Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tsunami Spring Blowout Sale!

Buster Gunns - Cobb Times Herald

The annual Spring Blowout Sale in Toledo has started once again, and the Tsunamis are making dumpster divers across the states proud with their budget busting tactics. Tsunami PR Director Zeke Blauveldt kicked off the annual event with a bang by holding a press conference only 45 games into the season announcing that players could be had for pennies on the dollar. "Everything must go," exclaimed Blauveldt, "Lirianos for pesos, Marins for pennies, and Liras for lira, we aren't holding anything back!" Indeed the list of items and players for sale or trade included everybody from star off season acquisition Andres Liriano to Tom Emanski and his fielding videos.

"No credit, no problem!" read a sign outside the Toledo GM's office, as the Tsunami front office was trying every tactic to make a successful spring sale. Several potential buyers were lined up outside the Toledo offices before dawn waiting to talk to Tsunami GM elderboy02, including division rival GM Cleatus Ploppie. "I'm hoping to get my Christmas shopping done early," said Ploppie, "and there are always bargains to be had at the dollar store here in Toledo. You can't beat a good blowout sale, maybe I'll also find some discount diapers on the cheap!"

The only thing off limits in the sale is star pitching prospect Ron Reilly, who has been labeled untouchable by the Toledo management. "That's ok," said Helena Hellraiser GM cosmicblob, "I'll pick him up after bankruptcy court liquidates Toledo's assets."

In an attempt to keep fan morale up after throwing in the towel early again, the Tsunamis are offering a special discount for season ticket holders during the sale. If any ticket holder makes a purchase, he gets 4 free seats at the game of his choice, and gets to become a member of the Tsunami "Hurricane Club," located in the south concourse of Fifth Third Field. This incredible offer still hasn't made all of the fans happy, as was evidenced by the negative reactions of many Toledo supporters. "I wouldn't spend two bits on any of the items in this trash heap," said Toledo fan and veteran garage saler Velma Wiggins, "I've found better baseball players at the I-80 Flea Market!" Toledo had better hope for a better reaction from league GM's if their sale is to be a success.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Foul Play Suspected in Jim Green Injury

Chuck Biscuits - Cobb Times Herald

Jim Green
Fug Nuts
Age: 28B/T: R/R
Born: Las Cruces, NM
Position(s): 2B/CIF/OF/DH
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

There was much confusion today in Fargo as the Fug Nuts announced that their star 2B Jim Green was out for the season with a shoulder injury. The injury, which will require season ending surgery, occurred after a game with the Durham Pitbulls. Fug Nut officials couldn't identify a reason why Green, known for his extreme health regimen and workout schedule, would succumb to such a horrific injury.

A source close to the Fug Nuts suspected something out of the ordinary, saying, "It is odd how a player with his health acumen would mysteriously get injured overnight, when nothing seemed wrong with him during the game. I don't know what happened, but I think the Corn Cleats are behind it." Following up on this tip, a source close to the Corn Cleats organization mentioned voodoo rituals and the contracting of a certain Miss Cleo to perform the rites. Miss Cleo wouldn't mention any voodoo specifically, but said, "For 99 cents a minute, you too can get some voodoo baby!" Phone records obtained by the Cobb Times Herald show that a call was placed from Miss Cleo's office to Corn Cleats HQ at 7:55pm, precisely two minutes after Jim Green reported first feeling the odd pain in his shoulder.

Receipts from the Sioux Falls finance office obtained by the Cobb Times Herald show the purchase of several known poisonous toxins such as aconite, deadly nightshade, arsenic, and bloodroot. Corn Cleat PR director Cleatus Cornly denied that the purchases had anything to do with a voodoo hex. "Those purchases were made to attempt to change the colors of the corn decorating the entrance to the Corn Palace at Razavi Field. We have been having real trouble breeding green corn, and thought that the addition of these materials would help us in our quest. There is absolutely no truth to the rumor that the Corn Cleats organization would stoop to arcane means to injure a star player from our archrivals in an attempt to knock them out of first place for the first time in seven seasons. Although I must say it is rather fortuitous."

