Monday, October 13, 2014

Season 25 Free Agency Preview

Don Monahan
Age: 32B/T: S/L
Born: Flagstaff, AZ
Position(s): P (SP3)
View Hardball Dynasty Profile
Who will land this 2-time Cy Young award winner?

We have rolled over to Season 25 in Cobbfather and the bidding wars for this season's top free agents has begun.  This class features some good starting pitching and a handful of solid bats.   Overall, it is a slightly above average class, although not spectacular.  Without further adieu, here are the top free agents available as rated by the Gazette!   Good luck with your bids!

1. Don Monahan, 32, SP
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: 2.99 Career ERA, 2 Cy Young Awards
Salary Over/Under: 5 years, $99 million

Possible Destinations: Pawtucket, Louisville, Las Vegas, Jacksonville, Boston

Signed with Las Vegas - 5 years, $110 million

Monahan is the clear top prize in this season's free agent class.   He is a two-time Cy Young award winner, has a fantastic career ERA and winning percentage, and his ratings are outstanding, it's difficult to find any flaw in his arsenal.  At age 32, he should still be solid at the end of a 5-year deal.  He's the ace on most pitching staffs instantly, it just may take a max contract to get him. 
2. Pepe Guillen, 31, 3B
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: .300 career AVG, .896 career OPS
Salary Over/Under: 5 years, $80 million

Possible Destinations: Houston, Louisville, Jacksonville, Philadelphia, San Francisco

Signed with Houston - 5 years, $92.5 million

Guillen rates as the top offensive player in this season's free agent class, as he swings a mean bat and still has excellent fielding skills.  He has outstanding contact and doesn't strike out much, along with a fair amount of power and good splits.  Add his fielding prowess into the mix, and you've got a player who can be very valuable for a lot of teams. 

3. Yuniesky Nieves, 32, 3B
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: .775 career OPS
Salary Over/Under: 4 years, $48 million

Possible Destinations: Charlotte, Los Angeles, St. Louis, New York (AL)

Signed with Boston - 3 years, $24 million

Nieves has a quality, yet not spectacular bat, but definitely above average for a typical 3rd baseman.  He has very nice contact, batting eye, and RH split to go with a decent amount of power.  His fielding ability is what pushes him up in value, as having that kind of bat at 3rd base is an upgrade for most teams.  Age is a slight concern, but he looks like he'll still be solid for the next few seasons. 

4. Eduardo Trevino, 32, SP
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: 3.70 Career ERA
Salary Over/Under: 4 years, $60 million

Possible Destinations: Houston, Pawtucket, Los Angeles, Buffalo

Signed with Pawtucket - 5 years, $84 million

For those that lose out on the Monahan sweepstakes, Trevino might be a nice consolation prize.  He probably doesn't have staff ace type stuff, but would make a nice #2 starter on most teams.  His effectiveness vs. RH is just good, not great, and that's about his only weakness.  Whoever lands Trevino will have improved their pitching staff for sure. 

5. Rolando Gomez, 29, 3B
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: .766 career OPS
Salary Over/Under: 4 years, $42 million

Possible Destinations: Las Vegas, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Florida

Signed with Philadelphia - 5 years, $56.5 million

Gomez, the youngest player on this year's list, is a nice power bat who again has excellent fielding skills.  The downside is that the rest of his offensive skills are mediocre to slightly above average.  Still his fielding abilities and plus speed warrant a spot on the list, and his age probably bumps him up a few spots. 

6. Geronimo Johnson, 31, 3B
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: .852 career OPS
Salary Over/Under: 4 years, $40 million

Possible Destinations:  Jacksonville, Boston, Buffalo, Santa Fe

Signed with St. Louis - 5 years, $74.5 million

Johnson swings a powerful bat, has excellent splits and an above average batting eye.  His contact is below average, resulting in a lot of strikeouts, but he has proven that he is capable of putting forth a solid stat line over several seasons.  He may be more suited for right field, as his fielding abilities are below average to average compared to most 3rd basemen.  But his bat may be able to make up for it.

7. Will Maxwell, 32, 1B
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: .825 career OPS, 374 SB
Salary Over/Under: 3 years, $27 million

Possible Destinations: Houston, Louisville, Charlotte, Boston

Signed with St. Louis - 4 years, $39 million

Maxwell is a highly efficient hitter, with great contact, nice splits and very good power, with a good enough batting eye.  He also has good speed, and has stolen at least 26 bases the past 4 seasons.  He is coming off some excellent seasons in Houston above his career line.  He isn't that great in the field, but could probably play LF in a pinch.  Still, it is worth it to have a hitter with his skills in the lineup.

