Archive for October 2011

Wednesday Wrap – October 19, 2011


1. Story of the Season 21 draft: Holdouts

After 5 first round picks failed to sign in season 21, a record 19 first round picks are holding out on deciding whether to join the BSA.  This would make what was already a fairly weak draft class even weaker, particularly considering the top 3 picks are currently holding out.  This would make for a very long first round littered with comp D picks if to many of these players play pro basketball, go back to college, or listen to their agent/mother.

2. Top rated pick: Robert Reid (Toledo)

The best player at the most valuable position.  His only real weakness as a starting pitcher is that he may give up more homers than desired, but being able to dominate both left and right handers, showing good speed with great control, and have 4 really solid pitches and one average one, he’s a top of the league type starting pitcher.  Here’s hoping the NBA lockout gets him more interested in baseball than the NBA

3. Second best pick: Christopher Huff (Toledo)

This is not bias for my team, I simply think this is the best overall hitter in this draft.  Not only does he show no holes in his hitting game (compared to top pick harmon, he hits left handers considerably better, has a better eye and more power, while there contact is the same is Harmon is better against righties by a smaller margin), but he has the kind of stamina you do not usually find in catchers to play most everyday.  His defense is average at best, but no one will look past Huff’s hitting statistics once he hits the majors.

4. Third best pick: Trot Harmon (Boise)

Since Boise could not see Reid, Harmon was the right pick for this franchise.  While Huff is the better overall hitter, if you want a cornerstone to your rebuilding franchise, you go with the cleanup hitter who can play everyday.  His liabilities in the field will not be liabilities in LF or at 1B (he’ll rack up plus plays if he plays at 1B) and he has the makeup to develop well and stick around for a long time.  I think he is the third best player, but Boise made the right choice with what they had to choose from.

5. Fourth best pick: Duane Merloni (Cincinnati)

I love the pick of Merloni for this franchise.  Having played with franchises in Cincinnati, the GB/FB has shown to be a vital factor and Merloni is the best groundball starting pitcher in this draft.  His control isn’t great and that 5th pitch is a definite minus, but if his splits hit their projections, he’ll be a workhorse for this franchise by the time he reaches the majors.

6.  Fifth best pick: Donnie Richard (Washington)

There were quite a few picks considered for this 5th slot, but Richard seemed like the best fit and the best value.  With 5 above average pitches and 3 top level pitches that he can place with pin point accuracy, he will play above some of his other more average rated abilities.  He’ll be strong against righties and be able to go deep into ball games.  He has further to develop coming out of high school than some of the others in the draft, but Washington is going to be happy with this choice once he blooms to his potential.

7. Teams with overall best drafts

Toledo is an obvious choice, but it is easy to have one of the top drafts when you have picks 2 and 3.  But they also added some value later in the draft with Dan Craddock (C) in the compensation rounds and 3 other potential MLers in later rounds. Indianapolis walked away with 8 or 9 players with major league potential.  Nashville may have reached for Otto Buchanon at 4 but he will mash right handed hitting and Furio Sheldon was a great pick at 22.  Earl Phillips a gem in the 2nd round to go with a couple other ML prospects in later rounds. 

8. Best pick of the Compensation round

The compensation round is usually filled with solid bench players, defensive wizards, platoon catchers, and relief pitching.  Occasionally you slip some good players with signability issues in there, but it is mostly a round of middle of the road prospects.  But there were a few solid players in this year’s sandwich round like Dan Craddock (Toledo), Steven Watson (Washington), Ken Cook (Indianapolis) and Davey Gongora (Rochester).  But the player with the brightest future from the sandwich round has to be New Orlean’s Ryne Neill.  In spite of only an average eye, he has the makings of a ML leadoff hitter.  You would typically hope a guy like this could play CF or 2B, but Neill will be a unique enough offensive weapon to play everyday in the majors at 1B/LF/RF.

9. Late round pick with the most potential

When adding in the sandwich round, there were 60 first round picks, so it’s hard to see much ML potential past pick 60 in a draft class like this.  But a few gems slipped through the cracks and we’ll see a couple dozen Major Leaguers from beyond the first round of this year’s class.  But the best of them all was Nashville’s second round choice of Earl Philips.  It is questionable whether he’ll ever be able to play 2B in the majors, but he has the bat to find a spot in a lineup for sure.

10. Biggest reach of the draft

Otto Buchanon (Nashville) and Anthony Pierce (Syracuse) would typically be seen as reaches at picks 4 and 5, but with a weak draft class like the one we just had, those teams added the best value they could find at those picks and they can’t be faulted for that.  The other first rounder that stood out of the players I could see was Boston’s Pablo Bautista.  Relief pitching should be valued, but Bautista simply doesn’t have the stamina to do much from the bullpen.  Many owners use pitchers like Bautista as closers, but I think empirical evidence shows that combination of durability and stamina can’t be more than a specialist at the ML level.  Again, there may not have been anything better at pick 17 for Boston, but that’s we can’t know that without knowing what these franchises saw prospect wise.