For now though the Fug Nuts are going to have to weather Green's injury and curious loss of health, durability, and power by playing a rotation of Apollo Houston and Luis Escuela at 2B. Escuela took note of the strange injury and has taken precautions. "I have hired a witch to cast protective rites on my locker, my glove, my bat, and my house. I will also employ my own voodoo specialist to prevent the same type of injury that happened to Jim," said Escuela. There is no word yet as to whether this is covered under the unions health care contract.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

DL Diary With Wiki Vazquez

Buster Gunns - Cobb Times Herald

Wiki Vazquez
Age: 32B/T: L/R
Born: Nizao de Bani, DO
Position(s): LF/1B/DH
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

With yet another trip to the Disabled List, Durham Pitbull Wiki Vazquez further cemented his status as the king of the hospital recovery room in Cobb World. We found him enjoying a 12 day layoff nursing a ribcage ligament strain at the Duke University Hospital in Durham, and he was nice enough to answer some questions for the media and his legions of fans.

Q. Which of your many trips to the DL was the worst?
A. I would have to say that it was one of my three hamstring tears. Perhaps season 4 with the Sluggers of Omaha, that team was very good and I just wish I could have played in the playoffs. But really, the groin injury I had a few seasons back was pretty bad too, my wife didn't like that one bit!

Q. Which hospital that you have been in was the best, and which was the worst?
A. Without a doubt the best hospital is the Duke University Hospital here in Durham, the quality of the doctors is very high, and I have been here long enough in Durham to have built up quite a rapport with nearly every specialist on the staff! The worst is tougher, I had some nasty experiences in the Dominican, notably El Hospital de Loreto, that was a scary place. Good thing I was only a kid then and had only minor injuries, or I might not be in this fine hospital today.

Q. What was the best drug you have ever been prescribed?
A. Other than the steroids? Ha ha! Seriously though I am a big fan of Oxycontin, I have been given those painkillers so many times I could be a dealer if I wanted to. Good thing I am making the big bucks playing baseball.

Q. What is the most rewarding thing about spending so much time on the DL?
A. I have been able to make legions of new fans up in the children's cancer wards around the country. I have a foundation, "Wiki's Strain for the Cure," which for every time I land on the DL, donations are made to find a cure for cancer. So far it's been very good for the kids.

Q. What is the worst thing about spending so much time on the DL?
A. I would have to say that I am kind of tired of all the people saying that I have a glass jaw. Really, I don't. I just have bad luck.

Q. Is there any part of Wiki Vazquez that hasn't been injured?
A. I think perhaps my pharyngeal tonsil has made it through unscathed, but I'm not sure.

Q. What's next for Wiki Vazquez after you get off the DL?
A. I am thinking 150 hits and a .330 average on the field, lots of R & R on my boat off the field on off days. When you come off an injury, you need to ease your way back into life, and I find that a nice pina colada on the waves does the trick.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

HoF or Not? - Third Base

Arnold McGee - Cobb Times Herald

In the continuing series, Hof or Not?, The Times Herald is examining which players have the potential to make the Hall of Fame. Today we are looking at third base, where the pickings are slim. True manners of the hot corner are in short supply, as third base in Cobb World has historically been dominated by players who have another natural position.

Diego Nieto
Fug Nuts
Age: 31B/T: R/R
Born: La Romana, DO
Position(s): CF/IF/OF/DH
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Diego Nieto - Fargo Fug Nuts
Qualifications: 1 All Star appearance, 1 Gold Glove, 204 HR's, 696 RBI's
Detriments: .949 fielding % at 3rd base, 690 K's, good but not elite offensive numbers
HoF or Not: NOT - Nieto has been a solid performer for many years, but ultimately he doesn't have the credentials to book a spot in Cooperstown.

Donte Wright
St. Louis
Age: 32B/T: R/R
Born: Cadott, WI
Position(s): 3B/COF/DH
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Donte Wright - St. Louis HoundDogs
Qualifications: 3 All Star appearances, 4 Silver Sluggers, 1 ROY, 244 HR's, .302 BA, 839 RBI's
Detriments: .949 Fielding %
HoF or Not: HOF - Wright is a natural Hall of Famer at the 3B position, and has been an offensive rock on every team he has played for. Not the most talented with the glove, he still gets the job done.

Tommy Henley
Age: 32B/T: R/R
Born: Rock Rapids, IA
Position(s): 3B/1B/COF
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Tommy Henley - Pittsburgh SSP
Qualifications: 2 All Star appearances, 1,475 assists at 3B, 274 HR's. 908 RBI's
Detriments: .939 Fielding %, .277 BA, 144 Errors
HoF or Not: NOT - Henley is a slugger who has been able to club his way into the lineup, but his glove has been a hindrance in his career. Ultimately Henly is a one dimensional player who can't match up to players like Donte Wright.

