Thursday, January 29, 2009

Inside the numbers

Net Play- SOM great equalizer in making the country smaller. I enjoy playing other NASBL managers via net-play. There's nothing like cheering on your team on to Victory, then on the other hand when your opponent gets the roll the first thing you think, 'You are so lucky'! Below is a little run down of the 2008 playoffs DFW vs PCM. PCM wins the series 4-3.

This is game 5, series tied 2-2, playing at DFW.Top 7th,
Score DFW Heath Bell faceing Pinch Hitter Kaz Matsui:
Matsui <> W Matsui draws a walk (2,5).
Lamb sac Mike Lamb Pinch Hits and bunts him to second.
Walker DFW brings in Jamie Walker, defense replacement
SS McDonald, LF Hooper, CF Erstad.
Buck 1-3 Buck pinch hits and grounds out 1 to 3 (5,3 pitcher x)
Fielder /1' Fielder singles home Matsui by rolling (5,7) the only solid hit on he card D'OH
Izturis u-3 rolls (5,11) 1Bx-- Lee makes the play
Top 8th
Matthews <>e5 rolls (5,10) 3Bx-- Error on Jeff Keppinger. Bootage
Chulk DFW brings in Chulk
Hunter <>1 rolls (5,10) 2Bx-- Single because of holding the base runner. split 3
Cabrera >1' rolls (4, 9) Single** Matthews scores, Hunter to third
Johjima P-6 rolls (6,11) Pop Out Shortstop
Howry DFW brings in Bob Howry
Matsui sf-7' rolls (6, 4) Sac Fly
Lamb /e6 rolls (4, 9) SSx- McDonald (defensive replacement) make a error. Bootage
Buck 6-3 rolls (4, 9) SSx- makes the play this time
10 straight rolls on the pitchers card D'OH
Now bottom 9th PCM 6 DFW 5 Bobby Jenks has already pitched 1.1 facing
Castillo />1 rolls (1, 7) singles
Hooper F-7 rolls (5, 6) Fly Left
Bradley >W rolls (3,7) Walk
Bonds /1 rolls (4, 7) single 1-18 s16. single bases loaded
Situation- Bases loaded batter is D. Lee. After debating to pinch-hit for Lee. he swings
Lee 543dp rolls (5,4) 3Bx Izturis is a 3e17 split roll was '18' no error 5-4-3 DP

Game Over Before the roll I was thinking (or hoping) for either an error or
single**. I needed Izturis to pull the old Tony Lama. Oh Well. Now I have been n the other side of this story too!

Friday, January 23, 2009

New Knight Kent Quickly Calls It a Career After '09

(New York Daily Mirror - January 23, 2009)

NEW YORK - Add Jeff Kent to the growing list of aging veterans to quickly retire after becoming Knights.

Its no surprise, really. When you're nearly 41 years old and have just been traded to an awful team that lost 118 games last season, it doesn't take an Einsteinian level of intelligence to realize that you've probably come to the last stop and its time to pack it in.

That's just what Kent did yesterday at a hastily-called press conference at the Bellflower (Ca.) Marriott.

Kent, perhaps the greatest offensive second baseman in NASBL history, struggled to contain his emotions while announcing his retirement from the game after this upcoming season. The former All-Star, renowned for his dour demeanor as a player, drew the curtain on a 11-year career in the NASBL, having spent the last four seasons with the Miami Surf.

"I'm gonna try to push through this the best I can, forgive me," Kent said during his farewell news conference as flashbulbs popped. "I leave this game proud that I have treated this game with the utmost respect. But now my time's just about over.

"I didn't expect to be so emotional right now, because I played the game with a business-like attitude," added the Southern California native, who frequently paused while he spoke. "I think it's just a testament that, deep down, I'm emotionally attached to the game."

