Wednesday, May 20, 2015

AL EAST - Season #33 Preview

Baltimore Renegades -

The Baltimore Renegades have made the post season THIRTEEN straight seasons; but, ALL THIRTEEN have ended the same way...without a World Series ring. The team had solid pitching perfomances from three members of the starting rotation, as Harry Newman (21-6, 2.60 ERA), and Henderson Riggs (15-10, 2.81), and Jimmie Veras (16-10, 4.16) carried the team last season.  Jin Ho Uehara (11-9, 4.15) and veteran Angel Estrella (10-13, 4.13) pitched well at times, but were not as dominant has they have been in season's past.

The Renegades' philosophy has changed this off-season; as, the team is shedding their big salaries and long-term contracts in an effort to shift to a long over-due rebuilding process.  Baltimore still has a few very good players left, but the line-up is no where near as dangerous as it once was.  Gone are Lyle Beck, Artie Bukvich, Oswaldo Padilla, Jose Velez, and Al Matos.  
The Renegades' newly revamped line-up projects as followed...
(1) Jin Nishioka LF
(2) Jason Arnold CF
(3) Craig Jackson 3B
(4) Derek Tanner 2B

(5) Rubby Velez RF
(6) Humberto Samuel 1B
(7) Carlos DeRojas DH

(8) Walt Harnisch C
(9) Joaquin Cordero SS

The five-man bench is flexible with C-Bernie Rosado, 3B/OF-Dee Edwards, SS/UT-Peter Stowers,  2B/OF-Stewart Hall, and OF-Wally Harris.

Baltimore traded away RHP- Harry Newman and his remaining $80M/4 year contract. The free agent broke the bank last off-season by signing a 5 year/$110M contract, but Baltimore's front office was fearful of an arm injury and traded him away this offseason. This year's rotation is led by left hander Henderson Riggs. Veteran righties, Jimmie Veras and Angel Estrella round out the top of the rotation.
Veras and Estrella are in the "walk year" of their contract, and both are gearing up for a big year, so they can cash in this off-season. The Renagades added RHP-Phillip Davis and LHP-Johan Heredia (a former 16 game winner for Baltimore just three seasons ago). RHP-Rashun Gonzalez, will be the spot starter and long man out of the bullpen again this season.

Raymond Tanner was traded to Fresno, so Pat Valdes will be the closer this season. Both set-up men return, as lefty Hal Alexander and righty Albert Ramirez will remain the bridge to get to Valdez. LHP's-Freddie Kim and Julio Aramboles round out the bullpen.

Top Rookie- For the first time in 5 seasons...Baltimore has a rookie or two worth writing about.  mega prospects Rubby Velez (3B/OF) and future closer Jimmie Hoffman were acquired from Fresno in the Harry Newman deal.  Baltimore also acquired C-Corey Daley in a separte deal with Salt Lake.  All three players are extremely talented and will be counted on heavily as cornerstones of a "retooling" franchise. 
Key Players Lost- RHP-Colby Barker (trade), RHP-Harry Newman (trade), RHP-Raymond Tanner (trade), RHP-Jin Ho Uehara (trade), C-Al Matos (trades), C-Eugene McCracken (trade), 1B-Oswaldo Padilla (trade), 3B-Lyle Beck (trade), SS-Jose Guzman (trade), RF-Jose Velez (trade) and DH-Artie Bukvich (trade).
Key Players Acquired- RHP-Phillip Davis (FA), RHP-Jimmy Hoffman (trade), RHP-Pat Valdes, LHP-Julio Aramboles (FA), LHP-Johan Heredia (FA), C-Corey Daley (trade), C-Waly Harnisch (FA), 1B-Humberto Samuel (trade), 1B-Ricky Atchley (trade), 3B-Craig Jackson (trade), 3B/OF-Dee Edwards (FA), OF-Jason Arnold (trade), 2B/OF-Wally Harris (trade), 3B/OF-Rubby Velex (trade),  DH-Carlos DeRojas (FA).
Key Off-Season Transaction- The trade of Harry Newman, as it finally gave Baltimore two young prospects to start the long process of re-stocking the farm system.

Charlotte Tar Heels -

Chicago Clubs -

Hartford #TeamCutters -

AL NORTH - Season #33 Preview

Buffalo Wings -

Looking forward to Pep Saunders' rookie campaign... And can sophomore Leon Jenkins continue his excellent spring into the regular season???

