayne Payton develops enough defensively to allow him to reach The Show as a second baseman. If he does he’ll be still be a below average defensive second baseman able to make good offensive contributions for the position. If he can’t stick at second base, well, we will see how it goes.
22. 2B Earl Wesson (MON)
Can play 2B or CF and become a gold glover at either spot. A defensive wizard, he’s fast too. His offensive credentials leave a little to be desired. He won’t hit for a ton of homers, although he can drive the ball to the gaps. His eye and contact ability are average.
23. 3B Patrick Howell (STL)
Drives the ball well, but he’s definitely going to have to play a COF spot as his glove or arm accuracy won’t develop to allow him to be an asset on defense. He doesn’t have much power and will strike out a lot.
24. 2B Watty Coggin (ARI)
Coggin is a classic late 1st round pick. He’s a useful player, likely never to be an award winner, but definitely worth keeping around for a while. He’s got average power, splits, and an average eye. He will make above average contact.
25. RF Tom Donnels (BAL)
More of a DH than a RF, Donnels only weakness is that he’s not very durable, so his impact during the season will be limited. His impact will be tremendous when he’s in the lineup though as he’s one of the best offensive players in this draft. Top-notch power, great eye, dominant against LHP and solid against RHP. Won’t strike out too much. Great grab this late in the draft.
hopkinsheel says: The Orioles are really pleased with the selection and signing of Donnels. We feel he was the premier bat in the draft and had him ranked 5th on our master list. He is young so several seasons away, but he should anchor the DH position for a long time.
26. 3B/SS Paul James (NO)
He’s definitely a solid enough 3B. He’s just an above average player across the board. One who is going to be useful for a while.
mongoose_22 says: The New Orleans Jazz look forward to watching Paul James develop into an exceptionally mediocre major league player, assuming he doesn't decide to go to college instead. Though he played SS in HS, he doesn't project to be good enough with the glove to stay there. Instead its likely he'll become a solid defensive 3B. With the bat, he insn't anything special. He'll likely develop into a league average hitter. He is durable, and capable of being a very valuable bench player or a below average starting positional player.
27. RHP Tim Blackburn (PHI)
This pick is a jaw-dropper. To pick a guy up with so many positives this late in the draft is an upset. The only negative is that his pitch selection is not good, but he throws hard and gets a lot of GBs. He won’t walk many and keeps the ball out of the hitting zone.
mitt0108 says: The Philly front office was pretty pleased that Blackburn was available at number 27. While only investing in college scouting, Blackburn was 6th on our board. He should be a solid starter with 5 pitches and great velocity/ground ball rate. However, his health is a big question mark, but at no.27 he was worth the risk.
28. RHP Wladimir Garrido (OAK)
A pick that pisses me off…typically when I draft this late I get a guy who has no business ever being in the bigs…here we have a potential all-star. His durability and stamina will only allow him to be a RP, but he’ll be good. Good splits, throws hard, great pitches…has good command of his pitches.
29. RF Hugh Pecina (KC) – UNSIGNED
30. LHP Hector Rivers (DET)
Solid pick late in the draft. He doesn’t throw hard but has a solid pitch combination. Decent splits. Won’t walk many. Decent stamina/durability.
dakar says: Hector Rivers is probably as good as the Tigers could hope to get picking in the 30th spot. He is a soft tossing lefty who projects to have no real weaknesses, but no outstanding attributes either. Probably a future #3-4 starter.
31. 2B Lee Montague (FLA)
Solid offensively, Montague has some potential. Won’t light the world on fire, but is a solid pick.
32. SS Haywood Arnold (LA)
Arnold is one of those players that I’m never real sure what to do with. He doesn’t have the arm strength to be a GG SS and is not the type of offensive player who will make up for his errors and minus plays. He’s solid offensively and could definitely be a very good CF, but you hate wasting that arm in the OF.
33. RHP Edgardo Suarez (SF)
Suarez will struggle keeping the ball out of the hitting zone, especially against LHB. Tremendous pitch selection. Won’t walk many. Doesn’t throw too hard.
34. 1B Vern Williamson (NO) – UNSIGNED

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Season 13 Previews

Anaheim Angels
Not much in the way of changes for the Angels. Bucky Stultz was acquired to upgrade the offense and Frank Dong should take over at SS to upgrade the defense. Alex Alomar may arrive this year if any of the pitchers falter. He is the Angels ace of the future. Mays, Matthews, Little, Bennett, Creek, Candeleria and Guerrero all return to lead the offense. Crawford, Martinez, Hennessey and Cabeza lead the starters while Phillips, Trammell, Bryant and Perez lead a bullpen that could be reinforced by youngsters Shuh and Andrus. This team is mature now. Time for the Angels to make a run at the playoffs.