Wednesday Wrap – October 12, 2011 Edition

A quarter of the way into the season, here’s what has been surprising so far

1.  Better than expected

Augusta has not seen .500 for 7 seasons, but they have the second best record in the NL Buffalo has sat right below the .500 mark for a few season, but they are leading the AL East and are one of the top teams in the AL.

2. Worse than expected

New Orleans has struggled, though granted in the best division in the BSA.  After winning the AL East last year, Trenton finds itself already 7 games out of first place.

3.  “They are who we thought they were”

Burlington is in full blown rebuilding mode and has the worst record in the world to show for it.  Cincinnati continues its downward spiral and hopes to keep adding prospects to its system.

4. Predictions

I was wrong about LA.  With the best record in the NL, they are definitely picking up right where they left off.  And I was right about Kansas City.  They lead the AL South, but if they want to win the division they are going to have to do better than .500 at home.

5. Biggest Surprise

Scottsdale is 6 games back of Tacoma.  Scottsdale lost Roscoe Kraemer, but after 3 straight 100 win seasons and 110 wins last season, you might expect a closer race.  Tacoma has Andruw Hartzell hitting like a beast with a 1.153 OPS and is going to make it tough for Scottsdale to catch them.

6. Pitching Freaks

LA has an ERA .4 better than anyone else in the league. an OAV .012 lower, and a WHIP .06 lower than anyone else.  Bono Larkin, Stretch Parker, and Frank Eaton have formed an elite bullpen and Phillip Buford has a NL leading 7 wins.

7. Trace Woods loves the first 40 games

Trace Woods was the leading candidate for the AL Cy Young at the quarter mark last year, and his league leading 8 wins would have him in the talks again this year.  He faded as the season went on, but at only 24 he is going to put together a lot of quality seasons.

8. Ben Sherman is back.

7-0 with a .97 ERA and a .76 WHIP.  3 complete games in 7 starts.  Hitters are hitting .161 against him.  He didn’t have a bad season last year, but this is the dominance we can expect out of him in his prime.

9. Stan Fisher isn’t old yet

Some said the 34 year old 2 time MVP had lost too much.  He is aging, he’s lost some power, but he’s hitting at a record clip so far this season.  He’s leading the world with a .379 average and a .706  slugging percentage.  He’ll surely fade as the season goes on, but it looks like he’s got one great season in him yet.

10. New Faces Around the League

With 20 some games in after the flood of early season call ups, we can start to see some a new crop of ML talent.  Tampa Bay’s Theodore Poole has added some power to their lineup (.295 with 12 HRS, 9 2B, and 11 SBs).  Boston’s Danny Richard has surprised with his bat (.318/.351/.542) Toledo’s Wily Strauss (.360/.394/.640) is already pushing them towards mediocrity along with Boomer Hoffman’s pitching (3-1, 2.91 era

Wednesday Wrap – October 5, 2001 – International Signings Edition

After talking about the signing of Eugenio Sosa this season, we’ll take a look at other international signing in BSA history.

1. Is Eugenio Sosa worth 43 million dollars?

The signing of international prospects is always a hot topic in worlds without spending caps.  Sosa signed for 31.6 million, but to figure his actual cost to the franchise you have to factor in that to transfer 11.6 million costs you double that, so that 11.6 million costs 23.2 million.  That’s a lot of money for one player.  But at the same time, how else is a rebuilding franchise supposed to add impact players? I think the system is broken and WIS needs to completely revamp how international free agents work (and they will not, that’s all but a guarantee.  They have a fear of making it more “complex” and the game is already complex enough) , but we cannot try and fix the system for them.  If we add rules, we have to be careful that we are not going to shift the balance of power to the degree that teams cannot feasibly rebuild.  Struggling franchises need the opportunity to add two impact prospects per season with their money, one through the draft and one through IFA.   Whether Burlington should have done what they did or not is a whole other matter entirely.  Whether they should be able to do it is the question of the day, and for now, until a better system is in place, the answer is yes.

2. Before we broke the system…

There was a day and time when no one could or would automatically dump 20 million on an international free agent, a day when 10 million dollar bonuses were huge.  Ugueth Moya was the biggest IFA in season one and one of the biggest and most successful IFAs ever.  His bonus: 8.8 million.  How big would that bonus be in today’s HBD?  Ivan Mantalban just entered the HOF with 602 home runs.  He signed as an IFA in season 1 for 2.8 million.  Jesus Torrealba is hands down the greatest closer in BSA history and signed in season 2 for 9.2 million.  The point is that we broke the system.  It wasn’t broken from the get go.  Granted, money transfers were not available the way they are now in the early going and that naturally lowered the cost of IFAs, but we’re the ones who started playing the game and bottoming out budget items and figuring out how to get the most money we could for prospect spending.

3. Geronimo Flores

Flores was the first big signing.  In season 4, Rochester signed him for 16.8 million.  Flores is attempting to be the first pitcher to accumulate 300 wins and is a certain first ballot hall of famer.

