Friday, November 28, 2008

Decade of Dominance - Vancouver Grizzlies

Chuck Biscuits - Cobb Times Herald

Decade of Dominance - From the smokhaus to the Dog House
--Originally the Las Vegas High Rollers, managed by smokhaus, the Vancouver Grizzlies are a team with a proud history in Cobb World. They were the AL representative in the first World Series in Cobb history, losing to an absolutely stacked Huntington team. From there the High Rollers put together several competetive campaigns that fell short of division titles before again winning the AL West in season 5. From then on Anaheim and Helena took control of the division while Las Vegas declined. Under the new management of shobob, the now Vancouver Grizzlies have started a slow but steady retooling of the franchise to bring in young talent and prepare for the day when they can again cash in their chips for a playoff appearance.

#13 - Vancouver Grizzlies
Franchise Power Ranking: 44
Best Year: 96-66, s5 - Worst Year: 80-82, s6
Postseason Achievements: 2 Division Championships, 1 DCS victory, 1 LCS victory.
Best Player: Patrick Stanton - Having only been with the team since season 6, Stanton was an immediate impact at the plate with his powerful bat and behind it with his superb catching skills.
Best Pitcher: B.C. Steenstra - With the team from seasons 3 through 6, the Meen Steen was at the top of his game, one of the best pitchers in the league, not just the team.
Best International Prospect:
Richard Nakajima
Best Draft Pick: Tommy Wakeland
Franchise Theme Song: Sin City by AC/DC - An homage to the teams glory days in Las Vegas.
Franchise Highlights: Franchise won the ALCS in season one before falling to Huntington in the inaugural Cobb World Series. Franchise won the AL west in season 5 as well with a team record 96 wins. Donne Harding won the AL ROY in season 6 despite having exceded ROY qualifications, in what came to be known as "Rookiegate." Franchise signed superstud international SS Richard Nakajima in season 10. Franchise has had only one losing season in it's history, a respectable 80-82 season 6.
Franchise Lowlights: Franchise has steadily declined from it's world series beginnings, edging closer to .500 each season. Franchise has an average history in prospect development, both internationally and in the draft, with a few notable exceptions. Franchise traded slugger Yorrick Strong, who was in his prime, to division rival Anaheim for chumps Barry Womack and Edgar Cubillan.
Franchise Outlook: Things are getting better for the Grizzlies, and they should start to see an increase in win totals as their young players make the majors, and their drafting and international signings improve. The signing of Richard Nakajima in season 10 is a statement that there is a new player in the international market, and the Grizzlies drafts have been better the last few seasons. Anaheim and Helena can't stay on top forever, and as those two teams age Vancouvers prospects grow brighter.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Season 10 Draft Recap - Syracuse through Wichita

Ron Scalici
Age: 21B/T: R/R
Born: Springfield, MO
Position(s): C
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Syracuse Beagles
--The Beagles used the #22 pick to take C Ron Scalici. Scalici can hit the ball well vs. lefties, and has a good batting eye and some pop. His fielding skills are a little on the low end for a ML catcher, but he is durable enough to play every day. 2nd round pick RP Freddie Harper is a borderline prospect who might make the ML, with 3rd round pick P Aaron Webster actually looking like more of a ML prospect with better pitches and splits. The rest of the Beagles draft doesn't contain any potential major leaguers.
Grade: C

Darren Howry
Jerry Gang
Age: 18B/T: R/R
Born: Richmond, CA
Position(s): P (SP2)
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Tacoma Jerry Gang
--Tacoma used the #7 pick on SP Darren Howry, a future ace with all of the skills needed to be a #1 starter. Boasting impeccable control, lights out splits vs. right handed hitting, and 3 pitches projected above 80, Howry was a very nice pick at #7 in the draft. 2nd round pick 2B Jay Jackson has ML quality hitting skills, and should make the majors as well. The next three picks by Tacoma were all shortstops who have ML quality gloves but serious hitting issues. They could make the bigs as backups, but with bats like theirs will never start.
Grade: B