Atlanta Braves
The Braves made no significant off season moves, and their modest payroll does not indicate they will likely be back in the hunt this season. The organizational philosophy which served the franchise well for so long has fallen short of the mark in recent seasons and Braves fans are becoming impatient.  Relying heavily on international prospects and draft picks, the Braves have generally avoided the free agent market. Rather than banking on a few superstars, they have strived for balance throughout both the lineup and starting rotation, with emphasis on solid defense and a strong bullpen. With an unfavorable draft position for many consecutive seasons, the draft simply hasn't yielded the quality necessary to sustain this approach, especially among position players. As for the Braves players, our discussion begins with three veteran mainstays. Reliable 1B Al Reynoso returns for his eleventh season as a Brave. He should eclipse the 400 career HR mark before the season is over. Likewise, veteran Gold Glove RF Alex Cheng, a Brave for his entire career, returns after signing a four year deal that will likely be his last. Harold Daily, long one of the top closers in the game, made the transition last season to middle innings/setup work and will continue in that role in what could be his final season as a Brave. The Braves are solid defensively up the middle with the catching platoon of Ricardo Jose and Melky Morales, All Star SS Ezdra Aviles, Gold Glove 2B Joe Watson and veteran CF Jhonny Mercedes. Perennial underachiever Alex Tarraga was traded away for veteran George Wright at 3B as the trade deadline approached last season, though Wright is likely a short term answer at best. Roger Bonds will likely man LF, with versatile Boots Vaughn capable of providing depth at either corner OF position or 1B. The rotation will likely consist once again of lefties Evan Van Hatten and Vincenzo Parker and righties Luke Schulte and Fausto Martin.

Baltimore Orioles
Our goal is to repeat as the AL East division champs. MVP finalist Sonny Ratliff returns to anchor the middle of the lineup. Management feels we are really strong across our entire lineup. 5 guys eclipsed 20 HR and 2 more came close. There really isn't a weak spot. Our goal is to be a top 5 hitting team this season.

Fielding should continue to be a bright spot after placing 4th in Fielding % last season. Our goal is to improve our pitching staff which we feel like we did with the addition of Frank Rando and rookie Tony Santos to the starting rotation. As always, the bullpen should be strong.

Several rookies should make their debut this season including Tony Santos (former $31 mil international bonus baby); Brent Starr looks to take over our DH role with a monster bat. Dioner Segui will come up to be a utility guy, possibly starting SS. Not sure what to do with Jake Mayne as we were hoping to swap him for another player, but couldn't quite nail down a deal. He is ready now so we'll find room for him. And we have several bats at 1B who are itching to try out their game on the ML level, but not sure if we have the room.

AL East Champs and hopefully a decent run in the playoffs!

Boston Red Sox
Coming off a very disappointing 68 win season, the Red Sox have vowed to change their identity and restructure their team. Last season we had the worst defense in the league so the primary focus was to upgrade the defense and get some pitching. This meant a lot of trades needed to happen...and they did.
The list of new additions is as follows: Harold McKnight (1b), Pedro Flores (3b), Jon Schultz (SS), Mariano Cabrera (LF), Dick Simon (C), and Cal Rogers (SP)...among other WW/ Rule 5 pickup relief pitchers.
There was also a nullified trade that stings, Johan Springer was close to coming to Boston to give them a legit playoff threat rotation but unfortunately their amateur GM didn’t realize injuries nullify trades. So instead he goes to Cleveland of all places.
Waiting in the wings in AAA is Chris Parker, and it’s still unknown if he will get a call up or not this season as he could still use some development time down in the minors. I suspect that if Boston is looking good after 20 games they will give him a call up.
Because of the uncertainty of the rotation this could be another transitional year for the Sox, and I am predicting a 78 win season which compared to last year, is a step in the right direction.

Cincinnati Reds
A disappointing season led to some turmoil in the off-season for the Reds. With the #6 pick in the upcoming draft, they could afford to splurge in free agency while planning for some talent to enter the system.

