Friday, March 18, 2011

AL Playoff Picture (through 148 games)

AL North
Toronto Blue Jays 79-69 (6)
Minnesota Twins 70-78 (9.0 GB)

AL East
Baltimore Orioles 85-63 (9)
Boston Red Sox 79-69 (6.0 GB)

AL South
Kansas City Royals 96-52 (10)
Texas Rangers 91-57 (5.0 GB)

AL West
Anaheim Angels 90-58 (11)
Seattle Mariners 86-62 (4.0 GB)

AL Wildcard
Texas Rangers (8)
Seattle Mariners (13)
Tampa Bay Rays (7.0 GB)

Kansas City currently has a magic number of 9 for the #1 seed.

NL Playoff Picture (through 148 games)

NL North
Milwaukee Brewers 92-56 (4)
Chicago Cubs 81-67 (11.0 GB)

NL East
y-Pittsburgh Pirates 99-49

NL South
Florida Marlins 84-64 (12)
Atlanta Braves 81-67 (3.0 GB)

NL West
y-Los Angeles Dodgers 109-39

NL Wildcard
Atlanta Braves
Chicago Cubs
Philadelphia Phillies 80-68

y - clinched division

The Dodgers have a magic number of 5 to clinch the #1 seed.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Season 1 Draft Grades - AL West

Anaheim Angels
Taken one pick after McInerney, #16 overall Rey Sowders is projected to be better defensively but won’t be the offensive force that McInerney could be. Still, Sowders will give above average offense from the catcher position, and his ability to find his way on base along with his defensive chops will make him a very good ML player. Brandon Townsend, taken at #49, is another player projected with outstanding defensive ability who can be average to slightly below at the plate. Being strong up the middle is a baseball pillar, and the Angels certainly followed that philosophy in their draft.
Overall Grade: B-
Best Pick: Rey Sowders – 1st Round

Colorado Rockies
1st rounder Kordell Stanley is going to make life for pitchers miserable. The only question is how many games a season this will be. Being in COL is going to make his slightly above average power better, but his plus-plus hit tool is going to punish pitchers in his home park. 3rd rounder Yorrick Klingenbeck should find his way to the Majors as a platoon player who can play any of the 4 corners. His power, of which there is plenty, will be enhanced in COL as well. There’s not much else in the draft for COL, but putting a beefcake lineup together in COL is always preferable, and those two go a long way towards doing just that.
Overall Grade: B-
Best Pick: Kordell Stanley – 1st round

Oakland Athletics
With the #2 pick in the draft, OAK selects Benj Fox. Rumor has it he dropped the i from Benji in his name because there is no I in team. That’s how good this guy’s makeup is. Playing SS in the minors, but he projects to be a Gold Glove caliber 2B who could be just flat dominant at the plate. The only concern is just how many games will Benj get to play, as his DUR is of some concern. Just for good measure, OAK picked up Juan Rosa in the supp round. Yeah, another great catching prospect from the 1st season draft for a world with few impact catchers. Wanna know how I know you’ve had a good draft? When you’re picking up fringe ML players like Ernie Rushford in the 5th round, that’s how.
Overall Grade: A
Best Pick: Benj Fox – 1st round

Seattle Mariners
A no frills, draft the best player available and let’s do our jobs kind of draft. Danny Lee at #22 in this draft is a border line steal. Troy Roosevelt and Fonzi McGee in rounds 2 and 3 will be effective, if somewhat undervalued, ML relievers. 5th rounder Gene Barclay has elite and potentially Hulk-like power and his splits and defense are good enough that being a backup COF/1B/DH and getting 300-350 AB a year isn’t out of the question.
Overall Grade: B
Best Pick: Danny Lee – 1st round

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Season 1 Draft Grades -- NL West