Detroit Wolverines -

Outlook: Detroit has completely rebuilt its roster over the last couple of seasons and have 11 players that didn’t end last season with the team. After hovering a little above and below the .500 mark over the last few seasons and unable to make the playoffs, the Wolverines are looking to contend with the flurry of acquisitions they made this off-season. 4 new everyday players, 4 new Starting Pitchers, 2 new Relief Pitchers and 1 new bench player. The team added players with 94 Homers,288 RBI’s and 57 SBs with their acquisitions as well as 58 wins and over 650 innings from last season.

Players Added: Free Agent Acquisitions- C Al Matos, 1B Torey Almanza, 2B Tomas Delgado, LF Ted Van Hekken, SP Willie Harville, and RP Benjie Plata; Trade Acquisitions SP Louis Okajima, SP Otis Reese, and RP Orlando Navarre; Waiver wire pick up SP Octavio Valenzuela; Rule 5 Draft Pick 2B Lorenzo Aviles

Players Lost: To Free Agency C Gregory McGrady, SS Walt Stohr, SS Junior Kimura, SP J.D. Randall, SP Juan Duran, and RP Heinie Starr; By Trade 1B Darren McConnell, and 2B Jumbo Noesi; To Waivers RP Albert Mercado.

Best Prospect: C Reagan Ulrich

Best Off-season move: Acquiring 1B Torey Almanza in Free Agency

Milwaukee Blue Ribbons -

Scranton Sharks -

AL SOUTH - Season #33 Preview

Jacksonville Jungle Cats -

Little Rock Rockabillies -

Montgomery Cornbread On The Brain -

New Orleans VooDoo -

AL WEST - Season #33 Preview

Anaheim Aardvarks -

Las Vegas Smash -

Salem Slayers -

Salt Lake City Movers & Shakers -

NL EAST - Season #33 Preview

Boston Bulgers -

Philadelphia Phillagers -

Richmond Spiders -

Washington D.C. Whalers -

NL NORTH - Season #33 Preview

Cleveland Rockers -

Montreal Bloody Sox -

St. Louis Griffins -

Witchita Winners -

NL SOUTH - Season #33 Preview

Jackson Jayhawks -

Another season and another chance to show the wonderful fans in Jackson that the Jayhawks are for real. Heard it before? Sure, but the owner is still right behind his club and will put in the cash where it is needed.

Season 32 may not look good in terms of a 64-98 won/loss ratio but that was a plus twenty on the previous year. Eagle-eyed people of HBD will note that it was still worse than the 76-86 achievement in S30. The minors produced some good races in their divisions but, sadly, none came home with a WS crown.

Loyalty to the coaching staff sees renewed contracts for J P Howard (rookie in S32) at bench, Dann Rapp at pitching and Magglio Bonilla at hitting.

The team is lead by veteran outfielder Yannick Williams (age 36) who will, again, have to lead-off and get on base if runs are to be scored. Long-ball will be with Charlie Little (RF) who put 22 over the wall last season as well as knocking-in 93.

Speed on the bases will be Caleb Jerchower (2B) who was 35/42 on the stolen base board; getting on base will be important at the number two slot behind Williams.
Brad Janssen (OF) at 25-years-of-age needs to show that his skills match his projections now that he has a big league season behind him. And stepping up to the top level is R J Taveras (OF) after five seasons in the franchise farm system.

Looking to get his call-up at some point in the campaign is the best Jayhawk prospect seen in a decade: Harry Nieves (IF). This 23-year-old could be the tonic to kick-start something great for the people of Jackson.

Pre-season FA saw two excellent pitchers signed and they head the rotation. Tim Leiter comes from a career in Baltimore and immediately gets the #1 spot whilst Tom Parker from Las Vegas starts in the number two slot. The bullpen will be a bit of a committee-at-work on a day-to-day basis.

A good start to the campaign is vital. Injuries should not be a real worry as most of the roster have high ratings and the medical team are well funded.

Roger Brown (loosecc)
Maidstone England


Mexico City Hombres Azul -

This is probably the low point for Mexico City, almost all the stars are gone, and the majority of the prospects are not quite ready.

