Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Season 25 Preseason Power Rankings

The off-season free agency frenzy has settled and spring training is under way, which means it's time to check in with the preseason power rankings!  Atlanta once again comes in #1 looking very strong once again.   Houston, active in free agency once again, comes in at #2, with Salt Lake City, Pawtucket and defending champ Buffalo rounding out the top 5.  It looks like it will be an interesting season, with several teams having the potential to have break through seasons.  Good luck this season, here are the complete rankings!

Season 24

Team  W L    Comments
1 Atlanta  115 47 Incredibly deep, loss of Monahan shouldn't hurt much
2 Houston 98 64 Added another marquee bat in Guillen, so looking good
3 Salt Lake City 101 61 Looks the same as last year, so they should be solid
4 Pawtucket 91 71 3-time MVP Cruz will lead the way once again here
5 Buffalo  96 66 Defending champs always seem to get it done
6 Colorado Springs 82 80 Up and coming team that should see improvement 
7 St. Louis 79 83 Influx of offense through free agency should definitely help
8 Boston  97 65 Added a few pieces, but Atlanta in same division is tough
9 Cleveland 97 65 Under new ownership, so could see some changes here
10 Jacksonville 82 80 Busy in free agency, and already had a great offense
11 Los Angeles 88 74 Should be one of the best pitching teams once again
12 Cincinnati 88 74 Looking to build on a solid record from last season
13 Arizona 89 73 Should be great on offense again and in contention
14 New York (AL) 87 75 Great pitching should continue, and keep them relevant
15 Charlotte  86 76 We expect similar results as they got last season here
16 Texas 84 78 High upside, as they have a strong minor league system
17 Las Vegas 76 86 Landed ace Monahan, could be the boost they needed
18 Austin  82 80 Not much buzz about them in the offseason, so we'll see
19 Salem 80 82 Pretty strong minor league system, so there is upside
20 Tampa Bay  77 85 Looking to rebound from a slightly disappointing season
21 Florida 73 89 Offense was a weakness last year, we'll see if it improves
22 Santa Fe 75 87 Will be interesting to see what they do in this park
23 Dover 77 85 Seem to be committed to rebuilding, but have some talent
24 Seattle  74 88 They're making strides, but it's tough to hit in their park
25 Philadelphia 50 112 Extremely active in FA, and have a strong minors
26 Durham  74 88 Division very tough, but have talent, so we'll see
27 Trenton 77 85 Have talent on offense but pitching is a question mark
28 Syracuse  64 98 Need pitching to be more consistent to move up
29 Louisville 62 100 Pitching got rocked last season, so not sure about them
30 New York (NL) 75 87 Lost a lot of players in FA, so looks like a rebuild here
31 Cheyenne 62 100 New park could help them, but too early to tell 
32 San Francisco 54 108 Improvement is possible, if the pitching staff steps up

Monday, October 13, 2014

Season 25 Free Agency Preview

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

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

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

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

Signed with Las Vegas - 5 years, $110 million

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

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

Signed with Houston - 5 years, $92.5 million

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

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

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

Signed with Boston - 3 years, $24 million

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

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

Possible Destinations: Houston, Pawtucket, Los Angeles, Buffalo

Signed with Pawtucket - 5 years, $84 million

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

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

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

Signed with Philadelphia - 5 years, $56.5 million

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

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

Possible Destinations:  Jacksonville, Boston, Buffalo, Santa Fe

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

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

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

Possible Destinations: Houston, Louisville, Charlotte, Boston

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

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

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

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

Signed with Boston - 1 year, $7 million

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

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

Possible Destinations: Louisville, Philadelphia, Arizona, Buffalo

Signed with Charlotte - 4 years, $29 million

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

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

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

Signed with Colorado Springs - 1 year, $5.4 million

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