Kent's 244 career homers as a second baseman are 149 more than Craig Biggio (another Knights' retiree). He brings a career average of .274 into this season, along with 810 runs scored, 333 doubles, 1,580 hits and a .481 slugging percentage. He was the Less Filling MVP in 2003 with the Canyon Country Cannon, for whom he batted .311 with 34 homers and 101 RBI after a mid-season trade from the Kansas City Cannibals. Kent was instrumental in the Surf's surge to the top of the Less Filling West in 2008. Although his numbers were down as compared to recent years, he still batted .274 with 16 homers, 54 RBI and a .795 OPS in 120 games. He was deemed expendable after the season ended, however, and was dealt to the Knights for a mid-level draft pick. That he was traded for essentially nothing and to a dreadful organization like the Knights, rankled Kent and he obviously decided that he had reached the end of the road.

Surly though he might usually be, Kent was not above throwing the hapless Knights a crumb. "Having the Surf allowing me to play in southern Florida for the last four years was special to me," Kent said. "To finish it up in New York and then walk away is a great end to cap what I've done."

A spokesman for the Surf said: "We close a great chapter today on a great baseball player who finds himself to be the best offensive second baseman in the history of the NASBL. Jeff's numbers as a second baseman are obviously Hall of Fame caliber but his career is defined by much more than that. Simply stated, he will forever be known for his ability to be a difference maker on every team he played for, especially the Surf. His track record playing on winning teams is no coincidence."

Ironically, Kent was drafted by the North Celtic Druids, the Knights predecessor franchise in 1998. After a so-so season in which he hit 18 homers and knocked in 55 runs, but batted just .217, he was then dealt to the Kansas City A's. He blossomed in KC in 1999, batting .264 with 27 homers, 93 RBI and an .844 OPS. A star was born. Kent went on to play for the Kansas City Cannibals and also played for the Cannons and Surf.


The Knights are quickly gaining a reputation of being a sort of superstar retirement home, a place where aging former sluggers come to kick back, relax and play out their final days before heading off into the sunset. Over the past few years, such luminaries as Mike Piazza, Bernie Williams, Craig Biggio, Javy Lopez, Troy Percival and David Cone all briefly called Empire Field home just before heading home for good. But Kent is the first to announce his retirement before ever stepping onto the field for the Knights, a move that can't be seen as anything but a slap in the face for the beleaguered organization. Speculation is that only Kent's contract, which runs through 2009, is keeping him from calling it quits now instead of when the season ends (for the Knights, anyway) next September.

Does Knights GM Mitch Pak feel insulted? "I am a little disappointed in the timing of the announcement," said Pak diplomatically in a telephone interview with WFAN's Steve (the Schmoozer) Somers last night. "I really didn't want for Jeff's tenure with us to become some kind of farewell tour around the league. But, what's done is done, and we are happy to have a player of Jeff's professional caliber with us in 2009."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

NASBL Draft History - #1 Picks

Burlington Free Press -

What to do with the #1 pick of the draft? That is a question that can haunt or delight the NASBL general manager who possesses said gem. With the NASBL about to kick off its annual rookie/free agent draft, it's time to take a look back through the available records at past top picks.

1998 - Nomar Garciaparra - Oklahoma Black Bears
Nomar had a fine rookie season on his way to winning the 1998 Taste Great Rookie of the Year, along with many top 10 seasons in a variety of offensive categories. One of the finest all-around shortstops in the NASBL in the mid-1990s and early 2000s, Garciaparra's Achilles heel has been his health, he missed almost all of the 2002 season after undergoing wrist surgery. But when he's healthy he's one of the best players the league's seen with a career .297 average, and career highs of 32 homers, 125 RBI, 183 hits, .348 avg. and 110 runs scored. Nomar has spent the majority of his career with the Lake Champlain Cannibals and hopes to find a home this year and continue to build his NASBL Hall of Fame credentials.

