Monday, July 9, 2012

20 Season Totals

With 20 seasons completed, here is a look at some franchise rankings.

Most regular season wins:
1. Washington D.C. Nationals - 2069
2. Columbus Clippers - 1972
3. Cleveland Cans of Corn - 1894
4. Monterrey Victorious Secrets (and others)- 1795
5. Salem Sea Turtles (and others) - 1778
6. Vancouver Bootleggers (and others) - 1752
7. Portland Timbers - 1744
8. Charlotte Sturgeon (and others) - 1727

For the postseason, here is a list of the franchises that have been awarded the most "prize money" from WIS.
1. Washington D.C. Nationals - 18 playoff apps, 16 LDS apps, 10 LCS apps, 7 WS apps, 4 c-ships
2. Columbus Clippers - 19 playoff apps, 11 LDS apps, 8 LCS apps, 6 WS apps, 4 c-ships
3. Cleveland Cans of Corn - 18 playoff apps, 16 LDS apps, 8 LCS apps, 4 WS apps, 4 c-ships
4. Vancouver Bootleggers (and others) - 13 playoff apps, 11 LDS apps, 6 LCS apps, 5 WS apps, 2 c-ships
5. Monterrey Victorious Secrets (and others) - 13 playoff apps, 10 LDS apps, 7 LCS apps, 5 WS apps, 1 c-ship
6. Pittsburgh Pirates (and others) - 14 playoff apps, 11 LDS apps, 6 LCS apps, 3 WS apps, 1 c-ship
7. Portland Timbers - 10 playoff apps, 8 LDS apps, 6 LCS apps, 4 WS apps, 2 c-ships
8. Charlotte Sturgeon (and others) - 10 playoff apps, 8 LDS apps, 4 LCS apps, 2 WS apps, 1 c-ship

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Hall of Fame Voting

So here are the players who will be getting my vote, along with the case that I'm making for them.

Dennis Pratt:  11 All-Star apps, 11 Silver Sluggers, 2 Gold Gloves, 4 MVPs, 4 World Series Rings.  More All-Star appearances, Silver Sluggers, and MVPs than anyone else in Feller history. Postseason Career: 147 games, 42 HR, 115 RBIs, .320 AVG, .410 OBP, .607 SLG.  Pratt is one of a handful of players in this world's history who should be an automatic vote.  (If you have any reservations, please let me know, and I'll send you volume 1 of my "Ode to Dennis Pratt".  I'll continue sending the subsequent volumes until you are convinced.)
Kirk DiFelice:  3 All-Star apps, 1 Cy Young, 1 World Series Ring.  His 243 wins are 5th most in Feller history.  His 313 quality starts are 7th.  3459.0 innings pitched are 6th.  Those numbers help to put him near the top of the list of starting pitchers this world has seen.
Steve Daly:  6 All-Star apps, 2 Cy Youngs, 1 World Series Rings.  Daly doesn't rank in the top 10 for any career totals as a starting pitcher.  What he does have on his resume is 2 Cy Young Awards, and the fact that only two starting pitchers have more All-Star seasons than him.
Matt Michaels:  8 All-star apps, 6 Silver Sluggers, 1 Gold Flove, 2 MVPs, Rookie of the Year, 2 World Series Rings.  It can be difficult for a "Middle of the Diamond" player to rack up huge counting stat totals, as shown by Michaels' respectable totals in hits (2145) and HRs (368).  Along with Lonnie Lo Duca, Michaels is at the top of the list in production for centerfielders.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Where am I? How did I get here? Charleston Soggy Dogs edition

This is the last installment that doesn't include Season 19 totals, so if any of Charleston's acquisitions had big seasons - sorry, I'm slow.
Top 10 Draft Picks:
10. Will Hyzdu. S10, R1-#12. 3 Gold Gloves. Unfortunately his 3 Gold Gloves came at 1B. Great, he has a lifetime OPS around .750, not very good for 1B.
9. John O'Keefe. S6, R1-#23. He took advantage of the ballpark in Burlington for 3 nice seasons, which was only fair after the way he was treated during his time in the hitter's park that is Texas.
8. Candy Boyer. S1, R4-#142. Lifetime batting average of .277. For a player drafted in the 4th round, he had a remarkable career.
7. Fred Krause. S11, R1-#2. After debuting in the big leagues at age 20 in season 13, he has begun to show why he was worthy of such a high draft pick with strong seasons in S17 and S18.
6. Norman Buchanan. S7, R1-#18. 2 Silver Sluggers. He's averaged 40 homers for the past 7 seasons (S12-S18). He is closing in on career RBI #1000.
5. Lenny Webster. S8, R1-#5. 1 All-Star appearance, 1 Silver Slugger, 1 Gold Glove. He has 300 career homers and close to 900 career RBIs.
4. Christopher Treadway. S2, R2-#51. Season 16 was his best season with a 1.20 WHIP and 3.55 ERA.
3. Darwin Francis. S12, R1-#1. 3 All-Star appearances, 2 Silver Sluggers. He has a lifetime average near .320, an OPS around .970.
2. Emmanuel Williams. S3, R1-#21. 1 Cy Young, 2 All-star appearances, 1 World Series Ring. His career ERA is below 4.00. He has 8 seasons with over 200 innings pitched. A number of fantastic seasons, but S13 and S14 stand out.
1. Grady Blake. S2, R1-#4. 6 All-Star appearances, 2 World Series Rings. He has had a very solid career with a career ERA around 4.00 and almost 3000 innings pitched. His 276 quality starts rank 13th in world history.
Top 5 International Signings (I'm so slow that the international signings include Season 19):
5. Efrain Lee.  S2-$1.5M.  1 All-star appearance.  I admire his perseverence.  After signing in Season 2, he did not make his Major League debut until Season 15 (age 32).
4. Domingo Cueto.  S4-$6.6M.  He had a nice season in Texas in Season 14 with 30 homers.
3. Victor Cortes. S10-$14.5M. With a lifetime ERA around 6.00, we're still waiting for him to earn his signing bonus.
2. Ismael James. S16-$13.5M. He had a promising 20 starts in Season 19 posting a 1.10 WHIP and a 2.50 ERA.
1. Jumbo Satou. S2-$5.5M. He put together a nice career with a .275 AVG and 200 Home Runs.