8. Wayne Roskos, 33, SP
Type B Free Agent
Key Stat: 4.19 Career ERA
Salary Over/Under:  3 years, $30 million

Possible Destinations: Charlotte, San Francisco, Syracuse, New York (NL)

Signed with Boston - 1 year, $7 million

Roskos is a hard throwing righty who would make an excellent #3 or #4 starter on most staffs.  He has great control and velocity, and a nice arsenal of pitches.  His splits are above average, but not great, which limits his effectiveness to a certain extent.  His career ERA and winning percentage is not dazzling, but that could change if he lands in the right spot. 

9. Welington Melendez, 32, SP
No Designation
Key Stat: 3.79 career ERA
Salary Over/Under: 3 years, $23 million

Possible Destinations: Louisville, Philadelphia, Arizona, Buffalo

Signed with Charlotte - 4 years, $29 million

Melendez is a solid lefty who can handle a hefty workload rather effectively.   He doesn't rate out as a superstar, but he can make a solid contribution to most rotations.  His biggest strength besides his durability is his excellent array of pitches.  He could be a lower end option for strong pitching teams, or a good, affordable start to upgrading a weaker staff, and not having to forfeit a draft pick to get him is a plus. 

10. Homer Butler, 37, RP
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: 3.03 Career ERA
Salary Over/Under: 2 years, $14 million

Possible Destinations: Pawtucket, San Francisco, Arizona, Colorado Springs

Signed with Colorado Springs - 1 year, $5.4 million

Butler comes in as the top reliever on the list.   Even though he is getting up there in age, he can still be very effective for a couple of more seasons.  His ratings are pretty solid across the board, and he looks capable of tossing 100+ innings for a team that needs to shore up their middle relief.  The Type A designation may scare some teams away, given his age, so there is a potential bargain to be had here, if you are willing to give up the draft pick.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Season 24 Wrap Up

Buffalo Bisons (NL)
View Hardball Dynasty Profile
Buffalo takes it all in Season 24!

A new entry has been made into the Hall of Champions as Season 24 came to an end.  The Buffalo Bisons were crowned World Series champs after edging out AL pennant winner Pawtucket in a tough six game series.  Although not the favorite, Buffalo finished #6 in the final power rankings, indicating that they were a strong team capable of a nice playoff run after playing great down the stretch.   Cy Young winner Douglas Banks was a major driving force for Buffalo in the playoffs going 5-0 in six starts with a 2.03 ERA, while Magglio Johnson crushed 8 post season homers after a mediocre regular season.  This is the Bisons' first Cobbfather championship, as they lost their last World Series appearance in Season 17.

Pawtucket had an excellent regular season and post-season run led by record breaking slugger and 3-time MVP Albert Cruz.  The 25 year-old slugger will be back and better than ever next season looking to take that next step.

Thanks for a great season everyone, hopefully we'll be rolling on to Season 25 soon, see you then!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Season 24 Awards Recap

As Pawtucket and Buffalo start to battle it out in the World Series, the regular season awards were announced. Let's see who took home this season's hardware!

Most Valuable Player
American League - Albert Cruz, Pawtucket - .330 AVG 61 HR 148 RBI
No player in Cobbfather history has ever won 3 MVP awards, until now, as Cruz has amazingly managed to accomplish the feat in his first three full seasons in the majors.  There's not enough superlatives to describe Cruz's hitting ability, and he's most certainly a candidate to keep the MVP streak going next year. 

National League - Ray Rudolph, Ottawa - .298 AVG 60 HR 133 RBI
The streak of 17 consecutive different NL MVP winners is over, as Rudolph picks up his 2nd MVP trophy with an outstanding season.   Rudolph also won the NL MVP award in Season 19.  His Home Run and RBI totals are higher than his previous MVP campaign and are career highs.  The 31 year-old slugger obviously still is getting done, and his 2nd MVP trophy is well deserved. 

Cy Young Award
American League - Thomas Hutchinson, Atlanta - 18-3 2.70 ERA 174 K
Hutchinson remained the leader of a most impressive Atlanta pitching staff that dominated the regular season, enabling him to claim his 2nd Cy Young Award.   Hutchinson also won the Cy Young in Season 21.  The crafty 27 year-old righty looks to be a perennial Cy Young contender and is sure to come back strong for seasons to come.  His biggest competition for future awards may come from his teammates.

