Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Season 26 Preseason Power Rankings

Season 26 is about to get under way, but before it does, it's time for the preseason power rankings!   At the top, there's no reason to think Atlanta won't be a dominant team again, so they maintain their lock on the top spot.  After that, there's a number of teams in the mix who look like solid contenders.  The rest of the top 5 in order are Colorado Springs, Las Vegas, Houston and defending champion Salt Lake City.  I'm sure there will be quite a bit of movement throughout the season, as several other teams look strong as well.  Good luck in what will be an interesting season for sure!   Here are the complete rankings!

Season 25

Team  W L    Comments
1 Atlanta  116 46 No reason to think they won't be tremendous again
2 Colorado Springs 93 69 Adding Crowe helps for sure, can the pitching hold up?
3 Las Vegas 89 73 Outstanding pitching, but do they have enough offense?
4 Houston 90 72 Solid across the board last season and should be again
5 Salt Lake City 90 72 The defending champs have tough competition in division
6 Texas 91 71 They've been building for a run, could be this season 
7 Boston  111 51 Team is getting older and pitching staff is a slight concern
8 Pawtucket 93 69 Had some turnover in the offseason, but still looking good
9 Florida 90 72 Looking pretty solid overall, should have a good season
10 Los Angeles 88 74 Tough division and not sure about offense, but still solid
11 Buffalo  89 73 Can't count them out with 10 straight winning seasons
12 Jacksonville 95 67 Lost a few guys in the offseason, so we'll have to see
13 Trenton 75 87 Added some pieces in offseason, but tough division
14 Arizona 86 76 Roster looks pretty solid, but tough division so we'll see
15 Philadelphia 67 95 Signed a couple of big FA's, so we think they'll be better
16 Cleveland 84 78 Pretty good numbers last season, pretty quiet offseason
17 New York (AL) 82 80 Pitching staff was great last season with decent offense
18 Seattle  78 84 They've been improving, can they take the next step?
19 San Francisco 75 87 Really good offense, but pitching needs to reign it in
20 Durham  75 87 Nice signing in Sakamoto, but will he be enough? 
21 Salem 78 84 Looking to get back into it after a few seasons of rebuild
22 Austin  76 86 Not quite sure what to make of this team this season
23 Charlotte  71 91 Pitching needs to improve if they are getting back in it
24 El Paso 68 94 Solid offense, but the pitching was pretty bad last season
25 Dover 69 93 Added Roberts for $75 mil, so the rebuild may be over
26 St. Louis 61 101 Rough last season, the offense is still taking shape
27 Cincinnati 70 92 Took a step back last season, but could get back in it
28 Santa Fe 84 78 Seem to be rebuilding, letting two top FA's walk 
29 Tampa Bay  77 85 Looking for someone for Haselman to pass the torch to
30 Syracuse  66 96 The pitching wasn't there last season, that will be key
31 Cheyenne 57 105 Also had pitching woes and seem to be rebuilding
32 New York (NL) 58 104 They look to rebuilding, so it may be a rough season 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Season 26 Offseason Free Agency Recap

It was an interesting offseason free agency period with plenty of talent available as well as debate on the hefty sums dished out.  Let's see who made the top ten out of this year's free agents, and where they landed!

1. Tony Yang, 31, SP
Previous Team: Santa Fe
Signed with Philadelphia - 5 years, $69 million

Yang is a hard throwing righty who keeps the ball down, with nice stamina, good control with an outstanding array of pitches.  His splits are good, not great, which is pretty much his only weakness.  Everyone seemed to be after Wallace, and even though Wallace is better right now, he won't be by the end of the contracts, which gave Yang the slight nod.  Nice job by Philly to nab him early at a reasonable price, while others were chasing Wallace.

2. Lyle Wallace, 37, SP
Previous Team: Los Angeles
Re-Signed with Los Angeles - 4 years, $90 million (Mutual Option for year 4)

Wallace was the ultimate win now pickup, but comes with risk as regression is expected with age.  Still, Wallace hasn't show signs of slowing down yet, which makes him less risky than the typical age 37 player.  He still appears to be one of the best pitchers in Cobbfather, and in the end that earned him another 20 mil a year, 10 mil signing bonus deal from LA.  It was probably key for LA to retain Wallace to have a shot in the tough NL West. 