Next up: Charlotte Sturgeon

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Season 19 Awards Picture

It's nearly time to vote for awards. Maybe we can avoid a debacle like last year, when three people tied for the NL MVP vote, and they just gave it to Rabbit Lilly again.

This is my attempt to determine the best candidates in each spot.

Best AL MVP Candidate(s)

Yeico Torres, 1B - .368 BA, 39 HRs, 1.101 OPS, 11.45 RC/27

Case For: Lead AL in RC/27, and over 2.3 higher than second place. Lead AL in BA by .033 points. Led AL in OPS by nearly .1. All of the other candidates are near the top of the AL in many of those areas, but no one has been as dominant as Torres.

Case Against: He plays 1B. Darwin Francis (2B) and Rex Strickland (SS) both play key defensive positions and had great offensive numbers. I tend to factor defense into my votes, and anyone would be justified in going with Francis or Strickland, but Torres' numbers are just too huge for me to ignore.

Best NL MVP Candidate

Donnie Pennington, SS - .267 BA, 29 HRs, .862 OPS, 6.44 RC/27

Case For: Terrific numbers on offense are great, but he's also a Gold Glover winner at SS. His OPS was 12th in the NL, but higher than any other candidate.

Case Against: Low batting average, not a particularly dominant offensive season. None of the candidates were dominant, though.

Best AL Cy Young Candidate

Harry Vega - 23 Ws, 174 Ks, 1.93 ERA, 0.98 WHIP

Case For: He was dominant, and no one else in the AL really came close. Only 2nd player in AL history to have an ERA under 2.

Case Against: You could feasibly argue Polin Prieto's 270 innings pitched (2nd all-time) deserve some credit, but I'm going with the more efficient pitcher here.

Best NL Cy Young Candidates

John Tanaka - 18 Ws (4th in NL), 196 Ks (6th), 1.97 ERA (2nd), 0.91 WHIP (1st)

Case For: That WHIP, which was the only sub-1.00 in the NL and ties the all-time record set by Hal Ray in Season 16.

Case Against: Whether or not you thought Sergei Orr was better. Home field is a pitcher's park.

Sergei Orr - 19 Ws (tied for 1st in NL), 213 Ks (2nd), 1.94 ERA (1st), 1.12 WHIP (1.12)

Case For: Better ERA and strikeout numbers than Tanaka. One more win, but less losses (if you think Ws in a valid stat, which I don't). Accumulated those numbers with a pretty neutral ballpark factor.

Case Against: Whether or not you thought John Tanaka was better. Inferior WHIP.

This is really close. Both guys put up monster years. I'm voting for Tanaka, because he's my guy. If he wasn't, it would still be a toss-up.

Best AL Rookie of the Year Candidate

Michel Fernandez, SP - 18 Ws, 193 Ks, 2.98 ERA, 1.07 WHIP

Case For: All of the AL ROY candidates are pitchers, and Fernandez was the best.

Case Against: San Francisco's Yorvit James had a very good season, with a lower ERA, but his WHIP was higher, and he didn't throw nearly as much.

Best NL Rookie of the Year Candidate

Allen Donovan, 1B - .274 BA, 36 HRs, .855 OPS, 6.06 RC/27

Case For: Despite a great class of rookies, Donovan put up the best numbers. He was also a finalist for NL MVP.

Case Against: Any of the field-playing candidates here are strong. Especially Ben Rupe and Larry Ebert.

Season 19 Regular Season Recap

I made some predictions to start the season. Let's see how those panned out.

American League

North: I picked Cleveland to beat Columbus, but it was a close call, and I thought both teams would be major WS contenders. Columbus added Rondell Dorsey, though, and proved to be tougher down the stretch. They've won their last 10 games.

East: As predicted (and as usual), the Nationals were dominant with Syracuse coming in second and safely earning a wild card berth.

South: Charlotte took the South by 32 games. Wow.

West: San Francisco took the title in the ALs weakest division.

Analysis: It wasn't hard to make these picks, so I won't be congratulating myself too much. I expected some surprises out of Seattle and Philadelphia, but the Suckerfish decided to rebuild some more, and Philly still has a ways to go. Perhaps capitalizing their mascot name would help for next season.