Gary Evans
Age: 18B/T: R/R
Born: Clifton, AZ
Position(s): P (SP2)
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Toledo Tsunamis
--Picking at #9 in the draft, Toledo bulked up their pitching with the selection of SP Gary Evans. Not elite in any one category, Evans is above average in all pitching skills and shows no real weakness. He should definitely make the bigs, but probably will not be anything higher than a #3 starter. Still, he was a safe pick in a horrible draft class. 2nd round pick LF Milt Alexander's ability to hit lefties could propel him to the majors, but no-one else in the Tsunamis draft really has potential to make a dent in the big leagues.
Grade: C

Paulie Gilbert
Blue Jays
Age: 21B/T: S/R
Born: Wautoma, WI
Position(s): P (SP1)
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Toronto Blue Jays
--The Blue Jays scored a dramatic increase over last years draft by actually signing first round pick SP Paulie Gilbert at #4 overall. Gilbert has all the tools necessary to be a top of the rotation starter with tremendous stamina, control, velocity, pitch selection, and great splits. If he fully develops he has the potential to throw a complete game with every start, which is a major plus for this franchise. The rest of the Blue Jays draft wasn't as successful however, bringing in pitchers to bulk up the minor leagues and role players for the bench.
Grade: C

Les Ingram
Age: 18B/T: S/L
Born: Crowville, LA
Position(s): P (SP1)
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Vancouver Grizzlies
--The Grizzlies used the #17 pick in the draft on SP Les Ingram. The crafty lefty shows superior control and splits vs. left handed hitting, but is only average against right handers. His pitch selection is excellent, and he doesn't give up many fly balls. This was a pretty nice pick at this point in the draft. 2nd round pick C Ron Randall was the best defensive catcher in a weak draft for the position. The remainder of Vancouver's draft was used on role players for their minor league teams, with no other ML prospects on the list.
Grade: B-

Rod Castillo
Age: 18B/T: R/R
Born: Wheeling, IL
Position(s): 3B/RF
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Wichita Wankers
--The Wankers picked 3B Rod Castillo with the 29th overall pick, a skilled hitter vs. lefties with good durability and fielding skills. Supplemental pick SP Javier DeSoto was a bust, as he doesn't have the splits necessary to make an impact in the majors. But supplemental picks 2b Fred Hodges and SS Andrew Weaver both have the skills necessary to make the majors at some point. The Wankers 2nd through 4th round picks brought in some borderline prospects who might be able to make the majors if they catch a lucky break, but the same can't be said of 5th round pick P Bernie Gil, who is strictly minor league material. Overall the Wankers have to be disappointed with the talent in the draft in a season they had so many picks, as this wasn't the best draft they could have had.
Grade: C

Season 10 Draft Recap - Richmond through Sioux Falls

Harold Austin
Age: 18B/T: R/R
Born: Spooner, WI
Position(s): P (SP1)
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Richmond Cohibas
--With the #3 overall pick in the draft the Cohibas drafted future #1 starter Harold Austin. Austin boasts incredible splits, control, velocity, and three pitches projected above 80. In sum, Austin will be dominant if he stays healthy through his development. Supplemental pick SP Adam Reagen might make the majors if he can overcome his control issues, and 2nd round pick 2b Carlton Curtis can field well and play every day, but unfortunately doesn't project to have big league hitting skills. The same can also be said about 3rd round pick 2b Michael Carpenter. The rest of the Cohibas draft yielded some decent minor league filler. The pick of Austin brings this draft grade up from what would have been an otherwise low score.
Grade: B

Blade Haas
Age: 18B/T: L/L
Born: San Juan Bautista, CA
Position(s): P (SP2)
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Salem Bitches
--The Bitches took SP Blade Haas with the #2 overall pick in the draft. Haas is a healthy workhorse SP with great control and good pitches, with above average splits. He should surely be an effective pitcher in the majors if he fully develops. Supplemental pick SP Chris Hosmer could also make the majors based on his control and pitch selection, which will have to overcome his subpar splits vs. right handed hitting. The following rounds brought in a few minor league workhorse SP's and some lineup filler for the rookie squad.
Grade: C+