4. Fernando Neruda and a great season for pitching prospects

Neruda following in season 5 and as would become his habit, broke Flores record with an 18.2 million dollar bonus.   In that same international draft class, we saw Julio Nunez (178 wins and counting) Omar Ramirez (160 wins and counting) Angel Olivares (182 wins and counting) Esteban Cubillan (198 wins and conting) and a number of other quality prospects who became long term major league players.  In the draft that season, we also added Dwayne Richard , Walker Riggs (who was talented enough to still win 120 games in spite of 4 major injuries, 3 of which greatly stunted his development), Jerome McCartney, and Felix Curtis.  This may have been the most talent rich pitching season for prospects ever in the BSA.

5. Milt Shaw : the first bust?

Shaw set a new record in season 8 with a 19 million dollar bonus.  He looked to be a legitimate fielding second baseman with big power.  With a decent eye and being able to hit for average too, he had all the tools to be one of the greats.  He would fetch more than 19 million if he became an IFA today.  And he’ll top 300 home runs  so it it hard to say he hasn’t had a good career.   But he topped 30 home runs only twice.   He never hit over .300 and aside from his best season of .292 in season 17, he never hit higher than .268 in a season and is a career .251 hitter.   He has stolen some bases and played solid defense at second, but I’m not sure if anyone would have paid 19 million for him if they could have seen what each season of his career would end up looking like.

6. The bonus record holder: Vladimir Leon

If you thought 31.6 million was a lot, Vladimir Leon is laughing at you with his 38 million dollar check.  He has had moderate success so far and had one of his best seasons last year, going 15-2.  He was traded to the defending World Champions this season is looking to cement his name in the BSA as something other than a bonus baby.

7.  The year of big spenders: season 17

Season 17 was the biggest year for total spending.  There were 2 prospects who got over 20 million (Norberto Padilla , Juan Veras , and J.P. Estrada).  No other season has had more than 1.  There were 11 players who received more than 10 million and 20 who received 5 million or more.  The total spending on IFA was a whopping $315, 665,000.

8.  The biggest spender: Ottawa Pride

Admittedly, I did not actually add up every team’s spending.  I eyeballed it and added up a few of the ones that looked big to me, but if someone thinks they spent more, add it up and show us.  Ottawa has spent 252.95 million over the years, signing notables David Hernandez, Bernie Figureoa, and Tomas Miro, and signing  L.J. Dawkins this year for over 17 million.

9. The smallest spender: Richmond Poes

An original BSA franchise, the international market has never been a part of the Poes plan.  It wasn’t hare to figure out the smallest spender since Richmond has signed only 6 international players through the years, 4 of them in the first 3 seasons when everyone had to have international scounting budgets and only one since season 6.

10.  And in the real world, why did MLB ever allow teams in Florida?

I don’t know why they don’t work, but they don’t.  Maybe its because the retirement crowd doesn’t live there in the summer, maybe its because ti is still nice outside there in October when it’s pseudo winter in my neck of the woods, maybe it is because they’ve got other things to do.  I don’t know what it is, but if you can’t get people to come to playoff games, you shouldn’t have a team.  Florida won World Series in front of like 3 dozen people.  And now Tampa Bay has been one of the better franchises in baseball, winning the toughest division in baseball 2 of the last 4 years, been to the playoffs 3 of the last 4 years, won a Series and ’08, and attendance keeps dropping.  I suppose this is the case down there with most of the professional franchises except when they are a spectacle ala the Miami heat, but then why do leagues keep moving franchises there when they should know by now people are not going to come? Maybe I’m just pissed that the Reds payroll is twice that of Tampa Bay and the Rays are so much better in spite of that.

The Fargo Franchise unveils a new logo




After it was brought to management’s attention that the franchise that is currently in Syracuse used to be called the Fargo Woodchippers as well the current Fargo franchise had to come up with a new team name and logo.  After a statewide vote the winning nickname was chosen as the Fighting Sioux in honor of the Sioux Native American tribe that is native to North Dakota.  The Fighting Sioux is also the nickname for the University of North Dakota so there is a long history of the name in North Dakota sports history.  We look forward to continued success in the National League North under our new name and hope to continue bringing Division Titles to the phenomenal fans of Fargo, and all of the Upper Great Plains.

All Time Leaders

1. Luther Aldred 3031
2. Alfonzo Cruz 3004
3. Ugueth Moya 2830
4. Orlando Lee 2736
5. Alan Vickers 2643

Home Runs
1. Alfonzo Cruz 811
2. Dan Thompson 749
3. Ugueth Moya 686
4. Jerome Duran 633
5. Ivan Mantalban 602

1. Rusty Laker 1.021
2. Dan Thompson 1.020
3. Ugueth Moya .989
4. Matty Bennet .984
5. Emil Wilkinson .975

1. Fernando Neruda 352
2. Geronimo Flores 310
3. Esteban Cubillan 275
4. Frank Dehart 263
5. Shawn Radlosky 257

1. Fernando Neruda 5038
2. Geronimo Flores 3866
3. Frank Dehart 3356
4. Esteban Cubillan 2955
5. Shawn Radlosky 2871

1. Jesus Torrealba 694
2. Hal Wagner 636
3. Charles Hall 575
4. Cole Alexander 488
5. Augie Martin 478