Thursday, May 14, 2015

Season 29 - Team Previews

Thank you to everyone who contributed.  Unfortunately this is our lowest amount in quite awhile.  I partially blame myself for not sending out the request at the start of spring training.  Thank you to everyone who took a couple minutes to put these together.

Huntington Thundering Herd

Additions: 1B Chip Olshan, 3B Melky Baez, CF Yadier Machado, SP Evan Randolph, SP Michael Robinson, SP Trever Christian, SP Ismael Martinez, SP William Inge, RP Geraldo Ramirez, RP Julio Melendez

Subtractions: SP Ralph Myette, SP Derrick Jerchower, SP Arthur Johnstone, SP Achillie Brower, SP Tony Velez, SP Mark Glover, RP Daichi Song, RP Al Paz, RP Cameron Dorsey, 3B Gill Mauer, OF Stu Bryant, OF Terrance Shields, IF Claude Leonard, OF Rigo Escobar

Typical of management in Huntington, there have been a lot of changes this season. After a season of finishing in the bottom 3 of most pitching categories, the focus was on completely remaking the staff. We brought in 5 new starters. We were able to remake the staff with mostly groundball pitchers, so that should limit some damage. The quality is slightly improved. The bullpen was a strength last season, which is why most of it returns. The addition of Ramirez at the back-end of the bullpen strengthens this part of our team and should help to alleviate some of the rotational concern. 

Last season was a success for the offense as we finished 1st in AVG, 4th in RS, 6th in HR, 1st in OBP, 3rd in SLG, and 2nd in OPS. Wouldn't expect there to be much room for improvement, but we managed to snag the top 3B on the market, Melky Baez (.270/.334/.449, 24 HR, 89 RBI in S28) to replace the rapidly declining Gill Mauer (.261/.319/.467; 28 HR, 83 RBI) is a net gain between his defensive ability and offensive superiority. Former CF Markus Crosby (.294/.358/.522; 27 HR, 49 2B, 87 RBI) shifts over to LF which will improve the OF defense as well as allow Dee Thompson (.285/.352/.350) to PH strengthening the bench. RF J.R. Pastornicky (.355/.371/.871, 5 HR, 12 RBI in ST) looks to compete for ROY honors this season. HOF C Ramon Pong (.288/.364/.469, 29 HR, 93 RBI), 1B Shane Meadows (.311/.387/.486, 24 HR, 91 RBI), SS Ariel Diaz (.311/.365/.454, 15 HR, 76 RBI), and 2B Esteban Crespo (.270/.345/.446, 26 HR, 95 RBI) return to anchor one of the best-hitting, but most defensively suspect IF in the NL. Enrique Mendoza, Chip Olshan, Junichi Donald, and Derrick Longoria anchor a bench that should be a strength for this team. 

If this team does not compete for the NL South title this season, a total teardown may be in order. The starting pitching is suspect, but everything else has improved so much that it is hoped that it outweighs the starting pitching.

Buffalo Bulls

The Bulls attempted to address a lack of a bonafide #3 hitter in the lineup by making a sizable investment in 2b/3b Keith Petersen. Rangy Felipe Diaz takes over in CF and Geoff Snyder moves to LF. Stan Gwynn upgrades the catcher position which he will share with Howie Reddick. Infielder Gus Yoshii, P Danny Feliz, and P Buddy Swann join the big club too.
The hope is a solid exhibition game season translates favorably into a successful regular season and beyond.

Texas Tech Red Raiders

There were a number of key changes to the Red Raider roster during this off-season, though the expectations for the team remain the same. This team should get into the playoffs, and have a strong enough overall squad for a potential deep postseason run. There were a few changes made to both the lineup/fielders and the pitching staff. In the field, veteran 1B Angel Sanchez had his contract bough out and has since signed a deal to play in Salem. This will allow former rookie of the year, Del Todd to move from RF (where his is a liability in the field) to 1B (where he is an asset). Veteran switch hitter Rip Wagner will continue to play in LF, while FA Gabe Podsednik will take over for Todd in RF. Another acquisition the team is excited about is 5x World Series Champion Red Callaway. He will play 3B and (hopefully) provided leadership in the clubhouse the will help elevate this team to the next level. Rookie Pepe Zurbaran will also be called upon to start against LHP at C this season, giving the Red Raiders excellent offensive production out of the C position when combined with Ozuna. This lineup should be average offensively with pretty good power throughout, even though the team lacks a true slugger. There won't be too much in the way of stolen bases, and this squad should be toward the top of the NL in defense. 

On the mound, former #1 overall pick, LH Tommy Moreno will get his chance in the rotation. Combined with phenom Norman Lomansey and veteran Richie Wingo, the starting rotation should be very good, and have multiple LHers and RHers available to start as needed. The bullpen was solidified by Shigetoshi Tabaka and Homer Konerko who were signed. The pitching staff has a great deal of flexiblity with righties, and lefties; as well as seven pitchers capable of starting or throwing out of the pen. The pitching (and defense) will be the strength of the team overall, and should finish as one of the top 5 pitching staffs in the NL.

Kansas City Wildcats

The Kansas City Wildcats are still rebuilding but have brought up four rookie hitters Al Corino, Ralph Martin, Carson Lilly and Wes Story who hopefully will improve the KC offense. KC signed free agent pitchers Rex Clontz, Augie Suzuki, Eugenio Delgado, Jim George, and Jamey Houck to help the pitching staff. I hope to improve upon last year’s 67-95 record.