National League

North: While it was pretty wide open, I expected Iowa City would come out of the North with Pittsburgh challenging, but Burlington proved too much. Pittsburgh's drop, meanwhile, was precipitous, and they'll have one of the first three picks in next season's draft.

East: Toledo and Kansas City looked be too close to call, and it pretty much is, with the teams tied for the lead with one game left in the season. Fortunately, the loser will get a Wild Card slot.

South: I thought Monterrey would run away with the National League, especially after they spent the season gobbling up every bit of talent they could in the trade market (the Bryan Webster trade, especially, should've put them over the top). I was a little shocked they didn't break the 100 win mark, but they earned the top seed easily and I expect them to run the table. I didn't expect much from New Orleans, who finished with the second Wild Card spot.

West: Wichita looked like the favorites, and I may have been overly humble in saying so, because my Timbers looked pretty strong, too. Instead, Salem was the biggest surprise in the National League, winning the division. Wichita was a big disappointment, finishing lower than .500. What's interesting is the Advanced Standings. According to expected winning percentage, Wichita was the second unluckiest team in the league, finishing 50 points under their expected percentage. Only Cleveland was less lucky, finishing 57 points under (but still earning a Wild Card spot). Considering Wichita has two MVP finalists, and a Silver Slugger/Gold Glove winner at shortstop, I expect them to take the West easily next season.

Analysis: While the NL is weaker overall and lacks the strength of the AL's best teams, it's my opinion that the talent is more evenly distributed. We may not produce a World Series contender outside of Monterrey for a while, though.

Luckiest Teams According to Expected Winning Percentage: Tacoma, San Francisco, Mexico City

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Where am I? How did I get here? Houston Lone Stars edition

Another franchise with with a new owner this season. This franchise has traditionally stayed out of the international market, but their drafts have yielded a number of big league contributors.
Top 10 Draft Picks:
10. Stephen Russ. S9, R1-#25. Had a productive Season 13. Had 27+ plays at 1B in Season 13 after 11- plays at SS the season before. Maybe he was best suited for somewhere in between.
9. Benito Beltran. S8, R1-#26. He has spent most of his career as a trusted setup man. Given the chance to close in Season 15, he recorded 28 saves.
8. Rob Borders. S2, R1-#40. He was a solid major league starter for three seasons (S8 to S10).
7. Nash Garcia. S7, R1-#22. He currently has a streak of 7 consecutive seasons with 30+ home runs.
6. Josh Jacome. S7, R1-#36. 1 All-star appearance. He's been a steady reliever his entire career.
5. Gus McDonald. S1, R1-#15. 1 Gold Glove. He had offensive production while playing a solid CF in S11.
4. Stevie Huff. S10, R1-#9. He has 7 seasons with over 200 innings pitched. In Season 16, he had an excellent ERA of 3.18.
3. Alex Wang. S5, R1-#14. 1 All-star appearance, 1 Fireman Award. Fabulous career WHIP of 1.05 for this reliever. He also has a sparkling 0.88 WHIP in 31.2 IP in the postseason.
2. Freddie Hunter. S4, R1-#14. 2 All-star appearances, 1 Silver Slugger, 2 Gold Gloves, 2 World Series rings. His nearly identical production in Seasons 16 and 18 are probably his best. He ha played 7 positions in his career, waiting to get behind the plate and on the mound.
1. Walter Evans. S3, R1-#20. He was a starter that could just barely get into the sixth inning, but he managed double digit win totals in 3 seasons thanks to sub 1.30 WHIPs, including 1.07 in S11.
Top 5 International Signings:
5. Benny Duran. S6-$4.9M. Who wouldn't be thrilled to get 73 at bats in the Majors?
4. Juan Sanchez. S17-$13.0M. A good rookie season in S18. His lack of power is a concern as a 1B.
3. Humberto Gomez. S14-$5.7M. Nice rookie season in Texas in S18. He hasn't translated too well to Augusta.
2. Julio Cora. S4-$11.8M. 4 time All-star. 51 saves in Season 16 is the single season record for Feller. He has 3 other seasons with 40+ saves.
1. Deivi Bennett. S2-$7.4M. 1 time All-star. In part time duty, he batted .309, .334, and .311 in his last 3 seasons. His 531 career stolen bases rank 7th in Feller history.

Next up: Charleston Soggy Dogs

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Where am I? How did I get here? Louisville Sluggerz edition

