Friday, July 1, 2016

Big Single-Season Records Under Assault

Ruth-Gehrig.  Mantle-Maris.  McGwire-Sosa.  Nothing lights up the fans like an attack on the home run record.  In this presumably "dead-ball era," that's exactly what we have this season.

Bob Tucker and Jin-Chi-Itou, after 83 games, have 38 and 36 homers, respectively.  That puts them on pace for 74 and 70, with Sidney Fabregas' 73 standing as the record since Season 2.

To put this in time perspective, teams averaged 4.93 runs per game in Season 2.  We're down to 4.67 the last 2 seasons (not down as much as I thought...this may be a young enough world that we didn't get much of the "steroid era"), although up a bit to 4.73 so far this year.

Itou also has a great shot at Fabregas' RBI record of 189, set in Season 8.  He has 101 through 83 games - 197 for the season if he can maintain the pace.

Neither Tucker nor Itou has taken a day off yet, so that may factor into the chase as the season wears on.  But in a "pitcher's era" it's fun to see this generation's top sluggers reaching the pinnacles of greatness.

Speaking of pitchers, Sam Stock has 21 wins and is on pace for 41.  That would shatter the previous wins mark of 34 set by the gold standard of prolific middle relievers, Orlando Fernandez, back in Season 22.  

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Season 31 Draft Analysis

With most of  the first round players signed, I thought it was time for an analysis of this year's draft.   Interesting that the first round was so pitching heavy.  So without further ado:

1 (SLC) Tuck Howard.  Ostensibly a SS.  Arm won't let that happen, but CF/2B should be a solid option.  Will hit with very good contact, especially against lefties.  All other hitting attributes are good but not stellar.  Good player, should play in a couple of AS games, but as an overall #1, he gets a B+.

2 (CHY) Wayne Langerhans.  Great pick....except for that whole not signing thing.  Hopefully nicbase has the cash to get the comp pick next year.  Grade: Incomplete.

3 (SD) Mark Pettitte.  Not HOF fame material, but should make several AS games, especially pitching in Petco.  An above average player in every respect, the main quibble I have is that he will probably struggle to go over 200 IPs.  Grade: A-

4 (BOI) Jayson Purcell.  Another really good  pitcher except for one little thing.  He can probably only make 15-20 starts per year.  Relief looks like the better option.  Still a quality arm who should sign fairly soon.  Grade: B+

5 (NY1) Heath Dickerson.  My scouts missed him.  Grade: Incomplete.

6 (PIT) Theo Schulte.  Another solid arm who should sign soon enough.  Soft tosser who may struggle with the occasional tough righty, he is otherwise a good SP.  In this draft: Grade A-

7 (SAL) Arthur Taylor.  A future LF masquerading as a 2B.  His best attribute is speed, should be a good base runner who will draw walks.  Otherwise, he is pretty pedestrian at the plate.  Should be a plus defender in Left.  Grade B

8 (IND) Pep Walsh.  A good hitter with plus power.  Probably a better 1B than LF.  Won't steal bases and could do a better job drawing walks, but that is nitpicking.  Grade A-

9 (SFE)  Chris Lemaster.  Looks like the sort of player I usually pick.  Doesn't look even close to what the scouts are saying.  Definitely a RF rather than a 3B, his splits look more like 70's rather than 80/90's, and all his other hitting numbers scream mediocre at best.  Hitting in Santa Fe can only help so much.  To top it off his health and playing time both look sub-par.  Grade C+

10 (TEX) Rico Alomar.  SP whose splits look to undermine some decent ancillary numbers.  I'm seeing number 5 starter....maybe.  We are definitely at the point in the draft where talent is dropping off.  Still, there were better players out there.  Grade: B-

11 (DUR) Victor Brady.  Another of the many SS prospects destined for 2B, He has the ability to steal a ton of bases, and should be a decent hitter despite his lack of power.  While his splits do not impress much, his eye and contact are both quite good.  Grade B

12 (NAS) Dan Eibner.  Classic soft tossing lefty reliever.  May strufle to get some right handers out, but great 1st pitch and GB rating.  Grade B

13 (VC) Arodys Herrera.  Not a bad pick for this spot.  Will struggle some against lefties, but I have come around to thinking that the importance of the vL rating is overrated.  Otherwise projects as a solid middle of the rotation SP. Grade B+

14 (ROC) Matt Shaben.  Should be an OK 4-5 SP.  Throws very soft, and could keep the ball down better, but otherwise looks to be a major league caliber pitcher.  Grade B

15 (SCZ) Walt Hughes.  Think Matt Shaben with better velocitya nd FB/GB, but lesser pitches.  Grade B

16 (CHA) Freddy Martin.  Good setup A pitcher.  None of his ratings are eye-popping, but they are all at least above average and should be mostly better than that.  If he could throw more innings or start, I would rate him higher, but still a solid Grade B.