Mitch Diaz
St. Louis
Age: 22B/T: R/R
Born: Colorado Springs, CO
Position(s): P (ClA)
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St. Louis HoundDogs
--First round pick Henry Baker would have been solid if he would have signed. But that is looking like it is not a possibility, leaving St. Louis with 2nd round pick Mitch Diaz as their best draftee this season. Diaz has some potential as a reliever in the bigs, but will have troubles overcoming his 2nd pitch, which is only projected to a 52 rating. His splits and control are definitely good enough though. The rest of St. Louis's draft brought in a bunch of minor league workhorse pitchers who should never see a major league roster.
Grade: D

Victor Santayana
Age: 18B/T: R/R
Born: Ontario Center, NY
Position(s): P (SP1)
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Scranton Dragons
--With the #23 pick in the draft the Dragons took SP Victor Santayana. Santayana is an extremely hard throwing workhorse with excellent control and 5 very good pitches. His splits are above average but not spectacular, but his pitch selection and velocity are ML quality, and will land him a rotation spot. Pitchers Darrel Gagne and Alex Hernandez are borderline prospects who might make the majors someday, but will likely cap out at AAA. 5th round pick SS Bob Shaw has a ML glove, but the rest of the Dragons draft yielded no further prospects of note.
Grade: C+

Marv Hollandsworth
Sioux Falls
Corn Cleats
Age: 19B/T: S/R
Born: Yellville, AR
Position(s): P (SP2)
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Sioux Falls Corn Cleats
--The Corn Cleats selected SP Marv Hollandsworth with the #16 pick in the draft. Hollandsworth projects to have very good splits, velocity, and control, and an adequate pitch selection. He probably will not have a future as a starter however as his stamina will probably top out in the 50's, so it looks as if his role will be in the pen as a setup man or closer. Supplemental round pick RF Wilt Lewis has potential to be a backup in the bigs, but after him the Cleats draftees are borderline prospect at best.
Grade: C+

Season 10 Draft Recap - New York through Pittsburgh

Phil Harris
New York
Age: 20B/T: R/R
Born: Columbia, KY
Position(s): P (SP2)
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New York Titans
--The Titans selected SP Phil Harris with the #27 pick in the draft. Harris is a high control, high velocity pitcher with a top notch selection of pitches. His splits are only slightly above average, but his other attributes should put him in a ML rotation at some point in the future. Supplemental pick SS Kevin Vining and 2nd round pick CF Brad Killebrew probably have a future as backups in the majors. The rest of the Titans draft yielded solid but not spectacular minor league filler.
Grade: B-

Stephen Carson
New York
Pick Pockets
Age: 18B/T: L/L
Born: Earth, TX
Position(s): P (SP1)
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New York Pick Pockets
--The Pick Pockets took SP Stephen Carson with the 18th pick in the draft. Carson boasts lights out splits, stamina, 3 good pitches, and doesn't give up many fly balls. But there is one problem with him, and it is a major one, his projected mid 30's control. It is very difficult to make it in the majors with control at that level, although with his other talents he might be able to pull it off. 2nd round pick C Dan Mottola has better big league potential with his excellent splits and capable fielding skills. 3rd round pick P Ruben Gonzalez also should make the majors with his above average splits and 4 great pitches. New Yorks draft drops off in quality after these picks, but it was a good job overcoming the risky first pick with two steals in the following rounds.
Grade: B-

Dave Holloway
Age: 19B/T: R/R
Born: Ann Arbor, MI
Position(s): P (SP1)
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Omaha Sluggers
--The Sluggers gambled with their first pick of the draft, P Jorge Ordonez, who hasn't signed after demanding 8.5 million dollars out of the gate. Omaha was able to sign it's supplementary round picks however, and ended up with a collection of similar pitchers who all have potential to make the majors. While none of their 1st round picks will be stars, the Times Herald likes the potential of Jack Carter the best, although Dave Holloway, Zachary Sterns, and Derrick Bird all boast similar potential to be either setup men or back of the rotation starters. The rest of the sluggers early round picks all boast attributes that could land them on a ML roster at some point, even 5th round pick RF Archie Lee. While there may be no outstanding player in this draft, the depth of the Sluggers picks in a horrible draft class is commendable, especially without the signing of their top pick.
Grade: B+