Gone: LF Greg Monroe, C Frank Hunter, RF Yovani Rijo, SS Goose Howard, CF Yusmeiro Johnson, P Wes Hermsen, P Emil Cabrera, P Tim Sefcik, P Alex Silva
Added: SS Tim Brush, 2B John Jung, 3B Edwin Mitchell, UT Che-Bang Shigetoshi, OF Tony Santos, P Dale Tresh

C: Burt Washington is the undisputed starter this season after splitting time. He managed to hit 20 HRs in limited ABs. Pedro Cabrera is the defensive replacement and has a little bit of pop.
1B: Larry Browning begins as the starter after losing his job last season to veteran Royce Thomas, who also returns. Replicating S11 for Browning is key to this team’s success.
2B: Alan Throneberry performed admirably at 2B last season, but the opportunity to add a top-notch player in John Jung on a one-year deal was just too great to pass up. Che-Bang Shigetoshi adds some overall depth to the team.
3B: Quinton Valdes is back and looks to be a key bat off the bench as he backs up new-comer Edwin Mitchell. Mitchell brings some power that this team was lacking last season.
SS: An organizational weakness that saw this team spend about $8M during the off-season to address, 29-yr old Tim Brush has the defensive chops to play, but won’t hit at all this season. Offensively a black hole.
LF: Veteran David Davis will try to stay healthy enough to hopefully replace some of the production lost when Greg Monroe walked in FA.
CF: Travis Evans. ‘nuff said.
RF: Howard Coghlan manned 3B last season while Yovani Rijo was in RF. When nobody took a chance on Coghlan, we snapped him back up and turned him into a RF which suits his range and glove better.
SP: Rex Howard, Akinori Zhang, Delino Guerrero, and Julio Blanco return 128 starts from last season. Dale Tresh made 33, so a rotation that was very much in flux at the beginning of last season, looks to rebound nicely as each of these guys, with the exception of Blanco had a very solid season.
RP: RHP Alex Sinclair and Rolando Polonia look to hold down the fort and make this former weakness into strength.

Overall I feel that this team has improved from S12 to S13. There are still some weaknesses that need to be addressed at some point, but if the regular season started tomorrow (I wish it did), this team would once again be a contender, in my opinion.

Chicago Cubs
Last season was a typical Chicago Cubs season, losing a franchise high in games and finishing in the cellar of the NL North. Our big goal this offseason was to get Ariel Mateo back in a Cubs uniform as he wanted to test free agency. We were shocked that our first initial offer after waiting a day was accepted so we withdrew and offered him his initial demands, $7M x 4yrs. He accepted and while we lost a Type A we think his contract is a steal considering he hit 54 home runs and drove in 122 rbis last season. Bryan Cook will get the call up from AAA to help solidify our pitching rotation. Last season we went 17-30 in 1 run games so we were in the games but just couldn't close them out. We're hoping that changes for us this season.

Cleveland Indians
The real strength of the squad remains starting pitching. By adding a top of the rotation starter like Johan Springer (through trade) to a group that already included Bill Serrano, Harpo Drabek and Rod Mauer make the Tribe’s rotation very strong. To off-set this improvement, we added a group of 3 relief pitchers that apparently no one else wanted to round out our staff. This should result in an unpleasant level of late inning losses that should engender a great deal of dissatisfaction from our fan base. We’re returning a mostly veteran group on the field that should produce sufficient run support to maintain a somewhat competitive squad for most of the season. Free agent veteran, York Coco will take over a 2B keeping that position warm for the expected promotion of the talented Juan Pasqual this year or next. In all, Cleveland shouldn’t suck too much.

Detroit Tigers
Things look much the same for the Tigers in season 13. Kevin McKinley was allowed to walk as a cost saving measure, and Tomas Belliard was brought in to battle rookie Garry Banks for the 3B job. The mission is still the same: try to get that elusive championship before the window closes on this aging group.

Houston Astros
Key adds: C - Bonk Stien, OF Willis Branyan, SP Max Osoria, SP Omar Quintanilla and RP Darnell Shaw

Key losses: C - Dick Simon, OF Kenny Blake, SP Bernie Speier, RP Justin Mienkiewicz and RP Fred Adams

Overview: The Astros are desperately scratching and clawing to remain a contender in the super competitive NL. The team is coming off a successful regular season in which they accumulated a franchise record 109 wins, but failed to make it to the LCS. Key improvements include major upgrades to the teams line up vs. left handing pitching in the form of Bonk Stien at C and Willis Branyan in the OF. The team lost all star and hall of fame pitcher Bernie Speier from their rotation and as a result that group will not be quite as deep in season 13. The Astros may not repeat last season’s regular season success, but the hope is they can produce a more favorable showing in the post season.

