Saturday, December 29, 2007
At 47-46, the Loons are over .500 for the 1st time after the All-Star break. Hopefully this trend can continue, because we are also in 1st place by 1 game. That said, we need pitching to come around to guide us to the finish line.
Notes from the All-Star Break;
Vic Cummings (CF) and Pablo Guzman (RF) were voted to the team this season. Cummings batted lead-off (0-3) and Guzman was the MVP hitting the game winning 3-run HR to put the NL club in front for good.
As for the season, well, it has been an up and down ride.
At catcher, Patrick Stockton (.316-12-60) and Brett Benoit (.305-1-6) are providing offensive help that was very unexpected. I hope this holds out. I had Rivers(.340-18-60 w/7sb) tabbed for this spot and he is tearing up AAA. Could make for interesting decisions next season.
1B has been occupied by Pasqual Guillen. Pasqual (.238-17-52) has good power, but the batting average has killed me. He has nice ratings, but they are not translating into good BA.
2B Greg Cobb is rockin'. Greg (.326-3-30 w/13sb) has filled a need, granted without power, but is getting on. He bats in the 9 spot AFTER the pitcher. I read in one of the forums someone asking if this had been done effectively. He has scored 52 runs this season from that spot and it looks like it may work.
3B Tony Soto (.311-15-63) has done nicely for a rookie. He played SS in AAA, but has done a fine job handling this role.
SS Phil Gibbons (.287-9-31) and Mark Freeman (.308-5-21) are platooning well at this position and will keep doing this as long as it works.
RF Pablo Guzman (.313-16-63 w/11sb) is building on last years' GG rookie season. Named a starter to the All-Star team this year, Pablo has done most of his damage from the lead-off spot.
CF Vic Cummings (.332-12-61 w/22sb) also made his first All-Star start. Vic is leading the team in Avg, runs, doubles and SB. He is a do everything CF that should make more trips to the mid-summer classic.
LF Robert McGee (.276-22-69) has cooled a little with the BA but is the team leader in HR and RBI's.
Pablo Manzillo has bee solid this season (9-4 / 1.53 WhiP / 4.83 ERA) but I wish he could go deeper into games.
Tony Rosado (12-5 / 1.24 / 3.84 @ AAA) was brought up to see if he could add stability to the starting unit. Made ML debut right before the break and went 6 inn for the win. Lets hope this keeps up the rest of the way.
Russ Adkinson (6-9 / 1.39 / 4.67) has struggled at times, but he has the tools to survive. I think he just needs run support.
Miguel Hernandez (6-10 / 1.73 / 7.36) has probably come up too early. We just cannot stay in many of the games he pitches in.
Douglas Ducey (7-8 / 1.50 / 4.80) is having a better 2nd ML season. At 120 inn pitched, he leads the staff. This may not be saying much, but it is better than where he was last season
The middle relief has performed better. Most notably, James Kim (1.30 WhiP / 2.88 ERA), Ricardo Nieves (1.39 / 3.77) and Billy Ray Sanders (1.33 / 3.84) have done a nice job keeping us in games when the starters go out.
The Loons aquired Timothy White (1.08 / 0.84) from Toledo to be the closer. He is 6-6 since coming to Minnesota and is doing well.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Well, the coach hiring process was slow, but the loon's (20Mil) budget provided a good base of teaching talent this year. Hopefully, this will help the young team.
The rule 5 draft brought a couple of talented players my way. At SS, the Loons took from talent within the division by stealing Mark Freeman from Pittsburg. Mark is definately a defensive asset, but his bat has helped to.
Minnesotan native Patrick Stockton (C) came over from Montreal. He has the ratings to make you believe he'll be a star. Only time will tell.
After the first 43 games, the Loons are 19-24 and only 3 games out of the division lead. They have shown signs of improvement this season (ie. leading the NL in hitting), but still are an up and down team.
The hitting is much better than season 1 when we were last in the ML and now in the top 5. They are still a young team and I think this could get better.
At catcher, Stockton has really done a nice job of adding average and power (.329 BA - 9HR - 36 RBI). His bat and Benoit's late inning defensive ability have been a good combination.
Guillen has taken the 1B job this season. He leads the team in HR's (.243-11-30), but the BA must improve or I will be forced to look elsewhere.
The plan at 2B was to use a combination of Gryboski/Cannon. Unfortunately, Gryboski was injured in spring training (I should have seen it coming because this happened in the start of season 2). Cannon was hitting poorly so I brought up Sanford to fill the role, but the hitting got worse. I made the decision to move Greg Cobb to 2B and WOW it worked. Cobb is hitting .320-2-15 and has a .987 fielding %. it is good to see him being productive since he lost his CF job to Cummings.