1999 - Kerry Wood - Canyon Country Cannons
Selected #1 by NASBL HOFer Brendan Conrad, Wood has compiled an impressive career W-L record of 85-38, including his 20-4, 2.81 Cy Young season of 2004, all while maintaining a K/9 ratio above 9. The sterling start to his career has been tarnished in recent years with a series of maddening arm injuries which had Wood switching between the rotation and the pen. He has now established himself as a bona fide NASBL closer and hopes to have a Smoltzian like transition to that role.

2000 - Kris Benson - North Celtic Druids
He is mostly an unremarkable pitcher, who is more well known for a money/attention loving wife. If they get actually decide to get divorced, his career will be in limbo forever and ever. Career 44-60, 5.61 NASBL hurler who will be out the league this year tending to a shoulder injury.

2001 - Rafael Furcal - Springfield Isotopes
This lifetime Isotope has served his franchise well, starting with winning the Taste Great ROY in 2001. Fookie, as his friends call him, can be counted on for 80 runs a year, solid SS defense and aggressive base running. He will attempt to bounce back from a tough back injury suffered last season, which may limit his effectiveness. But you'd be wise not to sleep on Furcal as he can be counted on as a productive player for the next few seasons.

2002 - Albert Pujols - Vermont Fighting Sioux
Perhaps the NASBL's
most consistent superstar in his 7 seasons, he has to his credit a ROY and MVP award and a handful of top 5 MVP finishes. In each season so far, Phat Albert hit at least .292, slugged at least 30 homers, and drove in at least 84 runs. In his sixth season, at the age of 25, he won the Less Filling Most Valuable Player Award. He earned Rookie of the Year honors in 2001, is all over the year end stat leaders annually and helped the Fighting Sioux to their first LCS in 2007. A mediocre third baseman and left fielder early in his career, Pujols was switched to first base in 2004 and is an annual contender for a Gold Glove and coveted "1" rating. Unless his elbow ends up sidelining him for significant time, pencil him in for conservatively six more 30/110/.300 seasons with an eventual bust in the HOF and making a run at numerous NASBL career statistical numbers.

2003 - Mark Prior - Grundy County Grizzlies
We all remember well the famed headline, "Griz Make Prior Commitment". Came with as much, if not more hype ever thrown at a prospect, he had a promising start to his career and put up respectable numbers for the Griz. But, saddled with the same frailty as boyhood pal Kerry Wood, today this perennial shoulder surgery candidate is nothing more than a low-end injury-risk sleeper for his next owner, if in fact NASBL employment is in his future. To their credit, GCG has stuck by Prior and at 28, he might not be done, but you can grow old waiting for this guy to come back out of rehab purgatory. Will spend the '09 NASBL season playing soft toss with Kris and Anna Benson on the IR.

2004 - Brandon Webb - Honolulu Hawaiians
Built like a horse, Webb has put together five solid seasons (73-57, 4.52) in the hitter friendly environs of HHA park, and is roundly considered the best "heavy ball" thrower in the game. He doesn't need to knock you out to get out. Surpassing 200 Ks only once, his lower pitch counts allow him to work deeper into games and be in the 230/240 innings ballpark annually. Reliable Webb has to be one of the top ten starting pitchers in the league and at this point of his career and the history of NASBL, can be considered the most successful pitcher ever drafted #1 with an outside chance at NASBL historical significance if this type of production continues for 5+ more years.

2005- Draft Records Lost (if you know who went #1 in '05 let me know and I'll add him)

2006 - Grady Sizemore - New York Knights
New York has gotten everything you could hope out of a #1 pick from Sizemore; namely top of the order production and middle of the field defense. Grady is a true star in the making, if not already there. The quintessential 5-tooler, Grady will keep 'em cheering in New York for the next decade. This rumored son of Tom Sizemore and the Virgin Mary. If you live in the Metro NYK area, and have a girlfriend, there is absolutely no chance she is safe from being canoodled by Grady Sizemore.