Memphis Tigers

Memphis enters season 29 having made no major moves during the offseason. The Tigers will return virtually the same lineup from a year ago, a squad that clawed their way into the playoffs, even managing to reach the Elite 8. This season, the offense will be counted on even more heavily. Look for second year pros Juarez (SS) and Owens (LF) to continue to mature, and for 3B Ralph Barkley to complete his first full year in the majors. All three will be depended upon to be catalysts and throttle the offense. Memphis had hoped Mack Brush would be the fourth Horseman, but injuries along with questionable management have ultimately hindered development of his potential. 
The pitching staff will be the bigger concern during the season we believe. The rotation lead by Top Tiger Chili Carver will have a similar look as last year, and starters not No. 1 will need to overachieve again. The same can be said for the bullpen as well, they will need to outperform and get the ball in the hands of the show stopper, John “Last Call” O’Brien. The Tigers have modest hopes to duplicate the results of last year or even finish second in the NL South again. All-in-all though, we are counting on the lineup to shine and provide the pitching staff with adequate and needed run support, specifically Carver, the biggest victim of a punchless offense in past years.

Nashville Commodres

After missing the playoffs last season, Nashville spent the off season attempting to upgrade their pitching staff. Free agent relievers Erubiel Marquez, Jose Martis and Shannon Darwin should upgrade the bullpen. Returning starters include Livan Rosales and Victor Nunez. Overall the staff should be improved.

The offense will once again be led by RF Jack Hurst, DH Harry Zorilla, 1B Alex Flores and LF Paul Igarashi. Offense will once again be the strength of the team.

Strong defense up the middle with SS Edgardo Crespo, 2B Elvis Clay and CF Clinton James, should help improve the pitching staff.

The playoffs are the goal this season in Nashville, and anything less would be a disappointment.

Boise Broncos

The Boise Broncos hope to keep improving this season and think we have a good shot at the Division Title. The team mainly remained the same and is counting on the continued improvement of young stars: Frank Hughes, RF; Javier Martin, 2B; Closer Andre Eyre; Rickey Brush, SS; Carlos Candelaria, P as well as proven vets at 3b – Einar Lee, 1B –Pavano and a solid duo behind the plate. The exciting news has centered around rookie LF, F.P. Charles and pitching FA acquisition Alfredo Carreras. The rotation is solid but not great, but the starting 8 and strong pen should make up any for any deficiencies.

Seattle Huskies

Seattle looks to improve on its wild card berth and subsequent first round exit. As expected the pitching was excellent, runs were scarce. FA 1B/DH Nigel Mickalac was brought in to help produce more runs. SS Torrey Ordonez makes the jump from AA after a blistering spring training. Also making the leapfrog the minors is new C and RF in hopes of improving the O. The rotation is excellent, the back end of the bullpen in also great. The middle of the pen is questionable. Hopefully this team returns to the playoffs again.

Helena Grizzlies

The Helena Grizzlies are going through a long overdue re-build. After winning the World Series in season 18, the franchise has been stuck in medicority. The team has posted win totals between 74 and 83 for the last 9 consecutive seasons. Not good enough to get into the playoffs and not bad enough to get a top 15 draft pick. This season, the team has moved to a much more focused approach on prospect development. They have the 2nd youngest roster in the big leagues with an average age of 26.9 and also own the lowest average current salary. With that the team should be a major player in the international free agent market. While rebuilding can often be painful, nothing can be as painful as the last 9 years of being a middling franchise. Hopefully season 29 is the first step toward a return to the glory days.

Charlotte Tar Heels

The Tar Heels were shocked at how well last season went which was partially due to over performance and partially due to the NL East being really weak. We brought back the major core of this group as we try to contend for another season or two before deciding whether to invest long term in this core group of players or re-tool as we did last offseason.  We did bring Tony Velez back to hopefully anchor the top of the rotation.  Its nice to see him in Carolina Blue again. Other than that move, the lineup, rotation, and bullpen are all the same.  Our goal is to get back to the playoffs and hopefully make more noise than last season.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Post Season 28 - Updated World Rankings

Thanks to mongoose for compiling these....explanation and rankings below.

3 points for a WS victory, 3 points for a league pennants, 1 point for playing in a LCS, 1 point for making the playoffs, 1 point for having a winning record, and 1 point for having one of the top two records in the league (in the case of a tie, both teams were awareded. For example, if there was a 101 W team and two 98 W teams, both of the 98 win teams were awarded the point). So the most a team could get in a single season would be 10 points. But if you had a solid season, made the playoffs, you'd still get 2 points (one for a winning record, and one for making the playoffs).

1 (1)- Charlotte- 107 (+2)

2 (3)- Arizona- 99 (+10)

3 (2)- Minnesota- 97 (+3)

4 (4)- Nasheville- 83

5 (6)- Anaheim- 64 (+7)

6 (5)- Charleston- 61

7 (7)- Richmond- 56 (+3)

8 (7)- Syracuse- 53

9 (9)- Salem- 52

10 (10)- Dover- 51 (+1)

11 (11)- Fargo- 59 (+3)

12 (12)- Helena- 44

12 (13)- Detroit-44 (+2)

14 (14)- New York- 41 (+2) 

15 (15)- Philadelphia- 36 (+1)

16 (16)- Texas- 33 (+3)

17 (17)- Oakland- 27

18 (18)- Louisville- 26

19 (19)- New Orleans- 21

20 (20)- Cincinnati- 19

21 (21)- Little Rock- 19 (+2)

22 (21)- Huntington- 17

23 (23)- Kansas City- 16

23 (23)- Iowa City- 16

25 (25)- Boise- 15 (+1)

26 (26)- Buffalo- 13

26 (28)- Seattle- 13 (+2)

28 (27)- Portland- 12

29 (29)- Columbus- 9

29 (30)- Memphis- 9 (+2)

31 (31)- Chicago- 6

31 (31)- Jacskon- 7

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Season 28 - Amateur Draft Review

Thank you to everyone who participated.  I apologize for the format issues.  Its best when they are sitemailed to me, but several sent trade chats instead and thats where you see the type change.