At 3B, Tony Soto started the season slow. Now he is storming back (.302-8-39). I hope this keeps up.
Phil Gibbons has done another fine job at SS .291-5-17, but the addition of Freeman has given me another option without giving up the defense.
In Left is Robert McGee. Robert is hitting well (.310-9-33) and has been a great defensive improvement over Nick Jordan.
Vic Cummings has been his steady and consistant self. Hitting .331-5-32 w/11 SB he again is showing why I think he will be a perenial All-Star.
RF Pablo Guzman, fresh of his rookie year where he hit .268-16-73 and recieved his 1st Gold Glove, is hitting .326-6-22.
These three, I hope, will be a staple for the Loons OF for the next several years.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Monday, October 22, 2007
The season is almost over and I sit in second place in the division, unfortunately 24.5 games out of 1st. The ML squad won't make the playoffs (67-77), but I hope the minors are a showing of things to come. All 5 levels have made their post-season (4 Division champs and 1 Wild card).
An update of the Pitching;
Doc Gentry was traded to Portland for prospects. This should be a move for the better, but Doc has gone wild for the Firs and is now a Cy Young canidate.
Howard Lidle .283 / 1.39 / 4.63 / 7-10
Darrell Robertson .263 / 1.74 / 5.10 / 9-8
Billy Ray Sanders .288 / 1.50 / 4.83 / 2-9
Douglas Ducey .283 / 1.59 / 6.32 / 7-10
Pablo Manazillo .259 / 1.41 / 3.43 / 8-5
This group will go through some changes next year, but there is a good core of players to build from.
The bullpen has been better this year (.269 / 1.55 / 5.37 / 27-29) and I think I am starting to understand how to manage it.
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
At 22-13, this team has surpassed expectations, so far. Pitching has been above average and we are getting major contributions from some who were not expected to be on the team. I’m trying not to get too hyped because it is a long season. Here are some team stats to be proud of;
Team BA is better than last year at .275 and HR’s are up (48). Runs per game is over 6 and that is a direct reflection to my record (22-13). Fielding % is tied for 1st in the world at .988. this has been the staple of my team for the 1st season plus. With the team ERA at 4.16, I am in most of the games this year (7-3 in 1 run games). The pitching staff is in the top 5 of the following catagories;
WhiP – 1.35
HR allowed – 37
OBA - .254
Here is a look at how my boys are doing;
Last Season OAV-.233 / Whip-1.29 / ERA-3.43 / 12-6 (33 Starts)
This season OVA-.266 / Whip-1.14 / ERA-3.86 / 3-2 (7 starts)
Although the record doesn’t show it, we have been in each and every game he pitches.
Last season OAV-.260 / Whip-1.34 / ERA-4.03 / 9-10 (30 Starts)
This season OVA-.224 / Whip-1.13 / ERA-2.64 / 3-1 (7 starts)
Doc has not been the power pitcher he was last year, but he is steady and sure each outing.
Last season OAV-.238 / Whip-1.52 / ERA-4.21 / 13-4 (29starts in MILB)
This season OVA-.213 / Whip-1.37 / ERA-3.56 / 5-2 (7 starts)
Darrell has been a great surprise this season. At 23 and playing mostly at HiA last year he has really come though. Only worry is the team leading 30 BB in 43 Inn.
Billy Ray Sanders
Last season OVA-.287 / Whip-1.35 / ERA-5.50 / 2-3 (15 starts)
This season OVA-.280 / Whip-1.32 / ERA-2.63 / 0-0 (2 starts)
Billy has come into the starting role as of late to see if he can’t improve on Torey Alcantaras’ rough start (.281-1.59-4.97). So far the reviews are mixed.
Last season OVA-.305 / Whip-1.61 / ERA-7.82 / 1-3 (6 starts)
This season OVA-.319 / Whip-1.84 / ERA-8.63 / 3-4 (7starts)
Doug has got to pick himself up. 5 of his 7 starts have gone over 6 innings, but even though he leads the team with 31 K’s, his .319 OVA is killing him.
What can I say but WOW!. This group has greatly improved from the last season. Hopefully this can continue. At 5-2 and 11-15 in save opps, this has been a great improvement. 1.22 Whip and 3.38 ERA is far better than last season.