Arizona Diamondbacks
With 3 picks in the first round, ARZ was looking to make a big splash in this season’s draft. While not signing Matt Foxx has tempered that enthusiasm some, picking up Preston Byrne in the 3rd round should certainly lift the spirits of ARZ ownership. With great makeup, he should come very close to his legit back of the rotation potential. #10 overall pick Jim Schafer should turn into a great OBP machine and his speed and baserunning skills make him a legit leadoff threat. The potential to do more was there for ARZ, but getting pitchers like Byrne in the 3rd round just doesn’t happen often, and their grade gets a bump just for that.
Overall Grade: B+
Best Pick: Preston Byrne – 3rd Round

Los Angeles Dodgers
In the beginning, WiS created an MLB world devoid of any real catching. With the #15 pick, LAD took what should turn out to be one of the better overall catchers by the time he reaches the Majors. Donnie McInerney may end up being slightly below average defensively, but he should be an average pitch caller and his offense will more than make up for whatever he may lack defensively. Geraldo Pimentel was found in the 6th round – the 6th round!! – and should also turn out to be a solid ML catcher. Greg Watson in the 2nd round is also a solid pickup. Very nice draft.
Overall Grade: B+
Best Pick: Donnie McInerney – 1st round

San Diego Padres
Owners of the #1 overall pick, and they didn’t waste it. Phil Lowery should be at worst a legit #2 starter for a first division playoff team, and has all the potential of becoming a TORP. Phil Gonzales in the supplemental round should be an above average defender at one of the most important defensive positions – CF. He probably will wind up being a bit inconsistent at the plate, but he’ll be an above average ML player when he reaches the Majors. If Bernard Townsend (2nd round) can take full advantage of his potential, he should be a very solid ML shortstop.
Overall Grade: A-
Best Pick: Phil Lowery – 1st round

San Francisco Giants
A bit of a tough draft for SFG, but not having a pick until #50 can do that to a franchise. Willy Valentine was that pick at #50, and while he projects to have elite range, his glove doesn’t quite play at CF. Being left-handed limits his defensive position options. He’s probably not more than a 5th OF, but he does have serious speed and is very smart on the bases, and his ability to play any OF position (though RF is a bit of a stretch for his arm) makes him a likely candidate to find a role on an ML squad. Not much else was found in this draft for SFG.
Overall Grade: C-
Best Pick: Willy Valentine – 1st round

Monday, March 7, 2011

AL Playoff Picture (through 118 games)

Toronto Blue Jays - 63-55 (45)
Chicago White Sox - 56-62 (7.0 GB)

Baltimore Orioles - 71-47 (36)
Boston Red Sox - 62-56 (9.0 GB)

Kansas City Royals - 75-43 (42)
Texas Rangers - 72-46 (3.0 GB)

Anaheim Angels - 73-45 (42)
Seattle Mariners - 70-48 (3.0 GB)

Texas Rangers
Seattle Mariners 2.0 GB
Tampa Bay Rays 10.0 GB
New Orleans Jazz 10.0 GB
Boston Red Sox 10.0 GB
Cleveland Indians 15.0 GB

Kansas City currently holds a 2.0 game lead over Anaheim.

NL Playoff Picture (through 118 games)

NL NORTH - W-L (Magic #)
Milwaukee Brewers - 73-45 (36)
Chicago Cubs - 64-54 (9.0 GB)

Pittsburgh Pirates - 75-43 (31)
Philadelphia Phillies - 61-57 (14.0 GB)

Florida Marlins - 70-48 (37)
Atlanta Braves - 62-56 (8.0 GB)

Los Angeles Dodgers - 86-32 (13)
San Francisco Giants - 54-64 (32.0 GB)

Chicago Cubs
Atlanta Braves 2.0 GB
Philadelphia Phillies 3.0 GB
New York Mets 6.0 GB
St. Louis Cardinals 8.0 GB
Houston Astros 10.0 GB

Los Angeles Dodgers have a magic number of 34 and an 11-game lead over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Season 1 Draft Grades - NL South