2007 - Stephen Drew - Grundy County Grizzlies
While the jury's still out on Drew, boy does this guy have potential. He's a great candidate to have a breakout '09 NASBL season - his third full season in the league, a typical barometer for fulfilling one's potential. Clearly, he has a chance to be one of the few power hitters at his position, and his pedigree suggests he has room to get even better. By this time next year, he might have even forced his way into a top 5 SS.

2008 - Tim Lincecum - New Jersey Trash Heap
Tim is coming off a stellar rookie season and the sky is the limit. Listed at 5-foot-11 and 160 pounds, tiny by today's standards for a power pitcher, Lincecum defied detractors - and the laws of physics - by firing 95+ mph fastballs past one hulking slugger after another. The 24-year-old right-hander, whose father helped engineer his delivery and advise him to never ice his arm after starts, was 14-7 with a 3.32 ERA with 189 strikeouts in 182 IP, remarkable numbers for a rookie on a fourth-place team. Lincecum is arguably the No. 1 pitcher in the league already and figures to fill up the W and K columns of NJT's stat sheet. He has a ton of upside and strikeout potential and at 24, there is no better long-term keeper pitcher in the league.

We have explored the career of the above ten #1 draft picks. Based on their production to date and/or expected production they fall into five categories. One is a sure HOFer (Pujols), three others have a chance at the HOF (Nomar, Webb, Lincecum), two are annual all-star threats (Furcal & Sizemore), one has all-star potential (Drew), two had early success but eventual injury issues (Wood & Prior) and one is Chris with a "K".

Saturday, January 17, 2009



pre-game fielding derby to determine starting left-fielder

The rumored departure of Willy Taveras combined with the emergence of Ryan Ludwick and reemergence of Jason Bay as sluggers has the Outlaw brass pondering questions of outfield defense. Outlaw pitchers have been responding to press inquires about the outfield defense behind them by alternating bouts of prayer and heavy drinking.

Outlaw's pre-draft outfield consists of three alleged left-fielders and one right-fielder. The Outlaw Tattler caught up with outfield coach Larry Fine for a quick interview. When asked who would anchor the critical center-field position, coach Fine bluntly responded that Ryan Ludwick was the only outfielder on the team with any inkling of natural defensive ability so he'll be asked to patrol center. Jason Bay, finally healthy after a year of leg injuries, regained his LF-3 and is the only remaining outfielder with any hope of manning right, despite his weak arm.

When asked which of Alfonso Soriano or Manny Ramirez would man left-field and which would DH, Fine mumbled something about GM Hildebrant shamelessly stealing other GM's ideas. Seems that Outlaw plans on holding pre-game fielding derbys. Coach Fine will hit ten flyballs each to Ramirez and Soriano, and the fielder who catches the most will start that day in left-field with the loser riding the pine as DH. In the event neither player catches any of the ten balls, the left field starter will be determined by a sudden death overtime no matter how long it takes one of the players to catch a flyball.

When GM Hildebrant was asked how Ramirez might react to such a contest, he said, "Manny's such a level-headed guy and team player, we think he'll enjoy every minute of it. We plan on turning this into a real celebration and spectator event. We'll double whiskey and tequila vendors in the left-field stands during the derby and hold a half-price happy hour special. Friday home pre-game derbys will be very special with Uma Thuman giving $100 body shots in the left-field bleachers under tight Jumbotron surveillance. We expect it'll be a real crowd pleaser and it will be a nice compliment to nickel-beer nights. That's what it's all about - providing a great customer experience."

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Does LCC have a shot at 1000 Runs?

Burlington Free Press

In their announcement that the Lake Champlain Cannibals have brought another masher on board the St. Albans Messenger quotes quixotic LCC GM Steve Beard saying, "we felt our streak of 1000-run offensive seasons could be in jeopardy". The streak Beard is referring to now stands at two; while two is an impressive number, it's not the type of streak that can become a pop culture reference on its own.