O.T. Jarvis
Age: 31B/T: R/R
Born: Batesville, MS
Position(s): 3B/1B/2B/COF/DH
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

O.T. Jarvis - Pawtucket G-Maniacs
Qualifications: 2 All Star appearances, 1 Silver Slugger, .323 BA, 9 to Zero positive to negative play ratio
Detriments: .949 Fielding %, only half his career played at 3B
HoF or Not - HOF - If Jarvis continues his career at 3B, he will accrue some of the best offensive numbers for the position. He will also have better career defensive numbers if his current pace at 3B continues.

Sammy Maduro
Age: 30B/T: R/R
Born: Cambiaso, DO
Position(s): 3B
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Sammy Maduro - Omaha Sluggers
Qualifications: 201 HR's, 524 Runs, 1,380 Assists at 3B, 153 DP's
Detriments: .928 Fielding %, 153 Errors, average offensive numbers
HoF or Not: NOT - Maduro has been playing 3B for a long time, and as a result has put up some numbers. Unfortunately those numbers are consistently average, not consistently great. You need to be great to make the Hall, and Maduro has merely been dependable.

Wayne Wilson
Fug Nuts
Age: 24B/T: R/R
Born: Annandale, MN
Position(s): 3B/IF/OF/DH
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Wayne Wilson - Fargo Fug Nuts
Qualifications: 2 All Star appearances, 2 Silver Sluggers, 111 HR's in 3 seasons, .305 BA, .958 Fielding %
Detriments: Not enough years played at the position
HoF or Not: HOF - Wilson has only played 3B for three full seasons, but it has become apparent that he is the dominant player at that position for the time being. And being only 24 years of age, he has a very bright future ahead of him. Only a career ending injury could prevent him from getting into the Hall.

Thomas Hill
Age: 27B/T: R/R
Born: Loudonville, NY
Position(s): 3B/2B/OF
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Thomas Hill - Helena Hellraisers
Qualifications: 2 All Star appearances, 3 Silver Sluggers, 1 MVP, .979 Fielding % at 3B
Detriments: Not many
HoF or Not: HOF - Hill arrived in a big way last season when he won the AL MVP. He has a bright future and should be a 30 HR, 100 RBI man every season. His defense is stellar as well, and he should win a Gold Glove or two before his career is over.

Vasco Chantres
Age: 30B/T: R/R
Born: Hato Mayor, DO
Position(s): SS/3B/2B/RF/CF
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Vasco Chantres - Wichita Wankers
Qualifications: 2 All Star appearances, 1 Silver Slugger, 263 HR's, 875 RBI's, .967 Fielding % at 3B
Detriments: Horrible coaching killed the prime of his career, not enough games played at 3B
HoF or Not: NOT - Chantres is perhaps the saddest story in Cobb World. Projected to be one of the best hitters in the history of the game, horrible coaching and indifferent management killed his career. He has rebounded, but is a shadow of what he could have been, which is frightening considering how well he has played of late. If he can continue his turnaround, then his Hall of Fame chances should turn around as well. We're just not ready to call him a Hall of Famer yet though.

Ryan Saberhagen
St. Louis
Age: 29B/T: R/R
Born: Phenix City, AL
Position(s): SS/3B/RF/CF
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Ryan Saberhagen - St. Louis HoundDogs
Qualifications: 3 All Star appearances, 3 Gold Gloves, 193 HR's, .977 Fielding %
Detriments: Average offensive numbers
HoF or Not: HOF - Saberhagen has proven that he is one of the best defensive players at 3B in the history of Cobb World. At the age of 29, he still has several more seasons to continue proving it. His solid but not spectacular offensive numbers are a given in any lineup.

On the radar but not yet ready for the discussion: Edgar Mercado - San Diego Small Ballers.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Breakout Report - Season 8

Perry Fleming - Cobb Times Herald

Every year teams look to young talent to replace the veterans that get to old to play. Some can cut it, others fail in the face of the pressure. Here is a look at a few of the players that teams are looking at to produce in a big way this season.

Santos Diaz
Age: 25B/T: R/R
Born: Greybull, WY
Position(s): P (SP2)
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Santos Diaz - Chicago Sabercats
Last Season: 10-13, 200 IP, 4.82 ERA
Analysis: Diaz is the ace of the future for the Sabercats, a team that is desperate for a #1 starter to step up in their rotation. Diaz has the potential to be that #1, and a 15 win season with a sub 4.00 ERA isn't out of the question for this talented pitcher. For the Sabercats to contend, the future needs to be now for Diaz.

