Thursday, February 28, 2013

Season 19 Free Agency Preview

Alberto Beltre
Age: 34B/T: S/R
Born: Mao Valverde, DO
Position(s): P (SP1)
View Hardball Dynasty Profile
Harry Mieses
Age: 35B/T: R/R
Born: Don Gregorio, DO
Position(s): P (SP1)
View Hardball Dynasty Profile
Vasco Serra
Age: 36B/T: R/R
Born: Los Llanos, DO
Position(s): P (SP3)
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Need Starting Pitching?  Maybe one of the multiple time Cy-Young winners above could help!

Leon Jackson - Cobbfather Post Gazette

It's almost time to start signing free agents, and if you are looking for Starting Pitching, this could be the year to strike it rich!   This class is stacked, and included three starters who have won the Cy Young Award three times, and none of them are the top Starting Pitcher in the class!   To throw a wrench in the mix, a superstar former MVP bat is available.  Do you go for pitching or the big bat?  Can someone get both?  Enough talk, here's your top ten Free Agents for Season 19!

1. Mendy Kondou, 30, 3B
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat:  Career .421 OPS
Salary Over/Under:  5 years, $105 million

Possible Destinations: Colorado Springs, Dover, Los Angeles, Burlington, Syracuse

Signed with Dover - 5 years, $110 million

Kondou’s accolades pretty much speak for the type of player he is:  former MVP, Seven-time silver slugger, six-time all-star, and a four-time gold glove winner.   Kondou has elite power, batting eye and contact, and is an excellent fielder, he’d work anywhere except shortstop.  At only 30 he’ll still perform at an elite level for several seasons.   Whoever gets him will get a huge boost to their lineup, albeit at a huge price, as Kondou looks to cash in.

2. Victor Almanzar, 31, SP
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat:  3.00 Career ERA
Salary Over/Under:  5 years, $95 million

Possible Destinations: Detroit, Syracuse, Los Angeles, Little Rock, Omaha

Signed with Boston - 5 years, $110 million

Almanzar, a former Cy Young winner, gets the nod as the top SP, in a very strong free agent class for starting pitchers.  It’s hard to pinpoint any weaknesses in Almanzar’s ratings.  If you land him, you almost certainly have a new staff ace on your hands, and probably someone who will finish in the top 5 in the Cy Young race for several years to come.  Again, he will come at a steep price, but should be worth it.

3. Alberto Beltre, 34, SP
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: 3.01 Career ERA
Salary Over/Under:  4 years, $75 million

Possible Destinations: Burlington,  El Paso, Little Rock, Durham, Dover

Signed with Durham - 5 years, $95.5 million

Beltre, a 2-time former Cy Young winner, winning it in both leagues, still should have some great years ahead for whichever team he signs with.  He dominates right handers still and has a great KnuckleCurve and Cut fastball that bewilders hitters.  If you don’t get one of the top two, he’d be a very nice consolation prize, if you can even call him that, he’d still be the #1 starter for a lot of teams.

4. Harry Mieses, 35, SP
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: 3.19 Career ERA
Salary Over/Under: 3 years, $54 million

Possible Destinations: Colorado, El Paso, Omaha, Boston, Washington

Signed with Colorado Springs - 5 years, $80 million

What do you know, another two time Cy Young winner is available!   At 35, Mieses is still an incredible talent as good as the two above him.  Really, the only thing separating these three guys is age.  Mieses is incredibly solid across the board, and there’s really no weakness to point out, other than his age.  Even at 35, he’d be #1 in most other free agent classes, but this one happens to be stacked.

5. Welington Lorenzo, 32, SP
No Designation
Key Stat:  4.25 Career ERA
Salary Over/Under: 3 years, $24 million

Possible Destinations: Austin, Minnesota, Los Angeles, Kansas City, Arizona

Signed with Los Angeles - 5 years, $24 million

We’ve now gotten past the former Cy Young winner candidates and on to some players that are not flawless.  Lorenzo is a step down from the other three SP’s, but can still be a solid #2 or #3.  He is vulnerable vs. lefties, doesn’t keep the ball down well, and doesn’t throw with much velocity.  He has a killer curveball, a couple of other good pitches, and very nice control.  He’s still a quality add for someone out there.  He won’t cost a draft pick either, which helps his value.