3. Vic Crowe, 30, 2B
Previous Team: New York (NL)
Signed with Colorado Springs - 5 years, $100 million (Mutual Option for year 5)

After a two season hiatus, Crowe is returning to Colorado Springs with a hefty contract in tow.    Crow rated as the top offensive free agent this offseason, with outstanding power and tremendous batting eye, he has managed a .943 career OPS.  His splits are excellent as well.  I imagine it will be nice for Colorado Springs to have that bat back in the lineup, and should further their quest to challenge for the AL title. 

4. Hideo Sakamoto, 27, 3B/SS
Previous Team: Salt Lake City
Signed with Durham - 5 years, $82 million

Sakamoto is an outstanding fielder with 80+ ratings in every defensive category, and a nice bat, even though he hasn't had a breakout season offensively as of yet.  His very good contact, power and batting eye show promise, but his splits are fairly mediocre, which may be holding him back at the plate.  Still, his fielding skills make him well worth while, and he is also only 27 with no comp pick attached, since the reigning champs decided it was time to part ways with him prior to his final year of arbitration.  

5. Alex Alfonzo, 32, RP
Previous Team: Tampa Bay
Signed with Las Vegas - 4 years, $32 million (Mutual Option for year 4)

Las Vegas add the top reliever available to bolster a staff that was tops in all of Cobbfather last season.  Alfonzo can eat up a ton of innings (he pitched 175 innings last season) and those will be high quality innings due to outstanding pitches, very nice splits, excellent control and his ability to keep the ball down.  All in all, the contract seems like a bargain, which tends to happen in a well-stocked free agent pool like this one was. 

6. Gail Roberts, 31, 3B
Previous Team: Santa Fe
Signed with Dover - 5 years, $75 million

Looks like the rebuild in Dover is over with this signing!  Roberts is a nice hitter with good contact and splits, decent power and a plus batting eye.  His offensive output has been extremely consistent over the past few seasons.  Fielding wise, he has an excellent glove and arm strength, with solid range and accuracy.  Other than SS and C, he'd be able to hold his own at any position.  His versatility in the field is a major plus.

7. Wayne Roskos, 34, SP
Previous Team: Boston
Signed with Pawtucket - 5 years, $35.8 million

Roskos gets the nod as the 3rd best free agent starting pitcher this offseason, and is bouncing between AL powerhouses going from Boston to Pawtucket.  Roskos got roughed up a bit last year in Boston, but his ratings seem to indicate he is capable of doing better, particularly his excellent control, pitch arsenals and velocity to go with decent splits.  It will be interesting to see if he can rebound in Pawtucket.

8. Wilfredo Moraga, 30, 3B
Previous Team: Jacksonville
Signed with Los Angeles - 5 years, $53.5 million (Mutual Option for year 5)

LA wasn't done after re-upping with Wallace, grabbing another top 10 Free Agent.  Moraga is a very good defensive player (he'd rank as a plus defender anywhere but SS and C) who has solid, yet not great, power, splits and batting eye to go with decent contact.  Two seasons ago he put up a .912 OPS which seems to be his ceiling.  The combination of a solid bat and great defense  makes Moraga a solid signing this offseason.

9. Frank Nieve, 33, RP
Previous Team: Pawtucket
Signed with Atlanta - 3 years, $12.3 million (Mutual Option for year 3)

Nieve was the 2nd best reliever in the market, according to our scouts, and was signed at a very reasonable price by the team that lives in the top spot of the power rankings, Atlanta.   He won't give up many fly balls at all, and has nice control and pitches and pretty good splits.  He didn't pitch much in Pawtucket the past few seasons, and you have to wonder how many innings he'll log for a stacked Atlanta team, but he's a nice insurance policy, especially given the price.

10. Kevin Taylor, 31, LF/2B
Previous Team: Las Vegas
Re-Signed with Las Vegas - 3 years, $17.7 million (Mutual Option for year 3)

After declining his option to explore free agency, Taylor found that market for his services wasn't what he thought, and ended up back up in Vegas for less money.  Still, Taylor is a solid bat with excellent contact and power and decent to mediocre splits and batting eye.  It would be a reach defensively to put him at 2B or CF, yet he's just good enough where he wouldn't look completely lost out there.  Still, LF is probably his best primary position.  Taylor could be a nice addition in the form of a solid bat.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Season 25 Wrap Up - Salt Lake City brings it home!