Moving to the American League South...Louisville captured the AL South title for 4 straight seasons in S9 through S12.
Top 10 Draft Picks:
10. Buster Long. S13, R1-#31. He flashed the type of ability he had with a no-hitter in Season 18. At 24, there's time for him to establish a pattern of success (or that one day will be the day the planets aligned for him).
9. Carson Shelby. S8, R1-#21. Posted 16 wins in Season 15. Since then, he has shuffled between the rotation and the bullpen.
8. Rex Brantley. S4, R1-#5. 1 Silver Slugger. Season 14 was the best year for Rex with .288/.331/.506.
7. Billy Diaz. S5, R2-#53. Season 14 was his career highlight with .875 OPS.
6. Will Benard. S1, R1-#23. In an otherwise very average career, Season 12 stands out.
5. Seth Sheehan. S7, R1-#11. 3 time All-star, 1 Fireman Award, 2 World Series rings. His 86.8% success rate in converting save opportunities ranks 8th for pitchers with at least 200 saves.
4. Nate Ratliff. S6, R1-#10. 1 time All-star. Career .300 hitter with .375 OBP.
3. Torey Thomson. S2, R1-#25. Seasons 8 & 9 made it appear Torey was headed for stardom. He had a decent career, but never approached his early success.
2. Russell Hutch. S4, R1-#19. S9 Rookie of the Year. 1300 career hits, 350 home runs. His career totals are impressive, but he has never played 150 games in a season. In S15, he slugged 52 homers in 120 games played.
1. Frank Rogers. S5, R1-#2. 2 All-star appearances, 3 Silver Sluggers, 3 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series ring. Rogers can do it all. Hit? Lifetime .285 average. Hit for power? 300 career homers with two seasons of at least 40. Field? Those 3 Gold Gloves are the answer.
Top 10 International Signings:
10. Hideo Tamura. S6-$2.9M. Career back up managed to play parts of 8 seasons.
9. Arlie Hermansen. S8-$8.0M. First basemen without power need to have a higher batting average than .284.
8. Harry Aguilera. S9-$261K. His S19 salary is almost 5 times his signing bonus. Not bad.
7. Pedro Telemaco. S10-$12.9M. Seasons 15 & 18 were his offensive peaks, still waiting for his defensive peak at SS.
6. Omar Seguignol. S6-$6.2M. Provided some nice bullpen work for a few seasons.
5. Orlando Padilla. S7-$10.3M. Season 14 was his best showing in the big leagues.
4. Valerio Martin. S4-$5.0M. Solid career ad a backup catcher.
3. Vic Park. S4-$15.0M. 1 All-star appearance. Tremendous in his All-star Season 10 with 44 homers and a .933 OPS. Followed S10 with 2 more strong seasons.
2. Roberto Valdez. S5-$16.3M. He did his job in Season 15 throwing 200+ innings with 3.51 ERA.
1. Donald Yang. S7-$9.1M. 1 All-star appearance, 1 Gold Glove. Batted over .300 in his superb S15 that included 15+ plays in CF. For his career, he's 66/2 +/- in center.

Next up: Houston Lone Stars

Friday, February 3, 2012

Where am I? How did I get here? Tacoma Explorers edition

Okay, back to the Northwest. Right now the AL North is two Ohio teams, and two Washington teams. A new owner in Tacoma has no part in any of the acquisition of these players. Hopefully, their additions will fill this list in a few seasons.
Top 10 Draft Picks:
10. Patrick Gwynn. S9, R1-#7. Can we just mark down his 20 homers and 80 RBIs for the next few seasons?
9. Trent Wolf. S5, R1-#43. Hey, somebody has to be 9th.
8. Rudy Fassero. S7, R1-#13. Has played very good defense at 2B and 3B in his career.
7. Kiko Jackson. S7, R3-#86. 1 Gold Glove. Lifetime batting average around .270 as a catcher.
6. Zip Morris. Has had a number of stellar seasons out of the bullpen.
5. Julio Rijo. S6, R1-#5. Awesome in S14 with a 1.08 WHIP.
4. Paul Benjamin. S7, R2-#54. 1 time All-star. 7 seasons with over 40 homers. Has around 300 career home runs.
3. Alan Sowders. S2, R1-#18. A number of very nice seasons including S9, S12, S13, and S16.
2. Gabby Williamson. S5, R1-#7. 2 time All-star. Lifetime ERA under 3.00 as a very effective bullpen arm.
1. Olmedo Hernandez. S4, R1-#4. 4 time All-star, 4 Silver Sluggers. Tremendous career with lifetime batting average over .300 and OBP in the upper .380s.
Top 10 International Signings:
10. John Dong. S6-$4.1M. I think we'll just walk away from this.
9. Sammy Maranon. S8-$5.4M. Has been a fairly productive part time player in his career.
8. Enrique Ibarra. S12-$2.4M. He's trying to establish himself as a useful bullpen piece in the majors.
7. Carlos Cordero. S10-$13.2M. Another setup guy with limited success. Great.
6. Alejandro Romano. S8-$3.4M. Nice season in S15 with a 3.13 ERA.
5. Vladimir Benitez. S6-$5.1M. Put up some nice numbers in S17.
4. Benji Veras. S7-$3.9M. Has dine some nice work out of the bullpen in a few seasons.
3. Ivan Mieses. S2-$7.5M. 1 time All-star. Had back to back nice seasons in S6 and S7 with a .300 batting average.
2. Ivan Padilla. S6-$4.5M. Seasons 14 and 17 have been the bright spots thus far.
1. Pedro Alou. S8-$2.3M. In a platoon role, his S18 numbers provide a guide as to how to get the best production from this player.