As always, these reviews are using a mixture of my HS/Coll/ADV Scouting and analysis.  Without a doubt, people will disagree :-) Enjoy!

1. LouisvilleStan Boyd

Boyd is a  nice pitching prospect, but not someone you'd typically see taken with the first pick in the draft.  This was probably caused by a bad combination of poor talent overall in the draft with bad luk on who Louisville was able to see. Regardless, he'll be a good, if not great ML contributor.

chase39 - We drafted Stan Boyd with the first pick. With only 16 in HS scouting, we didn't see everyone. Stan will be a start in the uphill climb to rebuilding this team, as we focus on signing pitchers in the draft.

2. New OrleansElmer Truman

I am guessing Louisville was not able to see Truman because he is head and shoulders above Boyd as a pitching prospect and definitely more of the type you'd see get selected #1 overall. Truman should develop into a high end SP with a great righty split along with two ++ pitches.

victorzhao - "Our organization was ecstatic to be in a position to select Elmer Truman with our second overall pick. We had him rated head and shoulders above any other prospect on our draft board. We were hoping he'd still be there when we picked, and thank goodness he was! We hope that in 3-4 seasons, he will be anchoring the staff."

3. JacksonKyle Logan

Our 3rd SP in a row is selected and Logan's fate will depend on how much Jackson can develop those splits.  Everything else checks out rather nicely, but if Logan can't get his splits into the mid 60's than he won't live up to the top 3 selection.  Should end up being a solid middle of the rotation starter.

4. PortlandGene Acosta

I'd like this pick a lot more if Acosta projected to a higher PC and could be a legit catcher.  Since he does not, he will probably be a DH and typically you'd want an all world hitting DH to select him so high in the draft.  Acosta has some great splits, but his contact and power ratings are much lower.

5. Chicago - David White hasn't signed

6. SalemFarmer Valentine

The most ML ready SP is now off the board as the Beavers select Valentine out of college.  The Salem GM was very vocal about how unhappy he was regarding the talent in the draft (he wasn't wrong), but he made the most out of it with a solid, if not spectacular prospect in Valentine.  If he can develop those first two pitches enough to offset his second two, then he should be a nice SP one day, sooner than later.

ajwalton - With the 6th pick in this year's draft, Salem looked to nab a top notch position player after loading up on pitching in recent seasons. Unfortunately, our scouts were unable to see a position player worthy of the draft slot in the entire player pool. Given the talent pool, we are happy with the selection of Farmer Valentine at the 6 spot, as he was one of two draft-worthy prospects we could see. He should be an above average contributor at the ML level.

7. Portland (type D) - Vicente Urbina

Portland's second pick of the first seven picks lands them a JUCO pitcher who should be ready in a couple seasons.  His lefty split is a little worrisome, but the Ducks hope his other ratings will balance those out.

8. Kansas CityMarwin Iglesias

Iglesias is our first true positional prospect, but he almost assuredly will not be a SS when he makes his debut in the bigs.  The Wildcats will hope he can become a great fielding 2B or 3B with a decent bat.  I wish he had a bit more power to give.  He also apparently is one heck of a baserunner.

llcc - The Kansas City Wildcats selected Marwin Iglesias with the 8th pick in this years draft. He is projected to play second base. He should hit around .270 with 15 homers per year.

9. Iowa CityGreg Romine

Romine projects to be a nice hitting corner outfielder.  He was a 3B in college and still playing there in Rookie Ball, but his glove will never be good enough to stick there.  His hitting projections are through the roof, but I think my scouts are drunk because he isn't going to gain 45 pts in contact

10. MemphisPablo Servet

I'm surprised Servet fell to #10.  I think he projects to be better than a couple of the other pitchers who went earlier.  Nice value pick for the Tigers.  Servet looks above average in many of the key pitching categories and should serve Memphis well.

mh17 - While the Tiger scouts may have missed a couple of quality prospects, Memphis readily welcomes Servet to town. Primarily an off-speed pitcher, Servet posses great control wih two quality pitches and should be able to pitch deep into games if he can stay out of trouble. We would like to see some improvement in his left/right splits and third and fourth pitches. If he stays on course, Pablo should fit nicely in a middle to back of the rotation role. 

11. ColumbusJim Joyner

Joyner will never be a SS and doesn't look worth of being a pick so high in a draft, but this isn't a usual draft and the scarcity of good players allowed for guys like Joyner to get picked higher and get paid.  In a perfect world, he'll develop enough to be a solid 2B or 3B.  Worst case he could be a utility player.

12. FargoDouglas Langwell

I love this pick if Langwell can come close to his projections and especially if he can play average at 3B.  Power hitting 3B who aren't a travesty at 3B are hard to find.  The issue is Langwell is already 22 so not sure how realistic it is to think he'll get to those numbers, but he should be really solid.

bigsammich - Very pleased to have Doug fall to us at 12 when he was ranked third on the Bison big board. Should develop into a reliable 3rd baseman or corner outfielder. Nice wheels with good power should turn him into a doubles machine. The front office considered this an extremely weak draft class, but are pleased to have acquired Doug at #12.