Salt Lake City
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Salt Lake City is your Season 25 Champion!

After a most interesting postseason, Salt Lake City has come out on top and were crowned Season 25 champions.  Ranked #9 in the final power rankings, Salt Lake had a tough first round match-up against defending champion Buffalo, which they came through with ease.  Then in the Divisional round, yoker had to take on his former franchise that he won two World Series with, Florida, and came through with the win in a 5 game battle.  After tackling a very solid Houston squad in the NLCS in 6 games, they went on to win the World Series rather decisively over Texas, who defeated the top two teams in the power rankings on their way to the World Series.  The offense was clicking the entire postseason for Salt Lake, with 5 players contributing 5 home runs or more, to go with clutch starting pitching from their top two starters.  Congrats to yoker on a third Cobbfather title, a very impressive feat!

In other news, let's see who took home the individual awards this year.

American League - Vic Park, Atlanta - .310 AVG 25 HR 81 RBI 42 SB
Park took home the AL MVP trophy as one of the key contributors in leading Atlanta to the best record in Cobbfather.  Hitting for a great average, demonstrating good power, swiping bases, and playing good defense, Park showed that he can do it all.  He also made his 2nd All-Star team this year, and won his 2nd gold glove.  This was the first MVP win for the 26-year old jack of all trades.

National League - Willie Cerda, Jacksonville - .332 AVG 56 HR 155 RBI
Arguably the most powerful hitter in Cobbfather was at again in Season 25, Cerda took home his 2nd MVP trophy in three season with extremely impressive batting numbers.  He finished 3rd in batting average, and 2nd in Home Runs and RBI.  Apparently, voters discounted the numbers of triple crown winner Greg Riley who played in extremely hitter friendly Santa Fe and gave Cerda the nod.  Cerda won his 3rd Silver Slugger and made his 2nd All-Star team as well, and at age 27, will likely be in contention for many more.

American League -  Francisco Aramboles, Atlanta - 25-6 3.09 ERA 285 K
The AL Cy Young award was pretty much a decision of which Atlanta pitcher to give it to.  Aramboles seems like the right choice, as the 25 year-old shattered his own single season strikeout record, set last season, and tied for the most single season wins in Cobbfather history.  Aramboles also made his 2nd All-Star team this year.  Even though the competition is fierce for best Atlanta pitcher, much less the AL Cy Young, we have a feeling he'll be back here in future seasons.

National League - Norman LaPorta, Houston - 19-10 3.09 ERA 198 K
LaPorta collected Cy Young award #4 in Season 25, a feat only accomplished by two other players in Cobbfather history.  The 36 year-old showed he still has ace stuff, leading the rotation for a Houston team that made the NLCS.  He also surpassed the 3,000 strikeout milestone this season, they've already started preparing his spot in the Cobbfather Hall of Fame.   A 5th Cy Young seems unlikely, given his age, but we still wouldn't count him out completely from having a chance at it.

American League -  Jiggs Cuddyer, Boston - 1.86 ERA, 42 SV
After seven season of toiling away in the minors, Cuddyer got thrown into the fire quickly in season 25 being named Boston's closer.   He answered the call valiantly, posting a tremendous ERA and saving 42 games for the world's second best regular season team.  This performance was good enough to earn him AL Rookie of the Year honors.  He also made the All-Star team in his rookie campaign.

National League - Dock Kramer, Arizona - 45 SV, 5.14 ERA
A closer also took NL Rookie of the Year honors, as Dock Kramer claimed the NL honors.  Despite a mediocre ERA, Kramer saved 45 games, which voters felt was impressive enough to take the Rookie of the Year title in the NL.  Kramer, similar to Cuddyer, also made the All-Star team in his rookie season.  Overall, his season has to be considered a success.

American League -  Carlos Pena, Durham - 2.85 ERA 42 SV, 3rd win
National League - Rodrigo Ontiveros, Las Vegas - 3.67 ERA, 45 SV, 2nd win

That concludes this season's wrap up, don't forget to renew your teams!  We'll see you back for Season 26 after what will be a hopefully quick rollover!