The only quality on the 25 man roster are 2 or 3 of the starters: Kosuke Suzuki quietly went about pitching 200 innings in the last campaign with an ERA of 2.97 and a WHIP of 1.09, Allie Mlicki and Eury de la Vega will contribute as well.

On the farm: 1B Kevin Knight, and SPs Frankie Redman and Paul Lewis are close to ready, with OF Norberto Sosa and SP Trever Bagley a couple of years off.


Monterrey Border Jumpers -

Texas Rangers -

NL WEST - Season #33 Preview

Colorado Evil Empire -

Biggest news of the offseason was our relocating back to Fresno after three years in Colorado which saw us win two World Series trophies. We loved our time in The Mile High State, but it was time to come home.

Outlook: - It's World Series or bust once again as we are led by All-World OF- Tomas Cairo who picked up his unprecedented 10th straight MVP last year and shows no signs of slowing down. Put him in the HOF already. Within a couple of years he should hold most all of the Mike Squires offensive career records.
Ownership opened up their wallets and cleaned out the farm system with a couple of monster trades with BAL and MTY.

Alex James who was runner-up in the NL MVP race was brought in to join Cairo and Marino "The Kid" Vazquez in what has to be the best OF in all of HBD.
Benny "Pippin" Uribe and young stud Leo Conner will join Vicente "The Beast" Ciriaco and the reunited Jose Velez in what has to be our best offensive team ever. Bench players Mark Sears, Artie Bukvich, Rodrigo Campos, Mariano Terrero, Hugh Stetter and Phil O'Leary could start for any team, but as it is they will provide nice depth and injury insurance.
The biggest fish we brought in this offseason was ACE starting pitcher and 21-gm winner Harry "No Nonsense" Newman from Baltimore who joins the ageless future HOF Niko Kirby and 3-time CY winner Yuniesky Delgado in what should be a dominating rotation once again especially being back in Fresno. The bullpen also got a much needed addition in flamethrower Raymond "Lights Out" Tanner.

Losses: Many young talented prospects like Rubby Velez, Jimmy Hoffman, Jesus Delgado, Ricardo Sanchez, Hector Jacquez, Rio Maduro, and Victor Matos were traded to provide them an opportunity for regular playing time they deserve. We wish them nothing but the best with their new teams.
Trading away those quality prospects is never an easy decision, but to make those moves and still retain our two best young SP's in Alex Sojo and Yordano Uribe makes it very easy to digest.
With these moves and along with our ever increasing payroll, the days of plucking out the top IFA's appear to be coming to an end. This should make the rest of this world very happy.
Don't foresee many more changes necessary for this team, but the door is always open for trades.

Prospects: - Not much left, but guys like OF-Luis Lima and pitchers Wilin Mercado and Luis Gutierrez chould make their big league debut very soon.

Good luck to everyone in Season 33...

Portland Pines -

A view through the forrest-

From news conferences of owner Chris Hampton and manager Rob Ryan it seems the Portland fans need to be a bit more patience. While Hampton pointed out that the franchise had improved since he bought the Omaha franchise that lost 222 games in their only two seasons there (only 173 losses in his tenure as owner) that to really build a championship franchise everyone needed to be patient and build the team the right way.

Ryan picked right up on that by saying , the team might be better, but the strenght of the team was corner outfield , corner infield. Ryan's vision of a superior team is one strong down the middle and in the bull pen. So while Ryan waits on top prospect Fonzie Mahay to take over the catcher position and last years first round choice Pablo Polanco to find a postion the team must battle on.

According to unnamed sources in the Portland sport circles, minority owner Fred Snead is demanding that the Pines sign an agreement with sportingBDW agency. BDW claims that their scouts caan find cheaper and better players in Australia, China, and Scandinavia. 

Seattle Somethings -

Even though S32 resulted in the third consecutive playoff appearance for the Seattle Somethings, the season was still considered a disappointment relative to preseason expectations. After languishing at or below .500 for the first 90-100 games, the club made yet another late run which resulted in clinching the 6th seed in NL, even without star infielder Max Cerveza due to injury. This time it resulted in an early exit to eventual champion Colorado.

In the offseason, management decided to move long-term commitments Cerveza and Osoria in a mega-blockbuster with Monterrey for SP Melky Quixote, 3B Ozzie Calderon, and OF Sidney Shields. As expected, the club suffered heavy losses in free agency, including the unexpected departure of reigning S32 NL Cy Young winner Walt Osborne. Walt had been willing to stay in S32 negotiations but his agent changed his mind at the 11th hour. Thus, Seattle was forced to re-sign Clark Hume instead.

