Sunday, June 9, 2013

Season 20 Preseason Power Rankings

Season 20 will be starting very shortly, and it's time to take a look at the preseason power rankings.  Last season there was a great deal of parity at the top with a different #1 every edition of the rankings.  In the end it was the preseason #1 Vancouver that took the title.  Will the same hold true this year?  Will new contenders emerge?  A season full of questions lies ahead, but we've done our best to rank the teams going into the season.  Enjoy!

Season 19

Team  W L Comments
1 Vancouver  94 68 Hard to go against the back-to-back champs
2 Buffalo  105 57 Best record in the world last season, great pitching
3 Pittsburgh  102 60 100+ wins each of the last 2 seasons
4 Little Rock 92 70 Put up incredible numbers last season
5 Dover 96 66 Lost in the Series, can they take the next step?
6 Tampa Bay  88 74 Haselman plus a nice offense, always tough to beat 
7 Colorado Springs 91 71 Shored up the bullpen with Camilli, looking good
8 Kansas City  96 66 Looking pretty good with a solid roster
9 Boston  93 69 Offense will be solid, pitching will be key
10 Durham  93 69 Looking like a very balanced team, should be solid
11 Minnesota  86 76 Made some good acquisitions this offseason
12 Detroit  85 77 Added SS Borders, will it propel them to the next level?
13 El Paso  87 75 Looking very balanced and should contend 
14 Los Angeles 85 77 Pitching is tremendous, will the offense come through?
15 Burlington  84 78 Made big strides last season, and should continue
16 Atlanta  69 93 Cerda was won 2 MVPs and they have solid prospects
17 Cleveland  87 75 Pitching is the big question mark for this team
18 Boise 87 75 Looked great at times last season, but inconsistent
19 Syracuse  75 87 Active in FA market, is this the season it comes together?
20 Austin  78 84 Offense will need to pick it up to contend
21 Omaha  78 84 The bats are question mark for this squad as well
22 St. Louis 75 87 Decent squad, wasn't able to put it together last season
23 Helena 74 88 Good offense, can the pitching step up? 
24 Philadelphia 74 88 Offense was a bit sub-par last season, will they improve?
25 New York  73 89 Just so-so last season, we'll see if they break out
26 Honolulu  75 87 Pitching was an issue last season
27 Charlotte  72 90 Team is improving, wouldn't be surprised if they move up
28 Florida  67 95 Maybe they can get some help on offense from the minors
29 Seattle  68 94 Came on at the end of last season, will it continue? 
30 Texas 65 97 Pitching was a problem for them, may be a season away
31 Colorado  48 114 Pitching got destroyed last season, we'll see what they do
32 Washington  50 112 Not moving in a positive direction, unless owner steps up

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Season 20 Free Agency Preview

Season 20 is under way, and the offseason free agency period is upon us.  Last season, free agency featured a number of multiple time Cy Young award winners and impact bats.  This season, the quality is a little bit down, probably a C grade Free Agent class.  Nonetheless, we'll still give you our opinion of the top 10 free agents in this year's class.  Enjoy!

1. Charlie Borders, 30, SS
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: 35+ HR each of the last 4 seasons

Possible Destinations: El Paso, Durham, Austin, Minnesota
Salary Over/Under:  4 years, $65 million

Signed with Detroit - 5 years, $80 million

Granted he was playing in hitter friendly Durham, but Borders power numbers over the past several seasons are impressive.  What gives him the #1 spot (albeit in a fairly weak FA class) is his across the board 80+ fielding ratings.  He can play a passable, although not great SS.  Given his age, this may only be possible for 2-3 more seasons, but after that he’ll still be a great 3B.  Borders will definitely boost the lineup wherever he lands. 

2. Jo-jo Strickland, 31, SP
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: 3.70 Career ERA

Possible Destinations: Vancouver, Boston, Detroit, Colorado
Salary Over/Under: 4 years, $50 million

Signed with Cleveland - 5 years, $53 million

Although not as impressive as last year’s top Free Agent starting pitchers, many of whom had won multiple Cy Young awards, Strickland is still solid as this season’s top SP free agent.  He’s pretty strong across the board, although his splits aren’t elite.  He’ll still be a nice add for whoever signs him, although he won’t have the impact that some of last season’s free agent hurlers.  He project him to be a nice #3 starter.

