Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Season 8 Free Agency Preview

Leon Jackson - Cobbfather Post Gazette

The hot stove is scorching hot, as Cobbfather embarks on Season 8 offseason free agency. We here at the Gazette are here to provide a preview, covering the top 10 players on the market and their strengths and weaknesses. Overall, it isn't a great free agency class, we'd probably rate it a C-, but that's not to say there's not great players to be had. Without further adieu, here are the top 10 free agents as determined by the Gazette in the season 8 class.

Paul Wirth
Age: 30B/T: S/R
Born: Jefferson, LA
Position(s): P (SP2)
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1. Paul Wirth, 30, SP
Type B Free Agent
Key Stat: 3.36 career ERA

Possible Destinations: Nashville, Burlington, Syracuse, Charleston

Signed with Nashville - 5 years, $48.5 million

Wirth outstanding control, a strong right hand split, and 5 good pitches. His stamina isn’t great, but has good durability. You should be able to get at least 4 very good seasons from him, and maybe even 5. He has it all, and is only Type B, so you don’t even have to give up a draft pick. But the price is sure to be steep.

Rondell Burks
Age: 30B/T: R/R
Born: Bayfield, WI
Position(s): RF/C/1B/LF/DH
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2. Rondell Burks, 30, RF
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: .923 career OPS

Possible Destinations: Santa Fe, Houston, Syracuse, Boston, Dover, Los Angeles

Signed with Dover - 5 years, $65 million

Rondell Burks gets the nod as the top offensive free agent, and is the total package. A great batting eye and RH split have propelled him to some fantastic seasons. He would certainly bolster almost any lineup. He runs the bases well also, and has great durability. The asking price is high, so get ready to pay.

Walt Lowe
Age: 30B/T: S/R
Born: Hartington, NE
Position(s): P (SP2)
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3. Walt Lowe, 30, SP
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: 3.04 career ERA

Possible Destinations: Los Angeles, Tacoma, Dover, Boston, Nashville

Signed with Houston - 4 years, $48 million

This hurler has wicked control and outstanding splits, to go with fairly good pitches. The downside for him is low stamina, which could be a factor as he ages, and his durability isn’t great. This drops him to the #3 spot in our rankings, even though he may have the best skills of any free agent. Still, he should be able to throw a great 150-175 innings for whoever lands this gem.

Elvis Leon
Age: 30B/T: R/R
Born: Roseville, CA
Position(s): P (LRA)
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4. Elvis Leon, 30, SP
Type B Free Agent
Key Stat: 3.57 career ERA

Possible Destinations: Burlington, Nashville, Houston, Syracuse, Tacoma

Signed with Charleston - 3 years, $20.8 million

Elvis has left the building in Nashville and his hit the free agent market. Elvis has superb control, velocity, keeps the ball down and has two great pitches. His splits are good, but not great. He’s also a type B free agent, so again, no draft pick has to be forfeited.

Mikey Wilkinson
Age: 28B/T: S/R
Born: Erlanger, KY
Position(s): P (P)
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5. Mikey Wilkinson, 28, SP
No Designation
Key Stat: Age, Ratings

Possible Destinations: Syracuse, Santa Fe, Dover, Burlington, Charleston

Signed with Ottawa - 4 years, $50 million

Wilkinson is a starter with great control, nice splits, very good pitches, and excellent velocity and GB/FB ratio. He has the best stamina/durability of any of the free agent starters, and is also a few years younger. He can be a workhorse, and won't cost a free agent pick to sign. The only thing holding him back in the rankings is lack of major league success with only a 4.51 career ERA and 1.43 career WHIP. But that was in the bandboxes of Cincy and Hartford, so he definitely has upside to do better.

Aaron Tam
Age: 31B/T: R/R
Born: Edmundston, NB
Position(s): C/DH
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6. Aaron Tam, 31, DH
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: .890 career OPS

Possible Destinations: Santa Fe, Florida, Los Angeles, Charleston, Oklahoma City

Signed with Boston mid-season, 3 years, $2.1 million

Tam is a solid power hitter, probably the best power hitter in this free agent class, with nice splits and a decent batting eye. He’s probably a DH, even though he’s played some catcher is his career. The Type A price tag may be a bit steep for some, but teams that need a bat that may bite.

Benji Fernandez
Age: 28B/T: R/R
Born: Haina, DO
Position(s): C
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7. Benji Fernandez, 28, C
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: Age and Position

Possible Destinations: Dover, Syracuse, Nashville, Santa Fe, Florida

Signed with Sacramento - 2 years, $10.4 million

Fernandez, the youngest player on our list, is an average pitch calling catcher, with an above average arm. His best quality, however, is a great bat, especially from behind the plate. He doesn’t have fantastic major league stats, but it doesn’t appear he ever got a chance to play full time in Sacramento. He has outstanding contact, and very good power, splits, and batting eye. He has upside to do much better than his numbers in Sacramento, and a team needing a good hitting catcher should give him a look.

Jayson Haynes
Age: 32B/T: R/R
Born: Underwood, IA
Position(s): P (T4A)
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8. Jason Haynes, 32, SP
Type B Free Agent
Key Stat: 3.46 career ERA

Possible Destinations: Los Angeles, Nashville, Tacoma, Burlington, Charleston

Signed with Charleston - 3 years, $19.8 million

This 32 year old still has great stuff. He’s got outstanding control and owns righties. He’s got very good pitches, although not a lights out one. He has a great history of success in the league. The main concern is durability and stamina in the long term. He should have a few more seasons of being a very effective starter.