For S33, management expects to take a slight step back but is likely to still contend for the 6th spot with typical challengers including Albuquerque (formerly Honolulu), Texas (formerly Kansas City), Montreal, and St Louis. It would not be a surprise if the club missed the playoffs for the first time in the last 4 seasons

Arrivals: SP Quixote, 3B Calderon, CF Shields (all trade w/ MTY), RP Cueto (FA- WIC), RF/1B McConnell (trade w/DET), LF Tejera (AAA- S30 R1 P10), 2B Navarre (AAA- S28 IFA), SS Anderson (AAA- S29 R1* P54), 1B Adkins (AAA- R6 P196, 257 career minor league HR), RP Quintanilla (S28- R1* P35), RP Romero (trade, AAA- S18 R1 P13)
Departures: SS Cerveza, 3B Osoria (both trade w/MTY), RF K. Martin (trade w/LR), SP Reese (trade w/DET), SP Osborne (FA- MTL), RP Stock (FA- ABQ), 1B Aquino (FA- CHI), LF Silva (FA- MTY), SP Bordick (FA- N.O.), RP Sheehan (released in arb)
Draft picks: 27, 30, 45, 48, 50, 61, 64, 68, 78, 90, 120, 122

C Mota
1B Parkers
2B Navarre
3B Calderon
SS O'Malley
LF Shields
CF Presley
RF McConnell
C Nixon
INF Nunez
OF Forster
SS Anderson
LF Tejera
1B Adkins

Albuquerque Nuclear Warriors -

Thursday, February 12, 2015

AL EAST - Season #32 Preview

Baltimore Renegades -
The Baltimore Renegades DID make it to the World Series last season but after leading 3 games to 2...they lost to the Colorado Maize N' Blue.  That makes TWELVE straight seasons of playoffs appearnces without a World Series ring.  The team had solid perfomances from three key starting pitchers last season.  Henderson Riggs (20-8, 3.41 ), Jin Ho Uehara (15-7, 4.15) and veteran Octiavio Valenzulea (14-3, 3.24) all pitched extremely well during the regular season and throughout the playoffs.  The Renegade's philosophy has changed this off-season; as, the team is going with pitching and defense this year instead of a stacked line-up.  Baltimore still has a decent core of productive ballplayers, but the shift in thinking means they won't have to score 11-12 runs every single game...they should be able to win the low scoring games now too. 

Owner/GM Terry Swayne has decided NOT to front load long-term contracts any more and the team is going to spend the money available to go after free agents until the farm system can develope players again.  
The revamped Renegades line-up projects as followed...
(1) Jin Nishioka LF
(2) Derek Tanner 2B
(3) Lyle Beck 3B
(4) Artie Bukvich DH
(5) Oswaldo Padilla 1B
(6) Jose Velez RF
(7) Al Matos C

(8) Joaquin Cordero CF
(9) Juan Guzman SS

The five-man bench is flexible with C-Bernie Rosado, C-Eugene McCracken, 1B/OF- Robert Bland, SS/UT-Peter Stowers, and 2B/OF-Stewart Hall.

Baltimore's revamped rotation is led by RHP- Harry Newman.  The free agent broke the bank and signed a 5 year $110M contract with Baltimore during the offseason.  Last season's top two starters LHP-Henderson Riggs and RHP- Jin Ho Uehara return to make a formidable top three for Baltimore.  LHP-Tom Cota, last year's late season acquisition will be the #4 man, and newly acquired Jimmie Veras, a former Renegade, returns to be the #5 man in the rotation.  Another former Renegade, RHP-Rashun Gonzalez, will be the spot starter and long man out of the bullpen this season.

CoCo Reagan was traded to Las Vegas, so Raymond Tanner will be the closer this season. Both set-up men return, as lefty Hal Alexander and righty Albert Ramirez will remain the bridge to get to Tanner.  LHP-Freddie Kim and RHP-Colby Barker round out the bullpen.