13. HelenaHank Walters

Walters is a nice selection in a weak draft.  It will be interesting to see if his DUR/STA combination can improve to the point where he is a legit starter.  He could excel as a super reliever as well.

drichar138 - The Grizzlies front office is pleased to land Hank Walters with the 13th pick of the draft. This was a relatively weak draft class, so to get a future #3 caliber starting pitcher at this spot was a nice get. Walters has pinpoint control and a plus fastball. He doesn't have a dominate pitch, but is pretty balanced in his ability to get outs against hitters on either side of the plate.

14. BuffaloLou Ingram

I typically like to see more power in 1B, but Ingram can definitely put the bat on the ball.  If Buffalo can develop his splits and eye, he could be a really high OBP guy for them.

glowguy - The Bulls went for big lefty first baseman, Lou Ingram. We hope he can eventually replace our current frist baseman Jim "Koolaid" Jones when the time comes.

15. BoiseLouis Humphries

Abes did a great job summing up my thoughts exactly.  His control is a huge issue.  There have been players who can overcome it, but typically their other ratings are sky high.  I always follow interesting cases like this though, will be fun to see how he does.

abesmem - With the 15th overall pick Boise was able to snag SP Louis Humphries. OK, so he’ll have a little difficulty finding the plate at times, but with a projected 100 stamina he can pitch all day (so, is that actually a good thing?) Regardless, he’s got very good splits and can throw 5 pitches (4 well). If his spits develop as projected, is he should become a pretty good ML starter. Not bad with the 15th pick.

16. SyracuseDamian Durham

I love this pick and am annoyed he landed in my division.  In such a weak draft, why not take a great hitting catcher who's only issue is he'll be limited to 100-120 games.  He has a monster bat.  The Tar Heels had him rated pretty high hoping his low OVR would allow him to drop.  No luck there.

17. Cincinnati - Samuel Booker hasn't signed.

18. OaklandAvery Haddad

Haddad projects to be a middle to end of the rotation SP who relies on his command of the strike zone to overcome his lack of great pitches and average splits.

mjmage - Avery Haddad was ranked 5th overall on my board and was taken in the 18th spot. He is a future ML right-handed starting pitcher with top notch control. He has 5 pitches currently and has good effectiveness vs. righties and lefties. Should be a #3-4 starter in rotation.

19. DoverSherm Gonzales

I think Gonzales' future hands on how well Dover can develop his righty split.  If that bad boys hovers at or below 50, then he could be lit up.  If they can get it over that hump moving in the right direction then his control and pitches will help him be an innings eater for the Blue Hens.

byers61 - With the 19th pick in the draft, The Blue Hens were happy to get SP Sherm Gonzales. He will be an absolute workhorse for years to come. Superior control should help make up for marginal splits, and if the catchers keep him on his best three pitches, he should be a winner. We had him 4th overall and were thrilled to get him at 19.

20. Cincinnati (type A for Willard Perez from Seattle) - Walker Fedroff

I like Fedroff as a solid future reliever for the Bearcats, but a coupe relievers were selected later in the draft who project to be even better than Fedroff so this could be categorized as a slight reach.

21. Texas TechJohn Page

Page will be a good piece to the puzzle for the Red Raiders, but is a guy you can typically find relatively cheaply in free agency.  He'll play a host of positions (utility player) and provide a spark off the bench.

mongoose_22 - The Texas Tech Red Raiders were wildly indifferent to the late 1st round selection of John Page. Page is one of the more polished players in the draft as a 22 year old senior. He projects out to developing into a serviceable role player, filling out the bench for an ML team. He should be able to play most positions (other than SS and 3B and possibly CF) with speed to burn. He does make stupid decisions on the bases and can't hit very well.

22. ColumbusKen Langford

Langford makes contact a lot, but isn't particularly great at facing righties or lefties.  I'm actually not quite sure how that make sense, but those are the ratings! If his eye can develop well and combined that with his excellent contact rating and cross your fingers the splits get there, he could be a 3rd or 4th outfielder.

23. New Orleans - Dan Oeltjen hasn't signed.

24. PhiladelphiaTyler Heckathorn

Woah, almost $9 million dollars to convince Heckathorn to sign.  Signing him is better than not, but another avenue to approach would have been to take the comp pick for next season when hopefully the draft is a bit stronger and utilize the cash to sign an IFA.  The Owls decided it was better to take the bird in hand.  I actually disagree with jeanpaul, I think he can definitely contribute at C and he would be way more valuable there especially at that price point.  But I also am perfectly fine giving up a little defense for more offense at catcher.

jeanpaul22 - More a DH than a catcher, good pitch call but his arm is so-so accuracy and strength. But his bat is hot, good contact, very good power, good eye and his split is OK. The only problem, he probably won't sign.

25. New YorkEsmil Tarasco

Unfortunately I don't see Tarasco ever being more than a AAAA player and if he does contribute in the bigs, it should be as a mop up guy.  Always frustrating to pick late in a weak draft.

26. Charlotte (type A for Domingo Prado from Little Rock) - Les Lilly

I could not be happier with the Lilly selection.  Obviously I hoped for a stronger draft considering all of the type A's I lost, but I feared the worst after I spent most of my budget on an IFA to the point where I had to select guys who were looking to sign.  I think Lilly can be a very effective reliever and arguably could have significantly higher.  His one major issue is his stamina and we are hoping he can add 4-8 points to his current number.

27. Charleston (type A for David Rodriguez from Detroit) - Addison Posada hasn't signed.

28. Charleston - Armondo Vazquez hasn't signed.

29. Detroit (type D) - Toru Nomura

I'd like this pick more if LH specialist actually worked, but it really doesn't. Nomura runs the risk of getting lit up by righties, but in a draft like this, you take what you can get this low in the first round and he is definitely a ML contributor.

tk21775 - With the #29th selection the Wolverines got the 2nd player on our draft board with Toru Nomura. Normally that would make us question how serious our scouts took the draft but overall pleased with him at this spot. He'll be a nice relief pitchers that should be able to handle lefties very well. At this point in the draft after seeing the prospects we were simply happy to get a guy that should contribute in the majors when he's ready.