17 (LOU) Dave Zerbe.  We are definitely at the point in the draft where there are still ML quality players, but they are all roster fillers rather than potential stars.  Zerbe looks a lot like Shaben but with lower quality pitches.  Grade B-

18 (SJU) Dicky Kubitza.  One of those RPs who can save a staff by throwing a ton of innings.  Only problem is that his innings won't be real high quality.  His other numbers may not be too bad, but his vR looks marginal.  Grade B-

19 (CHR) Steven Decker.  Good news is he is a 2B who actually should be able to play decent defense there.  Bad news is his hitting may not make it worth playing him.  If he was a GG caliber SS, you would be ecstatic with his bat, but otherwise he is average at every thin ecept his batting eye, which is not good.  He should be able to steal a base though.  Grade B-

20 (SCO) David Kivlehan.  I like this guy.  Hs only Achilles Heel is his vL, but it should be good enough to get by.  He won't pitch a ton of innings as a SP, but they will be good quality.  Grade B+

21 (CH2) Matty Reyes.  If he was 18, he would be an exciting prospect, but at 22 he looks to be a bottom of the rotation SP.  Looks very average other than his velocity and GB/FB, which should both be well above average.  This late, that is worth a Grade of B.

22 (JAC) Carter Altherr.  This old man may turn into a late first round gem.  His power bat may make him worth playing his just acceptable defense at catcher.  Of course, his low health may mean he is too busy picking splinters to ever develop.  Grade B

23 (PHI) Chris Lush.  Assuming he signs (and he should), he is yet another SP who is weak against lefties, but should make up for it with his power arm and pounding it into the ground.  Solid B pending the outcome of his ratings when he signs.

24 (JAX) Sidney Seaton.  My scouts were afraid to look at him as they thought he was a gay porn star.  Grade Incomplete.

25 (SLC) Benjamin Peacock.  Speaking of gay porn stars, Mr. Peacock looks to have the range of a 2B stapled to the glove of a LF.  He does possess the ability to steal bases, but his bat looks like a backup for a few seasons at best.  Grade C+

26 (BUF) Colin Basile.  Another inning-eating RP, who will struggle to hang on to a big role in a big league bullpen.  Should make an OK SetupB for a few seasons.  Grade C+

27 (KC) Carter Rowen.   Maybe destined to be a reliever rather than a starter, but for this point in the draft I am happy with his potential.  Definitely a flyball pitcher, but that plays better in Kaufman than many stadiums.  If only his last 4 pitches were a little better....Grade B

28 (LV) Ignacio Morlan.  If that tightwad mongoose would actually sign his players, we would know more, but he looks like a potential GG LF who might platoon against lefties.  Grade C+

29 (LV) Orval Schneider.  Won't be worth signing for the money he will want.  Grade D-

30 (SAL) Gareth Damon.  May be a signability issue.  Looks like he will be a very good RP capable of over 100 quality innings.  Assuming he signs, and his projections are fairly accurate, Grade B+.

31 (DOV) Will Acker.  Appears to be a possible number 5 SP....or, just as easily, a mopup.  Grade B-

32 (NO) Tony Pelaez.  See Acker, Will.  Just not quite as good.  Grade C+

33 (HUN) Rick Ondrusek.  Same thing, just a liiiitle worse.  Grade C+

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Team Notes Game 32

We're just about one-fifth of the way into the season.  Reality is starting to set in.  That sketchy left-hander with the career 5.32 ERA is not going to bust out his career year and win 20 for you. But there have been surprises, both good and bad.  Here's a team-by-team look at items of note throughout the league.

Chicago Orphans:  Despite a 4.89 Team ERA, the Orphans are in the middle of the NL North race.  They're 2nd in runs scored in the NL...the early standouts are RF Brad O'Connor (.336/8/21) and CF Yoslan Goya (.314/6/25).