Milwaukee Brewers
Predictions in this game is dicey. Take season 12 for example, during spring training I harbored no illusions about the Brewers making the playoffs, yet they did. Granted that had more to do with a down year for the division than a great year by the Brewers, but still, I was expecting high 70's in wins but got mid 80's and a division title.

My expectations for season 13 are higher than they were for season, so I expect low/mid 80's in terms of wins. It would be nice if that translates into a playoff spot. It would be nicer to exceed expectations again and run away with it....

The team will miss Steven Newfield who opted out on the final year of his deal with us. We wish him well in Boston. Free agent departees, Dale Tresh and Morgan Taylor will also be missed.

The signing of Sal Boyer and the anticipated promotion of Alex Woo should solidify if not strengthen the starting rotation. Greg Monroe should help wean the team off the contributions of Jim Thomson whose decline is accelerating into the final year of his multi-year deal. Matty Sanchez was brought in to replace Newfield at second. He has a bat that the team is excited to get into the lineup, the hope is his defense up the middle doesn’t hurt too much.

Montreal Expos
After 12 seasons, 5 division titles and 1 Word Series with one owner and GM, the Montreal Expos decided to head in a different direction after a disappointing 78-84 season, hiring Kelly_McCann to run the franchise.
“The fans in Montreal have come to expect a winning team”, McCann said, “and that’s what we plan on giving them this season.”
McCann has gone right to work, bringing in a completely new starting outfield at all 3 positions, a new starting short stop, pulling off 4 trades, including a blockbuster deal that sent 3-time All Star Cesar Cedeno to the Phillies, and signing 3 players from the Rule 5 Draft. When asked about the “new-look” Expos outlook for this season, McCann told reporters, “It’s a mix. Our pitching staff remains largely unchanged. Other than Al Flores & Bernie Speier who should compete for that 5th spot, the rotation will be the same. I think free agent Scot Page has a shot at closing for us, but we’ll have to see how that all pans out. I wanted to strengthen the defense up the middle and I think we did that with Branch Pressley and Kenny Blake. Steven Newfield and Yovani Rijo didn’t get a lot of attention in free agency so we were able to bring them both in at an economically feasible rate. Both of those guys will contribute. But the biggest change I see won’t be a change at all. We need to get Mark Ishikawa at-bats. The guy is 27 years old and a two-time MVP. He played in 33 games last season and wasn’t injured. I’m not sure what went on here previously, but he needs at-bats, and he’ll get them with this team.”
So what is McCann hoping to get out of this season’s Expos? “Listen guys. We spent a ton of money. More than I normally spend when I’m brought in. But I saw this team as unique. There were a lot of pieces already in place. I expect to win a lot of games and get into the tournament. Once you get in the tournament, anything can happen.

New Orleans Jazz
The Jazz will return mostly the same key players. Position players in particular will feature the same starting 9 as last season. Scot Dickey will be in the Big Easy for the entire season and hopefully Benito Infante will rebound from an off season. The pitching will have some of the same key players and some impactful rookies. Hideki Ni could have a Cy Young caliber season and will anchor the pitching rotation. Veteran, and HoF hopeful Larry Leach will provide a very capable sidekick for Ni. Highly touted prospect Felipe Sanchez will make his ML debut this season and is expected to provide pair up with Ni for a number of seasons providing an All Star level 1-2 punch. Last season's impact international signing, Kiki Aguilar, required major elbow surgery after just 10 starts. The team is hoping Kiki will be fully recovered and be a major contributor this season. While Maikel Castillo expected to be a solid ML pitcher, scouts think he is still a season away but he may be pressed into service if a veteran starter isn't signed to fill out the rotation. In the pen, Ned Gold should have more help this season. Benny Morlan will make an immediate impact in his rookie season. Expectations are for the squad to challenge Kansas City for the division and make another run at the pennant in the playoffs.