Patrick Lamb
Age: 22B/T: R/R
Born: Darlington, SC
Position(s): DH/C
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Patrick Lamb - Helena Hellraisers
Last Season: .329 BA, 45 HR's, 128 RBI's in AA
Analysis: Lamb has what it takes to break out in a big way this season, his rookie year in the bigs. Lamb will be batting 5th behind Olivo, and in front of Hee Martin and Freddie Feller, so there is no excuse for not having a protected spot in the lineup, and the opportunity to produce will be there. Should be able to hit 40+ HRs in about 400 ABs. Will DH and backup C and 1B.

Lew Mullin
New York
Pick Pockets
Age: 24B/T: L/L
Born: Ashland, VA
Position(s): 2B/CIF/OF
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Lew Mullin - New York Pick Pockets
Last Season: .303 BA, Gold Glove CF in AA
Analysis: Rule 5 pickup Mullin has won the starting 2B job in New York, and if he can keep his average up he should be a candidate for a gold glove in his first full season in the majors. He is gifted defensively, but his batting eye and contact skills at the plate aren't the best. If he can overcome those deficiencies, he should break out this season.

Matty Prieto
San Diego
Small Ballers
Age: 30B/T: R/R
Born: Maturin, VE
Position(s): P (ClA)
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Matty Prieto - San Diego Small Ballers
Last Season: 4-1, 2.10 ERA in 25.2 IP
Analysis: Prieto is looking to break out from the talent logjam in Anaheim by seizing the closers role in San Diego. 25-30 saves aren't out of the question, and the Small Ballers will be relying on this veterans new found freedom to anchor their bullpen.

Victor Johnson
Age: 22B/T: S/R
Born: Hatillo Palma, DO
Position(s): CF/CIF/2B/OF/DH
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Victor Johnson - Scranton Dragons
Last Season: .329 BA, 74 RBI's in 301 AB's
Analysis: Acquired in the Dean Hernandez megadeal last season, Johnson is expected to produce in a big way for Scranton this season. If last years numbers are any indication, 30+ Hr's, 100+ RBI's, and an OPS above 1.000 aren't out of the question. Anything less would be considered a disappointment for this talented international.

Gregory Hanson
Rebel Riders
Age: 26B/T: R/R
Born: Coraopolis, PA
Position(s): P (SP1)
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Gregory Hanson - Nashville Rebel Riders
Last Season: 4-12, 8.40 ERA
Analysis: No one knows what the heck happened to Hanson last season, when he endured a brutal campaign. Still, Hanson is young and developing, and there is no reason to think that with his control and pitch selection he shouldn't be able to turn his record around. Going into arbitration next season should provide him with the impetus to sharpen his game and produce a winning record and respectable ERA.

Yamid Mairena
Sioux Falls
Corn Cleats
Age: 22B/T: R/R
Born: Moncion, DO
Position(s): RF
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Yamid Mairena - Sioux Falls Corn Cleats
Last Season: .310 BA, 24 HR's, 115 RBI's in AAA
Analysis: Called up from AAA to replace departed MVP candidate Hades Booker, Mairena has big shoes to fill. The Cleats are expecting him to hold down the 5th or 6th spot in the batting order, and with his hitting skills 30+ HR's, 100+ RBI's, and a .300+ BA aren't out of the question. But with his batting eye, 100+ strikeouts are a possibility as well. Sioux Falls is hoping for the former.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Season Preview - Season 8 - Playoffs

Lars the Greek - Cobb Times Herald

Lars has predicted the winners of the divisions, and now he throws the bones and looks for signs of who will win the World Series in his scattering of chicken legs and wishbones. Here is how they scattered, and what Lars has interpreted.

AL Playoffs
Bye - #1 Anaheim & #2 Pawtucket
#3 Pittsburgh vs. #6 New York - Pittsburgh in 5
#4 Charlotte vs. #5 Helena - Helena in 4

#1 Anaheim vs. #5 Helena - Anaheim in 5
#2 Pawtucket vs. #3 Pittsburgh - Pawtucket in 5

#1 Anaheim vs. #2 Pawtucket - Anaheim in 6

NL Playoffs
Bye - #1 Omaha, #2 Louisville
#3 Fargo vs. #6 Wichita - Fargo in 4
#4 Syracuse vs. #5 Sioux Falls - Sioux Falls in 5

#1 Omaha vs. # 5 Sioux Falls - Omaha in 4
#2 Louisville vs. #3 Fargo - Louisville in 5

#1 Omaha vs. #2 Louisville - Louisville in 7

World Series
Anaheim over Louisville in 7

Season Preview - Season 8 - NL West

Lars the Greek - Cobb Times Herald

NL West

Omaha Sluggers (113-49)
--Last season the Sluggers clubbed their way to a World Series title, and this year the team is still dominating. Lars thinks that with the reigning Cy Young and MVP, the Sluggers will crush their opposition on the way to another divisional title.
Prediction: 115-47 - 1st place

