Monday, August 31, 2009

Organizational Rankings - Burlington Huskies

1. Giovanni Shelley (Age - 19; Level - High A; Position - 1B) Shelley should be an above average defensive first baseman with a good bat. Shelley projects with good power who hits righties well and lefties very well. He has an average/above average eye, and in his first season, split between Rookie ball and Low A, he posted a .356/.449/.606/1.055 line. Grade: B+

2. Dwight Weatherford (Age - 24; Level - AAA; Position - 2B) Weatherford projects as a good major league hitter and average/below average defender. Weatherford rakes lefties, but his talent hsn't produced great results in the minors yet and he is in danger of slipping down this list. He is coming off of his best power season, but has just a .788 career minor league OPS. He has good speed, and stole 31 bases last season. Grade: B

3. Efrain Martin (Age - 21; Level - AAA; Position - C/DH) Martin projects as a very good hitting catcher at the ML level. He has a weak glove, and may not be able to stick at catcher, but he does manage the game well and has a decent arm. Martin has an elite eye, good power, and hit lefties well. He has a career .899 minor league OPS, including a .412 OBP. Grade: B

4. John McCarthy (Age - 19; Level - Low A; Position - CF) McCarthy projects as a very good defensive CF with a bat to play. He has good speed and a good eye. In his first professional season last year, McCarthy posted a .341/.438/.630/1.068 line. Grade: B-

5. Amp Harriger (Age - 19; Level - High A; Position - SP) Harriger prjoects with an elite power arm and very good control. His stuff is only mediocre and despite big-time velocity, he doesn't have a legitimate fastball. He had a good year in Rookie ball and is off to a good start in High A this season, giving up 1 ER in 14 IP to this point. Grade: B-

6. Victor Sanchez (Age - 21; Level - AAA; Position - 3B) Sanchez projects as an average/above average defensive third baseman who will struggle against lefties and hit against righties. Sanchez has elite speed and is a decent contact hitter. He is the prototype PR/platoon player. Grade: C+

7. Louie James (Age - 23; Level - AA; Position - RF) James projects as a good contact hitter and below average defender. James hits lefties slightly better than righties, but hits both at an average/above average clip, and has good speed. He projects as a 4th OF/PR. Grade: C-

8. Harry Dorsey (Age - 21; Level - AA; Position - LF) Dorsey projects with medium power, an average eye, and should be an average defender in LF. He is coming off of a big year in High A where he hit 27 HRs with 120 RBIs and had a .267/.352/.477/.829 line. Grade: C-

9. Bob Cintron (Age - 22; Level - High A; Position - Swing starter/RP) Cintron lacks the stamina to make him a full-time starter, but could be available for five innings as a spot starter. He lacks good control, and his stuff is below average, but he seems to get outs and keeps the ball down well. Grade: D+

10. Luis Torres (Age - 24; Level - AA; Position - SP) Torres has a mediocre stuff and is a control pitcher. He does have very good control, and is coming off of his best season (3.96 ERA/1.39 WHIP). At best, he projects as a back end starter/LR. Grade: D+

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Organizational Rankings - Boston Massacre

1. Willie Seay (Age - 23; Level - AA; Position - SS) Seay projects as a very good ML SS with good defense and an above average bat. He absolutely rakes LHP, has a good eye, and above average power. He has a massive career minor league OPS of 1.191 and hit 46 HRs with 143 RBIs in Low A last season. Seay could very easily be one of the best all-around SSs in baseball by his prime. Grade: A-

2. Frank Fasano (Age - 23; Level - AAA; Position - SS) Fasano is almost a clone of Willie Seay, but is a slightly worse hitter. He is arm isn't as strong, but is slightly more accurate, and should be slightly better against righties. Seay has a huge advantage facing lefties, though, and has a better eye. Overall, these players should both be very good, but it's likely one of them will be traded, especially with the other MI depth in Boston's system. Grade: B+

3. Danys Osoria (Age - 22; Level - AAA; Position - RF) Osoria is the third of three very good position prospects in Boston's system. Osoria has average/below average power, but hits righties well and has a good eye. He has a career minor league .998 OPS and .432 OBP. He projects as a guy who will get on base well, and if he can sustain the gap power he has shown in the minors, he could be a very good ML RF. Grade: B+

4. Dave Munson (Age - 23; Level - High A; Position - SP) The first round pick from Season 5 was fast-tracked past Low A this season after going 11-0 with a 2.41 ERA in Rookie ball last season. Munson projects with good control and should be very difficult on righties, even though his best pitch, a splitter, in merely average. Grade: B

5. Ray Sweeney (Age - 23; Level - AAA; Position - CF) Sweeney gets the nod in this spot because of his ability to play CF and hit at an above average level. The former second round pick is coming off of a AAA Silver Slugger/All-Star appearance (.324/.401/.470). He hits for contact with below average power, but he hits both righties and lefties well, and has elite range in CF, despite only an average glove. He has plus speed, although he isn't a particularly great basestealer. Grade: B

6. Bronson Collier (Age - 22; Level - AAA; Position - DH) Collier is a big-time hitter who simply can't field. Collier's value really depends on if he stays in the AL, because he simply isn't good enough to be hidden anywhere. He does have a 1.063 career minor league OPS with back-to-back 27 HR seasons, and sported an absolutely ridiculous .481 OBP as a 21-year old in AA last season. Grade: B

7. Josh Dale (Age - 25; Level - Majors; Position - Util) Dale is the only player on this list in the Majors. He has a plus glove with good range, but is really only a mediocre hitter. Combined with his fielding, he should have enough power to justify a starting spot at some point, and he does have an average/above average eye. Dale's biggest tool is his verasility, as he can play essentially anywhere in the field, including catcher in a pinch. He didn't hit particularly well in a call up last season, but did display some nice power. He has a career .973 minor league OPS. Dale is also blazing fast, and can steal a ton of bases. Grade: B

8. Sean Osbourne (Age - 21; Level - AA; Position - SP) Osbourne projects as a good control pitcher with a good fastball and average/below average slider. He should keep the ball on the ground very well, and was moderately successful (4.30 ERA) as a 20-year old in AA. Grade: B-

9. Kane Hemphill (Age - 19; Level - Low A; Position - RP) Hemphill projects as a very good reliever with good control, a big arm, and a devastating fastball. He is nasty against hitters from both sides of the plate and posted a 2.03 ERA in 40+ IP last season in Rookie ball. Grade: B-

10. Kevin Hodges (Age - 19; Level - Low A; Position - 3B) Hodges projects as a big-time power hitter. The fifth round pick from last season has a career OPS of 1.192 and has a glove that is good enough to play at 3B, albeit below average. Grade: C+

Organizational Rankings - Atlanta Expos

1. Dan Waltman (Age - 22; Level - Majors; Position - LF) Simply put, Dan Waltman is a hitter. Waltman sports a career OPS of 1.104 and has 3 XBHs in his first 21 ML ABs. Waltman may struggle against LHP, but should be good against righties, and has major pop. He has a good eye and plus speed and could potentially be a 30/30 guy at the ML-level. Grade: B+

2. Junior Ibarra (Age - 24; Level - AAA; Position - 1B) Ibarra's glove may not play well enough at 1B and he may end up as a DH, but the kid can rake. Ibarra has huge power, hits both righties and lefties, and has an elite eye. Despite being Jose Molina-slow, he has posted a career .997 OPS and should be a legitimate ML hitter. Grade: B

3. Rafael Campos (Age - 21; Level - High A; Position - RP) Campos is the best pitcher in a depleted system. Atlanta has a ton of young ML talent on the mound and has traded away most of its depth, but Campos remains a high potential reliever. Despite lacking a big arm, Campos projects elite control and should be above average against hitters from both sides. He sports a good four-seamer and an average slider and had a 2.51 ERA splitting time between Rookie ball and Low A in his inaugural professional season. Grade: B-