New York Mets
This year's motto: Trim The Fat

The Mets made an organizational move over the off season and replaced long time owner jgnjr with good ole Wisconsin boy bigsammich. Working part time at a local glue factory, bigsammich was surprised to hear that the Mets had stumbled across his LinkedIn profile, noticed his passion for the game, and immediately offered him the position. During the first talent evaluation meeting, the new owner was pleasantly surprised with the Mets 82-80 record last yr, barely missing the last wild card spot. This year will be different though, with bigsammich already beginning to clear every unnecessary dollar off the books. Gone are veterans Matty Sanchez, Bonk Stein and Oswaldo Santiago replaced by youngsters like Ivan Amezaga and Rule 5 pick Lucas Scott, as well as cheap 38 yr old vet Alex Gomez. Scott was a pleasant pickup and, at only 23, will bring some pop vs righties and discipline at the plate, while Gomez provides leadership, offense, and a good sense of humor. With 57 mill on the books this year and only 4.36 mill next yr, the Mets are hoping to re-tool with top international and domestic talent in hopes of challenging the Phillies for the division title in the next 2 yrs.

Record: 73-89
Team MVP: Thumper Bailey
Team Cy Young: Heinie McGowan
Most Likely To Get Thrown Out At First: Ivan Amezaga

New York Yankees
The New York Yankees enter the season wondering how to get the team to reach its potential. High hopes over the past several seasons have led to mediocre results. The Yankees reworked their bullpen during the offseason. They enter the season with much the same lineup and hope the big guns have hot seasons at the same time. If not, the Yanks will likely look to the future and be major traders leading to the deadline.

Philadelphia Phillies
Key additions: C Cesar Cedeno (trade), CF Enrique Iglesias (trade), SP Bryant Koskie (FA)

The Phillies return a very similar team as last year’s division winner. The front office is hoping that a few upgrades will be enough to contend once again. Big bat Cesar Cedeno will hopefully add to what was the highest scoring offense in the NL last season. An upgrade defensively in CF with Iglesias should help the pitching staff as well. The starting rotation was given a boost with veteran acquisition Bryant Koskie as the Phillies hope to improve on what was the 4th best pitching staff in the NL last season. Overall, the Phillies expect to win the division again this season and are hoping that come playoff time, the three key additions to the team prove to be enough to get us over the hump and into the WS.

San Diego Padres
Management is very satisfied with the off-season. The long-term signing of Phil Lowery was enough to pump up the fan base but the surprising signing of Seth Wall was the cherry on top and set the team up for future success. The signing of Wall did stretch the budget for this season and, as a result, the squad will have little pitching depth and will be counting on MiL starters Tito Peters and Rubby Benitez and relievers Andres Guevera, Hipolito Gonzalez and Bret Olsen to plug holes. The starting lineup returns pretty much intact with Greg Greewood as the primary C, the bench is solid and the 1-4 starting pitching and tail end of the bullpen are excellent. Front office creativity will need to occur in order for this squad to make it back to the playoffs. Once promotions are made, the Padres are sure to lead the league in at least 1 category this season - Hipolito’s on a pitching staff (3 – Gonzalez, Ramirez & Tatis).

St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals are in rebuild mode after new ownership during the course of last season.

After looking the roster over during the course of the season and before the beginning of this year I felt it was best to start the rebuild project now. I think the talent we received during the course of trades and after the Rule 5 draft will make us competitive in a few seasons. Expectations are low this season but I'm hopeful of putting a team out there that can compete day in and day out.

Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays are looking to make a run at only their 2nd ever playoff appearance this season after narrowly missing last season. Tampa Bay will be getting full seasons out of their star youngsters, Austin Leiber, Wandy Bennett and last seasons International Signing, Ubaldo Moreno. TB is also expecting a big season out of last seasons trade deadline acquisition, Rich Coco. To solidify the offense, TB acquired 2B Henry Lennon in a trade. He is looking to step into the 2nd spot in the lineup and get on base for the big bats behind him. The Rays also strengthened their weak bullpen by signing Free Agents, Buddy Borders & Willie Belliard. The signings cost them a 1st round draft pick, but it is time to stop planning for the future and to win in Tampa Bay. A Spring Training injury to CF Manny Park is going to cost him 2 weeks once the season starts, but the Rays see him returning to form once he comes back. They are hoping to get strong performances out of the same 5 starting pitchers as last season, but if someone falters, former 1st Overall Pick Dayan Mercado is waiting in the minors for his chance to join the rotation.