Next up: Louisville Sluggerz

Where am I? How did I get here? Cleveland Cans of Corn edition

Since this is the author's team, let's just get to the results.
Top 10 Draft Picks:
10. Dee Norton. S3, R1-#25. 1 time All-star, 1 Gold Glove, 3 World Series rings.
9. Morris Schmidt. S2, R1-#39. Back to back seasons with over 20 saves in S14 & S15.
8. Denny Schlehuber. S8, R1-#44. 1 time All-star, 1 World Series ring. Lifetime WHIP around 1.31.
7. Sal Allen. S2, R2-#53. 1 time All-star, 1 World Series ring. Lifetime WHIP around 1.30.
6. Paulie Mayne. S1, R1-#2. 1 time All-star, 2 World Series rings. His best season came in S11 with 230 IP and a 3.71 ERA.
5. Chris Hanson. S1, R2-#52. In S13, he pitched 195 innings with a 3.82 ERA.
4. Kennie Myers. S9, R1-#29. 2 time All-star, 1 World Series ring. For his career, the 28 year old has a WHIP around 1.20 and an ERA around 3.40.
3. Nick Jackson. S5, R1-#27. Over 400 career homers and 1000 RBIs.
2. Alvin Kohlmeier. S7, R1-#28. 1 time All-star, 1 World Series ring. 17-8 with a 3.30 ERA in S14.
1. Cecil Lieber. S2, R1-#6. 1 time All-star, 1 World Series ring. Went 16-5 in S14 with 2.47 ERA.
Top 10 International Signings:
10. Willie Veras. S13-$15.6M. 1 season in the majors.
9. Joakim Sanchez. S14-$12.1M. 1 time All-star. 2 seasons in the majors.
8. Roberto Beltre. S10-$19.3M. S14 Rookie of the Year, 2 time All-star, 2 Silver Sluggers, 1 World Series ring.
7. Carlos Trinidad. S8-$13.9M. 2 time All-star, 3 Gold Gloves, 1 World Series ring.
6. David Julio. S7-$6.8M. Lifetime WHIP near 1.30.
5. Damaso Fernandez. S6-$10.8M. 1 time All-star, 2 World Series rings. 18 game winner in S13.
4. Placido Lee. S4-$12.8M. 5 time All-star, 1 Silver Slugger, 1 Gold Glove, 3 World Series rings. Over 440 career homers.
3. Santos Mercedes. S5-$9.8M. 4 time All-star, 4 Silver Sluggers, 1 Gold Glove, 2 World Series rings. Lifetime batting average around .280 with .371 OBP.
2. Jackson Christians. S3-$13.8M. 1 time All-star, 2 World Series rings. S9 went 18-3 with 1.12 WHIP and 2.93 ERA. His S13 postseason performance was incredible.
1. Ramiro Otanez. S1-$8.6M. 3 time All-star, 4 World Series rings. Currently has most wins in Feller history with a chance to become the first to reach 300. Currently has most playoff wins in Feller history. 14 seasons with over 200 IP. His postseason performances in S6 and S13 rank among the best.

Next up: Tacoma Explorers

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Where am I? How did I get here? Seattle Suckerfish edition

Next up in this series is a look back at the Seattle Suckerfish. Current ownership is in their fifth season right now, so all of these players were acquired under previous regimes. Hopefully mccleak's players will start to make moves on this list in the next few seasons.
Top 10 Draft Picks:
10. Alving Gonzalez. S6, R3-#73. A Gold Glove in Season 13 is the highlight of his career.
9. Shawn Osbourne. S9, R1-#49. 11-9 in Season 16 with a 3.53 ERA.
8. Juan De La Vega. S1, R1-#4. 7 seasons of over 190 innings pitched.
7. Ted Jacome. S7, R2-#43. Had a nice season as a reliever in S15 after a useful S13 as a starter.
6. Randy Parker. S10, R1-#7. 2 All-star appearances for this reliever.
5. Keith Myers. S4, R1-#21. Solid career for this 2B with some offensive punch in Season 10.
4. Butch Gibson. S8, R1-#2. Seasons 15 & 17 stand out with 1.20 WHIP and ERAs of around 3.00 with 200 IP.
3. Clay Young. S9, R1-#1. All-star seasons in S13 & S17.
2. Yamid Perez. S11, R1-#7. Currently only 26 years old, Perez already has 5 seasons with 200+ innings pitched. As he enters his prime surrounded by improving teammates, expect his numbers to look stronger.
1. Gerald Suzuki. S6, R1-#1. 5 All-star appearances, 4 Silver Sluggers, and a World Series ring for the former overall #1 pick. A lifetime OPS over .800 for the mostly 3B to go along with close to 2000 career hits.
Top 5 International Signings:
5. Gio Tabaka. S14-$18.0M. Now 25 years old, hopefully his offensive numbers continue to ramp up.
4. Geraldo Batista. S9-$2.3M. Hey, he played a few years in the majors.
3. Brian Cheung. S10-$4.6M. He slugged 48 HRs in Season 17.
2. Michel Moreno. S13-$19.8M. Another player with limited big league experience. Hoping to build on his good Season 18.
1. Max Arias. S13-$16.4M. Following the theme, Arias is only 24 years old and has put up solid numbers thus far.