4. Eugene Blanton (Age - 25; Level - AA; Position - RF) Blanton has taken awhile to get through the minors, but he projects as a future fourth OF. He has ML power and decent pitch selectivity. He has a career 1.015 minor league OPS and hit 35 HRs in AA last season. Grade: C+

5. Kordell Carroll (Age - 23; Level - AAA; Position - SS) Carroll's glove is good enough to play SS at the ML level and should carry an average/below average bat. Carroll has a below average ML eye and power, but so far has an .898 minor league OPS. He took a leap this year from Low A to AAA, however, so this year is important for determining his ML potential. Grade: C

6. Jimmy Morton (Age - 23; Level - AA; Position - SP) Morton is the highest potential SP prospect in the Braves' system. Morton a good fastball and changeup, and a power arm. He lacks top-tier control and has a tendency to allow HRs. Grade: C-

7. Stone Grimsley (Age - 22; Level - AA; Position - CF) Despite lacking big speed, Grimsely has the glove and range to play CF at the ML level. He has a below average eye and power, but projects as decent contact hitter and should hit righties at an above average clip. He has struggled in his first five games at AA, but still sports a career .327/.398/.509/.907 line. Grade: C-

8. Peter Eckstein (Age - 23; Level - AA; Position - 1B) Eckstein projects as a backup 1B with decent power who could be a good PH option. He has a decent eye but projects as a poor fielder. He has a career .990 minor league OPS and hit 28 HRs last season in High A. Grade: C-

9. Bono Valdes (Age - 22; Level - Low A; Position - SP) Valdes projects as a good power/control arm with well below average stuff. He has no pitches that stand out, and it's really just his control and power that put him on this list. Grade: D

10. Giomar Bonilla (Age - 22; Level - AA; Position - SP) Bonilla has marginal control, below average velocity and stuff, but sports a decent curveball and keeps the ball down well. He pitched well in High A last season before being promoted and might be a long relief option in the Majors at some point. Grade: D

Friday, August 28, 2009

First Regular Season Game in Boise is a sell out

Hello everyone! This is I.P. Daily reporting from Boise,Idaho where history is set to be made. I have confirmed that today's afternoon game match up between Detroit and Boise is officially a sell out. The fans are already lining up to the the first game in Boise for this franchise. The Boise players are all ready signing autographs on the field as we speak. Ronnie Bannister has signed 100 balls and is throwing them into the stands. The mascot, "Barney the Bed Wetter" is shooting T-shirts from a cannon into the crowd. Ed Morris is posing for pictures at home plate. Daniel Russell is on the field running bases with some of the kids from the orphanage here in Boise. It looks to be a great day, and the crowd is anticipating a good start to the season for the Bed Wetters. Of course our sponsor for today's giving out a box of garments to everyone passing through the gate. With the crowd excited and pumped up, you may not see a dry eye in the house. Of course with Depends giving out the "diaper garments " to all who pass through the gate, at least all seats will remain dry :) Well this is I.P Daily reporting live from Boise. Have a great day everyone!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Game Zero: The Warm-up

The big talk of the offseason has been of a growing rivalry between the Florida Shark Waves and the New York Pride of the Yankees, the past two WS champions. The battle for AL supremacy likely must go through one of these teams.

The Bet: Florida’s head coach, rawdk, made a bold prediction during this offseason, stating that Florida would finish at least 10 games better than New York. NY’s talkative head coach, domiisgod, fired back, issuing a challenge with a gift card on the line. The talk amongst head coaches has led to bad blood between the players, with Al Martinez, NY’s fantastic young catcher stating that “those Florida p*ssies better stop talking sh*t or they might not be standing at the end of our first game.” Florida’s players have remained publicly silent in the wake of Martinez’ comments, but inside sources claim that newly-acquired Kordell Menechino has taken the comments personally and will have no problem head-hunting if need be.

I will be providing coverage of the head-to-head matchups between these teams throughout the year and will be periodically checking in on the bet.

The game was quiet until the top of the fifth inning, with only four hits through the first four, and only one player reaching second base. Hideki Lim started off the top of the fifth by smoking a line drive to right off of Florida’s brightest young pitching prospect, Harry Mieses. After a Ronn Boyd fly out, Mieses walked Eli Candeleria, and Sting Bailey flew out, Jeremi Riggs stroked a double over the head of CF Felipe Candeleria (no relation) that scored both runners.

Florida answered right back in the bottom of the fifth on a Zach Charles single off of Juan Martin that plated Luis Martin (again no relation – maybe HBD should get more names) to cut the score to 2-1.

Florida would get no closer as relievers Bronson Jeffries and Will Daneker combined to allow four hits in four scoreless innings of work. Hideki Lim stretched the lead by himself with two solo homeruns, one in the seventh and one in the ninth, to make the final score 4-1 New York.

Following the game, Menechino, Florida’s starter, answered 13 straight questions with the answer, “whatever, it’s spring training,” before finally walking away from the podium.

National League West

Sacramento breezed through the playoffs last season, until the World Series. I see them repeating as division champs, with little fight in the end. They will be determined to make amends for last season's falter. Sacramento traded Terrero to the N.Y. Pride of the Yankees. Terrero was the reason Sacramento did not win the series. If he had done his job, Felix would have shut the door on the series. For this reason Terrero was sent packing this off season. In return Sacramento got IF/OF Harmon in the deal. With the addition of Fitzgerald in the rotation, Sacramento should be OK. The lost Leon, who was 18-7 last season, may hurt them some. They also added extreme power hitting C Rios. I see Sacramento winning the division fairly easy this year.

Honolulu did little to close the gap between them and Sacramento this season. They will rely on last season's team again, thus getting the same results. They have quite a few young ML players on the roster this year. Some of them got some good experience last season, and it will show this year. I see them finishing 2nd again this season.

Cheyenne Signed 2 Ml pitchers in the off season . First they signed Neal, and they also signed Neugebauer. Neither of these 2 will show alot in the standings. Cheyenne has a long way to go to compete in this division. The future will tell how long the franchise can handle the way it is going. The franchise has alot of ML players on the roster.... we can see them winning more this year...about 70 games..

Los Angeles L.A. also has some young talent on their ML roster. The experience they got last season, should propel them to 3rd place this year. It will still be a tough and long division for them as well. They got power hitting C/DH Kirkland in the off season, as well as OF Reid Walton. 2 players that will help them offensively in the quest for 3rd place, but they will fall short this year again.

Here are the predictions:

Sacramento 96-66
Honolulu 81-81
Cheyenne 70-92
Los Angeles 66-96

National League South

I think the National League South will end up as a 2 team race. Jackson and Memphis will battle to the end. Jackson was the division winner last season, with Memphis making it in the wild card slot. The injury to Pinky in the playoffs hurt Memphis's chance for a Cinderella run. This year they added SP Elvis Leon to their rotation. Leon was 1807 with runner-up Sacramento last season. I think he will hold the key to Memphis's chance to upend Jackson this season. Jackson re-signed Romero(RP) in the off season. With this being the only major move for them, I believe Memphis will be a lot closer this season. Jackson's starters had a great season last season, and I find it hard for them to repeat the feat they had...

San Juan got a couple ML players in separate deals this off season. The got Duran from Boise, and Munoz from Atlanta. They will battle for a bit in the beginning, but eventually falling off pace after the all star break. They will finish 3rd, just ahead of Charleston.

Charleston made the most moves in the division this off season. They got star closer Bonds from Boise, along with spot starter, long relief Mays. Mays is a very fine pitcher, and Bonds should be solid in the pen for them. They also signed a few starter for the ML roster. I would not call any of the starters fancy, but I believe they will eat up some innings for them. They also signed Carey(3B), Gibson (SS), Walker (RP) and Matos (RP) as well. They should make an improvement, but little enough to make them finish out of last place.