30. NashvilleNate Flier

Flier is a type of pitcher I mentioned above who's lack of control may be overcome by really good splits and solid pitches.

cctigerfan - The Nashville Commodores drafted Nate Flier with the 29th pick. Although Flier lacks control, the Commodores hope he can be effective. If his pitches develop and he gains some control, Flier should be able to be a future big league contributor.

31. Richmond (type D) - Alex Balaguert

Nice pick here as the Spiders take one of the best defensive players in the draft.  He should be a very good defensive SS.

32. RichmondMike Varitek

I don't think Varitek will make it out of the minors as he doesn't excel anywhere and is pretty bad defensively.  He doesn't have the bat to play 1B in the majors. (maybe this is bulletin board material for him)

33. Arizona - Rick Donovan hasn't signed

Rick Donovan sucks, but the Arizona front office cannot complain as they did not invest anything in the draft. Ceiling looks like an ML bench player, but more likely a AAA journeyman.

34. CharlotteTroy Frasor

Similar to what I wrote about Lilly above, I'm really pleased with the Frasor signing.  He is a nice relief pitcher who should be a solid contributor.  It could have been a lot worse.

35. AnaheimTerry Lee

Lee has a long way to go in his development, but if/when he gets there, he looks to have the bat to be a part of the ML squad.


Seattle - mcgupp - With their first round pick, the Seatle Huskies signed FA 3B Willard Perez. So far I'm pleased with the choice. Perez has been an upgrade both offensively and defensively. Factor in a weak looking class, and we'll continue to try to win while we have a good pitching staff. In the second round the team took SS Vincente Portillo. He appears to be the AAA RF'er of the future.

Little Rock - sgmedia - "The Razorbacks will be making no effort to sign our top draft pick (Kevin Clements, 3rd round, 115th overall). We simply feel that $5.5 million is unrealistic for a third round pick. We wish Kevin well moving forward in his college and baseball careers."

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Hall of Fame Class - Season 28

The owners in NCAA voted to induct two players into the NCAA Hall of Fame.  Both players played their entire careers for their respective franchises. (which is cool in and of itself)  I reached out to both mongoose_22 and llcc to get their thoughts on the inductees.

Adam Seneca
Age: 41B/T: R/R
Born: Pocomoke City, MD
Position(s): 1B
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

8 Time All Star, 1 Time MVP, 1 Time Rookie of the Year, 2 Time Silver Slugger 1B


Drafted 3rd overall in the Season 4 draft, Adam Seneca is simply the best position player in Texas history. Before I came into NCAA, when I checked out the available team and saw Seneca and Shumpert together, that was the reason why I took the team. Seneca played in Texas for 18 seasons, and 16 of those seasons as a full time starting player. He was the model of durablitly, playing in at least 156 games for 13 consecutive seasons. The Red Raiders (or Mustangs, or Horned Frogs) made the playoffs in 11 of his first 12 seasons as a pro. With he and Shump leading the franchise into their golden age, they were never able to win the big prize, flaming out in the NLCS on three separate occasions. His awards, 8 All Stars and an MVP speak for themselves. We have officially renamed the Texas Tech Red Raiders offensive record book, 'The Book of Adam Seneca's Career Achievements.' The only player in the same league is former Texas player Ned French. Seneca holds the franchise career record in AB, PA, 2B, GP, H, HR, R, RBI, RC, and BB. He is 2nd in BA, OBP, RC/27 and 3rd in OPS, SLG, 3B and SB. By his retirement, his HoF resume was almost perfect, with all of the boxes checked: closet full of awards... check; .300+ batting average... check; .400+ OBP... check, .500+ SLG... check, 3000+ hits... check, 500+ doubles... check, 500+ HR... check.

Craig Sanders
Age: 45B/T: L/L
Born: Shaker Heights, OH
Position(s): 1B
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

5 Time All Star, 2 Time CYC, 1 Time MVP, 2 Time Silver Slugger 1B


Kansas City Wildcats slugger Craig Sanders was elected to the NCAA Hall of Fame in his third year of eligibility. He finished his career with 3295 hits the third most hits in NCAA history. His 835 RBI’S with two outs ranks number two all-time and he finished in the top five overall in Games Played, At Bats, Runs Batted In, and Walks.

Craig Sanders has a .319 lifetime average in the Post Season and lead the Wildcats to the World Series in season 13 his league MVP year. 

Craig Sanders was the heart and soul of the Wildcats for 24 years and can never be replaced.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Season 28 Previews

Thank you to everyone who participated!

NL North

Iowa City Hawkeyes

Well this is it, I have given up the future for the now. I would like to give Justin Crosby another opportunity to win a championship so I made huge trades to make it happen. Coming aboard 1B Tomas Olmedo via waivers and 2B Daryl Litsch, SS Albert Park, and SP Taylor Sellers and Duke Strong. I hope the veteran leadership from years on a great Tar Heals team will help lead this team along with fellow veterans Justin Crosby, Felix Owen,Gene Hobert, Dallas Parrott, Efrain Nakano, Mateo Miro and Benoit Roque to a championship season. Mix in some younger talent in Jimmy Ibarra, Danny Halladay, Lou Jamison and Benito Romero and Also taking a chance on a Rule 5 player Mateo Dominguez and young set-up pitcher Armando Suarez hopefully they will mature this year. I think this could be the year for Iowa.