Next up: Cleveland Cans of Corn

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Where am I? How did I get here? Columbus Clippers edition

Hopefully, this will be the first in a series looking back at each franchise's drafts and international free agent signings. A few notes about this series. It's not meant to judge if a team used their draft picks or prospect money wisely. We have no way o knowing which players any team did, or did not, see. The ratings are based on ML production. It's not based on projection. So even though you have Bryce Harper in your minors, he'll have to produce in the majors to make this list. Your recent 20 million dollar international signing isn't on this list. Yu will have to look elsewhere.
First up, the Columbus Clippers.
Top 10 draft picks:
10. Todd Torrealba. Drafted S2, R1-#42. He put up nice offensive numbers in his brief big league career. Probably lacked the defense to stick as a full time catcher.
9. Alex Price. Drafted S4, R3-#109. Posted 11 wins as a reliever in season 13. His best seasons were seasons 14 & 16.
8. Andrea McClellan. S8, R1-#27. Had a nice season in Honolulu in season 18. At 29, he has a chance to move up this list.
7. Donovan Watson. S6, R2-#68. Had a tremendous season in Season 14 with a 2.99 ERA.
6. Red Rivera. S7, R1-#27. Has had a very nice career in Columbus as a key setup pitcher.
5. Jose Andujar. S2, R1-#21. All-star in Season 7. He played 162 games in 7 seasons.
4. Douglas Collins. S4, R2-#77. Over 200 career home runs. Made an All-star team in Season 18.
3. Clay Jacquez. S1, R1-#16. Highest draft pick Columbus has ever had. Has 391 career homers. In Season 12, he batted .342 with .986 OPS.
2. Jesse Penny. S1, R2-#66. Rookie of the Year in Season 7 with a 1.21 WHIP and 3.32 ERA.
1. Bryant Sedlacek. S4, R1-#28. 3 World Series rings, 2 time All-star, Cy Young Award winner. He's been a key starting pitcher for Columbus his entire career.
Top 10 International Free Agent Signings
10. Al Machado. S10-$1.9M. Lifetime WHIP of 1.20 in 266 innings.
9. Shigetoshi Chong. S2-$2.3M. He won a Gold Glove in Season 12.
8. Fernando Santana. S3-$9.0M. Won two World Series rings with Columbus.
7. Jose Romero. S4-$8.6M. I can't find anything interesting about this guy. Let's move on.
6. Tony Tanaka. S1-$12.5M. All-star in Season 8, although I think Season 9 was his best year.
5. Giomar Castro. S11-$10.3M. At only age 26, he already has an All-star appearance. He might not be able to move up this list, since we're now about to get to the superstar portion.
4. Jose Rios. S9-$21.0M. 6 time All-star, 4 Silver Sluggers, 3 World Series rings, and 1 MVP by the age of 28!! He already has over 400 homers, a career OPS over 1.000, and the second most career post season HRs and RBIs. His Season 14 performance is superhuman.
3. Magglio Trajano. S5-$15.6M. 7 time All-star, 5 Silver Sluggers, 3 World Series rings, all while playing most of his career in centerfield.
2. Matty Nunez. S4-$7.7M. 3 time All-star, 6 Silver Sluggers, 3 World Series rings, and 1 MVP make his closet pretty crowded. His career OBP of .425 is remarkable, and with that he currently has close to 400 homers.
1. Juan Aramboles. S7-$15.7M. 6 time All-star, 4 Cy Young Awards, and 3 World Series rings. We can pick a random number between 10 and 18, and this guy had a fantastic season in that year.

Next up: Seattle Suckerfish

That What Ifs of WhatIfSports

One of the great things about WIS is the personal experience it creates with each owner. It doesn't take long for owners and coaches to develop individual mythologies. We remember our favorite players and triumphs with nerdy nostalgia, and our mistakes and losses with wistful regret. The difference with WIS is these incidents aren't shared with a broader fan base the way they are in real sports.

Mostly, my HD experience leans toward the wistful regret. I made so many mistakes early on simply because I didn't understand the game. That's part of the fun, I guess, and it makes success sweeter, but I still think back and cringe sometimes.

The incident I wanted to write about today wasn't exactly disastrous, but it certainly made me cringe when it happened, and I still wonder what could've been.

Here's what happened: I had the 5th pick in the Season 9 amateur draft. It was easily the highest pick I'd had to that point, and since I was in the throes of rebuilding, I knew I needed to make it count. I had a decent collection of quality prospects, but I didn't have a star, and with high scouting budgets, I felt I had a good shot at getting one.

Season 9 was a quality draft at the top. As I saw it, there were four prospects on the list I would've been happy with, and I thought I stood a good shot at getting one of them. (Clay Young, who went 1st overall, was fine, but I already had a shortstop.) I set about putting my list in order.

I knew I needed an ace, and they're hard to come by outside of the draft unless you're willing to pay out the ass, so I ranked Vic Spehr first even if his durability and health bothered me. Howie Vosberg was second, since that's a pretty great bat to have at 2B or CF.

After that, it was between Felix Crosby (who was rated as a DH, but had enough pitch-calling ability to work behind the plate) and Footsie Sanders. As I said, I needed a pitcher, and I'd grabbed a pretty decent catching prospect a few seasons before. Still, Crosby's hitting ability was unbelievable. He had the potential to be the best-hitting catcher in Feller history, better even than Rock Moore. I had some decent hitters, but no one near as good as Crosby. In the end, I ranked him third, and Footsie fourth.

So the day of the draft comes, and I see the picks I made, and I'm moderately satisfied at getting Sanders with the 5th pick. I knew Vosberg and Spehr would likely go early, but at least I had a guy who could be an ace.

Then I looked at the draft as a whole and I saw Felix Crosby was picked sixth by Charlotte, one pick after mine. I'd missed a once-in-a-lifetime hitter in favor of a very good starter. My heart sank. At first, I wondered if I'd somehow screwed up the order, but then I realized what happened.