Here are the predictions:

Memphis 91-71
Jackson 89-73
San Juan 80-82
Charleston 74-88

National League East

The National League East is going to be a pretty close division all season. New York should win the division again. Dover should finish second, with Cincinnati and Buffalo battling for 3rd. New York Signed Coco to solidify their CF position. They also re-signed D.T. Hamilton to a nice rich contract. They did enough to hold the top spot though.

Dover also had a pretty active off season. First of all they acquired Baez, Suh, and Haas in the Dan Carter deal with Rochester. They also acquired power hitting 1B Lee from Florida. They acquired 3 other prospects in trades, as well as getting RP Stargell and C Peterson in trades as well. They did enough to secure 2ND place, and possibly inch closer to the division leader. Dover also got rid of that huge contract from Osborne, thus freeing them up to make more moves in the future.

Cincinnati made a deal to get 2 future prospects from Boise, in exchange for power hitter Simmons and RP Bonds. They also signed a couple of ML players to deal Concepcion was a great bargain for them. I see them battling for 3rd with Buffalo to the very end.

Buffalo did little to make them come closer to the Prime timers. They will battle Cincinnati for 3rd this season. They should make this division a close race til the end. Along with Cincinnati, Buffalo is only a few moves away from contending.
Here are the predictions:

New York 91-71
Dover 84-78
Cincinnati 78-84
Buffalo 77-85

National League North

Next up is the National League North Division. Well Rochester has dominated the division in the past season, and this year will be no different. Rochester made a few trades this off season. They gave up Tony Suh (C) , Franciso Baez OF, J.R. Haas IF/OF, Hideo Kwon IF/OF, Joey Gilkey P. In exchange they got 2 studs...Bill Everhart and Dan Carter. They also got Barry Carew(P) and journeyman Nick Burnett. Rochester made their line-up even that much more potent with the additions of Dan Carter and Bill Everhart. There is no doubt they will dominate their division, the only question is : How much will they win it by?

Ottawa did little to widen the gap between Rochester and the rest of the division. They did acquire a couple bullpen arms from Boise. I see no difference in this season than last for Ottawa. They are in for another long, frustrating year in the N.L. North.

Wichita is in the same boat as Ottawa this season. They did little to help that in the off season. I think they will finish ahead of Ottawa, but way behind Rochester in the division. They as well will be in for a long season this year.

Syracuse did the most in the off season to try and compete with Rochester. They did manage to sign 6 Free Agents, 2 of them pitchers. They signed Lorraine,James,Deleon, and Durbin to help their ML roster. They also signed starter Velendia and reliever Tamura to help the out in the pitching department. As a reward, they will probably come finish second in the division. Here are the predictions

Rochester 106-56
Syracuse 68-94
Wichita 61-101
Ottawa 54-108

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Organizational Rankings - AL North Recap

Top Positional Prospect: Tommy Jordan, Detroit
Top Pitcher Prospect: Harry Silva, Detroit
Top Reliever: Thumper Carpenter, Detroit
Top Prospect 20 or under: Endy Donatello, New York
Top Organizational Depth: Detroit

Organizational Rankings - New York Pride of the Yankees

1. Endy Donatello (Age - 20; Level - AA; Position - C) Although Donatello may have trouble sticking behind the plate, he projects as a very good ML hitter. He projects as a big-time power hitter with an above average eye and is dangerous against both righties and lefties. Donatello has a 1.068 OPS through his first two professional seasons with a monstrous .453 OBP. Even as a great hitter, though, he may end up as a DH, lowering his value. Grade: B+

2. Herm Trammell (Age - 22; Level - AA; Position - SP) Trammel projects as a good ML starter. He has very good control and is tough on hitters from both sides, especially lefties. He has a plus knucklecurve but lacks other top-end pitches and has below average velocity. Trammell has struggled the past two seasons at High A, but projects well and has gotten much better over the past season. Grade: B

3. Enrique Pulido (Age - 21; Level - AAA; Position - RP) Pulido projects as a very good reliever with elite control. He lacks big velocity and top-end stuff, but projects difficult on hitters from both sides, especially righties, and keeps the ball down well. He has been dominant in his first three professional seasons (2.39 ERA; 1.14 WHIP). Grade: B

4. Hugh Humphries (Age - 23; Level - AAA; Position - SP) Prior to struggling last season, Humphries had been dominant in the minors. He has below average control, but great velocity and is tough on lefties. He has mediocre stuff, but his fastball and knucklecurve should be passable. If he can keep the walks down, he could be an extremely effective starter. Grade: B-

5. Lon Ardoin (Age - 22; Level - AA; Position - 3B) Ardoin projects as an above average hitter and average defender. He should hit righties well amd has a decent arm from 3B. He has posted an .867 career minor league OPS. Grade: B-

6. Alex Chen (Age - 24; Level - AAA; Position - 2B) The former second rounder sports a career .870 OPS while hitting .306. Chen projects as a league average hitter and above average defender. He should have a slight advantage against lefties and decent gap power. Grade: C+

7. J.R. Witte (Age - 20; Level - AA; Position - RP) Witte projects as a closer with elite control and below average velocity. He's built from the same mold as Enrique Pulido, but just lacks the ability to get outs the way that Pulido can. He projects to have three usable pitches, including a very good fastball, and keeps the ball down for the most part. Witte has been dominant in his first two seasons allowing just a .231 BAA and sporting a flashy 1,84 ERA. Grade: C+

8. Charley Bryant (Age - 24; Level - AAA; Position - RP) Bryant is another in a long list of New York reliever prospects. He projects as good against hitters from both sides of the plate, and has good stuff. He lacks elite control, but it should be passable, and has below average velocity. This will be Bryant's fifth year in AAA, but he has been good the past two, and should be due for a callup soon. Grade: C

9. Ike Seay (Age - 21; Level - High A; Position - SP) Seay, a second round pick in last season's draft, had a 3.66 ERA in his only three starts in Low A last season after signing. Seay projects with marginal stuff, his best pitch an above average fastball, good control, and elite velocity. Grade: C-

10. Lariel Diaz (Age - 20; Level - AA; Position - 2B) Diaz projects as a slightly below average hitter and average defender. He's probably a platoon player who faces lefties, but he could potentially be an everyday player when he's hot. He will need to get on base a lot to counteract what will be a low SLG, and he doesn't have a great eye. Grade: D+

Monday, August 24, 2009

Organizational Rankings - Detroit Dirt Dogs

1. Tommy Jordan (Age - 24; Level - Majors; Position - 2B) Tommy Jordan makes a big leap from Low A to the Majors this season after dominating the past two seasons (career 1.072 OPS with a staggering .474 OBP and 40% extra base hit percentage). Jordan can multiple positions but has been primarily a 2B with Detroit and projects as an average/below average defender. Jordan has a tremendous eye and is a fantastic baserunner with marginal speed. Despite Jordan's age, this is a big leap for him, but he projects as a fantastic hitter. Grade: A-

2. Harry Silva (Age - 23; Level - Majors; Position - SP) Silva makes the leap to the Majors after a rough season in AAA last year. Despite that, he was young for the level and had a 2.63 ERA in 14 AA starts prior to being promoted. He projects with very good control, has a big arm, and a very good fastball and curveball. Grade: B+

3. Denny Martin (Age - 23; Level - Majors; Position - C) Martin performed well at age 22 after being called up to the Majors part of the way through last season. The concern is that he doesn't have a solid enough glove to stay at catcher, where he has had 18 passed balls last year. If he is forced into a DH role, he will be much less valuable. As a hitter, Martin has a tremendous eye and has the potential to be one of the best hitting catchers in the league, if not the best - he has a career .977 minor league OPS. Grade: B+

4. Thumper Carpenter (Age - 23; Level - Majors; Position - RP) Carpenter is the best late-inning reliever in a deep system full of them. Carpenter has elite control, great velocity, a dominating fastball, and a very good slider. He is incredibly tough on RHBs and still extremely nasty on lefties. Carpenter has dominated the past two seasons (2.80 ERA/1.07 WHIP over that time). Grade: B+