National League - Douglas Banks, Buffalo - 20-3 2.25 ERA 207 K
It's repeat winners all around this year, as Banks claimed his 2nd Cy Young award this season.  He also won in Season 19.  After missing most of the previous season due to shoulder surgery, Banks was back and better than ever this season.  That's an amazing medical team they have there in Buffalo!  Banks has led his team to the World Series this season, on top of taking home the Cy Young.

Rookie of the Year
American League - Dorssys Tatis, Colorado Springs - .313 AVG 35 HR 97 RBI
Tatis was a runaway winner of the AL Rookie of the Year Award.  He was a key part of the offense that led a second half surge for Colorado Springs and an outstanding playoff run that saw them take out the top two regular season teams in the AL.   At just 21 years old, Tatis has tremendous power, a great batting eye and excellent contact hitting skills that should make him a top slugger for years to come.

National League -  Juan Saenz, Houston - 14-2 2.83 ERA 109 K
Saenz was also a decisive winner in the NL Rookie of the Year race.  An early season call-up, Saenz posted a near flawless record, along with very nice peripherals.  We're not sure Saenz will win a boatload of Cy Youngs, but he's a high quality starter that will be an asset to any pitching staff for many seasons to come.

Fireman of the Year
American League - Gus Masaoka, Atlanta - 2.94 ERA, 43 SV, 2nd win
National League - Rodrigo Ontiveros, Las Vegas - 3.35 ERA, 40 SV, 1st win

That concludes the Awards recap, good luck to the World Series teams, and don't forget to renew your teams for next season!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Season 24 Final Regular Season Power Rankings

As the playoffs get under way, it's time to take a look at the final regular season power rankings.  Atlanta was a clear and dominant #1 all season.  Behind them is a glut of teams that could have been ranked a number of ways, as they were all very close.  It will be interesting to see how the playoffs go, if anyone can dethrone Atlanta and who will emerge in a very tight NL picture.  Good luck to all in the playoffs, here are the complete final rankings!

Team  W L PREV    Comments
1 Atlanta  115 47 1 Simply dominant, one of the best season in world history
2 Boston  97 65 4 Playing well, and actually finished with the top offense
3 Pittsburgh  97 65 5 Tremendous second half of the season, looking real good
4 Houston 98 64 2 Mediocre down the stretch, but still a high quality squad
5 Salt Lake City 101 61 3 Excellent season for sure with the NL's best record
6 Buffalo  96 66 8 Great stretch run, but offense is a bit of a question mark
7 Pawtucket 91 71 10 Made a run to claim division title, and could make waves
8 Arizona 89 73 9 Solid team by the numbers, great offense for this team
9 Colorado Springs 82 80 18 Huge run down the stretch earned them the division title
10 Los Angeles 88 74 7 Improved during the 2nd half, could be a threat in the NL
11 Charlotte  86 76 21 Major run the last 40 to get division title, hot right now
12 Jacksonville 82 80 19 Well balanced team but couldn't grab a playoff spot 
13 Cincinnati 88 74 6 Struggled down the stretch, but they're in as a wildcard
14 St. Louis 79 83 16 Very good, but may need a little more offense to contend
15 San Juan 84 78 12 Getting there, but pitching is not yet playoff caliber 
16 New York  87 75 14 Just missed the playoffs, but a nice record this season 
17 Austin  82 80 20 Middle of the road by the numbers, seem on the cusp 
18 Tampa Bay  77 85 11 Down season, good numbers, so a bit of tough luck here
19 Salem 80 82 17 Good 2nd half shows they look to be on the rise
20 Dover 77 85 15 Poor stretch run expected, as they look to be in rebuild
21 Las Vegas 76 86 25 Solid pitching, but offense was lacking this season 
22 Texas 75 87 24 Offense wasn't there, but the pitching was pretty good
23 Seattle  74 88 29 Nice stretch run shows they may be putting it together
24 Trenton 77 85 22 Fell off down the stretch, as pitching was an issue
25 Ottawa 75 87 13 It really all came apart the last 40, as pitching got rocked
26 Florida 73 89 28 Over .500 the last 40, so they have some promise here
27 Durham  74 88 23 Pitching rough down the stretch, and in a tough division
28 Louisville 62 100 27 They're ptiching staff got rocked pretty hard this season
29 Syracuse  64 98 26 Pitching isn't quite there yet, so they struggled some
30 Albuquerque 62 100 31 They're pitching hasn't adjusted to this park yet it seems
31 San Francisco 54 108 32 Down season as pitching was a major issue again
32 Philadelphia 50 112 30 Bad luck down the stretch, could improve next season

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Season 24 Power Rankings #3

As we're about to head in to the stretch run of Season 24, it's time to check in with another edition of the power rankings.  Atlanta has been simply dominant this season, and remains #1.  Houston had a better record than Atlanta since the last rankings by one game, so they move up to #2.  #3 Salt Lake City is still playing well and has momentum.  Boston comes in at #4, and Pittsburgh cracks the top 5 with a strong run since the last rankings.  It seems a few teams have broken away from the pack, but come playoff time, you never know what will happen!   Good luck to all, here are the complete rankings!