Raul Sanchez
Age: 33B/T: R/R
Born: Cua, VE
Position(s): P (P)
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9. Raul Sanchez, 33, RP
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: 3.27 career ERA

Possible Destinations: Syracuse, Houston, Dover, Los Angeles, Boston

Signed with Cincinnati - 2 years, $10 million

Our pick as the top reliever in this free agent class, Sanchez sports excellent control and a killer RH split. Velocity, GB/FB, and pitches are all superb. Even though he hasn’t closed since Season 5, he could easily fill that role for a team. He’s a little more hittable against lefties, and his durability is a concern as he gets on in years, but he’ll still be a nice pickup for some team for sure.

Jack Bottalico
Age: 34B/T: R/R
Born: Franklin, NC
Position(s): SS/IF/OF/DH
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10. Jack Bottalico, 34, 3B
Type B Free Agent
Key Stat: .856 career OPS, 186 career HR

Possible Destinations: Syracuse, Santa Fe, Charleston, Los Angeles

Signed with Nashville - 3 years, $15.5 million

Bottalico is getting up there in age, but he can still hit. While he can no longer carry a team, he should have another good season or two at the plate left. His fielding seems to be borderline 3B, but may be better off in right field. We don’t see him getting a huge contract, but he should be useful bat to some team.

That's it for the preview, good luck to everyone in the free agent market!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Season 7 World Series Preview - Houston vs. Dover

Leon Jackson - Cobbfather Post Gazette

It's time for another World Series in Cobbfather. The Season 7 edition features the Houston Space Cowboys vs. the Dover Diamond Dogs. This is a rematch of the Season 4 World Series, at that time Houston was known as the Florida Shark Waves. Florida (now Houston) won the series 4 games to 2. Will Dover be able to avenge their World Series loss in Season 4, or will Houston reign supreme? Let's take a closer look at each team's numbers this season with the tale of the tape.



0.303 AVG 0.281
0.371 OBP 0.348
0.454 SLG 0.406
200 HR 142
975 RS 817
628 RA 715
3.51 ERA 3.95
1.28 WHIP 1.33
0.987 Fielding % 0.983
111 Wins 94

The numbers seem to favor Houston, but let's take a closer look at the offenses.


Houston's offense was once again one of the league's best in Season 7. They were 2nd in Batting Average, 4th in OPS, 6th in Home Runs, 3rd in Runs Scored. Look at any offensive category, and they were probably in the top 10. Newcomer Jamie Summers flat out mashed for them this season, hitting .378 with an OPS of 1.055. Martin McCarty knocked home 144 RBI, and Luis Martin knocked 41 balls out of the park. The rest of the lineup is solid as well, there are few week spots. Summers has been on a tear in the post season, posting ridiculous numbers (.375 AVG 5 HR 14 RBI 1.305 OPS), while Zach Charles has posted nice number as well. It's going to be tough to stop this potent offense.

Dover sported a middle of the pack type offense in Season 7 with Average being one of their best categories, finishing 8th in the league. Francisco Baez was an offensive leader, with an impressive .344 batting average. He also knocked in 105 runs. Jim Lee hit 316 on the year, and was probably the 2nd best offensive player. 25 home runs was the most anyone on Dover hit, so it's clear their game is small ball. Baez has continued to mash in the post season, while Giomar Pizarro and Oscar Titan have stepped in lieu of a weak postseason by Jim Lee. Still, it looks like Dover's offense is fairing well, and firing on all cylinders this postseason.

So, it's small ball from Dover vs. the power game of Houston, with both playing well in the post season. We'll give the advantage here to Houston.


Both teams have excellent staffs with Houston finishing 3rd in ERA, and Dover finishing 10th. Dover got excellent seasons from Ramon Wanatabe, Paul Junge and Mark Randall, in lieu of an off season by Pep Brown. The same trend has continued in the postseason, as Brown seems to be a bit of still, while the other three have done well. In the bullpen for Dover, Sean McInerney has been flawless, and is a big part of why Dover is in the World Series.

The top of the Houston rotation featuring Harry Mieses, Lorenzo Gonzalez, Kordell Menechino and Emmett Rhodes has been phenomenal. Houston can be confident that they have a good chance to win with any of those guys on the mound. As good as they were in the regular season, they've been even more unhittable in the playoffs, which is scary to think about. As great of a closer as Luis Gonzales was in the regular season (3.02 ERA, 42 for 47 saves), the big story in the bullpen was Luis Sanchez (12-3, 2.70 ERA). The Houston franchise always seems to have shaky performance from their bullpen in the playoffs, and this post season it's been a mixed bag, with Sanchez being flawless in 6 appearances, but Gonzales getting roughed up. Wow, a chink in the armor of Houston may have been found!

The Houston rotation is on an unbelievable roll, but you have to give credit to the Dover bullpen, McInerney has closed out games, something Houston can't say about their closer.


- Houston swept Dover in the regular season 3 games to 0
- Dover lost to the Houston franchise in the season 4 World Series
- Houston had better fielding in the regular season (.987 to .983)
- jiml60 is looking for World Series trophy #5, while rawdk27 seeks his 3rd.
- In the 6 seasons of Cobbfather, both the NL and AL have won the World Series 3 times.
- Florida won 15 more games in the regular season than Dover


Just about every stat you look at in this matchup favors Houston, who seems to be a clear favorite. It's going to be an uphill battle for Dover to take out the powerhouse Houston Space Cowboys. As we all know, however, anything can happen in the playoffs. A few bad bullpen blowups can sway the momentum and cause the downfall of a big favorite. It's a huge red flag that Houston's closer has been hammered in the post season thus far, while Dover's closer has been flawless. So don't count Dover out of this one. Despite the closer troubles, we here at the Gazette still like Houston to take this series, again in six games.

PREDICTION: Houston in 6 games

Good luck to both teams in the World Series!