5. R.J. Johnson (Age - 22; Level - AA; Position - SP/RP) Johnson is difficult to project because he could be a very versatile swing starter/long reliever or a closer the way that Detroit has used him. He lacks starter stamina, but projects with elite control and velocity and a plus fastball and slider. He has given up a few too many hits so far in his young career, but his great control has allowed him to keep a low ERA (2.92). Grade: B

6. Ted Whitaker (Age - 19; Level - High A; Position - SP/RP) Whitaker has the exact same problem as R.J. Johnson. His stamina is lacking and he, like Johnson, is only this high because of his ability to start, even if only for 5/6 innings at most. Whitaker has below average control, but is tough on both LHs and RHs, and keeps the ball on the ground well. He has a plus fastball and changeup which helped him hold hitters to a .238 BAA and a 3.30 ERA. Grade: B-

7. R.A. Gonzales (Age - 20; Level - High A; Position - SP) Gonzales struggled in Low A in his first season, but he projects with good control and is tough on hitters from both sides. He has marginal stuff, but keeps the ball down well, and with his control, he should be a back-end starter. Grade: B-

8. Elmer Jefferies (Age - 24; Level - High A; Position - SP) Jeffries has a plus fastball and changeup, but he lacks good control. He projects average/above average against righties and lefties and even though he was old for Low A last season, he sported a 2.89 ERA in 20 starts (12-1). Grade: C+

9. Jacob Itou (Age - 20; Level - High A; Position - RP) Itou projects with great control and elite velocity. He has a devastating slider and very good fastball. He is very tough on lefties and struggles somewhat with righties, which led to a small struggle in Low A last season. Grade: C+

10. Brook Pierre (Age - 24; Level - High A; Position - 1B) Pierre projects with elite power and a good eye. He is average at handling the bat against both LHPs and RHPs and is below average in the field. Pierre is old for his level, but put up big numbers in his first two seasons (.900 OPS). Grade: C

Organizational Rankings - Chicago Hitmen

1. Benji Martinez (Age - 19; Level - Low A; Position - SS) Last season's 18th pick looks like he has all of the tools to be a good Major League SS. He should be an average/above average defender up the middle and a consistent hitter. He hit 20 HRs in 58 games in rookie ball last season and while putting up a monstrous 1.286 OPS. Martinez backs his above average bat with good speed and a good eye. Grade: B

2. Mandy Vander Wal (Age - 23; Level - Low A; Position - C) For now, Vander Wal will remain as the Hitmen's number 2 prospect, however that is contingent on his quick ascent and ability to play catcher. Vander Wal projects big-time pop at the catcher spot, but his glove looks weak and he may not be able to stay at catcher. A supplemental pick in the Season 5 draft, Vander Wal hit 20 HRs in 74 games last season, but is old for his level. He could quickly slip on this list. Grade: B-

3. Christian O'Connor (Age - 22; Level - AAA; Position - 3B) O'Connor projects as a good hitter and average/below average defender. O'Connor's biggest attributes is are eye and speed, which project as elite, and will allow him to get on base and score runs even when he isn't hitting. Grade: B-

4. Bob Halter (Age - 22; Level - AA; Position - SP) Halter doesn't have great stuff, but has good peripherals. He has decent command and good velocity, and will be tough on RHs. He keeps the ball down well, evidenced by 27 HRs in over 280 minor league innings. Halter struggled the second half of last season after posting good first half numbers, but has decent career numbers. Grade: C+

5. Vic Park (Age - 21; Level - AA; Position - SP) The former first rounder struggled last season in High A, but still projects well enough at age 21 to land him at number 5. Park has below average control and will struggle against lefties, but should have good splits against RHs and has a power arm. He has a good cut fastball and keeps the ball on the gronud very well, only allowing 38 HRs in 340 innings. Grade: C

6. Fausto Hernandez (Age - 23; Level - AA; Position - LF) Hernandez sports a .994 career minor league OPS and has 63 HRs and 258 RBIs over the past two seasons. He projects as a mediocre defender and hitter at the Major League level. Grade: C

7. Vic Martinez (Age - 23; Level - AAA; Position - DH/1B) Martinez projects as a better hitter than Fausto Hernandez, but will likely be relegated to DH. He has a .950 career minor league OPS and had a monster year in AA last year as a 22-year old (204 hits/30 HRs/103 RBIs). Grade: C

8. Russell Pettitte (Age - 25; Level - Majors; Position - 3B) Pettitte finished last season in the Majors and hit for some power in his limited time. Pettitte is a pure power hitter who likely projects as a platoon player. Grade: C-

9. Jackson McNamara (Age - 21; Level - AA; Position - LF) McNamara sees both LHs and RHs slightly above average and has slightly above average power. He's projects as a below average defender and will probably never be more than a backup infielder. Grade: D+

10. Gorkys Lira (Age - 20; Level - AA; Position - Closer) Another former first round pitcher for Chicago who doesn't seem to be good enough to warrant that pick. Lira has good command and velocity and mixes in a good fastball and curveball. He is marginally tough on lefties and does a decent job of keeping the ball down. He struggled mightily in High A last season, and will have to get much better to be anything better than a mopup reliever in the Majors. Grade: D+

American League West

We are now down to the American League West division. Last year Vancouver had to hold off San Francisco to win the division. San Francisco than made it to the LCS, where they were beaten by New York 4 games to 3. San Francisco did a great job last year, but I do not think they will repeat their feet. They did little to try and over take Vancouver. They did make a couple small trade, but nothing to push them closer to Vancouver.

Vancouver on the other hand nabbed 2 starters, and a solid reliever in the trade market this off season. They re-signed Solano to a 1 year deal..They got Lopez for more bullpen help, and they also got Payne to help supply some innings. I do think they pulled a little further ahead in the division.

Kansas City. Kansas City is going to be the top dog in this division in 2 to 3 seasons. They have excellent talent in the minors, and they are developing like rabbit babies on a summer night. They did manage to get A bulldog of a pitcher in Sarma Flores from Boise...Sarma is a workhorse who will eat innings, like like Jarod eats Subway. They also got a huge power hitter in Simmons in the same deal. They did lose stud closer Estrella, but with the prospects they have down there, it is like losing 1 star in a star filled sky. It just won't matter.

Oakland....Oakland will be the punching bags of the division. This season they will finish last. With the emergence of Kansas City a year or 2 away, Oaklnd is in deep doo-doo. They did manage to get a few prospects, and a decent pitcher off the trade wire this off season.. With this division shaping up the way it is, Oakland is about 2 steps behind ....and getting further away. Here are the predictions

Vancouver 95-67
San Fran. 84-78
Kansas City 70-92
Oakland 57-105

Aftermath of a Megatrade

Gunther McFadden - Cobbfather Post Gazette

The Post Gazette will be examining some past trades in depth to see how they look several seasons later. This particular trade (Pepper Boyer/Bill Everhart for Pinky Matheson, Raul Chavez, and Brian Choi) was made at the beginning of season one, when teams were in a massive state of flux and players were flying everywhere. This one is of particular note as the four principal parts of the deal are all All-Star players, and they have all been traded multiple times, making this trade one that has affected more teams in Cobbfather than virtually any other trade. Below is a look at the original trade, and the subsequent chain of trades that followed. At the end of the article will be equations and final grades and analysis for the two principle parties, the Sacramento Fighting Cornish Hens, and the now Syracuse Sycophants.