Turner and Benoit are driving me crazy. Last year you could count on them to hold up their end of the batting (around .277). This year their combined .228 avg is brutal.
Victor Lira and his .272 BA and team leading 12 HR’s are a pleasant surprise. Thank god I didn’t have to depend on rookies here. Lira has been a good FA pickup for the price ($875K)
Gryboski was hurt to start the year and hasn’t come back well yet. Wiggington has filled in nicely and hitting .318 in the 2 hole has been pleasant. Both of these players are in the last year of their contract and if this keeps up, will not be back.
Cannon is hitting less than last season (.256-10-33) for average, but the power numbers have improved.
Gibbons(.259-4-20) has picked up right where he left off last year. Great defense, average hitting. I guess I’ll take it.
Jordan(.282-0-9) has again held his own leading off. Second on the team in SB’s with 9, he has given the team a good start to each game. Would like to see that BA come up, but he is what he is.
Cummings hase been everything I expected. (.362-7-26) and a team leading 11 steals has been quite impressive. I have been hitting him 4th, but I think I need to move him to 3rd to maximize his Avg/Pwr/Spd combination.
Guzman(.287-4-28) has fullfilled my needs in right. His bat and range have filled a hole that was really a ? leading into the season.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
7-0. That was the record to start the season. Too bad we have 155 left to play. It's very early, but feels good to have a good start.
Starting pitching has been solid. In 7 starts, the starters have gone 47 innings with an ERA of 2.49 per.
Middle relief has been quite surprising pitching 14 IP @ 1.93 ERA. Closer Benji Sosa earned the job with his ST performance, has had 2 appearances allowing 0 runs with 2 saves.
I'm waiting for the shoe to fall..............
The offense has been above average hitting .315-19-57 in the 7 games. Victor Lira has hit 4HR and Thomas Cannon leads with 5.
I've been happy with Cummings hitting clean-up. he only has 5 RBI's so we need to do a better job of getting on in front of him.
Up next is a 3 game series with the vaunted Rebels who are also 7-0 in week 1.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Season 2: A review and preview of things to come
Taking over for the previous ownership – my first assessment of the Strangler franchise is that it is ready to win now. There is a good mix of youth and experience at the major league level. Pitching seems to be our strength whilst the offense will be no slouch. We expect to improve on last seasons 71-91 record. A playoff berth and potential run for the World Series title is the goal for this season.
Brad Gilbert OAV .258 / WHIP 1.37 / ERA 4.39
This elder statesman of the staff (35 years old) is the current ace and stopper. The lanky right hander carried the load going 18-10 over 239.2 innings. This was good enough to earn him an all star appearance last year. Hopefully he can duplicate that effort this year and next as he is under contract until season 3. Decline isn’t so much of a concern as Gilbert is a known workout warrior (92 makeup).
Esteban Owen OAV .293 / WHIP 1.59 / ERA 5.44
The left handed Owen had a disappointing first season in the eyes of the fans. The 29 year old Dominican was victimized by the long ball last season – giving up 45 jacks to opponents. If he could learn to keep the ball down a little more he should see a drastic improvement in his win totals. Then again – it usually “is what it is” for a player at this stage of his career.
Max Carrara OAV .271 / WHIP 1.44 / ERA 5.25
Another pitcher who seems to have underperformed last season considering the scouts ratings. This lefty came into spring training in great shape hoping to prove that last seasons performance was an anomaly.
Mendy Lee OAV .267 / WHIP 1.60 / ERA 4.52
Mendy Lee is the future staff ace of the
Thomas Padilla OAV .269 / WHIP 1.33 / ERA 4.18
This vet completes the Stranglers staff. The left handed Padilla posted a better than 2 to 1 K to BB ratio. Management is confident that he will be the kind of consistent 5th starter that is needed to win at the big league level.
This will be a definite strength for the team as
’s bullpen expects to strangle opposing hitters in the late innings. Peter Hammond closed out a respectable 28 of 32 games last year. Rubber arm Charlie Chance held opponents to a .249 OAV last year over 111 innings. Boston
Hitters Review/Preview to follow
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
This spring was a little easier than last. I knew what was coming and was able to try new faces in new places in my pen.
I'm toying with using just 4 starters this year, but my gut tells me they won't hold up. So I am stuck looking for that 5th arm.
Lidle, Gentry, Ducey and Robertson have solidified their starting roles, although Robertsons 13 walks in 18 innings is cause for concern.
I think the team of Sosa and Wilkins will close games, but Sosa has definately had the better spring.