Norman Michaels
Age: 18B/T: L/L
Born: Somerdale, NJ
Position(s): P (SP1)
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Pawtucket G-Maniacs
--With the 24th pick in the draft Pawtucket selected SP Norman Michaels, a workhorse pitcher with 5 good pitches, including a nearly unhittable 4 seam FB. His control and splits are slightly above average, but his pitch selection will make those attributes a bit better. #28 overall pick LF Randall Rogers is potentially a bigger star in the making, with exceptional hitting skills, including splits vs. right handers projected in the mid 90's. The G-Maniacs continued their run of solid picks in the supplemental round with pitchers King Gonzales and Wolf Caruso, who both have potential to be top line starters or relievers. Gonzales especiall has the control, splits, and pitch selection to be a #3 starter in the majors. In fact pretty much all of Pawtuckets picks in the first 5 rounds could conceivably make the big leagues, which in this seasons draft is a major accomplishment. Pawtucket scored what is probably the best draft of the season.
Grade: A

Jack Carpenter
Age: 22B/T: R/R
Born: Drexel Hill, PA
Position(s): SS/IF/OF/DH
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Pittsburgh SSP
--The SSP took SS Jack Carpenter with the #20 overall pick in the draft. Carpenter is a solid fielding SS with exceptional hitting talents vs. lefties, and great speed and baserunning ability. He will need to fully reach his fielding projections to be effective at SS, so he might need to see a move to another infield spot in the future. 2nd Round pick Juan Suarez shows good power but needs to work on his other hitting abilities if he is to make the bigs, and 3rd round pick SS Vladimir Nunez has one of the best gloves in the entire draft, and is golden in the field. None of the other picks by the SSP show ML potential.
Grade: B-

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Season 10 Draft Recap - Kansas City through Nashville

Derrick Brumbaugh
Kansas City
Age: 22B/T: L/L
Born: New Denver, BC
Position(s): RF
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Kansas City Express
--With the #8 pick the Express took RF Derrick Brumbaugh, a good hitter with excellent splits and the durability to play 162 games. His power is a little weak for a corner outfield position, but seeing as how there was only one or two players who could actually hit a home run in the draft, this was a good pick. SP Shane Witte has lights out control, but his splits are worrisome, which will probably relegate him to a bullpen role if he makes the majors. SS Tito Norman has a gold glove, but a lead bat, but should make the majors on the merits of his defensive play.
Grade: B-

Joe Lorraine
Age: 18B/T: S/R
Born: Pigeon, MI
Position(s): P (SP1)
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Anaheim Sharks (Los Angeles)
--Picked at #31, SP Joe Lorraine is a potential 4 or 5 starter, with above average splits and excellent pitches. His control is only so-so, and he gives up quite a few fly balls, but he should be able to make the majors. 2nd round pick Sam Dunham is only a borderline prospect, but 3rd round pick RP Sal Torres has big league splits and pitches, which should help him make the majors as a solid setup man. There is a definite quality drop after Torres, but considering how late they picked, this was an ok draft.
Grade: C+

Dusty Joyce
Age: 19B/T: L/L
Born: Stratford, ON
Position(s): P (ClA)
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Louisville Tysons
--With the #21 pick in the draft the Tysons selected RP Dusty Joyce. Joyce boasts incredible control, but his splits are only average, and his pitch selection is only average as well. He might make the bigs as a setup man. Ray Buckley and Cecil Scott are borderline prospects to make the majors, but the rest of the Tysons draft looks to be minor league filler. Definitely not Louisvilles best draft, especially with the number of supplemental picks they had this season.
Grade: D

Darryl Young
Mexico City
Diablos Rojos
Age: 20B/T: L/L
Born: Whitehall, MT
Position(s): RF
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Mexico City Diablos Rojos
--With the #15 pick the Diablos Rojos selected the only true slugger in the draft in Darryl Young. A natural 1B, Young boasts tremendous power and excellent hitting skills, with only a slight weak spot against right handed pitching. His durability may also be an issue in the future, but he should still make the majors with the bat he possesses. Supplemental pick RP Davy Key has the potential to be a left hand specialist out of the pen, and LF George Kirwan packs big punch in his bat, and both have the potential to make the majors. Not a bad draft at all by Mexico City.
Grade: B+