Season 1

The Original Deal, Season 1:

Sacramento Fighting Cornish Hens (FW_Kekionga)trade: SP Pepper Boyer and RF prospect Bill Everhart
Madison Mucho (etp2021) trade: SP Pinky Matheson, CF Raul Chavez, and 3B prospect Brian Choi
Analysis: Sacramento traded a SP in Pepper Boyer with virtually the same skills as Pinky Matheson. Since the trade both pitchers have been All Stars and spent time on the 60 day DL. The Hens also got back a starting with great hitting skills in Raul Chavez, who was and All Star and Silver Slugger for them. Brian Choi was an average 3B and a throw in player. Bill Everhart was a monster hitting prospect at the time and is currently one of the premier sluggers in the major leagues, albeit not with the former Madison franchise.
Edge: Even

Season 1, Deal #2
Madison Mucho (etp2021) trade: RF Bill Everhart
Mexico City Gringos (pieo) trade: RF Vernon Aaron, RF Robert Jordan, P Mark Dunham
Analysis: This was one of two trades that set off a firestorm in the league and ultimately led to a flame war not seen since on the chat boards and the exodus of many owners from the league. In the trade Madison sent tremendously gifted RF Everhart to M.C. for a decent RF prospect in Aaron, and two marginal players in Jordan and Dunham. Currently only Aaron is playing on a ML squad of the players sent to Madison in the trade. In conjunction with the next trade involving Pepper Boyer, this trade was one of the most inflammatory deals ever made in the history of the league.
Edge: Mexico City

Season 1, Deal #3
Madison Mucho (etp2021) trade: SP Pepper Boyer
Mexico City Gringos (pieo) trade: SP Chris Collins, LF Elmer Lemon, RP Walt Palmer
Analysis: The Gringos got future ace Boyer for a slightly lesser SP prospect in Collins, and two scrubs in Lemon and Palmer, who are both now retired from the league. Collins has gone on to produce capable but not spectacular numbers in the majors. In conjunction with the Everhart trade this deal looked like possible case of collusion as two megastar prospects were traded for clearly lesser value. As has been previously mentioned these two trades were quite controversial, as things ramped up to nuclear level once etp2021 went on a tantrum rampage and quit the league, leaving his unassigned players to be claimed by mulitple teams, including Collins going to the now Detroit Dirt Dogs franchise.
Edge: Mexico City

Season 2

Season 2, Deal #1
Sacramento Fighting Cornish Hens (FW_Kekionga) trade: SP Pinky Matheson and 1B Oscar Webster
Fargo Rat Bastids (mrploppie) trade: SS Moises Terrero and 1b/DH Dude Stull
Analysis: The Hens received in return for Matheson and slugging 1B Webster MVP SS Terrero, who went on to win another MVP and two All Star appearances with Sacramento. Dude Stull would play only briefly on the Sacramento ML team before he would be dealt in season 5. For Fargo Matheson would never pitch in a game, as he would soon be dealt elsewhere. Webster would be a regular power producer for Fargo averaging 40 HR/100RBI for 3 seasons before he would be traded again.
Edge: Even

Season 2, Deal #2
Fargo Rat Bastids (mrploppie) trade: SP Pinky Matheson and 1b A.J. Jensen
Augusta Angry Armadillos (phillyfan33) trade: 2b Nick Valentine and SP Darrell Wright
Analysis: Fargo quickly shipped out Matheson for 2 very talented prospects in Valentine and Wright. Wright would go on to post average pitching numbers for Fargo, and Valentine would be shown the Matheson treatment and be shipped out before having a chance to unpack. Matheson would post his best years to date with Augusta before he would be traded, and Jensen didn't do much before he would be traded again.
Edge: Augusta

Season 2, Deal #3
Fargo Rat Bastids (mrploppie) trade: 2B Nick Valentine and RF Felipe Rodriguez
Sioux Falls Great Danes (The__Kid) trade: 2B Jeffery Bates and SP Chris Collins
Analysis: Yes, you read that correctly, the same Chris Collins who was part of the Everhart trade was now part of the aftermath of the Matheson trade. Of the new people in this deal Valentine would have a very nice season 2 for SXF, while the other principle players would have average to forgettable years.
Edge: Sioux Falls
Season 2, Deal #4
Sioux Falls Great Danes Trade: SP Albie Torres, RF Felipe Rodriguez, and RF Wallace Roth
Augusta Angry Armadillos trade: 2B D.T. Hamilton
Analysis: The Danes traded future all star SP Torres, along with Rodriguez and capable RF Roth for all star 2B Hamilton. Hamilton put up massive numbers during his stay in SXF, while Torres was impressive in Augusta and the OF's in the deal put up decent numbers.
Edge: Even

Season 3

Season 3, Deal #1
Sioux Falls Great Danes (The__Kid) trade: 2B Nick Valentine
Mexico City Gringos (pieo) trade: SS Emilio James
Analysis: This was a pretty straight up trade for a slightly better defender in James for a slightly better hitter in Valentine. But after this deal Valentine started to post some not so nice hitting numbers whereas James has been pretty good at the plate and in the field.
Edge: Sioux Falls

Season 3, Deal #2
Philadelphia Plopping Penguins trade: SP Albie Torres and RF Felipe Rodriguez
Florida Shark Waves trade: SP Francis Munoz
Analysis: The Penguins made an attempt to buff up their pitching by trading for the Cy Young winner Munoz. Unfortunately Munoz pitched like a bum, and Torres put up numbers that were expected of Munoz in Florida. Rodriguez also had his best career year in season 3 for FLA.
Edge: Florida

Season 3, Deal #3
Rochester Rolling Rocks (yanks21) trade: 1B Albert Crespo and SP Jerrod Shipley
Mexico City Gringos (pieo) trade: SP Pepper Boyer
Analysis: The Rolling Rocks acquired Boyer for slugging 1B Crespo and talented but not quite as talented as Boyer SP Shipley. Boyer went on to look like a shoo in for the Cy Young before his season 3 was cut short by a major injury, and has since went on to be a dominant SP. Crespo has put up good power numbers for his career, and Shipley is just now coming into is own so the jury is out on him.
Edge: Even

Season 3, Deal #4
Sioux Falls Great Danes trade: 2b D.T. Hamilton
Philadelphia Plopping Penguins trade: RF Wallace Roth, RP Felix Tamura, and 1B David Aramboles
Analysis: Hamilton and Roth are back for more trades, with the new additions this time being Tamura and Aramboles. Tamura has been unremarkable for his career, and Aramboles has been a bench player. Hamilton has been very good throughout his career.
Edge: Philadelphia

Season 3, Deal #5
Sacramento Fighting Cornish Hens trade: SP Darrin DeHaan, 3B Brian Choi, SS Jose Jiminez
Kansas City Tweakers (dirtyhill03) trade: SP Peter Tyson
Analysis: The Hens got back Tyson to be a long relief and spot starter for their playoff run, while the Tweakers got back DeHaan as a temporary ML replacement for Tyson, and two prospects. Choi has hit for respectable average in the majors but has been otherwise unremarkable, and Jiminez is still in the minor leagues. Tyson and DeHaan are now both retired.
Edge: Kansas City

Season 4

Season 4, Deal #1
St. Louis Silver Sluggers (phillyfan33) trade: 2B D.T. Hamilton
New York Primetimers (Primetime17) trade: SP Stephen Harding and CF Wes Vina
Analysis: The Primetimers acquired an all star 2b, and gave up a good but not great SP prospect, and a good defensive CF with some skill at the plate. Currently Harding is just starting to come into his own in the bigs, while Vina has been a quality backup for most of his ML career.
Edge: New York

Season 4, Deal #2
Florida Shark Waves (rawdk27) trade: RF Paxton McDonald, 3B Peaches Hernandez, and SP Andres Cruz
Sacramento Fighting Cornish Hens (FW_Kekionga) trade: CF Raul Chavez and RP Kevin Kingland
Analysis: Florida acquired an all star CF in Chavez, and an elite closer prospect in Kingland. In return they gave up a good SP with low stamina in Cruz, and two very talented but injury risk prospects in McDonald and Hernandez. Since the trade, Chavez has put together two pretty nice seasons, and Kingland is just now entering the majors. For Sacramento McDonald was an All Star and Silver Slugger in season 5, Cruz was traded away, and Hernandez is still in the minors. Edge: Even