Texas Rangers
The Rangers are under new ownership, but it will be another long rebuilding season in Texas.
The offense should be respectable with 1B Deacon Kelley, RF Bob Osborn, DH Shane Pillette and 3B Ronnie Robinson leading the offensive charge.
The Rangers added C Al Guzman, C Will Lansing and SS Troy Knight via FA to help the defense, which should be improved overall.
The weak spot of the Rangers will again be pitching. SP's Charlie Cecil and Doc Holmes, as well as RP Ronald Roosevelt will be the staff leaders.
With a different management style in place, Texas hopes to at least be competitive this season. The season will hinge on the offense performing up to standard and a much improved defense to cover for an average at best pitching staff.

Washington Nationals
Would you believe it if I told you that the Nationals organization has never had a winning record in a single season? Last season started off as though it might be the year to break that trend, however a poor second half dashed any hopes of that happening. An off-season of more or less lateral moves does not bode well for the chances of it happening this season either.

I think most people agree that a strong pitching staff is the key to success. There was a bright spot last season. Bernard Reid finally pieced together a solid season (18-8, 3.53 ERA) and performed up to his potential. Washington will lean heavily on him again this season. If Heinie Kinkade can bounce back (9-15, 5.72 ERA) from a disappointing season, the chances of winning 81 games will be much greater. Miguel Romero (13-13, 4.20 ERA) was a pleasant surprise and lefties Walter Gray (10-11, 4.53) and Bernard Hollins (10-14, 4.62) performed as expected.
The pen is anchored by closer Cookie Alfonzo, who was acquired via trade in the middle of the season. He pitched better with Washington than he did with the Indians. He finished the season converting 40 out of 43 saves with a 3.69 ERA. The Nationals will hope to get the most out of returning pitchers Ronnie Brooks, Donatello Farrel and Julio Franco. Peter Haughian and Terrence Franklin were added for depth.

Offensively the team struggled in the second half. If C Rubby Gomez can replicate his numbers from last season (.291, 35 HR, 102 RBI) he will again be the force of the lineup. Elston Hartzell was brought in to back him up and see the majority of reps vs. lefties. 2B Domingo Velez saw a dip in production last season (.255, 15HR, 50 RBI, 61 SB) but will again be looked upon as the igniter of the offense. His low OBP (.327) is a cause for concern as the leadoff man. RF Pepe Nieto had a strong rookie season (.307, 22 HR, 81 RBI) and will look to avoid the dreaded sophomore slump. The rest of the lineup is piecemeal. Additions like 3B switch hitter Jonathan Nix and shortstops Yonder Alomar and Kirt Diamond will look to sustain what will hopefully be an average lineup. Younger bats Keith Hannity and Trot Phillips will get their opportunity again this season.

All in all, it appears to be another mediocre season in Washington. The hope is to have the franchise’s first winning record.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

