Archive for January 2014

Season 29 Draft Review

1. Ahmad Nippert (San Diego) ****1/2- This 18 year old lefty is dominate against left handed hitters and can really give the radar gun a workout. A potential top of the line starter is everything a rebuilding team would want in the first pick.

2. J.O. Chavez (Baltimore) **** – May not be a dominant starter, but has 3 good pitches and could really be a workhorse.

3. Damion Wilkins (Scranton) ***** – As if Scranton didn’t have enough great prospects already, they walk away with a a middle infielder who has a decent glove and a could be a perennial league leader in batting average and even has some pop and speed to go with it.

4. Darin Barker (New Orleans) ****1/2 – You don’t see first baseman picked in the top 5 of the draft anymore, unless of course they hit like Barker. Huge power and everything else to go with it.

5. Ryuu Hasegawa (Baltimore) **** – About as good of a hitting second baseman as you could find, his range could develop enough to make him a possible centerfielder.

6. Darrell Grey (Mexico City) *** – He’ll have to move from SS, but he could play almost anywhere else. Health concerns are the huge knock against him

7. Eugene Lillibridge (Fargo) – unsigned

8. Chipper Mlicki (Scottsdale) **** – His eye is the only knock on this corner outfielder, but he’ll still hit just fine.

9. Addison Wilson (Vancouver) ** 1/2 – He’d have a decent bat for a SS, but his range isn’t good enough to play SS.

10. Benjamin Thurman (Honolulu) *** – Thurman is a SS with a decent bat and the range. His throwing accuracy is a little lacking, but he could be one of the better all around short stops in the league.

11. Al Hernandez (Austin) ***1/2 – A lefty starter who struggles a little against righties, but he can dial it up on the radar gun with superior control.

12. Harry Cruz ( Cincinnati) – unsigned

13. Sammy Serra (Rochester) *** – While his splits are average and his health is a little low for some owner’s comfort, his control combined with his velocity and pitches will make him a solid ML starter if he stays healthy.

14. Jim Kingman (Trenton) ***1/2 – A solid second baseman with a good eye who could make a solid leadoff hitter with his eye and speed, though his durability will hold him back a little at the top of the order.

15. Turk West (Charlotte) *** – He’s not going to be a top of the rotation starter, but with great control and 4 good pitches, he can be a workhorse middle of the rotation type.

16. Murray Kiner (LA) ***1/2 – Another great leadoff candidate with low durability, he could be a little like Otto Buchanon.

17. Cookie Bautista (Tampa Bay) – unsigned

18. Nash Bonham (El Paso) *** – Might have the best combination of pitches in the draft. His major issue is his durability, but he’ll be good when he does pitch.

19. Albert Donahue (Charlotte) ***1/2 – Big power particularly against righties, but he’ll be more than just a platoon player.

20. Bryant Ramirez (Las Vegas) ** – The first reliever taken in the draft, he shows a great fastball but doesn’t project to have the tools it takes to be a great closer.

21. Joe Quinn (Huntington) *** – The second reliever taken does have all the tools to be a closer in the league, though his stamina will limit his real impact.

22. Adam Teut (Toledo) ***1/2 – A really solid all around SP with a flamethrower for a right arm, but durability and health questions dropped him in the draft.

23. Jimmy Sosa (Nashville) – unsigned

24. Al Whitehill (Huntington) **1/2 – Another SS who will probably be moved, he could be a CF with a lot of power and a good eye though his splits will hold him back.

25. Santo Mendoza (Richmond) *** 1/2 – A finesse pitcher, he is a solid all around starter who can work the corner against righties and lefties.

26. Mack Parker (Tampa Bay) ** – It’ll be interesting to see where he actually ends up in the field, but his bat will be average wherever though his arm will be among the best at whatever position he does play.

27. Jake Arenado (Kansas City) *** – A solid defensive 2B with the range to possibly move to CF, has a solid all around bat that excels against south paws.