Season 4, Deal #3
Rochester Rolling Rocks (yanks21 trade: 2B Nick Valentine and SP Ezdra Lee
Memphis Mayhem (wallygator) trade: SP Raul Escobar
Analysis: Nick Valentine finally reached his last team to date with this trade, and has put together a couple of seasons below what you would expect from a player of his talent leve. Lee is still in the minors for Memphis at this time. For Rochester, Escobar has put together a couple of nice seasons, including an All Star appearance in season 5.
Edge: Rochester

Season 4, Deal #4
St. Louis Silver Sluggers trade: SP Pinky Matheson and OF Chuck Tremie
Memphis Mayhem trade: SP Sarma Flores, CF Achilles Sanford, and RF Talmadge Malone
Analysis: The Mayhem got the elite SP Matheson, who has been very productive for them when he has been able to pitch. Tremie has been an afterthought and has failed to hold a spot on the ML team. For St. Louis they got back a decent SP in Flores, a CF who has since turned into a salary dump, and a very nice RF prospect in Malone.
Edge: Even

Season 5

Season 5, Deal #1
St. Louis Silver Sluggers trade: RP Donne Forbes
Sacramento Fighting Cornish Hens trade: 1B/DH Dude Stull
Analysis: The Hens traded a solid hitting 1B to St. Louis for an RP prospect who is very good against lefties. Forbes is still in the minors, and Stull has been traded since from St. Louis.
Edge: Even

Season 5, Deal #2
Florida Shark Waves trade: CF Pedro Jacquez, DH Ned Sheldon, and SP Darrell Mays
St. Louis Silver Sluggers trade: RF Talmadge Malone
Analysis: The Sluggers got a CF who is still in the minors, a DH who is now on another teams AAA squad, and a good SP who has since been traded away. Florida got a really nice hitting RF prospect, who has also been traded away from their team.
Edge: Florida

Season 5, Deal #3
Florida Shark Waves trade: RF Talmadge Malone and RP Gus Wood
Hartford Snakes2 (geltzjg) trade: SP Jesse Einertson
Analysis: The Snakes got a very good hitting prospect who made an impact on the ML squad when he got the chance, and looks to be a cornerstone in their offense for many seasons. In return Florida got an elite pitcher and good RP prospect to bulk up their staff. Einertson is a former all star who was very effective in a Florida uniform.
Edge: Even

Season 5, Deal #4
Sacramento Fighting Cornish Hens trade: SS Moises Terrero and SP Andres Cruz
New York Pride of the Yankees (domiisgod) trade: 2b Bill Benjamin and 3b Larry Arnold
Analysis: The Hens traded MVP SS Terrero to NY along with talented SP Cruz to in a deal to help NY's pitching, and add depth and financial flexibilty to Sacramento. Benjamin and Arnold are both very nice hitters with some power, and both were productive for Sacramento and helped rest the lineup in preparation for the playoffs, where the two teams would ultimately meet in the World Series.
Edge: New York (Edge going to the W.S. winner)

Season 5, Deal #5
Detroit Dirt Dogs (The_Kid) trade: 2B Joaquin Espinosa, RF Robert Jordan, and 1B Rick Borland
Buffalo Bison (bjc30) trade: SP Curt Beimel and SP Harry Silva
Analysis: Detroit gave up an good young 2B in Espinosa, and two marginal hitting prospects in exchange for two good but not great starting pitchers.
Edge: Even

Season 5, Deal #6
St. Louis Silver Sluggers trade: 1B/DH Dude Stull
Tampa Bay Tankers (mrploppie) trade: 2B Jaime Davis
Analysis: mrploppie got back the Dude, a player he had been aiming for for several seasons, while St. Louis received a very nice hitting 2b prospect in return.
Edge: Even

Season 6

Season 6, Deal #1
Cincinnati Red Stockings (yoker70) trade: 1B Clarence Simmons, RP Wilson Bonds
Boise Bed Wetters (phillyfan33) trade: 2B Jaime Davis, SP Al Rios
Analysis: Boise shipped out Davis and a throw in SP in Rios in exchange for a very nice closer in Bonds and throw in 1B Simmons.
Edge: Even

Season 6, Deal #2
Charleston Chew (hshack) trade: 1B Ronnie Bannister and LF Arthur Smith
Boise Bed Wetters trade: RP Wilson Bonds and SP Darrell Mays
Analysis: Boise turned Bonds around along with SP Mays in a trade to Charleston for elite 1B Bannister and roleplayer Smith. The Chew got much better in their pitching staff, and Boise got an elite hitter.
Edge: Even

Season 6, Deal #3
Tampa Bay Tankers trade: CF Jerry Schneider, 1b/DH Dude Stull, and SP Poseidon Cameron
Durham Radicals trade: LF Jumbo Almanzar and C Alex Coombs
Analysis: This was a blockbuster deal where Tampa acquired two monster hitters for 3 very good prospects. All 5 players should have productive ML careers.
Edge: Even

Season 6, Deal#4
Sacramento Fighting Cornish Hens trade: SP Elvis Leon and C Chris Wright
Memphis Mayhem trade: C Marino Rios
Analysis: In a pitching for hitting deal the Mayhem got All Star SP Leon and defensive C with power Wright. Sacto picked up all star slugging C Rios in return.
Edge: Even

Season 6, Deal #5
Kansas City Tweakers (dirtyhill03) trade: RP Pedro Estrella, RP Greg Crawford, and RF Daniel Russell
Boise Bed Wetters trade: SP Sarma Flores, 1b Clarence Simmons, SP Billy Cunningham
Analysis: In what is essentially a hitting for pitching swap, the Tweakers picked up two good starters in exchange for a power hitting RF and some pen guys. The talent levels look to be about the same at this juncture.
Edge: Even

Final Tally

So what was the ultimate return for the initial trade? It's tough to say for the Syracuse franchise because of the shenanigans that occurred in season 1 where the traded players never made it on the the team because of their failure to be assigned. So there grade is incomplete. But for the Fighting Cornish Hens the picture is a bit more clear, as Bill Everhart and Pepper Boyer ultimately (with a few other players thrown in trades) turned into Bill Benjamin, Paxton McDonald, Larry Bryant, Peaches Hernandez, Donn Forbes, Marino Rios, and Ray Fitzgerald. Most people in the league would probably consider that a passing grade at the least, even though Boyer and Everhart are both MVP/Cy Young material.

Trade Equations (Bold still with team):

Pepper Boyer/Bill Everhart = Pinky Matheson/Raul Chavez/Brian Choi
Pinky Matheson/Oscar Webster = Moises Terrero/Dude Stull
Raul Chavez/Kevin Kingland = Paxton McDonald/Peaches Hernandez/Andres Cruz
Andres Cruz/Jim Lee/Mitchell McElroy = Jack Bottalico/Chris Wright
Moises Terrero/Andres Cruz = Bill Benjamin/Larry Bryant
Dude Stull = Donne Forbes
Chris Wright/Elvis Leon = Marino Rios
Jack Bottalico = Ray Fitzgerald

American League South

The American League South is going to be a dog fight. You have the ultimate powerhouse in Tampa Bay, the return of Florida, the "just trying to stay afloat" Austin, and the battered and beaten Little Rock franchise. This division will come down to Florida and Tampa Bay in the end. Tampa Bay and Florida were both busy beavers in the off season. The interesting fact about these 2 teams, they had a few trades among themselves. This may comeback to haunt one of them this season. Tampa has acquired dominant closer Welsh, power hitter Clayton, starter Ortiz, and Bullpen pitcher Nunez from Florida in 3 separate trades. Florida got back Gonzales, which they had a couple seasons ago. They also got Zach Charles, starter Mieses and reliever Sanchez from Tampa. With the fact that Tampa also added Kwon and Future Stud Almanzar in other deals, I would say Tampa is the lead horse in the division once again. Florida will win a wild card spot, and probably win the GC from Domi. Tampa Bay will win the division with room to spare.