Chicago Capone's:  Total pitching collapse so far...ERA more than a run higher than last year's.  Ray of sunshine:  their power hitters are connecting (4th in AL)...Oropesa leads with 10.

Cheyenne Huckleberries:  Starters Bellinger (2-2, 3.38 ERA) and Atchley (3-2, 3.38) are trying to keep the staff afloat, but after those 2 it's just a big barrel of napalm.  Despite being short on power (AL-last 18 HR's), the offense is scoring pretty well...1B Cooke leads with 24 RBI.

Charlotte Steam:  Could this team put away the NL South early?  2nd-best Team ERA (3.64) says bet on it.  4 starters under 4.00 ERA...T.J. Maybin has been lights out at 2-2, 1.79.  Remember last year's big trade of Kelvim Hasegawa for Rich Kohn and Zoltan Keppinger?  Keppinger only leads both leagues in HR's with 19.

Charleston Flying Divots:  Looks like a rebuilding year after all for the Divots.  I still can't figure out who's the bigger mystery, Derrick Dawkins (5.26 ERA) or Nashville's Jason Haywood (7.84 ERA).

Buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalobuffalo:  We knew they'd hit HR's - their 57 lead the NL.  If ROY favorite Carlos Valdivia (a tepid .261/3/5 so far) heats up, watch out.  The pitching just needs to get back to last year's level for them to eventually pull away in the North.

Boise Spuds:  Just trying to stay competitive during the rebuild.  Standouts:  SS Alex Duran (.299/6/23) and RP Jolbert Escobar (2 wins, 1 save, 1.07 ERA).

Team Notes at Game 30

We're almost one-fifth of the way into the season.  Reality is starting to set in.  That sketchy left-hander with the career 5.32 ERA is not going to bust out his career year and win 20 for you. But there have been surprises, both good and bad.  Here's a team-by-team look at items of note throughout the league.

Philadelphia Erffdoggs:  They were supposed to be lapping the field in the North, but the offense is sputtering.  Last year's leading hitters, Stults and Barnes, are slumping (.637 and .767 OPS's).

New York Sewer Gators:  Luckiest team in Hobbs so far:  18-13 while being outscored.  

New Orleans Big Test Icicles:  Riding a W10.  Seriously, 11 wins for Sam Stock?

Nashville BootLeggers:  Mystery:  Jason Haywood - 0-5, 7.84 ERA.

Louisville Hot Brown:  There are bright spots:  C Raul Villa (.358/5/26) and SP Willy Osoria (2-1, 2.18 ERA).

Las Vegas Desperados:  Just started a big series with Huntington with a 2-1 win.  21-9 based on a familiar formula:  Jumbo Sanchez (.387/7/21) and Jin-Chi Itou (.339/13/37).

Kansas City Jayhawks:  These guys were supposed to be rebuilding, but 8 1-run wins have them leading the division by 4.  Schedule's been friendly so far, but they just started a 10-game stretch against New Orleans and Huntington.

Jacksonville Three Meaningful Games:  The old guys still have some punch...leading the NL in scoring behind Vinny Catalanotto (.355/9/23), Juan Aramboles (.333/8/29), John Small (.415 OBP) and Tommy Webster (.320/6/27).

Jackson Mudslide:  Hitters are doing their job (168 runs - 4th), but the team ERA has exploded from 4.09 to 5.26 so far this season.  Springer's handing in at 2-2, 3.69, but the other SP's all have ERA's over 4.80.

Indianapolis The Next Episode:  Don't look now, but Indy has won 7 of 8 (after starting 1-21).  Farm-system reinforcements have keyed the turnaround:  new 3B Trenidad Durazo started .545/4/9 to kick off his ROY bid.

Huntington Fire Blitz:  Incredibly, they're outscoring last year's team, 6.83/game to 6.25/game.  5 starters (SS Porter, C Escobar, 2B Alfonzo, CF Lee and RF Gilkey) over 1.000 OPS (with LF Hasegawa "only" .989).
Durham Dark Monsters:  Cooled some after a hot start but still in the thick of the race.  Monahan's MVP bid:  .341/10/35 and leading AL 3B's in + plays.