6. Johnnie Kennedy, 32, SP
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: 4.02 Career ERA
Salary Over/Under: 3 years, $30 million

Possible Destinations: Syracuse, Burlington, Tampa Bay, Omaha, Colorado Springs

Signed with Durham - 5 years, $100.5 million

Kennedy is extremely similar to Lorenzo, with a slight trade off of being better vs. lefties, but with worse pitches than Lorenzo.  Other than that, they’re basically the same.  He’ll be another nice #2 or #3 SP for someone, but again isn’t as stellar as the elite SP’s available. 

7. Vasco Serra, 36, SP
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: 3.68 Career ERA
Salary Over/Under: 3 years, $30 million

Possible Destinations: Dover, Colorado, Boston, Los Angeles, Vancouver

Signed with Burlington - 3 years, $45 million

What do you know, yet another 2-time former Cy Young winner!  Albeit it was 11 and 12 seasons ago respectively, Serra can still pitch well, and you could make an argument to rank him #5, but we bumped him down because of his age.  He hasn’t declined much at all yet, but it’s coming.  He should be great for another 2-3 seasons, but after  that it’s hard to tell what the future holds.  Still, he’ll be a very nice additional to someone’s staff for the next few seasons. 

8. B.C. Moreno, 29, LF
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: .913 OPS last season
Salary Over/Under:  4 years, $38 million

Possible Destinations: Colorado, Washington, Detroit, Boston, Durham

Signed with New York - 5 years, $67 million

After Kondou, it’s looking like a pretty rough free agent class offense wise.    For his relatively young age for a free agent and his nice power, we’ll say Moreno is the 2nd best offensive free agent.  You’re not getting a superstar, but he’s a solid bat.  In the field, he’s questionable as a right fielder due to a minus arm and accuracy, but would be a very solid left fielder. 

9. Moose Gonzales, 28, SS
Type B Free Agent
Key Stat: 12 plus plays at SS last season
Salary Over/Under: 3 years, $25 million

Possible Destinations: Detroit, Syracuse, El Paso, Kansas City

Signed with Colorado Springs - 5 years, $46 million

Decent hitting shortstops are hard to find, and that’s why Gonzales made our list.   There isn’t much great to say about his hitting, except he’s better than most that have 80 across the board fielding ratings and can actually plays a good shortstop, and that makes him an asset.  He’s only 28, so he should be a solid shortstop for many more seasons.

10. Curt Hebert, 30, SS
Type B Free Agent
Key Stat:  12 plus plays at SS last season
Salary Over/Under: 3 years, $24 million

Possible Destinations: Arizona, Dover, Tampa Bay, Little Rock

Signed with Burlington - 5 years, $60.6 million

It’s pretty much the same story with Hebert as it is with Gonzales.  He’s actually a little better hitter than Gonzales with more speed, but a little less solid in the field in terms of arm strength and accuracy, and is also a few years older.  Still, he’s a rock solid shortstop, and will be a solid add for whoever lands him.

It will be an interesting free agent period for sure, good luck to all!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Season 18 Wrap Up

Vancouver takes it all in Season 18!
The Vancouver Canadians outlasted El Paso in a thrilling, hard-fought, seven game series to take their second championship in four seasons.  The series included a 14-inning thriller in Game 5 that swung the momentum in El Paso's favor, but Vancouver was able to take the last 2 games of the series at home to take all the glory.  

Benito Beltre must be considered the Playoff MVP for Vancouver.  The slick fielding shortstop known mostly for this glove, with .392 with 4 HR, 6 SB, and an 1.164 OPS in the playoffs, almost a full 500 points better than his regular season totals.  Alberto Beltre anchored the pitching staff for Vancouver, as always going 4-0 in 6 starts with a 3.00 ERA.

The Vancouver win capped a season in which they by far had the best record, going 115-47.  In a playoffs filled with upsets, they were the only 100 win team to make the LCS.  The NLCS featured #5 El Paso and #6 Austin, while and 84-78 Detroit squad was their opponent in the ALCS.  

A great season, capped off by a thrilling playoffs, good job to all!   We hope to be rolling on to Season 19 soon, so if you know anyone who might be interested in joining, spread the word, and we'll see you next season!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Season 18 Awards Recap

Leon Jackson - Cobbfather Post Gazette

The Season 18 Awards were handed out recently, here's a recap of the winners.

AL MVP: Morgan Cerda - ATL - .272 AVG 45 HR 129 RBI
Cerda took home the MVP in a close race edging out Eugene Brantley and Yamid Montanez for the award.  Cerda had a very good year, but it's hard for us to get behind this selection.  Both Brantley and Montanez hit .320+ and had .400+ OBP which dominate Cerda's numbers, plus Cerda's stellar season only amounted to all of 70 wins for the Expos.  Given the team's performance, it probably should have gone to Brantley.  Nonetheless, Cerda also won a Silver Slugger award (so did Brantley and Montanez), his second and also collected the Rookie of the Year Award in Season 16. 