Seattle Seacows (67-95)
--The Seacows are getting better, but nowhere near the level of the Sluggers. Lars predicts that Seattle will lead the charge for second place, and pull it out by a hair over San Diego and San Francisco.
Prediction: 72-90 - 2nd place

San Francisco Blur (60-102)
--Rebuilding is never an easy thing, and San Francisco has inherited a job, although one that is entirely doable. Look for the Blur to improve on last seasons record and make a run at 2nd place in the division.
Prediction: 69-93 - 3rd place

San Diego Small Ballers (68-94)
--If there is a silver lining to being in the same division as the best team in the league, it is that by the time Omaha is bad San Diego should be very good, and ready to put the smack down on the Sluggers. But Lars doesn't see that happening this season.
Prediction: 66-96 - 4th place

Season Preview - Season 8 - NL South

Lars the Greek - Cobb Times Herald

NL South

Louisville Tysons (115-47)
--The Tysons won 115 games last season when Rosado had a bad year pitching. Lars thinks that despite a lineup older than Methusela the Tysons will once again dominate the NL South. Lars has a tip though, he thinks the Tysons should start reading "You: Staying Young" - by Roizen and Oz because this is probably the last hurrah for Kline, Barber, Sears, and co.
Prediction: 114-46 - 1st place

Huntington Hillbillies (75-87)
--This is the year that the youth has to deliver in Huntington, last season should have been a year to finish above .500, but the Hillbillies pitching didn't hold up. Lars thinks that this season it will, and that the Hillbillies will contend for a wildcard spot.
Prediction: 85-77 - 2nd place

Jackson Pollocks (95-67)
--Jackson made it to the playoffs last season on the back of Domingo Montana, and he will have to deliver again in a big way to repeat that feat. Lars thinks that Montana will perform, but the rest of the league is catching up to Jackson and that they will miss the playoff cut this season.
Prediction: 84-68 - 3rd place

Richmond Cohibas (52-110)
--The rebuilding continues in Richmond, but results will start to show soon as more talented minor leaguers make the leap. Lars thinks that there are still a few seasons to go before they are formidable. This season should see an improvement, but the wait is still on in Richmond.
Prediction: 60-102 - 4th place

Season Preview - Season 8 - NL East

Lars the Greek - Cobb Times Herald

NL East

Syracuse Beagles (87-75)
--The Beagles beat out their division rivals in a battle of solid young teams. This year Lars sees even bigger things for Syracuse, to the tune of a 90+ win season as their young pitching gets better and their hitting arrives from the minors.
Prediction: 95-67 - 1st place

Wichita Wankers (77-85)
--Lars swung and missed wildly when he picked the Wankers last season. But Lars just thinks he was off by a year, there is too much talent on the Wichita team to finish below .500 again. Look for big gains and a run at a wildcard spot.
Prediction: 92-70 - 2nd place

St. Louis HoundDogs (84-78)
--The HoundDogs are looking to take back their division title this season, but the competition has gotten stiffer than an upper lip in the NL East, and even though Lars thinks that St. Louis has the horses to run the distance, he is betting on them coming up just short.
Prediction: 90-72 - 3rd place

Durham Pitbulls (64-98)
--Louie Tarraga does not a team make, which is unfortunate for Durham. Look for another year of prospect development and an improvement over last seasons record. Unfortunately Durham is in the same division with three other young and good teams.
Prediction: 71-91 - 4th place

Season Preview - Season 8 - NL North

Lars the Greek - Cobb Times Herald

NL North

Fargo Fug Nuts (100-62)
--For the sixth straight season the Fug Nuts won the NL North, and there isn't a reason to think they won't add another division title this season. The usual trading frenzy in Fargo has been subdued this spring, but the trades that were made brought in some major talent in Escuela and Booker. Lars thinks that another 100 win season is in the books.
Prediciton: 103-59 - 1st place

Sioux Falls Corn Cleats (95-67)
--Despite bolstering their lineup with MVP candidate Hades Booker, the Cleats couldn't topple the Fug Nuts from 1st place last season, so this year they jettisoned Booker and added some youth. Look for another very good season, but not good enough to win the division. Competing for another wildcard spot is the order of the day here.
Prediction: 95-67 - 2nd place