Austin managed to get a few prospects from trades this off season. In the process they lost starter Tony Saunders, which they will miss. I think Florida and Tampa are way too strong for Austin to repeat last season's record (84-78). I think Austin will finish below that this season, much in part to the amount of teams getting stronger in the American League.

Little Rock will once again be the doormat of the division. They managed to get a starter in a trade who can help them in the season. With the strength of Tampa and Florida, it will not mean anything. Look for Little Rock to be the Nationals of the N.L. EAST (last season's Nationals). Here are the predictions:

Tampa Bay 108-54
Florida 99-63
Austin 78-84
Little Rock 59-103

Organizational Rankings -- Boise Bed Wetters

The rules are simple: players must be 25 or younger to be considered. They must not have played more than half of a season in the Majors (with very limited exceptions). The rankings are based on both stats and potential, with potential being weighed heavier for younger players. Age at each level is considered, but unless someone is extremely old for a level (25 in High A, for example), it will not be a heavy factor. After each organization has been ranked (hopefully in the next week, but probably two), I will put together a top-50 list for Cobbfather.

Players are ranked from 1-10 with 1 being the best in the organization. Players will be graded on a classic A-F scale. Disclaimer: the grades will be tough. "A" will be reserved only for the absolute top prospects. The grades will reflect how good the players will be not, not how good they are (i.e. they are projecting the player as a Major Leaguer.)

Boise Bed Wetters

1. Daniel Russell (Age - 22; Level - Majors; Position - RF) After torching his way through the minors with a 1.005 OPS in four years, the former Season 2 first rounder is ready for his first season in the Majors. Russell rakes LHP, is an elite baserunner with slightly above average speed, and has elite ML power. Grade: B+

2. Arthur Weaver (Age - 23; Level - AAA; Position - SP) Weaver is basically the only exception to the "no-ML players" rule. Weaver was a Rule 5 pick last year but is now back in AAA. Weaver was dominant as a 21-year old in AA two years ago while sporting an elite changeup and very good slider. His control is somewhat lacking, but keeps the ball on the ground well and projects as a ML-starter. Grade: B-

3. Julius Philips (Age - 20; Level - High A; Position - SP) Philips projects with above average control, good velocity, and has a good fastball. He should be tough on RHBs and average against LHBs. If he keeps the ball on the ground, he should be a back-end ML starter. Grade: B-

4. Ernest Fox (Age - 24; Level - AA; Position - 1B) Fox sported a 1.008 OPS last season between High A and AA. The former fourth rounder in Season 4 projects as a good all-around hitter. Grade: C+

5. Miguel Guerrero (Age - 23; Level - AAA; Position - LF) Guerrero is coming off of a down year where he only had 23 ABs. He does have a career .867 OPS, and projects as with average power, a little bit better against LHP than RHP. Grade: C+

6. Willie Barcelo (Age - 22; Level - Majors; Position - SP/RP) Barcelo projects as a ML starter although he was a reliever last season at AAA. He dominated AA ball as both a 19 and 20-year old, but had a down year in Season 5 as a reliever. Barcelo has good control, an elite sinker, and keeps the ball on the ground very well. Grade: C+

7. Patrick Haley (Age - 22; Level - High A; Position - SS) Another former fourth round pick, Haley has just mashed in his first two seasons, racking up a .962 OPS. Haley projects as a mediocre defender and above average hitter with good speed. Grade: C

8. Harry Javier (Age - 25; Level - AAA; Position - C) With 66 HRs and 207 RBIs over the past two seasons in AAA, Javier has shown a consistent ability to hit. For the same reason that he likely hasn't been called up, however, he is lower in these rankings because he doesn't project as a catcher at the ML-level. Like Daniel Russell, he crushes LHP and has elite power. Grade: C

9. Dave Richard (Age - 24; Level - AA; Position - DH) Richard is a little old for his levels, but he has absolutely mashed through the minors. Over the past two seasons, he has 116 HRs and 407 RBIs. A round 12 pick in Season 2, Richard is simply a professional power hitter with a great eye. He doesn't project well to the Majors, especially as a DH, but it's impossible to ignore a guy with these numbers. Grade: C-

10. Orlando Flores (Age - 25; Level - AAA; Position - SP) Rojas is coming off of his best season ever. He lacks control, but has a decent sinker and slider and handles RHs and LHs equally well. He keeps the ball on the ground well and has plus velocity. Grade: C-

American League East

The American League East Division should be a tough division this season. Atlanta has stacked the pitching staff, like pancakes on Rosie O'Donnell's plate. Pitching will be extreme in Atlanta. They kind of remind me of the Braves of the 90's. Pitching will be their anchor this season. Boston on the other hand, has the line-up that makes pitchers cringe. They are young, hungry, and have Sherman to anchor them. If Sherman stays healthy they should be very tough in the division. They remind me of Boise, hitting their way to contention this season. But in the end, they will fall short too. Burlington is another powerhouse in the division. They have a blend of young hitters to go along with balanced pitching. Burlington hung tough all the way last season, before falling to Atlanta in the division. This season will be like last season.It will be a 3 dog race, with a limping injured dog bringing up the rear. Durham was the punching bag for the East last season. It looks like they have some great hitting, but the pitching is as light as a Pringle in a hurricane. They will win more games, but with that tough trio ahead of them, it won't be much more. With that being said, let's get down to the brass tactics.

Atlanta got Powell, Hartman, and Saunders via the trade wire. They strengthened the pitching staff, but losing Morris might hurt them a little. Morris had 28 homers and drove in 115 for them last year. Pitching will win titles, but when pitching struggles you will need hitting. Atlanta should hold off Burlington and Boston again this year. I also think it will come down to the last week for all 3 teams in the division. The predictions are as follows:

Atlanta 97-65
Boston 92-70
Burlington 90-72
Durham 71-91

American League North

Greetings Baseball Fans. This is I.P.Daily reporting on the American League North today. The American League is a division of many questions. Will New York Repeat? Will Detroit's "big signings " vault them ahead of New York? Will Boise have a winning season in "Bed Wetter Country". Will Chicago's Hit men eliminate the rest of the division? Well as much as it hurts to say, I do not see anyone over taking New York this season. I have to give respect for the defending champs. I do see a closer division than New York expects though.

New York...... The pride of the Yankees have added bullpen help to last season's World Series Champs. They also added Bronson Jefferies to their rotation, replacing Morgan Clark. I do think the pitching staff will eventually catch up on the Yankees. Last season they struggled at times, but got hot in the end. With the improvement of many teams in the league, we do not see them as repeating. However until they are proven wrong , we still see them winning the division. They will rely on the arm of Evans, and the bat of Mr. Martinez again.

Detroit..... Detroit raped the free agent market this year. They want to contend now, and they spent more money than Joan Rivers on face lifts. They went out and signed Munoz and Pong to contracts that would make them there until around 40. By the time the contracts end, both men will be able to buy their "mid-life crisis cars". They also acquired Jack Bottalico from Sacramento, signed Mo Speizo to a 1 year deal, Carlos Gonzalez, and the head scratching contract of Del Aguilera. With Emilio James anchoring their line-up and Anthony Gordon dominating as closer, I see them contending for most of the season.

Chicago..... Chicago has been very quiet this off season. Making 1 trade to acquire Ted Covleski and Pete Dodd was all the noise they have made thus far. They are content on the team they had last year, that went 76-86.With the development of Darrell Wright in the wings, young players, and the friendly confines of Wrigley, we see them about .500 this year.