NL MVP: Howard Greer - PIT - .302 AVG 55 HR 135 RBI
Greer was the run away winner of the NL MVP, leading Pittsburgh to 103 wins with his fierce bat.    There really weren't any other legit contenders, so it was pretty much an obvious choice.  He made his second all-star team and won his second silver slugger this season as well.

AL Cy Young:  James Haselman - TB - 21-3 1.46 ERA
There aren't enough superlatives to described another phenomenal season by Haselman.  He won 21 of 28 starts with a microscopic ERA and WHIP.  A stint on the DL did not hinder him at all.  He made his 7th consecutive all-star team, and became the 3rd pitcher in Cobbfather history to win 3 Cy Young Awards.  At only age 30, he certainly could challenge the great Carl Sosa's record of 4 Cy Youngs.  Needless to say, he was a runaway winner.

NL Cy Young: Lewis Peterson - PIT - 21-6 2.80 ERA
Peterson was also a runaway winner, giving Pittsburgh both the MVP and the Cy Young Award winner.  He was a workhorse, taking the mound for 40 starts and 240 innings.  He made his first all-star team this season, and won Player of the Week.

AL Rookie of the Year: Brent Voyles - SAL - 18-9 3.01 ERA
Voyles was clearly the most dominant rookie in the AL this year.  The 21 year old hurler won Player of the Week, made the all-star team and finished 5th in the Cy Young voting.  It was quite the rookie year for Voyles, and it looks like he has many more great seasons to come.

NL Rookie of the Year: Lynn Mortensen - OMA - 20-6 2.91 ERA
Mortensen won Rookie of the Year in the NL by a decisive margin.  On top of getting to 20 wins, the workhorse rookie tossed 240 innings, and made the all-star team.  It's surprising the NL Cy Young race wasn't a bit closer, because Mortensen's numbers are certain comparable to the winner's numbers. 

Fireman of the Year
AL:  Allen Cox - STL - 3.70 ERA 52 SV - 2nd win
NL: Homer Butler - WAS - 1.80 ERA 40 SV - 1st win

Silver Slugger Awards
American League
DH  Jaime Lansing  Canadians  2nd
C  Elston Lloyd  Canadians  3rd
1B  Eugene Brantley  HoundDogs  2nd
2B  Yamid Montanez  Massacre  7th
3B  Juan Mercado  Syndicate  1st
SS  Charlie Borders  Radicals  6th
LF  J.R. Offerman  Redhawks  2nd
CF  Morgan Cerda  Expos  2nd
RF  Shawon Stoops  Radicals  2nd

National League 
P  Norman LaPorta  Large Hats  1st
C  Mark Martin  Lewinskys  3rd
1B  Will Maxwell  Primetimers  1st
2B  Calvin Decker  Lewinskys  1st
3B  Yuniesky Nieves  Lewinskys  1st
SS  George Fultz  Lewinskys  1st
LF  Howard Greer  Fighters  2nd
CF  Vic Gonzales  Diamond Dogs  2nd
RF  Al James  Fighters  5th   

Gold Glove Winners 
American League
P  Eddie Allen  Shark Waves  1st
C  Branch Borders  Psychos  7th
1B  Chris Kile  Wahoos  1st
2B  Benjamin Delcarmen  Wahoos  2nd
3B  Roberto Bennett  Canadians  7th
SS  Benito Beltre  Canadians  2nd
LF  Felipe James  HoundDogs  2nd
CF  Aaron Kennedy  Massacre  2nd
RF  Mike Worthington  HoundDogs  1st

National League
P  Lewis Peterson  Fighters  2nd
C  Pedro Neruda  Bisons  1st
1B  Andres Candelaria  Pill-Bugs  2nd
2B  Ken Stammen  Primetimers  1st
3B  Jose Pizzaro  TaTa's  2nd
SS  Esteban James  Fighters  5th
LF  Geronimo Ortiz  Large Hats  1st
CF  Terry James  Primetimers  3rd
RF  Lance Weatherford  Sycophants  1st

Friday, February 1, 2013

Season 18 IFA Gold Mine Recap - Top 10

This season there was a seemingly endless supply of gold in the IFA market!