Luis Navarro
Rebel Riders
Age: 18B/T: S/L
Born: Tarrytown, NY
Position(s): P (SP1)
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Nashville Rebel Riders
--With their highest pick being 3rd rounder Luis Navarro, the Rebel Riders were not too concerned with building through the draft this season, which turned out to be a wise move. Navarro is a career minor leaguer, as are the rest of the teams picks this season. Nashville doesn't get an F simply because they were smart (or lucky) enough to avoid this draft.
Grade: D-

Season 10 Draft Recap - Fargo through Jackson

Fargo Fug Nuts
--The Fug Nuts draft was so bad that they didn't even bother to sign any of their picks. Even for Fargo, this is a new low. There is no possible way that this isn't one of the worst drafts in league history.
Grade: F

Len Wall
Age: 18B/T: R/R
Born: Linden, AL
Position(s): RF
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Helena Hellraisers
--Helena took RF Len Wall with the #26 overall pick in the draft. Wall is an above average RF, who should make the bigs but will probably never be more than a .280 career hitter with his projected splits, as he is just barely capable vs. right handed pitching. Considering how low he was picked he is still a decent pick in this years class. Supplemental round pick RP Jeffery Kaplar has much better ML potential than Wall, and should find a spot as a closer or setup man sometime in the future. The rest of the early rounds of Helena's draft yielded a collection of borderline ML players who could find a spot in the bullpen or on the bench, but probably never start. In this years horrible class, this was probably the best that could be expected.
Grade: B+

Charley Morton
Age: 22B/T: R/R
Born: Poseyville, IN
Position(s): SS/IF/COF/DH
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Honolulu Islanders
--The #5 pick in the draft yielded SS Charley Morton, one of the few star position players in this seasons draft. With a ceiling projected in the 90's, there isn't much wrong with this player. His splits are above average but not elite, which at the SS position is entirely acceptable. His batting eye is superb, and his glove is good enough for the position. He also has the health and durability to play every game, which is a bonus. 2nd round pick Lynn Curtis has big league potential as well, although he is probably more suited to playing 3B than SS. Douglas Conroy might make it as a bench player, and from there the Islanders draft drops off.
Grade: B

Carlos Roque
Age: 18B/T: L/L
Born: Ashland, KY
Position(s): P (P)
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Huntington Hillbillies
--Huntington selected P Carlos Roque with the 19th pick in the draft. Roque is a tweener, with not enough stamina to start, and not quite enough durability to be an everyday reliever. If his pitch count is limited however he should find a home in an ML pen at some point based on the strength of his awesome pitch selection and above average splits. Supplemental pick Zephyr Nolan actually is more promising in the pen than Roque, with better splits, control, and durability. His pitches aren't as good, but he is superior in most other aspects as an RP. SP Russell Leonard also has a chance to make it in an ML rotation, but the quality drops off after him. This draft is unique for the Hillbillies as it marks the first time in several seasons they haven't drafted a power hitter with their first pick.
Grade: B

Roland Herzner
Iowa City
Corn Dogs
Age: 21B/T: L/L
Born: Westland, MI
Position(s): P (SP1)
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Iowa City Corn Dogs
--In what might be the biggest bust of the draft, the Corn Dogs selected SP Roland Herzner with the #6 overall pick. Herzner is projected to reach the low 80's overall, but his splits are heinous, especially his projected 37 vs. right handed hitters. With splits that low it is doubtful he will ever be an effective ML pitcher. The rest of the draft isn't much better, as none of Iowa Cities early round picks have potential to make the bigs. The only thing that makes their draft not be the worst this season is that they signed their picks, unlike the Fug Nuts.
Grade: F