Team  W L PREV    Comments
1 Atlanta  87 35 1 Simply dominant this season, no doubt about it
2 Houston 78 44 3 Best record since last rankings, so they move up one
3 Salt Lake City 79 43 2 Numbers dropped off a tad, but still playing very well 
4 Boston  71 51 4 Pitching tailed off a bit, but they are still winning games
5 Pittsburgh  70 52 12 Major all-around improvement, they are making a run
6 Cincinnati 70 52 6 Just above .500 since last rankings, numbers are good
7 Los Angeles 65 57 15 Making a run as well, as the pitching found their groove
8 Buffalo  70 52 7 Pitching is great, but offense struggling, but are winning
9 Arizona 65 57 9 Great offense dropped off some, but they are still in it
10 Pawtucket 65 57 5 Under .500 since last rankings but they are a good team
11 Tampa Bay  60 62 26 Getting back into it after awful start with better pitching
12 San Juan 64 58 14 Numbers down some, the offense is very good though
13 Ottawa 64 58 8 Drop off all-around since last rankings, offense is solid
14 New York  66 56 17 Playing well with solid pitching, but not much offense
15 Dover 61 61 10 Tailed off a lot, as they have enter rebuild mode it appears
16 St. Louis 57 65 18 Excellent pitching, but it hasn't translated to wins yet 
17 Salem 59 63 30 They hot as of late, with numbers improved all-around
18 Colorado Springs 57 65 25 Playing well, but Salem knocked them off division lead
19 Jacksonville 59 63 13 Numbers good since last rankings, but didn't get wins
20 Austin  60 62 19 Offense dropped off since last rankings, so they fall some
21 Charlotte  59 63 16 Pitching not good enough to duplicate last season
22 Trenton 61 61 11 Rough since last rankings, pitching and hitting down
23 Durham  60 62 27 Playing well, offense is coming around and pitching is ok
24 Texas 56 66 20 Pitching got hit pretty hard since the last rankings
25 Las Vegas 54 68 22 Pitching improved, but still not generating enough offense
26 Syracuse  52 70 31 Offense kicked it up some, but pitching is still an issue
27 Louisville 49 73 24 Offense didn't get it done since last rankings, rough going
28 Florida 52 70 21 Their bats not enough to get them back to playoffs
29 Seattle  50 72 23 Pitching hasn't been there, and offense is an issue here
30 Philadelphia 42 80 32 Actually playing better, is pitching really improved here
31 Albuquerque 46 76 29 Pitching has been really bad, offense can't make up for it
32 San Francisco 44 78 28 Pitching continues to get rocked, which is surprising

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Season 24 Power Rankings #2

We're half way through the regular season in Cobbfather's Season 24, so it's time to check in with another edition of the power rankings.  At the top, Atlanta remains dominant and a clear number one, and they also managed to upgrade their pitching staff even further with a deal with Dover.  At number 2, the hottest team in the league, Salt Lake City checks in.  Ranked #15 preseason, they are showing they are better than we thought.  Houston remains #3, and Boston and a resurgent Pawtucket round out the top 5.  A lot of good teams this season, so it will be interesting to see how it all plays out the rest of the way.  Here are the complete rankings!