Dover Rabid Dogs:  What's up with the Dogs?  They entered the season as the NL's preemptive favorite, but have disappointed at 15-15.  Scoring (4.3 rpg) is way off last year's pace (5.52).  First 5 hitters (Reagan, Woods, Cela, T.Hasegawa, Martinez) have been fine but the next-highest starter's OPS is Suzuki's .675.  On the bright side, the pitching has been brilliant - 3.54 ERA.

Team-By-Team At Game 30

We're almost one-fifth of the way into the season.  Reality is starting to set in.  That sketchy left-hander with the career 5.32 ERA is not going to bust out his career year and win 20 for you. But there have been surprises, both good and bad.  Here's a team-by-team look at items of note throughout the league.

Salt Lake City Trappers:  Huge turnaround (so far, at least) for the Trappers, who are in the thick of it in the anyone-can-win NL West.  Scoring up 16% form last year behind Trenidad Cruz (.297/11/26) and B.J. Dunwoody (.382/5/20).  Revamped staff has a 4.19 ERA vs. last year's 5.53.

Salem Witch Hunters: Just tied the Cardinals with an 8-2 run despite some slow starts: Brewington .248 BA & Posada 1-2, 4.44 ERA.

Rochester EliteDucks:  Surprise leaders?  Not really...won 87+ 9 of last 11 years.  Josh Garcia .291/8/18.

Pittsburgh Ellis D's:  Turnaround starting?  Season 28's #1 pick (13 overall) Danys De La Vega, just called up.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Team-By-Team At Game 25

We're almost one-fifth of the way into the season.  Reality is starting to set in.  That sketchy left-hander with the career 5.32 ERA is not going to bust out his career year and win 20 for you. But there have been surprises, both good and bad.  Here's a team-by-team look at items of note throughout the league.

Santa Cruz Sparkies:  At 10-3, best home record in Hobbs, so they've figured out how to play the big ballpark.  3 of the rotation have ERA's under 3.00 Miguel Cedeno 2.25, Ugueth Rodriguez 2.59, Mark Cloud 2.79.

San Juan Padres:  The offense is struggling with just 90 runs scored (15th). Last year's big star Branden Clarkson has not digested the move to SS well either on offense (.198 BA, although he does lead the team with 18 RBI) or defense (.920 fielding %).

San Francisco Fog:  Ragged start (12-13) for the Fog but just 3 back.  .333/6/21 start for 2B Chris Cromer.  Their big free-agent gamble, Nolan Duffy, has been excellent with a 2.53 ERA in 32 IP.

San Diego Surf Sharks:  Nice start at 13-12 for the Sharks, as their pitching (3.92 ERA - 3rd) is keeping them in hailing distance of the AL West-leading Desperados.  Despite Joe Wilk's bad start (.217/5/12), the offense is outscoring last year's edition (although still last : in the AL).

Team-By-Team At Game 24

We're almost one-fifth of the way into the season.  Reality is starting to set in.  That sketchy left-hander with the career 5.32 ERA is not going to bust out his career year and win 20 for you. But there have been surprises, both good and bad.  Here's a team-by-team look at items of note throughout the league.

Vancouver Voodoo:  Near 1.000-OPS start for 3B Bob Wilkerson and 2.25 ERA for Matt Grace (although he's the stereotype of the pitcher described in the intro) have the Voodoo at least flirting with .500 as they start a teardown/rebuild.

Texas Choades:  Bob Tucker doing his usual thing:  .409/9/20 through 24 games.  It's their pitching keeping them afloat, though (Aramis Romo - 2-1, 2.28 ERA thorugh 4 starts).

Scottsdale Cardinals:  The Bash Brigade is back in action (tied for the NL lead in HR's at Game 24).  2nd-year RF Lou Trammel leads with 9.  And guess what?  When you stop the other guys from scoring, you win a lot more games!  Cards pitchers have been masterful...Chiasson is 4-0, 2.18 ERA, and the move back to the rotation seems to agree with Ivan Beltre (2-0, 2.95).

Santa Fe Fire:  Must be nice: with their recent Game-20 promotions, the Fire rotation that will have them contending for the next dozen+ years is set:  Juan Martinez (age 24), Willie Tepera (25), Willie Matos (21), Torey Izquierdo (21), and either Cy Kneper (24) or Hernan Ramos (23).