Mike Lofton
Age: 18B/T: L/R
Born: Ridgeland, MS
Position(s): 2B/1B/LF/DH
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Jackson Pollocks
--The Pollocks were another victim of the poor draft class, as evidenced by their selection of 2B Mike Lofton with the #13 pick. Lofton can make contact at the plate, but that is unfortunately for the Pollocks about all he can do with any proficiency. Everything else about their first pick is below average for the 2b position. Jackson's draft was salavaged somewhat by the selection of SS Alex Lugo in the supplemental round, a everyday defensive SS with excellent splits who should field well and hit for high average in the majors. Supplemental round pick Midre Bonilla was drafted as a SS, but defensively is more suited to the 3b position, although his bat is a bit weak for it. Mac Thompson and Adam Stratton also have qualities that could land them on a ML roster, but after them the quality is reduced. Not a bad draft, but the poor first pick drags the Pollocks grade down a bit.
Grade: B-

Season 10 Draft Recap - Atlanta through Cleveland

Cortez Mack - Cobb Times Herald

The pundits all agreed that the season 10 draft class was without a doubt one of the worst ever seen in the history of baseball. Still, a few teams managed to get a player or two, but the odds of scoring anything higher than a B grade for most teams are slim. Lets take a look at how the franchises performed in this years draft.

Julio Olmedo
Age: 20B/T: R/R
Born: Whitehall, MI
Position(s): P (SP3)
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Atlanta Pitbulls
--With the #14 pick in the draft the Pitbulls selected SP Julio Olmedo, a hard throwing righty with excellent splits, stamina, velocity, and a decent pitch selection. With his control projected to only reach the mid 60's, it is important that his splits develop fully. If they do he will be a solid #2 or #3 pitcher in the bigs. 2nd round pick C Graham Vining also has major league potential, but will probably never be a star. The rest of the draft featured borderline ML prospects or minor leaguers.
Grade: B

Shawn Nielsen
Angry Armadillo's
Age: 19B/T: R/R
Born: Minooka, IL
Position(s): 2B
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Augusta Angry Armadillos
--The Armadillos took 2b/CF Shawn Nielsen with the #11 overall pick in the draft. Everything about Nielsen says "just slightly above average for his position," with range and glove projected near 80, and hitting skills projected in the mid 60's. He'll make the bigs, but a better value could have been had with the 11th pick. 2nd round pick C Luke Purcell has ML potential as well, and has pretty powerful bat if his batting eye can overcome his below average splits. His PC rating will never be elite however and he may have more of a future as a DH. The rest of the draft yielded some minor league filler for Augusta.
Grade: C

Clark Jensen
Age: 19B/T: R/R
Born: Riverside, NJ
Position(s): P (SP1)
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Chicago Sabercats
--Chicago used the #10 pick on SP Clark Jensen, a ground-ball inducing workhorse with above average control and decent splits. He may never achieve #1 pitcher status, but he will surely have a spot in a ML rotation once he matures. The Sabercats other early round picks were all pitchers with subpar splits, making a ML appearance by any of them unlikely.
Grade: C-

Eric Holdridge
Age: 18B/T: R/R
Born: Poland, ME
Position(s): P (SP1)
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Charlotte Dogs
--#12 overall pick SP Eric Holdridge has what it takes to be a #1 starter in the majors, with superior stamina, durability, splits, velocity, and pitch selection. His only concern is his only average control, but he should have enough tools to make up for it. A signing gamble, the Dogs got lucky and were rewarded with an excellent value pick. Supplemental round pick 2B Mike Watson's ability to hit right handed pitching should also put him in the bigs at some point. The talent level starts to drop with following picks, who all are AAAA players or worse. Still, this was one of the better drafts in an unfortunate draft year.
Grade: B

Gary Ferguson
Age: 22B/T: R/R
Born: Wilmot, SD
Position(s): P (SP1)
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Cleveland Steamers
--The steamers had the #1 overall pick in the draft, and used it on the sure to be ace Gary Ferguson. Ferguson boasts unhittable splits, control, and velocity. His stamina and durability are also very good, but there is a major concern with his health, as he might be a major injury risk with his health only projected to reach the low 50's. But his upside is considerable, and if he can avoid the injury bug he will be a dominant pitcher. 4th round pick RF Bobby Romero was also a good value pick with his high splits, especially vs. right handed pitching. The remainder of the Steamers draft though is forgettable, as the rest of their high round picks were taken by type A signings.
Grade: B-

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Decade of Dominance - Sioux Falls Corn Cleats