Detroit Wolverines

The Wolverines were busy in the off season taking the next step into bringing home another championship, trying to match the football teams huge hire of Jim H. Our offense remains in tact, led by last season's NL MVP in Galahad Cox who we lost to injury before the playoffs last season. Most of our offense is just entering their prime years and are being locked into long term deals the last few seasons to keep this core together. Our main focus was pitching this off season and we traded for last season's AL CY Young winner Willie Izturis. David Rodrigues and Lariel Toca were inked to deals when Prado's contract became too expensive for us. These three along with Marino Megias and Hisanori Martin gives us what we believe to be the strongest rotation in NCAA. We have 5 pitchers with 80+ vR and the other 6 that will be on the roster all in the 70s. The pitching staff is old in age so we have a 3 year window to bring home that trophy to Detroit but knowing that we traded for Miguel Santiago to help when it's time for the old guys to hang up their cleats. Our goal is no longer just settling for the playoffs anymore, we are expecting to be competing for NL championship and more.

Dover Fightin' Blue Hens

The Blue Hens are counting on last season being an anomaly. After a 20-win drop from 101 to 81 with essentially the same team, Dover decided to stand pat and pay the veterans. No free agent signings or departures worthy of mention. 3b Andres Salas will be a twenty-game callup, and CF Fernando Eusebio will follow. If management was wrong about the season 27 barometer, then it may signal the sell-off of a couple of high-quality veterans.

NL East

Buffalo Bulls

We are hoping the Buffalo Bulls will turn things around this season. Last season, the Bulls finished 76-86- just another season playing under .500 ball in the land of “lake effect” snowstorms. 
Last year. Pitchers Aurelio Navarro and Clay Williams were a combined 5-25 between them. Since then, Navarro left the team in a fit of rage and Williams will have a diminished role, if any. on the ML squad. 
C Howie Reddick was brought in to add some power to a home run starved lineup and is a major upgrade in skills over Oswaldo Peralta who will be moved to first base in a platoon role. SS Rey Jung was brought in to maintain a strong defense . Andy Stahoviak was signed to replace Navarro in the relief corps.
Quite a few rookies will get their shot at the big time this season including Addie “Joss” Jose OF, Max Pineda 3B, Charles Stuart OF, and Yadier Tejera at 2B and Rule 5 draftee Kaleb Torres P.
We think the Bulls should reach .500 ball this season for only the 7th time in its history and might even compete for first place in the division. 

Charlotte Tar Heels

n The Tar Heels GM fell asleep at the wheel at the end of Season 27 and failed to re-sign guaranteed Type A free agents Ramon Pong, Domingo Prado, and Luis Cortes.  After going on a one week bender and crying himself to sleep every night, the Tar Heels decided to go all in on rebuild mode. The fact is the team was getting old.  No Doubt we could have competed for a few more seasons, but inevitably age was going to catch up to us.  In a flurry of moves that stretched from the winter meetings all the way to right before spring training the following veterans were shipped out of Charlotte:

Players lost via FA: Ramon Pong, Domingo Prado, Luis Cortes, Tony Velez, Fred O'Neill, Dante Itou, Darrell Haywood
Players lost via Trade: Homer Konerko, Daryl Litch, Albert Park, Taylor Sellers, Duke Strong, and Lance Shawler.

For those keeping score at home, there are at least four likely Hall of Famers in that group.  Its been a tough couple of weeks.

The good news is we have severely cut out payroll down while adding some young pieces in Max Romero (SP), Vince Carr (SP), Patrick Rondo (1B), Oleg Anderson (RP), Frank Coscarart (CF), amongst several others.  We hope to be significant players in the IFA game this year and who knows, the NL East does not have a dominant team so maybe we get some lucky breaks and find ourselves in contention.

It is a new era in Charlotte!

Louisville Cardinals

Season 28 will be seeing what we have and deciding which direction the team will be going in Season 29. Some players we added since taking over the last few days were: Jose Ortiz, Peter Tazawa, and Christopher Jenkins. The team lost 104 games last season. That wont happen this year, but at the same time, i think we will be hard pressed to win 70 games this season. You never know, but i see this as a 65 to 75 win team at best this year.

NL South

Huntington Thundering Herd

After a playoff appearance and a winning season for the first time since S20, the Herd made some very questionable moves this offseason. Gone are big boppers 2B Philip Rigby and C Lyle Baptist, as well as 3B "Steady Eddie" Padden. The addition of living legend C Ramon Pong helps to offset those losses, but the fact of the matter is, this team's starting 8 got worse in the offseason. The hope is that new LF Dee Thompson and 2B Esteban Crespo can set the table for Pong, CF Markus Crosby, and 1B Shane Meadows. The RF position is up for grabs...right now the favorite, veteran Stu Bryant is battling the future, JR Pastornicky for that position. Versatile power hitter Gill Mauer returns to 3B and SS Ariel Diaz completes what might be the worst defensive infield in the National League. 

The rotation is revamped, and, fingers crossed, improved. Ace Mark Glover returns as does Ralph Myette. Newcomers Tony Velez, Arthur Johnstone, and Derrick Jerchower round a solid, if unspectacular rotation. The bullpen is where the improvement were really pushed through. Francisco Soto is the anchor and he is supporter by quality SuA's in Daichi Song and Ozzie Lange. SuB will be held by returnees Benjamin Bowker and Steve Donovan. The bullpen should be lights out this season.