New York Pick Pockets (82-80)
--The Pick Pockets are on the verge of putting together a 90 win season, maybe this year, perhaps next. Lars thinks that it will be next year, although he does foresee an improvement. The Pick Pockets are getting better, but aren't on the level of Fargo or Sioux Falls yet.
Prediction: 88-74 - 3rd place

Toledo Tsunamis (59-103)
--The hapless Tsunamis are back once again with their ill behavior, and are looking to improve upon their 59 win season from a year ago. Lars thinks they will do it, but the real gains won't come until megastud Ron Reilly hits the big stage.
Prediction: 64-98 - 4th place

Season Preview - Season 8 - AL West

Lars the Greek - Cobb Times Herald

AL West

Anaheim Sharks (112-50)
--The Sharks proved once again that the AL West belongs in Anaheim, and there is absolutely no reason to think otherwise this season, as pretty much the entire roster returns, and is still young. Until the Sharks lose, Lars will pick them to win.
Prediction: 112-50 - 1st place

Helena Hellraisers (100-62)
--Helena celebrated what could have been a division winning season most seasons by finishing 12 games back of the Sharks. Perhaps this is why nobody gives any pub to the Montana team. But MVP Hill and should be MVP Olivo will make sure that this team wins over 100 games again. Who knows, maybe Helena will get some love from someone other than Lil' John and make some noise. But Lars thinks it's second place again.
Prediction: 102-60 - 2nd place

Vancouver Grizzlies (88-74)
--The Grizzlies have the unfortunate situation of playing in the same division as the Sharks and Hellraisers, leaving this talented team to claw at the table scraps of the two divisional giants. Look for another winning season, led by stud catcher Patrick Stanton, but in the end Lars thinks it won't be enough to match Helena and Anaheim.
Prediction: 90-72 - 3rd place

Tacoma Jerry Gang (36-126)
--Last season was a brutal one for the Jerry Gang (Arizona Devildogs), but a move to pitcher friendly Tacoma should help to remedy their ills a little bit. Look for Tacoma's young and talented pitching to benefit, but the problem will be in scoring runs. Lars thinks that Tacoma will give up more than they score, but will still be vastly improved over last year.
Prediction: 62-100 - 4th place

Season Preview - Season 8 - AL South

Lars the Greek - Cobb Times Herald

AL South

Charlotte Dogs (81-81)
--Last season the Dogs made good progress in developing their youth, and this offseason they augmented their young lineup with some solid veterans in Geoffrey Gates and Fred McConnell. Lars thinks that those two will be enough to push them over the top in what should be a very competitive division.
Prediction: 90-72 - 1st place

Nashville Rebel Riders (81-81)
The Rebel Riders arrived in Nashville from Atlanta with a chip on their shoulders, and are looking to take the AL south from their division rivals. They have a good young lineup led by future all star Enrique Guardado, and might have what it takes to win the rapidly improving AL South. Lars thinks that they will fall just short of the Dogs.
Prediction: 88-74 - 2nd place

Mexico City Diablos Rojos (86 -76)
--Mexico City rode the aging horse Phillip Brown to one more playoff appearance, but Brown is showing his age and at this point the Diablos Rojos may be beating a dead horse. The rest of the roster is still good enough to make a go of it though, but losing the wins that Brown practically guaranteed in his prime will be enough to sink Mexico City.
Prediction: 82-80 3rd place

Santa Fe Heat Wave (59-103)
--Last season wasn't a good one in Santa Fe, as injuries and an underperforming pitching staff led to a forgettable season. New management is looking to right the ship and make some headway against their division rivals, but Lars thinks that this is not their year. They will be better, but aren't yet ready to make a run.
Prediction: 68-94 - 4th place

Season Preview - Season 8 - AL East

Lars the Greek - Cobb Times Herald

AL East

Pittsburgh SSP (97-65)
--Last season the SSP finished 2nd to division stalwarts the Boston Heat. But Lars senses the winds of change, and thinks this is the year that Pittsburgh takes home a divisional title. The SSP are young and loaded, and the Heat are aging, which means that the SSP have the edge.
Prediction: 100-62 - 1st place

New York Titans (102-60)
--The Titans (formerly Boston Heat) were picked to just make the playoffs last season, but they surprised Lars with a monster year. But Lars thinks they won't be so fortunate this season, as their division rivals have all improved and closed the gap. The veteran leadership should be enough to get them back to the playoffs, but as a wildcard instead of a division champ.
Prediction: 95-67 - 2nd place