Tito McQueen - Cobb Times Herald

Decade of Dominance - Second Place is the Only Place
The Sioux Falls Corn Cleats are one of eight original teams remaining from the inaugural season in Cobb World. They won the NL North in season 1, and were summarily dispatched by Louisville in the playoffs, starting a run of good but not good enough performances by the Cleats, who have never finished higher than second place in the division since. The team has been the home of several future hall of famers including Vance Weaver, Marino Sierra, and Vernon Jones, and has only had one losing season in franchise history. Yet despite all the talent and success, the team has never made it out of the opening round of the playoffs, and fans in Sioux Falls generally spend most of the year looking forward to their owners (mis)management of the official league blog, the Cobb Times Herald.

#14 - Sioux Falls Corn Cleats
Franchise Power Ranking: 42.5
Best Year: 109-53, s6 - Worst Year: 77-85, s8
Postseason Achievements: 1 Division Championship, 4 Wildcard Berths
Best Player: Marino Sierra - Perhaps the best leadoff man in Cobb history, Sierra leads the team in hits with 1,638, SB's with 388, has more doubles than anyone in Cobb with 420, and has a career OPS of .906.
Best Pitcher: Vance Weaver - A Cy Young winner in season 4, Weaver is the Cleats career leader in wins, strikeouts, ERA, WHIP, complete games, shutouts, and innings pitched.
Best International Prospect:
Benny Pineda
Best Draft Pick: Lyle Crudale
Franchise Theme Song: A Dying Wish by Anthema - "I would die now... for one last wish," in this case, that wish is to win the NL North and fulfill the promise that the team has never been able to fully capitalize on.
Franchise Highlights: Franchise won the NL North in season 1. Franchise earned Wildcard berths in seasons 4, 5, 6, and 7. Franchise set a team record with 109 wins in season 6. Franchise acquired Vernon Jones for Lonnie Shumpert and Russell Pall in season 3 from the Fargo Fug Nuts. Vance Weaver won the Cy Young in season 4. Franchise has drafted stars such as Benito Rodriguez, Ben Harris, Mickey Corino, and Crudale. Franchise has a solid history of signing international prospects.
Franchise Lowlights: Franchise has never finished higher than second since season 2. Franchise failed to sign first round draft pick Benji Eckensthaler in season 1, who was then part of the "Great Midnight Raid" by the Fug Nuts in season 2. Franchise suffered the only losing season in team history with a 77-85 season 8. Franchise finished 3rd for the first time in team history in season 9. Franchise traded Angel Vazquez and Matt Reese to Jackson for R. J. Winn and Benny Andujar. Winn was a total bust for the Cleats, while Reese and Vazquez went on to be solid performers at the ML level. Franchise finished second by one game in the NL North in season 6, despite winning 109 games.
Franchise Outlook: Things are looking good for the Cleats, but not so good that they will beat out Fargo for the division championship. Like Ahab chasing his great white whale, the Cleats are sailing rough waters attempting to land the ever elusive NL North championship. That being said, the Cleats farm system is deep, there is good talent on the ML team, and the payroll is reasonable. There is no reason to think that they won't be chasing second place for several more seasons at least, with hope that one of those years Fargo will somehow suffer a misstep and allow the Cleats division title glory.

Decade of Dominance - Syracuse Beagles

Ajax Montalbon - Cobb Times Herald

Decade of Dominance - Small Payroll, Big Money
The Syracuse Beagles started in Cobb World as the Trenton Zombies, and had one of the best rotations in league history, setting the stage for a franchise that has had consistently good pitching from season 1 until today. Having only suffered one losing season in franchise history, the Beagles are and have been a solidly managed team whose sharp management is paying dividends in a major way in recent seasons with wins and playoff appearances. Built around a core of young aces and position players, with a sprinkling of solid veterans, the Beagles are a baseball force to be reckoned with, and are currently one of the better teams in Cobb World.