S12 Draft Review

1. Seattle – RHP J.J. Woodward
Woodward projects to be a true top of the league pitcher. Should win multiple Cy Youngs. His weakness is that he doesn’t completely dominate LHB…and his 5th pitch is terrible. Can’t really complain about a guy who won’t walk many, will strike out a lot of guys, and keeps the ball on the ground.
2. Tampa Bay – CF Paco Lee
If Paco can get to a ball, he can catch it. He’s fast, has a ton of power, and dominates LHP. He’s ok against RHP and will strike out more than one would like. He’s got a great eye though and should be on base a lot. Too bad he has to be reminded the order the bases go.
3. Los Angeles – C Tyler Ford
If you can snag a tremendous offensive C, you have to do it. He’s not going to strike out much; he will hit for a ton of power and get on base a lot. He dominates LHP while being average against RHP. He has a tremendously strong and accurate arm. He does struggle calling games.
4. Minnesota – C GregWebster
This could be a classic overdraft here. Webster projects to be able to drive the ball well and get on base. Doesn’t have a great arm and can’t call a game. He lacks durability to be a full-time catcher. He has decent power and will strike out a lot.
5. Minnesota – 3B Rene Lankford
Doesn’t have tremendous range, but has a solid glove. He’s going to strike out a lot, but hits for a ton of power. He can drive the ball well. He has a decent eye.
6. New York (AL) – SS Daniel Stearns 
Stearns is a below average defensive SS, but should make up for that with his offense. He makes solid contact, drives the ball well, and can work the count to reach base. Has decent power. When he gets on base he’s fast and knows how to use that speed.
7. Chicago (AL) – LF Sean Miles – UNSIGNED
8. Atlanta – RHP Pedro Aguilar
Has great control. Throws hard. Can work deep into games. Does better against LHB than RHB. Gets some groundballs. Top 2 pitches are tremendous, but the next 2 aren’t.
kilgore says: The Braves have been pleased with the performance of the 8th overall pick in the draft, right-handed starter Pedro Aguilar. After a solid showing at the AA level, Aguilar has shown seems to be ready for AAA as well after being promoted recently. Aguilar is projected to continue development of his excellent 4 seam fastball combined with a very good curveball, with a slider and cut fastball that are both expected to eventually be slightly above ML average. The Braves believe that as Pedro improves his ability to consistently repeat his delivery, his control will become his greatest strength. Look for Aguilar to be a June callup to the big league club and bring much needed quality to the rotation if he continues to improve as projected.
9. Milwaukee – RF Humberto Calixte
Will hit for a ton of power. Can dominate LHP and do well against RHP. Good eye. Good speed, decent baserunner. Will strike out a ton. Might turn into one of the better defensive RF in the game.
10. Washington – 2B Vin Chavez
Makes a ton of contact with a lot of power. Drives the ball well. Decent eye. Lacks speed. As a defender he probably makes more sense in a COF slot.
heinzkill says: Vin Chavez wasn't our first choice, but was the best of what was left on our draft board. By no means a 5-tool player, as he lacks speed and a good arm. Probably will end up as a 1B/LF. All of that being said, if he gets close to his projections, he will hit for power and a decent average. He will strike out a little, but that should be overshadowed by his overall numbers.
11. Toronto – RHP Doug Rodgers
He doesn’t throw hard and lacks elite control, but he definitely keeps the ball out of the hitting zone. He has good pitches too.
mburgy says: At 11, hr jays took Doug Rodgers who was 2nd kn their draft board.
12. Chicago (NL) – SS Tony Balentin
Can definitely play the position defensively. Average speed. He’s above average across the board offensively which will make him a very valuable member of the Cubs’ organization.
13. Anaheim – RHP Todd Mullens
Tremendous control. Lacks ideal ability to keep the ball out of the hitting zone. Doesn’t throw hard. Average at getting groundballs. Great pitch combination though. Durability and stamina may not allow him to be a starter.
mskakunan says: 18 year old Todd Mullens projects a terrific fastball and a boatload of other effective major league pitches. I am not wildly enthused about choosing an RP with the 13th overall pick, but Mullens projects closer stuff and has the make-up to achieve his projections. He is currently dominating opposing hitters in Rookie Ball.
14. Texas – RHP Stretch Lucas
Tremendous stamina and durability will allow for him to pitch a lot of innings. Dominates RHB. Average velocity and does above average job of inducing groundballs. 2 very good pitches and average pitch may limit him as a starter.
15. Cleveland – RHP B.J. Gates
Tremendous control. Great combination of pitches. Can throw a lot of innings with his dur/sta combination. Average at keeping the ball out of the hitting zone. Doesn’t throw hard and is average at inducing GBs. Should be a solid BOR arm.
16. Pittsburgh – LHP Raymond Reynolds
Keeps the ball out of the hitting zone. Solid control. Great stamina/durability combination. Doesn’t throw hard. Does not get a lot of GBs. Very good pitch combination. Should be a solid starter.
17. New York (AL) – RHP Luther Stone