28. Houston Braden (Tampa Bay) *** – A solid reliever prospect with a rare 3 pitch combination that are all out piches.

29. A.J. White (Nashville) ** – A good eye and speed, he’ll have to move to a corner outfield spot and doesn’t have the bat to hold that spot.

30. Evan Snodgress (Portland) *** – This setup prospect will throw between 100 to 150 innings per season with his combination of skills.

31. Carlos Feliz (San Fransisco) ** – He has some solid splits, but his weak eye and poor range are what will hold him back.

32. Damian Hoover (Augusta) *** – If he doesn’t get hurt, he should make a great platoon player against lefties who could leadoff

33. Kirk West (Trenton) ***1/2 – A DH who could catch if he had to, he has the bat to be a major league hitter even if he didn’t own a glove. Struggles against righties some and his health is a concern, but a great pick at 33.

34. Bono Post (Toledo) **** – I might be biased with this assessment, but Post is a legitimate centerfielder with gold glove level range who can play everyday, has plus speed, and can put the ball in play well.

35. Denny Corbett (Ottawa) ***1/2 – The rich get richer as he may be the best closer prospect of the draft, but his health scared away a lot of teams.

The New Year’s Wrap

I’ve had a hard time finding the time to blog for this season, but what better way to start off the New Year than with some blogging.  We’re down to the wire, so what better way to start than with a playoff preview.  I’ll take a look at each division and then the 2 wild card races.  Honestly, there really is only one division that is even potentially a race, so I’ll highlight the ups and downs of each team.

AL North It is no surprise that defending champion Ottawa has run away with the division once again.  While they are slightly behind last year’s pace , Ottawa is still the clear favorite to win it all, but they are aging so their grip on the AL may not last long.  Vancouver took a step forward with their young hitters Alan Twitchell, Doyle Byrnes, and Carlos Viriato and have a chance to end a 7 season playoff drought. Trenton continues to hover around .500 but Mitch Morehead (13 wins, 2.99 ERA) continues to excel. Scranton continues to be at the bottom of the division, but their youth movement is starting and they’ll be at the top of this division soon. If their winning percentage holds up, they will have their highest win total in 16 seasons.

AL East Boston hasn’t wrapped up their 3rd straight division title, but they have a comfortable 7 game lead. Mendy Wingo is having a Cy Young caliber season for them, sitting at 15-5, 2.35 ERA, and .97 WHIP. Huntington is still in it, but something significant would have to happen since they have no games left with Boston. Brian Canseco has quietly been putting together one of his best seasons (.347/.450/.538) in his first season in Huntington. Rochester and Baltimore are both rebuilding, but both are playing better this year than last year and are showing some signs of life.

AL South Nashville is looking like a sure bet to repeat as division champs in what is normally one of the tightest division races. Sonny Torres has been out of his mind this season, pacing Nashville at 13-3. Charlotte is hanging in the wild card race with a balanced rotation that has 4 pitchers with double digit wins. Kansas City looked old at times this year, though Marvin Piper still showed himself as one of the best slugging catchers in BSA history with 33 long balls so far with 98 RBI. El Paso simply hasn’t gotten the production it expected out of some of their big free agents signings the past 2 seasons like Terrell Hoffman

AL West The AL West has always been a very competitive division with a tight race, but that was normally because it always had 3 good teams. They’re still competitive, but absent those 3 good teams. It looks like it is Las Vegas’ division to lose. Mikey McGuire needs 8 more stolen bases to become the 2nd player in the BSA with 800 stolen bases and 27 more to take the all time lead in the most neglected and forgotten category. San Fransisco is hanging around in the division title race, and a Ben Sherman led rotation could give them enough to not only take the division but pull an upset in the playoffs. After a surprising run last season, Portland has fallen back to earth, hitting only .232 as a team. Scottsdale continues the rebuilding effort after years at the top, but at least fans have Brian Kim to watch each night.