Memphis Tigers

Players Added:  Phillip Rigby 2B/3B
Key Players Lost:  Christopher Jenkins SS, Lee Golub OF, Bucky Arnold SP
Key Transactions: None
Rookies to watch for: Carlos Juarez SS, Lance Owens LF

During the offseason, management had hopes of improving the pitching staff, most considerably a lackluster bullpen, but fell out of the running on a couple of the key free-agents, and overall faltered on their pitching goals. The rotation loses SP Bucky Arnold and will depend on free-agents Rex Clontz and / or Hipolito Cora to have above average years, while Tiger rookie Alexei Ordonez could see his way into the rotation as well. The bullpen welcomes Jimmy Gee but otherwise remains the same, and will depend on the returning pitchers to outperform expectations.
The Memphis offense enters season 28 with a slightly different look. After initially considering on trying to retain, gone to free agency are shortstop Christopher Jenkins and Tiger career base stealer, outfielder Lee Golub.  The Tigers instead will begin the season with the debuts of rookies Carlos Juarez (SS) and Lance Owens (LF), respectively. Also, joining the Tiger lineup will be free-agent signee Phillip Rigby to play second, possibly third base and provide a nice bat. Management tried to make a couple last minute pickups as well but couldn’t come to terms.  Look for stud Ralph Barkley to possibly make his ML debut at some point in the season.

Texas Tech Red Raiders

The Texas Tech Red Raiders were very quiet during the offseason. We made no significant moves to speak of, returning essentially the same team as last season. The only major difference will be the debut of highly touted, former #1 overall pick, SP Norman Lomasney. He should develop into a perennial All Star, and is ML ready. The team will once again boast one of the deepest and best starting rotations in the NL, with a solid bullpen and an excellent defense playing behind them. The Red Raiders should be at, or near, the top of the NL in fewest runs allowed, even playing in a more hitter friendly Texas ballpark. The offense, also like last season, will likely be below average. A couple of key players have aged, and the team lacks speed and doesn't have much power either. It will be very tough to win in the brutal NL South, but the expectation is for this team to make it into the playoffs once more, and hopefully ride the pitching to a deep playoff run. If everything goes right, this should be about an 87 win team, and either a division winner or a Wild Card squad.

NL West

Arizona Lumberjacks

The Lumberjacks came into the offseason with the goal of improving the starting pitching staff. This was accomplished through the trade market in acquiring veteran Homer Konerko from Charlotte and 28 year old Haywood Milledge from Oakland. 

Arizona returns the same lineup from last year minus CF, which will be manned through platoon this season. 

With the acquisition of 2 very good SPs and the return of everyone from the 2nd best offense in the NL last season, the Lumberjacks are hoping to win NL West again and hopefully make a deep run in the playoffs.

Boise Broncos

The Broncos will be looking to continue their upward trend and hopefully make a splash in the playoffs this year. Our young core group has finally come of age and are now young vets. With Brush at SS, Hughes in RF and Martin at 2B the future is now. Led as always by Red Dreifort at 1b, Pedro Rosario at catcher and Einar Lee at third, the offense should pound opposition pitching. The rotation remains anchored by Mendoza, Candelaria, Jose and Pizzaro. The bullpen should be a strength and with the newly acquired SPnPedro Trevino polishing his skills in AAA, Boise is ready for the puck to drop, er season to start.

Kansas City Wildcats

KC Wildcats top hitters this year are Louie Cook, Benny Ingram and Joc Patterson. Top Player's lost to free agency are Arthur Johnstone,Julio Brito and Derrick Jerchower. Free agents signed Denny Long, Evan Randolph, Bret Hutch and Ezdra Velazquez. Rookies to watch are Wes Story, Al Corino, Steven Dempster and Ralph Martin.

AL North

Cincinnati Bearcats

The Cincinnati Bearcats set a torrid pace for the first 100 games last season positioning themselves in the upper echelons of playoff contenders. Something drastic happened on the way to the bank, namely a 15-47 finish that left the 'cats management scratching their heads and sitting on their butts come playoff time.

Though they sat on their butts, they did not sit on their hands in the off season. They let long time 3b, Willard Perez and innings eater Stuart Shrenk go to free agency. They traded closer Oleg Anderson to Charlotte, thereby guaranteeing Charlotte a trip to the World Series.They traded outstanding cf Oswaldo Nieves, dh extraordinaire Al Brandt, and comfortable shirt starter Albert Diaz to Little Rock.

They signed no free agents. Only one of the players acquired in the trades, Don Ishikawa, is likely to be on the ML roster. He is not quite ready; but, the gap created by Perez's departure has no other viable candidate.

Hope for the 'cats future is based upon the following: 1. c Jalal Bowman hit 60 points below avg. last season, he should rebound, 2. The closer's role vacated by Anderson, should be adequately filled by Tarik Price, 3. Last year's promising rookies, Alex Diaz and Emil Fernandez are expected to continue developing into all-star players, 4. Late season call-up Rob Ray proved his mettle on the mound and a full season of the same or better pitching is expected. Rookie, Ross "the hoss" Seneca should add quality to the staff. Rookie Willie Bailey will add bullpen depth. 5. Sometime during the season, expect budding superstars Boone Ellis and Olmedo Alvarez to hit the big time, 6. Trade acquisitions Manuel Vega, Geovany Rivas, Don Ishikawa, Yorman Melian, Albert Stokes, and Gustavo Pena will all make contributions, in varying degrees, to the big club in the not too distant future.

Fargo Bison

Front office at Fargo is still trying to think of ways to overcome the mighty Golden Gophers. Not much turnover in the roster as we hope to get better performance from guys like Jimmie Delgado and Alberto Valentin. Youngster Robb Kelly will be the big call up this year with Rob Boswell eagerly waiting.