He isn’t going to walk himself into trouble. The question is whether he’s able to do a good enough job of keeping the ball out of the hitting zone. Stamina and durability are perfect for a 4-man rotation. Could be limited by only having 3 pitches, only 1 of which is excellent.
mcgupp says: The Yankees used their first pick in the raft on Luther Stone . Stone was the best Starting Pitcher left on the Yanks board. Pinpoint control is his strength, hopefully he develops.
18. Boston – RHP Rock Nickle
Struggles against LHB. Much better against RHB. Will give up flyballs. Won’t strike out many. Above average control. Can go deep into games and do it often. 2 high quality pitches should help to off-set the weakness of the remaining 3.
crabman26 says: Pick #18 - Rock Nickle - With the 18th pick the Red Sox grabbed the #7 player on their board. With a projected vR of 80+ to go along with decent control and 2 good pitches the Sox are hoping Rock can become a solid #3 or #4 type pitcher in their rotation. He is a flyball pitcher who does not strike alot of guys out which will end up holding him back from becoming a top of the rotation starter, but for a pick in the middle of the draft to land a middle of the rotation starter is not too shabby.
19. St. Louis – 2B Gary Moreno
Tremendous range and glove allow him to be a gold glover at 2b/CF. Great speed. Can bunt and run the bases. Doesn’t strike out much, but lacks the ability to truly drive the ball. Knows the strike zone. Lacks any significant power.
20. Baltimore – SS Ben Hernandez
Solid defensive SS. Won’t strike out much. Has some power. Above average against LHP, will struggle against RHP. Should walk enough to be valuable when combined with his defense.
hopkinsheel says: Hernandez will be a killer pick if he can develop into a legit ML SS. If not, it will be interesting to see where he fits.
21. San Francisco – 2B Wayne Romero
Another guy who should be a gold glove 2B/CF. His offense is solid enough that he should see that playing time. He has average power, is average at making contact and driving the ball. He’s fast, can run the bases and bunt and reach base by walking.
22. Pittsburgh – 2B Robb Langerhans
Langerhans is fast and has tremendous range. Lacks ideal glove for CF. Struggles against RHP. Some power. Makes decent contact. Average eye.
23. Toronto – LHP Joe McKnight
Lacks ideal control. Throws hard. Has an average pitch combination. Doesn’t dominate any batters. Good stamina. Decent durability. Back of the rotation pitcher.
mburgy says: Next, the Jays took Joe McKnight. Both are expected to be in the starting rotation at the Big league level in 3 to 4 seasons.
24. Florida – RHP Fernando Ayala
Great control. Lacks ideal stamina/durability for bullpen or rotation. Throws hard, gets a lot of grounders, and has the pitches to dominate. Could be very valuable if used and developed properly.
mamidu says: doesn't have the stamina to be a SP, but will be a quality SuA and can fill in with a start here or there in a pinch. Projected to have very good control and above average splits with 2 great pitches. Combined with his velocity and keeping the ball down, he should be a pretty good player. A decent pick at #24
25. San Francisco – RHP Andrew Diaz
Diaz is a BOR arm. Doesn’t throw hard and will let pitches get into the hitting zone. Has solid control. Good stamina. Pitches leave something to be desired. Can get some grounders.
26. Philadelphia – P Aaron Titan – UNSIGNED 
27. Milwaukee – RF Carl Inge
Good range and a strong arm. Great speed. Drives the ball well and can work the count. Will strike out some. Has 20 home run power.
28. Oakland – SS Bruce Gorzelanny
Doesn’t have the range or glove to be a ML SS, but can be a GG 3B. Solid speed. Will rarely strike out. Has some pop. Drives the ball well against RHP and does ok against LHP. Doesn’t have the patience to work the count.
29. Arizona – RHP Walter Swisher
Throws very hard. Has 2 great pitches. Doesn’t keep the ball on the ground. Doesn’t keep the ball out of the hitting zone on a consistent basis. Won’t walk many.
30. San Diego – SS Eli Mendoza
Mendoza will not be a ML SS, but could be a solid 3B/2B. Has good speed. An above average offensive player. Best attribute is his eye.
opie5 says: The Padres acquired some depth with the 30th pick this year in Eli Mendoza. The decent hit, decent field Mendoza projects a ML reserve for a contender. The pickings in this seasons draft were slim and the Padres were just happy to get a prospect that projects to be a ML player.
31. New Orleans – 2B Gregory Donnels
Doesn’t have the glove to be a good IF, he’s durable and solid enough offensively to warrant a spot on a big league roster.
mongoose_22 says: The Jazz selected Gregory Donnels at the end of the 1st round. Greg is expected to develop into a solid, though not spectacular second baseman. He should be a solid defender and a mildly productive hitter.
32. Kansas City – LHP Tony Jung
Great control. Does a solid job of keeping the ball out of the hitting zone. Doesn’t throw hard. Solid pitches.
bighead34 says: Thrilled to be able to get Tony Jung at the end of the 1st round...projects to be an elite SuA with the ability to pitch nearly everyday.
33. Houston – RHP Emmanuel Fernandez
Throws hard, has some solid pitches. Doesn’t have great stamina. Solid control. Keeps ball out of hitting zone some. Decent grounders.
34. Montreal – SS Tony Drew - UNSIGNED