Leon Jackson – Cobbfather Post Gazette

Season 18 presented an unprecedented wealth of international free agents.   Right when one big star signed it seemed that another would pop up for bid.  All in all there were 18 IFA’s who signed for over $5 million,  11 over $10 million, 7 over $20 million and 2 over $30 million.  With the IFA season winding down, we thought we’d bring you the top 10 IFA’s of Season 18.  Who knows though, there could be more added to the list soon.  But for now, here’s how we rank them. 

10. Erubiel Perez – Charlotte - $8.1 million
97 AB .402 AVG 27 RBI at High A

Perez looks to be a solid, but not great hitter.  His biggest upside lies in his fielding ability.  If he demonstrates shortstop level fielding abilities, he’ll be far more valuable, but he’d still be a solid guy at any other fielding position.  Nice grab for Charlotte compared to what some of the other IFA’s went for.

9. Alving Palmeiro – Honolulu - $13.6 million
12-27, 11 RBI at Low A

Palmeiro doesn’t have quite the bat Perez does, but looks to be a sure-fire major league shortstop, as opposed to Perez who is a bit of a question mark.  He has nice speed as well, and a good batting eye.  His hitting stats won’t be impressive, but they’ll be solid compared to other shortstops.

8. Benito Acosta – Buffalo - $22 million
Did not play

Acosta has plus hitting ratings across the board.  His biggest assets look to be power, batting eye and contact.  On the down side, he isn’t great in the field, but he is more than capable of being a great 1B/LF bat, and he could be a borderline RF.  Durability might be a bit of a concern too, but overall this is a great bat, and it’s hard to believe he was only (arguably) the 8th best IFA this season!   

7. Tony Benavente – Charlotte - $14.4 million
5 IP 0.00 ERA 4 for 4 saves at High A

Charlotte was the only team to land two players on our list.  Benavente  looks to be a lights out reliever with practically no weaknesses.  He could be a dominant closer or a stellar setup A guy.  The only question mark is his RH split.  If he gets that up into the 70’s, look out. 

6. Yeico Oliva – Boston - $28.8 million
3-1 2.35 ERA 57 K in 46 IP at rookie league

Oliva is going to be a great Major League starter one day, he throws with great velocity, has nice pitches, solid control and should develop 200 IP+ stamina.   His LH split is a major question mark though, he may be vulnerable to lefties.  Still, he projects to a nice #2 starter with #1 upside, depending on how he develops vs. lefties.

5. Vin Gandarillas – Florida - $26.3 million
116 AB .353 AVG 12 HR 38 RBI 1.182 OPS at Low A

At only 19, one could argue that Gandarillas has a major league ready bat now.  You’d like to see contact and batting eye go up a bit, but his splits and power are top notch.  It will be interesting to see how he develops in the field.  He has fringe shortstop upside fielding, but more than likely ends up at 3B or somewhere else, where he’ll still be amongst the top hitters at the position. 

4. Hideo Sakamoto – Omaha - $25.7 million
485 AB .299 AVG 14 HR 73 RBI 20+ plays at AA

Sakamoto got almost a full season in at AA for Omaha, which saw him develop nicely.  He was excellent in the field, and if he develops SS quality fielding levels, he will probably be the best hitting SS in the league for years to come.  His batting splits are a bit low, but should continue to develop.  His contact, power and batting eye could all potentially be elite. 

3. Willie Cerda – Little Rock - $33 million
375 AB .323 AVG 34 HR 86 RBI 1.100 OPS at AA

It’s not a stretch to say Cerda could play at the majors now and possibly be an all- star.   Other than RH split all his hitting ratings are plus to elite.  It was a major buzzkill for Little Rock that he went on the 60 day DL with a bulging disk in his back, but he should be fine, and it doesn’t look like he’ll be injury prone.  If he hadn’t gotten hurt, he might have been #1 on the list.

2. Enrique Garces – Atlanta - $26.8 million
185 AB .319 AVG 1.051 OPS at High A

Garces could be an upper tier 2B/CF in the majors right now.  He owns lefties, is good against righties with a tremendous batting eye and contact.  He should develop into a plus fielder at either 2B or CF and has unbelievable speed that could make him an annual 30 HR/50 SB base guy.  

1. Francisco Aramboles – Dover - $32.2 million
4-3 1.07 ERA 55 K in 59 IP at Rookie/Low A

If you looked at Aramboles’ potential and said strengths: everything weaknesses: nothing, it would be hard to argue.  He looks to be a sure fire #1 starter that could win multiple Cy Youngs.  His only fault is that he doesn’t keep the ball down, but his pitches are so good and his throws so hard that not many will be able to get it up in the air on him. 

What a season of International Free Agents, here’s hoping for many more to come!