Scranton Dragons (93-69)
--Ken Puffer "The Magic Dragon" leads a talented team that nearly made the playoffs last season. Some midseason upheaval in Scranton shook up the Dragons, but their young players keep getting better, and if things break the right way they could possibly contend for the division title. Lars thinks they will fall a little short however.
Prediction: 94-68 - 3rd place

Kansas City KILL (47-115)
--The KILL blew up the aging roster that was residing in Cleveland when they moved to K.C. last season, and have been making a slew of moves that are bringing in lots of young prospects. The young talent is good, but still a year or two away from being a factor in the bigs. Expect another last place finish this season, but slightly more wins.
Prediction: 56-106 4th place

Season Preview - Season 8 - AL North

Lars the Greek - Cobb Times Herald

Last season the Omaha Sluggers and Anaheim Sharks proved Lars the Greek wrong, when both of them made the world series over Lars picks, the Pawtucket G-Maniacs and Louisville Tysons. This season Lars looks deeper into his crystal ball to determine who will bring home the hardware.

AL North

Pawtucket G-Maniacs (107-55)
--Last season the G-Maniacs made a run to the ALCS, but fell short against the Anaheim Sharks. Their team is getting a little older but is still devastating both at the plate and the mound. Another division title and first round bye isn't out of the question.
Prediction - 101-61 - 1st place

Chicago Sabercats (87-75)
--Kip Zeile, Santos Diaz, and the rest of the Sabercats return for another run at a wildcard spot. It will be tough though, with Pawtucket being quite good, and Philadelphia being improved and injury free. Lars thinks that Chicago will finish a few games off of their record last season.
Prediction - 84-78 - 2nd place

Philadelphia Floppin' Phils (72-90)

--The Phils were routed by injuries last season, and also suffered an unexplainable meltdown by their rotation. They are hoping that things will get better in Philly, and a strong batch of free agents, led by all star veteran Flip Heathcott look to change the tide. Lars thinks the Phils will top .500 this year.
Prediction - 83-79 - 3rd place

Burlington Big Dogs (51-111)
--Rising from the ruins of the New York Brokers franchise, the Big Dogs are hoping a move to Burlington and new management will put them on a winning track. Lars knows though that rebuilding takes lots of time, and the Big Dogs have a few seasons before the fruits of their labors will show on the ML level.
Prediction - 60-102 - 4th place

Monday, April 7, 2008

Coming Soon - Cobb II

Buster Gunns - Cobb Times Herald

In an act of genius or madness, many of the owners in the current Cobb World have decided to spend even more money on overpaid players and lousy coaches and form a second Cobb World baseball league. Owners who have expressed their intentions of doubling their workload are as follows:

FW_Kekionga - NL West - Sacramento
mrploppie - AL
phillyfan33 - AL - same div. as mrploppie
furniss13 - NL South - Memphis
cosmicblob - same div. as elderboy02 and brianfurnish
brianfurnish - NL East - Tampa
mhoffa - AL South - Austin
The__Kid - AL East
rbf_4 - AL

More to come on this breaking story.

Friday, April 4, 2008

HoF or Not? - Shortstop

Arnold McGee - Cobb Times Herald

In the continuing series, Hof or Not?, The Times Herald is examining which players have the potential to make the Hall of Fame. Today the subjects are shortstops, the wizards of the glove. Of course there are some heavy hitters in here as well, with Dallas Kline overshadowing every other player at the position. Once you look past him though there are some other very good players, so let's take a look at who they are and what their chances for immortality might be.

Dallas Kline
Age: 33B/T: R/R
Born: Staten Island, NY
Position(s): SS/IF/OF/DH
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Dallas Kline - Louisville Tysons
Qualifications: 6 All Star appearances, 2 MVP, 5 Silver Sluggers, 2 Gold Gloves (1 @ 3B), 414 HR's, 939 Runs, 1.051 OPS, 1099 RBIs
Detriments: None
HoF or Not: HoF - Kline is arguably the best player in the history of Cobb World, and along with Jose Barrios has been on another planet offensively for all 7 of his recorded seasons. Add his mastery of the glove which netted him two Gold Gloves, and you have a first ballot Hall of Famer, no questions asked.

Quinn Coleman
Age: 36B/T: R/R
Born: Yucca Valley, CA
Position(s): SS/IF/OF/DH
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Quinn Coleman - Free Agent
Qualifications: 3 All Star appearances, 1 Silver Slugger
Detriments: .969 Fielding %, average offensive numbers
HoF or Not: NOT - Coleman was one of the dominant shortstops for the first few years of Cobb World, but he hasn't aged well and his numbers aren't on the level of other players at the position. Good but not great is the consensus here.