3. Stubby Shaw, 29, 1B
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: 30+ HR 100+ RBI each of the last 4 seasons

Possible Destinations: El Paso, Los Angeles, Syracuse, Minnesota
Salary Over/Under: 4 years, $40 million

Signed with Boston - 5 years, $97.5 million

Shaw is a great slugger with a keen batting eye, and should bolster the lineup wherever he lands.  We have him listed as a 1B, but could play LF or RF as well in a pinch.  Wherever he plays, he’ll get on a base a ton and hit a nice number of homers, as his past history indicates.  At only age 29, he still has several great years ahead.

4. Valerio Macias, 29, SP
Type B Free Agent
Key Stat: 4.04 Career ERA

Possible Destinations: Durham, Detroit, Dover, Colorado
Salary Over/Under: 3 years, $27 million

Signed with Vancouver - 5 years, $73 million

Macias is an interesting free agent, to say the least.  He never has really been given the chance to start full time, probably because of suspect stamina.  He’s probably only good for 160 or so innings per season, but if you have a strong bullpen, Macias can help your rotation.  At age 29, he shouldn’t decline any time soon, and has nice, although not elite, ratings across the board. 

5. Edgar Castro, 28, 3B
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: 20+ HR each of the last 5 seasons

Possible Destinations: Colorado, Pittsburgh, Texas, Cleveland
Salary Over/Under: 4 years, $42 million

Signed with Colorado - 3 years, $15.6 million

Castro is only a decent hitter, more so against lefties than righties, but his value lies in his great fielding ability and his age.  At only 28, he’ll maintain his ratings for several more seasons, providing a decent bat and excellent fielding ability.  Locking down a plus fielding 3B that can hit 20 homers a season will be a nice coup for the team that signs him. 

6.  Arthur Camilli, 34, RP
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: 3.33 Career ERA
Possible Destinations: Vancouver, Colorado Springs, Dover, Pittsburgh
Salary Over/Under: 3 years, $33 million

Signed with Colorado Springs - 5 years, $40.5 million

Camilli is a lights out reliever capable of throwing 100+ IPs with his excellent durability.  It’s hard to pinpoint any weaknesses in his arsenal, with his excellent control, splits and pitch make-up.  He should still be elite for the next 3-4 seasons, given his age of 34. 

7. Carlos Pena, 33, RP
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: 3.58 Career ERA

Possible Destinations: Kansas City, El Paso, Detroit, Dover
Salary Over/Under: 3 years, $30 million

Signed with El Paso - 5 years, $35 million

Pena has been a closer the past several seasons, although he could make waves as a setup A, given his potential to throw 100+ IP a season.  His ratings are very comparable with Camilli, you really can’t go wrong with either one.  Again, he does not have many weaknesses to speak of, and will definitely make any bullpen stronger.

8. Yorvit Ortiz, 31, DH/C
No Designation
Key Stat: .872 career OPS

Possible Destinations: Boston, Burlington, New York, Cleveland
Salary Over/Under: 2 years, $13 million

Signed with Minnesota - 3 years, $14.7 million
Ortiz has done well the past several seasons in a part time role, and looks as if he could maintain similar numbers as a full time player.  He has excellent contact, good splits and an elite batting eye to go with some power.  He could player catcher in a pinch, but is probably more suited for DH.  Still, he should be a solid one if that is a need. 

9.  Sammy Nelson, 32, C
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: 40+ HR 4 out of the last 5 seasons

Possible Destinations: Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Syracuse, Texas
Salary Over/Under: 2 years, $12 million

Signed with Syracuse - 3 years, $11.8 million

Nelson is more of a pure power hitter than Ortiz, but doesn’t have the same level of batting eye or contact.  His numbers are impressive, nonetheless.  Last season was the first in the last five he hasn’t slugged 40 homers, and even though he is in the latter stages of his career, he still should be a powerful slugger for a few more, and can play some catcher if need be. 

10. Jumbo Almanzar, 34, LF
Type B Free Agent
Key Stat: .879 career OPS

Possible Destinations: Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Burlington
Salary Over/Under: 1 year, $5 million

Signed with Minnesota - 2 years, $28.4 million

Almanzar is a bit past his prime, but would make a nice one year hold over for a team looking for a slugger for just this year. He still gets it done against lefties, and is good against righties too, with a solid batting eye, and still has some power left as well.