Team  W L PREV    Comments
1 Atlanta  59 22 1 There's no denying they are the top team, great all around
2 Salt Lake City 54 27 11 On fire, playing amazing, and we didn't see it coming 
3 Houston 49 32 3 Holding steady, pitching is better, but offense is down
4 Boston  48 33 7 Offense is a bit down this season, but pitching is better
5 Pawtucket 45 36 15 Making a surge after a slow start, they are for real 
6 Cincinnati 49 32 2 Came back down to earth a bit, but still looking solid
7 Buffalo  46 35 10 Getting the W's and pitching, but not a lot of offense
8 Ottawa 46 35 12 Numbers are down a bit, but it hasn’t affected win total
9 Arizona 43 38 5 League's top offense is rolling, but still under .500 last 41
10 Dover 44 37 4 Looks like the end of an era as their vets are on the move
11 Trenton 44 37 13 Playing well with good offense, but division is tough
12 Pittsburgh  43 38 14 Bad pitching from first quarter is gone, they are in it 
13 Jacksonville 41 40 24 Really stepped it up the last 41, numbers are up overall
14 San Juan 43 38 6 Great offense, but under .500 since last rankings
15 Los Angeles 39 42 26 They are over a bad start, and added a bat from Dover 
16 Charlotte  41 40 8 Struggled since last rankings, numbers declined overall 
17 New York  43 38 21 Pitching has improved majorly, offense is a slight concern
18 St. Louis 39 42 17 Numbers look good, but they haven't cracked .500 yet 
19 Austin  41 40 18 Pitching has improved some since the last rankings
20 Texas 38 43 19 Seems to be a bit unlucky record wise, as numbers good
21 Florida 38 43 9 Other than a sweep of Boston, struggling, but are good
22 Las Vegas 37 44 29 Major improvement all around since the last rankings 
23 Seattle  36 45 30 Dramatic improvement in pitching, so coming along here
24 Louisville 36 45 16 Pitching has been a bit of a disaster, but good offense
25 Colorado Springs 35 46 20 Atop the AL West, are better than record so far indicates
26 Tampa Bay  35 46 25 They are getting it together some after a very bad start
27 Durham  37 44 23 Pitching is up, but offense numbers low for their park 
28 San Francisco 30 51 32 Numbers are up a lot all around, so getting it together
29 Albuquerque 31 50 27 Still rebuilding, and the pitching struggling in hitters park
30 Salem 32 49 28 Pitching has been issue for them as well, offense is ok
31 Syracuse  32 49 22 Stats fell off for them all around since the last rankings
32 Philadelphia 22 59 31 Numbers are bad, but don't seem as bad as their record

Monday, July 28, 2014

Season 24 Power Rankings #1

A little late with these, my apologies!  Here's the power rankings for Season 24 through game 40.

Team  W L PREV    Comments
1 Atlanta  30 10 2 Taking back the top spot with elite play across the board
2 Cincinnati 28 12 16 New owner has the team playing their best for sure
3 Houston 24 16 4 Living up to the hype this season, offense is great
4 Dover 23 17 1 Putting up good numbers still, so can't count them out
5 Arizona 24 16 8 Offense is firing and the pitching is holding its own
6 San Juan 23 17 5 Pitching mediocre so far, but offense getting it done
7 Boston  25 15 7 Steady combination of good pitching and hitting so far
8 Charlotte  23 17 6 Playing well so far, looks like another strong season
9 Florida 23 17 11 Getting it done so far, yet numbers not quite elite yet
10 Buffalo  23 17 14 Pitching is really good, but offense a slight question mark
11 Salt Lake City 24 16 15 League's top pitching so far has them moving up quickly
12 Ottawa 24 16 22 Big jump, thanks to well balanced pitching and hitting
13 Trenton 22 18 23 Offense has been solid, pitching is just ok
14 Pittsburgh  21 19 12 Surprisingly high ERA for them, but still in contention
15 Pawtucket 18 22 3 Pitching has been roughed up early on, but they're good
16 Louisville 19 21 13 Getting a ton of offense, but giving up a lot of runs too
17 St. Louis 19 21 17 Numbers show they could make a move up later on
18 Austin  21 19 21 Better than expected start for them is a good sign
19 Texas 21 19 27 Pitching has been the key to their over .500 start
20 Colorado Springs 17 23 19 A little slump at the end, but numbers are pretty good
21 New York  20 20 25 Offense is a bit of a concern, but .500 record is good sign
22 Syracuse  20 20 26 Pitching hasn't been great, but they are decent overall
23 Durham  19 21 20 Offense is going to have to step it up to get back in it
24 Jacksonville 17 23 24 Pitching has been respectable, but not much offense yet
25 Tampa Bay  15 25 9 Rough start, but certainly capable of improving 
26 Los Angeles 15 25 10 Pitching hasn't gotten fully into gear yet, it looks like
27 Albuquerque 15 25 30 Rebuild is coming allong, the offense is pretty good
28 Salem 17 23 32 Pitching still isn't at the level to move them forward
29 Las Vegas 15 25 18 Haven't gotten much offense yet this season
30 Seattle  15 25 29 Not getting the pitching numbers you'd expect for Seattle
31 Philadelphia 10 30 31 It just hasn't come together for them quite yet
32 San Francisco 10 30 28 Pitching is surprisingly bad, and very little offense