Henry Wade
Age: 35B/T: R/R
Born: Sulphur, LA
Position(s): 3B/1B/COF/DH
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Henry Wade - Free Agent
Qualifications: 3 All Star appearances, 1143 hits, .981 Fielding %
Detriments: 7:1 negative to positive play ratio, average offensive numbers
HoF or Not: NOT - Wade is in the same boat as Coleman. Both were good early, but eclipsed later by better players. Wade probably doesn't have enough to get him into the Hall.

Kevin Williams
Age: 34B/T: R/R
Born: Ellis, KS
Position(s): SS/IF/RF/CF
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Kevin Williams - Wichita Wankers
Qualifications: 2 Gold Gloves, .976 Fielding %, More plus plays than negative plays
Detriments: Weak hitter who is only average at the plate.
HoF or Not: NOT - Williams is arguably the best fielding SS in Cobb history, but his average bat will leave him short of Cooperstown. Still there are many teams who were glad to have him manning the SS position in his career.

Rico Romero
St. Louis
Age: 31B/T: R/R
Born: Remidios, CU
Position(s): CF/3B/MIF/RF
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Rico Romero - St. Louis HoundDogs
Qualifications: 3 All Star appearances, 1124 hits
Detriments: .969 Fielding %, average offensive stats outside of hit tally
HoF or Not: NOT - Not yet anyways. Romero has been very good for many seasons, but hasn't been able to match the elite status of his contemporaries. Still a very good player who might be able to make the Hall if he hangs on long enough.

Rico Estrada
New York
Age: 26B/T: R/R
Born: Santa Teresa, VE
Position(s): SS
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Rico Estrada - New York Titans
Qualifications: 3 All Star appearances, 3 Silver Sluggers, 1237 hits, 808 runs. .302 BA
Detriments: .964 Fielding %, 4:1 negative to positive play ratio
HoF or Not: HoF: Estrada is a hitting machine, and that is enough to overcome his defensive deficiencies, which in all fairness are skewed as he played while still developing his glove at the ML level. Currently he is an elite defensive SS, and has the potential to win a gold glove. It will be interesting to see if his bust in the Hall has his trademark shades or not.

Corey Green
Fug Nuts
Age: 27B/T: S/R
Born: Swea City, IA
Position(s): SS/IF/OF/DH
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Corey Green - Fargo Fug Nuts
Qualifications: 2 All Star appearances, 1 Silver Sluggers, 1 MVP, 1 ROY, .302 BA, 1.025 OPS
Detriments: .969 Fielding %, few years of service
HoF or Not: NOT - This will change if Green keeps putting up numbers and improving his glove, but at the moment he is merely an incredibly talented SS, who barring one of the trade spasms that rock the Fug Nuts annually, should remain a rock in their lineup for years. Comparisons to a young Dallas Kline are valid.

R.J. Cubillan
Age: 26B/T: R/R
Born: Miranda, VE
Position(s): SS/IF/OF/DH
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R. J. Cubillan - Pittsburgh SSP
Qualifications: 2 All Star appearances, 1 Silver Slugger, .972 Fielding %
Detriments: Few years of service
HoF or Not: NOT - Cubillan is another young SS to watch out for, with the potential to be very good when his career is over. If he keeps improving at his current rate, there is no reason to believe he wont be in Cooperstown when it is all said and done. But as of now he isn't there yet.

Domingo Montana
Age: 29B/T: R/R
Born: Cotui, DO
Position(s): SS/IF/OF/DH
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Domingo Montana - Jackson Pollocks
Qualifications: 2 All Star appearances, 1 Silver Slugger, 316 HR's, 929 RBI's 3:1 positive to negative play ratio
Detriments: .969 Fielding %
HoF or Not: HoF - When compared to other shortstops of his generation, Montana is equal to any of them except for Dallas Kline. His power and glove have made him the cornerstone of the Pollocks lineup, and he will be that for some time yet. He should be one of the few shortstops to finish with over 500 HR's in his career, barring something unforeseen.

Geraldo Mendoza
Age: 33B/T: R/R
Born: Elkhart, IN
Position(s): SS/3B/2B/CF/DH
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Geraldo Mendoza - Durham Pitbulls
Qualifications: 3 Gold Gloves, .983 Fielding %, 3:1 positive to negative play ratio
Detriments: He is required to hit
HoF or Not: NOT - Mendoza is an elite defensive SS, but his bat keeps him from entering the Hall

On the radar but not yet ready for the discussion: Pedro Chavez - Huntington Hillbillies, Enrique Guardado - Nashville Rebel Riders.