Boise..... Well Boise went through a face change in the off season. First they moved the franchise to Boise. Fans are extremely excited to see what the franchise is all about. The GM went out, and revamped the offense, to possibly one of the best in the division. Pitching will be a question this season. They went out and signed a few veterans to anchor their staff. Morgan Clark, Dick Randall and Ignacio Rodriguez. They also have a few young arms......and a rule 5 draft pitcher to help them get to the future stud closer. Estrella should be a dominant closer for seasons to come. The only question is "How often will he get the ball?"
The GM concentrated on offense this season, and just to get pitching to get by this year. The offense is (10x )better than last season. They went out and got the leader in runs scored (Ed Morris). They also got huge power in Ronnie Bannister, Daniel Russell and Kevin Byrd. They also went out and got solid bench players. Anchoring the bench, is world series champ Arthur Montgomery. Sitting beside Montgomery is: Mendy Washington, gold glove catcher Alvin Burke, and the very dependable Jake Maxwell. Maxwell has only missed 2 games in the last 4 seasons combined. Maxwell also will hit about 25-30 home runs to go along with his solid defense. I really do see this offense as the best in the division. I mean this in statistics. I see them in alot of high scoring games, thus reminding us of the 1995 Colorado Rockies. To my surprise I also see them around .500 as well.

The predictions are:
New York 88-74
Boise 84-78
Detroit 81-81
Chicago. 79-83

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Hi Everyone! This is Eric Gammons reporting from spring training in Florida!!With the new season just around the corner, let's take a look at one of the biggest trades this off season.

When the Florida Shark Waves found out they had a chance to acquire a player like Zach Charles, they jumped on it. However, Zach isn't on his own. Along with Charles, the Florida Shark Waves acquires RP Raul "Dirty" Sanchez, and RP Luis Gonzales from the Tampa Bay Tankers. Headed to Tampa Bay in return is 3B Joel Clayton, SP Omar Ortiz, and RP Chico Nunez. Now the breakdown.

In season 5, Zach Charles played in 124 games, with 107 starts at 3B. In 478 AB's, Charles hit .282 with 34 HR's, and 83 RBI's. There is no question that Charles is a stud, the only concern is how he will make the adjustment to playing 3B at the ML level.

In season 5, Raul Sanchez pitched in 64 games, equaling 99 innings pitched. Raul was very effective in the set-up role with a record of 7-2 and a 2.55 ERA. Sanchez also set a career low, with a WHIP of 1.07.

In season 5, Luis Gonzales pitched in 53 games, equaling 37 innings pitched. Gonzales was 21-22 in save opportunities and posted an ERA of 2.43. Gonzales' WHIP and OVA were among the best in the league last season with a WHIP of 0.97 and a OVA of .165.

In season 5, Joel Clayton suffered a bad neck injury that landed him on the DL and limited his playing time to 22 games. In those 22 games, Clayton hit .226 with 5 HR's and 15 RBI's. In Season 4, Clayton hit .312 with 47 HR's and 135 RBI's. Only time will tell if he can bounce back.

In season 5, Omar Ortiz started 26 games in AAA going 10-9 with a 3.66 ERA. In 179.2 innings, Ortiz had 147 K's and 72 BB's. At the end of season 5, Ortiz got a "cup of coffee" at the big league level and looked like he had been there all year. In 3 starts Ortiz went 2-1 with a 2.88 ERA. 2 out of 3 of Ortiz's starts were complete games.

In season 5, Chico Nunez pitched in 53 games for a total of 63 innings. In those 63 innings, Nunez went 3-3 with a 4.43 ERA. Tampa expects big things from Nunez in his second ML season.

After suffering a herniated disc in his neck, Joel Clayton has drawn a lot of attention and questions. Will he ever be the great power hitter he once was? After 4 straight seasons with at least 35 HR's. Clayton only played in 22 games last year. One of our field reporters caught up with Joel Clayton at a recent Tanker practice. When asked how he thinks last year's injury will effect him, Clayton replied, "I'm still the great player I've been the last 5 seasons, nothing has changed." When confronted with the reports that he has lost a lot of strength due to the injury, Clayton replied with, "Even if that's true, during the time off my defense got even better. I think I will fit in perfect with this group of players." Only time will tell if the injury bug will come back to haunt Joel Clayton and the Tankers.

After the trade was completed, I was able to sit down with both owners and get their opinion on the trade.

Eric Gammons: " First off, thank you for taking the time to do this interview Rawdk. Okay, lets get started. Be honest with us Rawdk, why did you make this trade?"

Rawdk: " It was very tough giving up Chico and Omar as they were young stars we wanted to build around. The opportunity to acquire someone of Zach's ability, at his age, is quite unique and we had to jump on it. Bringing back Gonzo and adding "Dirty" Sanchez really help us solidify our bullpen. Clayton had worn out his welcome. We felt he was overpaid and had too many years left for us to keep him."

Gammons: "There were reports that Clayton’s attitude had something to do with this trade, any truth to that?"

Rawdk: "His prima donna like attitude isn't what we are looking for within this organization. We still wonder how bad his neck was last year that he couldn't play."

Gammons: " So I'll take that as a yes. Would you have still made this trade if you hadn't traded Jeremi Welsh earlier this off season?"

Rawdk: "I would have definitely gone after Zach even if I didn't trade Welsh earlier in the offseason. I'm sure it would have changed some of the pieces involved but Zach is why we made this trade."

Gammons: " I see. Okay one last questions that your fans are begging to know. Will there be an open competition this spring for the closer role?"

Rawdk: "It's Gonzo's job. He's been here before and did a great job for us. It's his to lose."

Gammons: " Thanks for your time Rawdk!

Now, the "interesting" interview with the GM of the Tampa Bay Tankers, mrploppie.

Eric Gammons: " Thanks for taking time in your busy schedule to do this interview with us Ploppie! After this trade was made, there were a lot of rumors going around to exactly why Zach Charles was traded. Could you further explain that for us?"

Ploppie: "Trading Zach Charles was one of the hardest deals I’ve made in my 42 seasons playing HBD. Charles is a great talent and has a Hall of Fame type career in front of him. If it wasn't for his addictions to crack cocaine and cheap hookers, he would have been a Tanker for life. It's not that I object to crack and hookers, but the cheap bastid wouldn't share. That's not team spirit, and I like team players, damn it !"

Gammons: " Interesting answer, thanks for the truth Ploppie. Thanks for your time."

You heard it yourself! Is the real reason Charles was dealt to Florida, a drug addiction? We will never know for sure.

Looking for a expert opinion on the deal, I recently sat down with the GM of the reigning World Series Champion, NY Pride of the Yankees.

Eric Gammons: "Domi, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to sit down with us for this interview. Being an owner that always has an opinion on everything, what’s your opinion on the Zach Charles trade?"

Domi: "I think Florida, led by annoying but Shrewd owner/GM/manager Rawdk pulled a fast one over Tampa and Sir Ploppmeister."

Gammons: "Can you explain what you mean by that Domi? "

Domi: "Florida gave up a solid defensive player in Joel Clayton, but he lost significant rating points coming off that herniated disk that kept him on the DL a lot of last season. and with such a ratings hit to his health, he has to be careful to stay healthy. Offensively, I don’t see him much more than a 6 hole hitter at best. In my lineup, he may not even get on the field....he also has a pretty high salary too....Omar Ortiz may be a dilemma, with his max projected control of 55, he may never quite be a ML allstar...his pitches are strong and with high splits, he can probably overcome the control to be a solid #4 starter, maybe #3 if Plop master is lucky...and the 3rd guy Tampa obtained, Chico, is a solid set up guy, no complaints for the other end of the deal, Florida somehow swindled future perennial all-star and possible MVP of the future candidate Zach Charles. This dude can flat out hit. If I was Ploppie, I wouldn’t have traded Charles by himself for all 3 guys he got back...not to mention Florida landed 2 strong closer/set up types in Gonzalez and Sanchez. I think this trade is a no brainer--Florida and Rawdk made out like a bandit on this one. and that’s too bad cause we here in NY, the home of the DEFENDING WORLD CHAMPS, like seeing Florida lose."

Gammons: " You’re never short on words are you Domi. lol. Thanks for your time!!"

This trade was no doubt one of the biggest trades of the offseason. Only time will tell who truly got the better end of the deal. All we know for sure is this trade will have a huge effect on each team!!!!!!!!!!! Until next time, this was Eric Gammons reporting from spring training in Florida!