AL Wild Card While last season’s AL playoff race was a mess to figure out, this year really comes down to a 3 team race for the 2 wild card spots. Huntington stands at the top of the Wild Card race, 2 games ahead of Vancouver and 3 ahead of Charlotte. Huntington has been hot lately, winning 13 of 17, and has a fairly easy schedule ahead of them. Charlotte will play the 4 teams with the best records in the AL still, and Vancouver will need to gain ground early as it meets Nashville and Ottawa and the end of the season. But this week a 7 game stretch is coming up where Huntington plays 4 against Vancouver and then 3 against Charlotte which should really decide this race. I predict Huntington will all but secure their spot in that stretch and that Charlotte will squeeze out the final wild card spot the last days of the season while Vancouver is visiting Ottawa.

NL North This has been the best division in the NL for some time, and while that still holds true this season, it’s not the same. Burlington is in control and for the first time in years has breathing room down the stretch. Rudy Tabaka isn’t having as good a season as last year, but he set a ridiculous standard and is well on his way to another Cy Young with 20 wins, a 1.60 ERA, and a .86 WHIP. Columbus has stepped up this season and the trade for Tike Henson has pushed them into the playoff hunt with his .294 average and 25 homers. Augusta collapsed at the start of this season in surprising fashion, but they played more like the real Augusta in the second half and are making a mad dash towards the playoffs. Fargo has to hate being in this division, but Junior Manuel likes being in Fargo, putting up his 2nd straight 30 dinger season.

NL East While it was a close race early in the season, Toledo has pulled away with a comfortable 15 game lead. Juan Veras has proven worth the trade to get him, with 11 wins and a 2.31 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in Toledo. After taking a step forward into the playoff race last season, Richmond is playing at a slightly better place and in the driver’s seat for the second wild card spot. Veteran starter Philip Coleridge is still the heart beat of the team, just getting his 260th career victory. Washington has taken a little step back from last year, but is still slugging away with 3 hitters already over 30 home runs. Cincinnati never recovered from the devastating injury to Miguel Romano and is going to have to have to take another look at the mystery of why they are not more competitive.

NL South New Orleans is holding on to a 5 game leas over Tampa Bay, and Harry Shirley has been the difference with his 15 wins in his return from losing all of last season to injury. Tampa Bay is still fighting for life though and Koji Ming ‘s emergence as a closer has helped them in a a lot of close games. Mexico City and Austin are at the bottom this season, but in this division they could easily find themselves at the top next season.

NL West Boise is poised to win its 5th division title in 6 seasons. Trot Harmon is on pace to have his first 40 home run season and Vince Nathan continues to take his special “vitamins” and has posted consecutive 30 home run seasons. Tony Ellis was signed to lead LA past Boise this season, but he has struggled in LA, hitting only .249. In it’s first season under new ownership, San Diego has shown marked improvement and young Andrea Parker continues to shown the potential to be a superstar. Honolulu knows it’s future is much brighter than its present and has a steady flow of young talent waiting to make its way to the big show.

NL Wild Card If you were to just look at the standings and the math, Columbus and Richmond look to have their wild card spots all but secured. But then you see Augusta looming 5 games back and you know that team can kick it into another gear and make a big run. In fact, they already have. August is 26-12 since the All Star break, but just look at who is left on their schedule: Boise, Toledo, Richmond, Washington, Columbus, and Burlington. That is 3 division leaders, including the top 2 teams, and the 3 other teams in the wild card race. If August does pull off this comeback, it may be the best in season turnaround ever in the BSA and they’ll look like the team to beat in the playoffs. Washington isn’t out of it either and a hot streak could see them knock Richmond out again and they have a decent enough schedule to get hot and make that run. Richmond is in Honolulu right now and then has 7 home games against San Diego and Tampa Bay. If they can beat up on these teams like they should, it could secure them a spot regardless of what Augusta and DC does. Columbus is in the driver’s seat and aside from back to back home series against Toledo and Burlington, they don’t have a playoff team left on their schedule. I think Columbus should feel pretty secure at this point, but with the way Augusta is playing, every wild card team has to make sure they don’t slip up against the teams they should beat.

All Time Leaders

Hits
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

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

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

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

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