I'll have to see some real action to detirmine if the middle relief is as good as advertised.
Most position races finished where I expected, but they got there in Odd ways. Yanick Gryboski is injured and out for 3 weeks. Wiggington can and will fill in, but this is a large defensive loss.
Victor Lira has done well at 1st and has the job, but I hope the bat comes thru.
Cummings is a star in the making. His bat (.392-8-22 plus 6 SB) have done nicely in the cleanup spot. Can't wait to see his total year numbers.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Monday, August 6, 2007
Forum Posts: 8
Minnesota Power Loons
A review and preview of things to come
This was my first experience of HBD, and I can say without a doubt, a learning year. Although I was not very active in the trade market, I think I avoided major losses (Sidney Bailey, you we’re a waste of space).
Anyway, my inaugural team was loaded with veterans, not necessarily talent. I made the mistake of resigning many of the Arb eligible and FA’s without making sure they were worth it. This left me with a payroll over $100 mil and little to distribute elsewhere. That said, I felt I survived well in the tough NL North, at 76-86, I won’t complain.
On to the new season;
Howard Lidle OAV-.233 / Whip-1.29 / ERA-3.43
He turned out a steller season for the Loons last year. His 12-6 record proved we were always in the game when he pitched. Hopefully, this year, the bullpen doesn’t let him down as much.
Doc Gentry OAV-.260 / Whip-1.34 / ERA-4.03
After a season ending injury robbed Doc of the final 4 starts last year, we are confident he will rebound well this year. Although he went 9-10 in his 30 starts, the ace of the staff amassed 210 innings.
Pepper Montgomery OAV-.290 / Whip-1.50 / ERA-6.23
Pepper has entered the last year of his contract, and the team, as of this writing, is pondering the buy out option. He seems to have good stuff, but his age(34) and his ERA make us doubt he is capable of bouncing back. At 7-15 last year, young talent could replace him with little risk.
Billy Ray Sanders OVA-.287 / Whip-1.35 / ERA-5.50
Billy is Arb eligible this year and if the decision was based soley on his ML numbers, he might not be back. However, with 12 starts at AAA last year (8-0), and .219 OAV, he shows promise. If Pepper goes, Billy probably stays.
Torey Alcantara(AAA stats) OVA-.243 / Whip-1.24 / ERA-3.23
Torey is only 21, but is being asked to show his stuff at the ML level this year. He went 9-6 last season and has the belief from the team that he can handle the pressure.
This hodge podge group barley deserves mention. Of the returning players, there vitals are 24 wins 24 losses 25 of 38 saves (ugh), 1.53 Whip and 5.11 ERA. Benji Sosa was the only All-Star pitcher, and no one knows how he did it………..Nowhere to go but up. Enough said!
Andre Turner(.277-18-74) and Brett Benoit(.276-2-40) split time and you could barely tell the difference. Andre has the leg up because he provides power to a lineup that has lacked it. His 18 HR’s last year is the 2nd highest of the returning starters.
There is no clear cut player here. 3 AAA players have come up in other positions as backups and any of them could be moved here to fill this role. Anything could be better than last year.
Yannick Gryboski did well last year (.280-13-68) and is strong defensively. Odd stat of the year, led the team in HBP(13). Milt Wiggington(.284-3-17) filled in well within the infield, he will fill the same role this year.
Last season started by trading for the aforementioned Sidney Bailey. Flop! Bailey hit .201 and killed the lineup with his inconsistant bat. This season, in steps Thomas Cannon(.289-28-96). Thomas was used everywhere last year and came on strong after Bailey proved he didn’t belong. Jim Roberts(.269-40-109 @ AAA) has come up to see what he can do in the big show.
Phil Gibbons(.260-18-99) was the only All-Star from the field last year. His fielding was tremendous (5 errors) and his bat didn’t suck. He is durable and will be counted on again to anchor one of the better defensive teams.
Nick Jordan(.292-0-33) was the consumate leadoff hitter. His 30 steals and .364 OBP set the table, now we need to drive him in. Harry Sanchez(.262-34-84 @ AAA) will be given a chance to show off that power at the ML level.
A time for change may be coming this year. Gregory Cobb(.263-1-37) stole 46 bases last year but the BA could put him in a backup role if it doesn’t improve. Vic Cummings(.321-20-70 @ AAA) proved his worth down the stretch last year. Cummings played 12 games at the ML level after Cobb left with a season ending injury. Vic hit (.382-3-16), ran(3 steals) and played his way into the hearts of the Loons’ fans.