Top Rookie- NONE
Key Players Lost- RHP-Oswaldo Cueto (trade), RHP-Juan Duran (trade), RHP-Midre Encarnacion (trade), RHP-Octavio Valenzuela (FA), LHP- Pablo Taveras (trade), LHP-Coco Reagan (trade), C-Ignacio Rondon (FA), 3B-Peter Carlson (trade).

Key Players Acquired- RHP-Colby Barker (FA), RHP-Oswaldo Cueto (trade), RHP-Rashun Gonzalez (trade), RHP-Harry Newman (FA), RHP-Raymond Tanner (trade), RHP-Jimmy Veras (trade), LHP- Freddie Kim (FA), C-Eugene McCracken (FA), 1B-Robert Bland (trade), 1B-Oswaldo Padilla (trade), SS-Juan Guzman (FA).
Key Off-Season Transaction- The signing of Harry Newman, as it finally gives Baltimore the young ACE it has been looking for. 


Toledo Tauntauns -
Toledo is a team that finds itself at a crossroads. Burdened with several contracts that will prove difficult to move and tedious to carry, including over $15 million currently sitting in AAA, the Tauntauns must act with caution this season. There are several young players to build around, but only a couple on their way to the Big League roster. Ortiz, Cho, Perdomo, and Ethier return to lead the offense. Eugene Hayes and Ian Trammell will add to the offense as long as they remain with the team. Avisail Guerra adds speed, but his glove is a bit of a question mark at 2B. Jayson Wilson will be the team’s main DH.

Kid Parker and James Lamb will share the title of staff Ace, although, we use that term loosely here in Toledo. The rest of the rotation will consist of Cristobal Sanches, Olmedo Valverde, and second year man Ralph Corbin. Jamie Bennigson and his massive contract will be the first out of the bullpen, and the highly desired, but unavailable, Esteban Trinidad will close things out. Barry Morton and Jim “Wild Thing” Snyder , along with 3 Rule 5 pickups , Spruill, Mills and Lopez, will help bridge the gap between the two.

Spring Training standout Eddie Abernathy could be starting in RF by the All Star Break. Banished vets Vincenzo Strickland and Turk O’Leary will both be trying to claw their way back the Majors as well.

With 44.2 Million tied up in 6 contracts, 3 of those in AAA, the purse strings are tight in Toledo. The Tauntauns get some relief next season as two of the contracts end, and Trammell and Strickland can be bought out by mutual option, reducing the cost to 24.875 Million. Declining Guerrero’s option saved the club 7.5 Million this season.

Out: CF Edge McMillon, SS Esteban Guerrero, C Byron Barmes
In: P Ewell Mills, P Larry Spruill, P Jose Lopez
On the way: RF Eddie Abernathy

Hartford #TeamCutters -

Charlotte Tar Heels -

AL NORTH - Season #32 Preview

Buffalo Wings -
The big news in Buffalo is the MLB debut of Minor League All-Star & former #2 overall draft pick Leon Jenkins... We'll see how he lives up to his potential...  

Milwaukee Blue Ribbons -
1) Season outlook: The four-time defending division champion Blue Ribbons hope to remain a contender. A lot of star veterans were allowed to leave in free agency because, for a change, the organization believes it has the prospects to fill in where they left off.

(2) Players acquired: The big addition was workhorse starter Rigo Almonte, acquired from Seattle in order to slot in as Milwaukee’s No. 2 starter behind ace Robin Hoffman, who has returned from elbow surgery. The club also took a chance on a few veterans on one-year contracts: utility player Patrick Boyle, third baseman Elmer Reagan and reliever Freddy Martin.

(3) Players lost: The cost of Almonte was steep, with former 40-HR hitter and Gold Glove left fielder Julian Aquino sent away to Seattle. Aquino had struggled the past couple of seasons and needed a change of scenery. Veteran starting pitchers Willie Harville and Jimmie Veras, as well as star shortstop Pedro Espinosa, all left via free agency—though not without a return of Type A draft picks.

(4) Top prospect(s): Look for the Blue Ribbons to benefit from the arrival of future franchise catcher David Sveum and a pair of shortstops, Willie Lee and Garry Trammell. First baseman Dale Swift could also see some late-season at bats.

Detroit Wolverines -

Sioux Falls Antelopes -

AL SOUTH - Season #32 Preview

Little Rock Rockabillies -

Montgomery Cornbread On The Brain -

New Orleans VooDoo -

Tampa Bay Spartans -