AL East

Charleston Cougars

This season will be a rebuilding year for Charleston. Gone are starting pitchers Willie Izturis, David Rodriguez, and Lariel Toca as well as lead off man Miguel Cerda.

The lineup should remain relatively solid with Saul Martin, Craig Parrish and Rene Tobin in the middle. However, starting pitching will likely be below average with no true number 1 or 2 starter in the rotation. Eswalin Sierra is back for likely his last year, seeking to add to his league record 345 wins and attempt to take hold of the career strikeouts record. Prospects Chico Torrealba and Neifi Conseco will likely see their first ML action this year.

New York Red Storm

FA Lost/Signed: #p3759023Victor Diaz#p / #p3210863Shairon Houston#p 

Trade: Gave up #p4007027Donn Rodgers#p for #p6717283Carlos Beltre#p 

Rookies: None

Outlook: The Red Storm look to continue their success and extend their playoff streak to 8 in season 28. While it was a pretty uneventful offseason for the Storm, we did upgrade their bullpen while losing some pop behind the plate. If everyone stays healthy, we should have another playoff run in us.

AL South

New Orleans Bayou Bengals

For this, the 10th anniversary season since the Storm turned time in the Crescent City something that must be demarcated with a Before or After “K” tag, the Bayou Bengals will bring the locals nothing more than the usual brand of losing baseball. But since this is ‘Nawlins, the fans still have a randy good time with their beads, beignets, and baseball: laissez les “eh” times roulez!

In the second season under new ownership, the team return 18 members from last season’s dreadful 58-104 team (2nd worst in the Majors) to the Opening Day roster. The seven faces hope to add at least nine wins to the team’s overall ledger to avoid the dreaded 200 losses in 2 seasons tag. To bolster a pitching staff that posted a league-worst 5.64 ERA last season, the Bengals signed free agents SPs Harvey Ennis and workhorse Rigo Cerda. While both profile as mid- to back- of the rotation starters on good teams, they will be expected to carry the workload on the Bengals for the rest of a beleaguered pitching staff without any potential gems, with the possible exception of closer Bill Wakeland. As a rookie, Wakeland notched 20 of 24 save opportunities and looks to improve upon those marks in his second season.

On offense, the Bengals said good-bye to jack of all trades Esteban Crespo but welcome the 1st round pick they will gain in return. The Bengals will attempt to replace Crespo’s production with the combined production from new DH Victor Urbina and waiver wire pickup Jarred Ausmus, a gem of a defensive catcher with pop to boot from the right side.

Even the Bengals’ most diehard fans will concede that things are a bit dry in the high minors, as their most prized prospects are at least a season away. Hopefully, however, this will be the last season where the fans will have no hope for even a whiff of the .500 mark.

Who dat! Who dat say they gonna beat dem Bengals? For this season at least, it is everybody.

Little Rock Razorbacks

Key FA signings: Domingo Prado, P; Livan Andino, P; Dann Stevens, P; Al Bristow, CF (resigned)

Key trade additions: Shigetoshi Tabaka, P; Lyle Baptist, C; Donn Rodgers, DH; Ivan Caballero, P

Key losses: Frank Coscarart, CF; several prospects

ML Rookies: Carter Lawson, P; Yorman Guerrero, 2B

Overall outlook: Sgmedia took over the team a couple of days into preseason. Sgmedia has never won a playoff series in HBD, and is looking to break that trend with this team. The offense has been built to be a team strength, with four potential 40 homerun hitters in the everyday lineup. Bats off the bench are also strong. The team's weakness might be defense, and that will be something to monitor throughout the season, as will sgmedia's management of the pitching staff...pitcher fatigue has plagued sgmedia in every world he's played in. A division title seems within reach. How far the team will go in the playoffs depend on what tinkering can be done throughout the season.

An Objective Outsider's View: "Defense:
Little Rock is strong up the middle with Lucano, Guerrero and Nieves. The IFA market has been good to the Razorbacks. Throw in Peterson at 3B with platoon player Ortiz in LF and they should have a top 5 defense.

To build that defense, they had to sacrifice a little offense, especially against LHP but the meat of their order, featuring Peterson, Rodgers and Jackson should produce plenty of runs. Part-timers Brandt, Morales and Cerda will provide good support. Looks like this team might be able to steal a few bases as well.

The staff will be led by Domingo Prado. Lawson should be a good number 2 but the Razorbacks will need a couple of pitchers to step up in order to fill out the starting rotation and provide long relief. The short relievers, headed up by Cabellero, Silva and Andino, should slam the door shut in the late innings. They'll just need to get there with a lead for it to matter."

AL West

Anaheim Trojans

A very boring offseason in Anaheim. There are no changes to the position players. We came in 2nd in runs scored in the majors last year so no changes were needed. A few minor changes to the back end of our bullpen. Ramon Pan will be called up to bolster the pen. Will probably be in the market for pitching at the deadline although the top of our rotation and back-end of the bullpen are set. Hoping for some better luck in the playoffs this year.

Seattle Huskies

Seattle enters the season with its eyes on the playoffs. The question, can they possibly score enough runs to finally get there? The 1-2-3 starting combo of Henderson Edwards-Patrick Pettibone-and Darrin Hagen are formidable. Hagan, 22, was promoted late last season due to injury and will stick around. Roberto Moya can close games. The pitching staff will give the Huskies a chance in most games. 1B Thumper Junge and LF Albert Garza will be relied on to get on base. FA 3B Willard Perez, RF Al Ayala, and CF Aaron Servais need to knock them in consistently. Scratching and clawing for runs is the motto for this crew.