Since I was in the National League, I'd set my DH picks at 0, and since Felix Crosby was listed as a DH, I passed over him to the next pick. On the plus side, as an ardent fan of the Portland Trail Blazers, I'm used to coping with franchise-shattering draft mistakes.

I trade chatted Charlotte owner joemac55, "You didn't want Footsie Sanders over Felix Crosby, did you? I accidentally picked the wrong guy."

"No," he replied.

Fortunately for me, Footsie Sanders won the NL ROY and the Cy Young in Season 13, the first player in Feller history to do so. He's been an ace pitcher in four World Series, a four-time All-Star, has the the single-season record for strikeouts, and might one day be the all-time strikeout leader if his career lasts long enough.

Fortunately for joemac55, Felix Crosby won the AL ROY and the MVP in Season 13. He has four All-Star appearances, five Silver Slugger awards, and a career OPS of 1.022.

Ten seasons after they were drafted, it's difficult to say whether my screw-up turned out for the better or not. On one hand, Footsie Sanders is on track for a Hall of Fame career, and I doubt I would've won two championships without him. On the other, a freaking 1.022 career OPS.

I think it worked out well for joemac55, because his staff is just fine. I'm still open to a trade, though, joe.

Most Expensive International Free Agents

I'm not sure how it is in other worlds, but the international free agent market in Feller seems competitive. High quality IFAs rarely sign for anything under $15m, and regularly go over $20m.

Part of this is due to budgeting and lack of carryover. If you don't use your prospect budget, it's lost, so owners often hold out hope a future all-star will pop up late in the season and there's usually a scramble at the very end to grab whatever's left. Compared to the amateur draft, international free agency is a gamble, but the rewards can be worth the risk.

It's also essentially the only method outside of trading for successful teams to grab high-level prospects. Glancing over the past 10 seasons of signings, you'll see a lot of the best organizations highly active on the IFA market, from long-standing dynasties (Cleveland, Columbus, Washington DC) to the teams on the rise (Seattle, Toledo and San Francisco).

The following is a list of the five most expensive IFAs in Feller history, and my prediction as to whether they'll be worth the cost. Of course, "worth the cost" is a relative statement, since market demands and talent levels per class vary. In an ideal world, though, $20m should net an All-Star.

1. Carlos Rosa (3B) - $25.2m by Toledo Muddy Webfoots in Season 14

Will he be worth it? Yes. He's 25 now, and has three seasons in the bigs with a .879 career OPS. His makeup, endurance, and health indicate he'll have a long career. He's a great fielder at 3B, blazing fast, and a very good hitter. Awards haven't happened yet (outside of the two times he's hit for cycle), but they will. He should have a number of All-Star appearances in his future.

2. Luis Almonte (CF) - $24.5 by Seattle Suckerfish in Season 17

Will he be worth it? Maybe. Only 20 years old, but he's an ideal leadoff hitter in CF. He lacks power, but he's got great speed and and a terrific batting eye. With a 64 Makeup rating, reaching his full potential will be a concern. He may not be an MVP, but he'll be a very good roleplayer for a young, dangerous Seattle squad.

3. Orber Martin (SP) - $23.2m by Charlotte Sturgeon in Season 13

Will he be worth it? Maybe. Martin has the potential to be a very good ML starter, a 4th or 5th option on Charlotte's incredible staff. So far, he's been mediocre, with a 4.45 ERA and 1.43 WHIP. His main concern is control; he'll be lucky to top out over 70 in that rating.

4. Eduardo De La Rosa (3B/2B) - $22.9 by Portland Timbers in Season 11

Will he be worth it? Probably not. While a great defensive asset at 3B, a career OPS of .737 over his first five seasons isn't great. Since I signed him, I know this was one of those desperate end-of-the-season grabs, though the field that season wasn't much better. Except for MVP candidate Geraldo Marichal, I mean, who signed for $5.2m that year. The money clearly could've been better spent.

5. Naoto Suzuki (C) - $22.4 by Baltimore Blast (now Syracuse Excuse) in Season 13

Will he be worth it? Probably. His defense is serviceable enough to get by behind the plate, and his 72 Durability means he'll need a decent backup, but his 88 Power and 95/93 splits are beast-like. On the day this post was written, Suzuki ripped off 4 home runs and 9 RBIs in one game. His career OPS in the bigs is .912. Maybe he won't play everyday, but he's got the kind of bat that changes a game. Season 13 featured a number of quality IFAs (from the aforementioned Orber Martin to Max Arias), but Suzuki could end up being the best, at least when he's on the field.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Season 19 Playoff Predictions

Since it got mentioned on the boards, I figured I'd take a stab. Before I get into this, I'd like to mention how little research I've done here. I mean, almost nothing. So, you know, don't feel slighted.

NL Playoff Teams

NL North: Iowa City Bees
NL East: Toledo Muddy Webfoots
NL South: Monterrey Victorious Secrets
NL West: Wichita Wastrels
Wild Cards: Kansas City Kings, Portland Timbers

NL Champion: Monterrey Victorious Secrets

Additional Analysis: The NL East is the toughest to call, as Kansas City is still very good. If Toledo doesn't take the division this season, they will in the next few. Both teams are one or two stars away from competing with Monterrey right now (or, I should say, Monterrey once Vic Spehr comes back). Wichita dominated the NL West all last season before Portland (that's my team) barely overtook them at the end, but they're on the rise and the Timbers are fading, though still dangerous. The NL North is pretty wide open, but I think Iowa City and Pittsburgh have the best shots (though Pittsburgh is OLD).