Atlanta Braves
Picking at the end of the first round didn’t stop ATL from adding a starting pitcher with legit ML talent to its system. Akinori Zhang should develop into a solid starting pitcher who can eat innings and give his club a chance to win on most nights he pitches. Pablo Johnson was also a very nice find in round 4. The reality is that it’s basically impossible to find a projected ace or MVP candidate from where ATL drafted, and they did about as good as could be expected in their draft. Nice job.
Overall Grade: B+
Best Pick: Akinori Zhang – 1st Round

Florida Marlins
Florida got a grab bag of players in its draft. None are elite, and with the #11 pick you would hope that pick would be, but they did get players with projected ML ability, and not all clubs were able to do that. At #11, FLA picked up Carl Marte, and if he reaches his projections he should be a solid every day ML shortstop. That kind of player has value, but again at #11 I would think ownership was hoping for a bit more. Not a bad draft, but there’s just no wow factor to it either.
Overall Grade: C+
Best Pick: Carl Marte – 1st round

Houston Astros
I wouldn’t call Ignacio Polanco and ace, but with the potential to have an absolutely devastating fastball and the makeup to come really close to his projections I would be surprised if he doesn’t go on to have a long and very nice career. He should move quickly, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him pitching in HOU in a couple of seasons. Ajax Wallace (round 2) will probably be playing in the Majors someday too. A good, solid draft for Houston.
Overall Grade: B-
Best Pick: Ignacio Polanco – 1st round

St. Louis Cardinals
With four picks in the first 70, I’m a little surprised STL wasn’t able to find better talent to fill their system. That being said, the players they did get were solid, if not spectacular. There’s a good chance that 2nd rounder Keith Relaford develops into a solid platoon/utility player and his baserunning smarts, defense, and ability to do ok against lefties should allow him to make the big leagues some day. 1st rounder Mark Prince doesn’t have great splits, but dude throws real hard and has a real heavy sinker he backs up with a plus changeup. Put a good defense behind him and he may be able to find some success at the ML level.
Overall Grade: C+
Best Pick: Mark Prince – 2nd round

Friday, March 4, 2011

Season 1 Draft Grades -- AL South

KC Royals
Legit make up concerns dropped Nipsey Baez all the way down to KC at pick 26. A LH bat who can hit lefties better than a lot of lefty batters and projected as an elite defender but the makeup concerns put legit questions as to what kind of ML career he’ll have, though he should make the Majors at some point. It’s hard to find talent where KC was picking, but they were able to add some decent depth to their system.
Overall Grade: C
Best Pick: Max Desoto - 3rd Round

New Orleans Jazz
Picking at #6, you would hope to get a franchise defining player. I’m not sure Rich Coco will turn out to be that kind of player, but he should be a very solid every day ML player who could put together an All-Star appearance here and there. It can be hard to get legit ML talent in rounds 3 and 4, but New Orleans was able to do so, and their draft grade benefited from it. Ownership did a nice job in this draft.
Overall Grade: B
Best Pick: Tim Lieber – 4th round

Tampa Bay Rays
They were able to pick up some organizational depth, but overall not enough real ML potential was found in this draft for TB. It can be hard to find good to great players when your first pick doesn’t come until #43, but with 4 picks in the first two rounds you hope to get some players who can offer meaningful contributions at the ML level. TB added depth to their system, but overall this draft has to be considered a bit of an opportunity missed for them.
Overall Grade: C-
Best Pick: Anthony Griffiths – Supp round

Texas Rangers
Not a good draft at all. It is possible that Harry Tatis makes it to the Majors one day as a situational reliever, but given his severe limitations on the number of innings he can pitch each season, even he is a question mark. Not picking until #84 is hard, but still, there was talent left on the board when TEX made its selections. I would think ownership would not be thrilled with the results from this season’s draft.
Overall Grade: D
Best Pick: Harry Tatis – 2nd round