#15 - Syracuse Beagles
Franchise Power Ranking: 39.5
Best Year: 98-64, s2 - Worst Year: 79-83, s6
Postseason Achievements: 2 Division Championships, 2 Wildcard Berths
Best Player: Kenny Blair - The dynamic infielder has been a 30/30 man his entire career with the Beagles, and has never posted an OPS below .900 with the team.
Best Pitcher: Ruben Montero - There have been some good pitchers for the Beagles, but Montero has been consistently excellent for many seasons, including a 20 win season 8.
Best International Prospect:
Ruben Montero
Best Draft Pick: Charles Reese
Franchise Theme Song: We Rock by Dio - In case you didn't know it, the Beagles rock.
Franchise Highlights: Franchise won division titles in seasons 2 and 7. Franchise earned Wildcard berths in seasons 8 and 9. Franchise won a team high 98 games in season 2. Original starting rotation in season 1 consisted of Olmedo Contreras, Flip Heathcott, Bubba Wise, and Timothy Serra, a collection of future Cy Youngs and All Stars. Franchise traded for a collection of young all stars in Paul Jung, Ron Reilly, and Jamie Beimel in seasons 9 & 10. Franchise has drafted very well, and made some solid international signings, including Montero for only 5.5 million dollars. Franchise signed the first 10 million dollar international prospect in league history in Yorvit Hernandez.
Franchise Lowlights: Franchise suffered the only losing season in it's history with a 79-83 season 6. By season 3, the entire all star starting rotation was gone through trades and free agency.
Franchise Outlook: The outlook for the Beagles is two thumbs way up. With their collection of very good young players in both the lineup and rotation, the sky is the limit for Syracuse. It's a matter of guessing how far they will go in the playoffs, which is a good place to be. With a core that includes Jung, Reilly, Beimel, Phil Hinch, Charles Reese, and others, things are going to be looking good for the Beagles for many seasons to come.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Decade of Dominance - Mexico City Diablos Rojos

Cortez Mack - Cobb Times Herald

Decade of Dominance - Economic Collapse and Recovery
The Mexico City Diablos Rojos have had one of the most fiscally interesting histories in the league. Back in seasons 4 & 5 owner Bigdaddysalm set records in the leagues for extreme contracts, posting never before seen payrolls in excess of 120 million dollars. Coupled with the inability to sign draft picks, this put the team in a hellish situation. Fortunately new owner wihargo knew what he was doing and was able to redeem the team from the pit of despair it had entered in to with the help of future hall of famer Phillip Brown and some fiscal smarts unseen in the teams history and the current government. Now Mexico City is poised to be a powerhouse team for many seasons.

#16 - Mexico City Diablos Rojos
Franchise Power Ranking: 36
Best Year: 94-68, s8 - Worst Year: 58-104, s5
Postseason Achievements: 4 Division Championships
Best Player: Lewis Allen - Allen has put up over 300 HR's and 1,300 hits in is career with Mexico City.
Best Pitcher: Phillip Brown - Brown won two of his three Cy Youngs with Mexico City, and was the dominant pitcher in the league during that time.
Best International Prospect:
Pascual Amaro
Best Draft Pick: Eric Collins
Franchise Theme Song: Sympathy for the Devil by the Rolling Stones - Classic song about the man in red for the Red Devils.
Franchise Highlights: Franchise won division titles in seasons 1, 6, 7, & 8. Philip Brown won the Cy Young with the team in seasons 4 & 5. Franchise drafted one of the best pitchers and mustaches in league history in Eric Collins in season 6. Franchise also drafted future stars Wilfredo Henriquez, Jerry Ross, Darryl Young, Eric Collins, and Geoff Washington.
Franchise Lowlights: Franchise won only 58 games in season 5 despite having a 120 million dollar plus payroll and a Cy Young winning Phillip Brown. Franchise issued perhaps the most obscene contract in league history with the signing of Brown to a 5 year 120 million dollar deal. Franchise also signed numerous other overpaid contracts that took years to clear from the franchises books.
Franchise Outlook: The future is very bright in Mexico City, and the reason is the young pitching staff that includes future Cy Young Eric Collins, Geoff Washington, the other Eric Collins, and many other talented young hurlers. With a solid lineup that includes the devilishly talented Hades Booker (was there ever a better matched name with a team?) and Domingo Montana, the Diablos Rojos can compete with anybody, and are more financially fit that current division powerhouse Nashville.