AL Playoff Teams

AL North: Cleveland Cans of Corn
AL East: Washington D.C. Nationals
AL South: Charlotte Sturgeon
AL West: San Francisco Seals
Wild Cards: Columbus Clippers, Syracuse Excuse

AL Champion: Charlotte Sturgeon

Additional Analysis: The NL North is probably Feller's best division right now, with two WS contenders in Columbus and Cleveland, but Tacoma and Seattle aren't bad either, and would probably be playoff teams in the National League. Washington DC is as good as ever, and Syracuse doesn't have the offense to win the East right now, even if they're very good. Charlotte has started slow, but they're easily the best team in the South. San Francisco's young talent puts them on top of the weak AL West, but both LA and Helena stand a fair shot. I gave Charlotte the AL Champ nod because I think they're due, but there's too much talent in the AL to make a clear call.

Primary World Series Contenders: Charlotte, Washington D.C., Cleveland, Columbus
Longshot Contenders: Monterrey, Toledo, Syracuse, Kansas City
Best Pitching Staffs: Charlotte, Washington D.C., Monterrey
Best Lineups: Charlotte, Cleveland, Washington D.C. (I really just threw these out there.)
Up and Coming Teams: Toledo, Wichita, Philadelphia
Teams on the Decline: Pittsburgh, Portland, Columbus (sorry, job, they're aging.)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Sort-Of Counterpoint: Hall of Famers

First, I should say MattFurjan has better access to stats (have you seen his Google database?) and he understands sabermetrics better than I do. Still, he left Harry Martinez off the list AND HE SHOULD BE INSTITUTIONALIZED FOR THAT.

So let's run through the top HoF candidates in my opinion:

Rock Moore (C) - He's a lock. I won't even get into the reasons, because I shouldn't have to explain why.

Harry Martinez (1B/DH) - Granted, no defensive dynamo, but the guy is the all-time leader in HRs. THE ALL-TIME LEADER IN HRS. He also won two MVPs. Everyone has their own opinion about what being a Hall of Famer means, but as much as I appreciate the value of the stat revolution in better determining player value, the "fame" part still has to mean something, and the most famous stat in baseball is home runs.

Matt Michaels (CF) - 2 MVPs, 8x AS, 6x SS, 1 GG in CF, and a couple rings. Probably the best CF through the first decade and a half of Feller, and the best player on some great teams. Also, he got derailed by injuries, so he would've been even better.

I think these guys should be unanimous, but I'll be using all five of my votes. For the last two, I'll have to choose between:

Russell Millwood (C) - See Matt's argument below. I didn't realize how valuable he was. Defensively, just mediocre, but not a liability.

Steve Daly (SP) - Rico Perez may have the longevity, but Daly has him beat in WHIP, ERA, AS appearances (granted, a sort of nebulous stat) and has a ring. The debate between the two comes down to what you value: the guy who lasts forever or the guy who shows more flashes of brilliance in a shorter career. It should be Daly spent a good part of his career in hitting parks (or at least Montreal was...I'm too lazy to look up Las Vegas.)

Rico Perez (SP) - See Matt's post.

I would vote for a number of other folks if I could. Either Bud Rodgers, Philip Wright or Miguel Samuel would be worth additions if you're not anti-closer. Hiram Huang, Hensley Lawson and Frank Barrett all had terrific careers, and should've been voted in last season if we weren't so apathetic. Please vote!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Hall of Fame Voting Season 19

Here are some of the leading candidates for induction into the Hall of Fame:
Rock Moore - With 3 Most Valuable Player Awards, 10 All-Star appearances, 10 Silver Slugger Awards, 612 career HRs, .995 OPS, all while playing more innings than anyone else behind the plate.  Moore is a HALL OF FAMER.  In fact, he's one of the Hall of Famers that the other guys in the Hall want to get their picture taken with so they can show their grandkids that they knew Rock Moore.
Rico Perez - 2 Cy Young awards, 6th most innings pitched, 7th in quality starts.  For me, he gets the nod over Steve Daly.
Matt Michaels - 2 MVP awards, 8 All-Star appearances, 6 Silver Sluggers, 2 Championships fill up his awards page.  Michaels has the most innings played in CF thus far in the world.  His offensive numbers as a CF are outstanding.
Russell Millwood - In the "non Rock Moore" category of catchers, Millwood might be the best. His 630 homers are the most for a catcher, he is 2nd in Runs Created for catchers.
Philip Wright - Wright gets the nod in the reliever category.  He has four Fireman of the Year Awards and 6 All-Star appearances.
Harry Martinez - 2 MVP awards, retires as the all-time leader in HRs, second in runs batted in,fourth in runs created, fifth in walks, sixth in hits, only a total fool wouldn't list this guy as a hall of famer in his first season of eligibility for the Hall of Fame.

These are my choices, but great arguments can be made for deserving candidates like Steve Daly, Harry Martinez Philip Wright, Bud Rodgers, Charles Perry, Hiram Huang, and Frank Barrett.