LCC is entering its seventh full season as an NASBL franchise. In the previous six years, they have topped 1,000 runs three times, most notably on their World Series year of 2004 when they posted 1,124 runs on their way to a 109-53 season. Being too lazy to do any reaearch, I'm going to go right ahead on call the 1,124 and 109 numbers NASBL records - anyone proving me wrong can win a tasty treat.

In evaluating LCC's chances there is only one real tool to use, so that's exactly what we did. After consulting Mr. Beard's personal assistant for a projected lineup, we let the numbers crunch themselves.

The everyday lineup (vs RHP) is listed below:

1. JD Drew - RF
2. Curtis Granderson - CF
3. Chipper Jones - 3b
4. David Ortiz - DH
5. Brian McCann - Ca
6. Jason Giambi - 1b
7. Hideki Matsui - LF
8. Rickie Weeks - 2b
9. Edgar Renteria - SS

This lineup will produce 6.14 runs per game, or a total of 995 over the 162-game season. That's certainly in the 1,000 run ballpark, and given the LHP mashing options and a lineup full of dangerous pinch hitters Beard has at his disposal, it's safe to say it will be a busy season for the manual scoreboard operators at the Mistake by the St. Albans Lake this year.

With a pitching staff that can be generously described as, well, generous, it promises to be another exciting year of baseball in the City that Always Sleeps.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Cannibals Acquire Umpteenth Aging, Left-Handed DH Type

St Albans Messenger, 11 January 2009

In a move that surprised, well, pretty much no one, the Lake Champlain Cannibals acquired yet another left-handed DH type hitter.

Said LCC GM Steve Beard, "The acquisition of Jason Giambi from the Surf gives our lineup the 4th aging left-handed DH it had up until now been lacking. With only David Ortiz (.360/56/159), Jim Thome (.309/45/123) and former Knight Hideki Matsui (.235/21/66) in the lineup, we felt our streak of 1000-run offensive seasons could be in jeopardy."

"So as is always the case with Jeopardy, our answer came in the form of a question. Now, if that question had been 'Who is Jason Giambi,' the answer to the answer that was phrased as a question would've been this:"

"Jason Giambi is a career .295 NASBL hitter with 292 career homeruns. For the past 4 seasons he has labored in the expansive Miami Field, one of the toughest hitting environments in all of baseball. Despite this impediment, Giambi has in recent seasons posted marks of 28 and 29 homeruns for the Surf. While his offensive performance last season was way down (.264/5/24 in 182 ab's), we feel that the dropoff was more due to a lack of playing time than to a reduction in his steroid dosages......errr.... I mean a reduction in his skills."

"Now on the other hand, if the Jeopardy answer in the form of a question is 'How on earth are all those guys going to get their ab's,' then the answer to that answer would be this:"

"Matsui will start in left field, replacing last offseason's productive veteran LF pickup, Kenny Lofton (.326/8/36). Although Lofton did a good job defensively (12 assists, 4 errors) and as a leadoff hitter (.381 OBP, 91 runs scored), he really didn't hit that many homeruns. And despite the fact our team led the league in runs scored for the 2nd consecutive season, a survey of our fan base of largely undereducated middle-aged former head-bangers, most of whom are still wearing that same AC/DC concert t-shirt they got back in their 3rd junior year of high school and have only washed once (just to get that "new smell" out of it) came up with one consistent response: WE WANT MOR HOMERZ!"

"Giambi will start at 1b, a position he played flawlessly for 23 innings last season."

"As for Papi and Thome, only one of them will be able to start. Given that we feel competition is such an important part of motivation, we will be holding a pre-game HomeRun Derby between the two sluggers during batting practice every day. The slugger who hits the most homeruns during his cage time will earn the start for that day and that day only. We think this is an innovative upgrade to the competitions most other teams hold during Spring Training to determine who their starters will be. I mean, by mid-August, don't you suppose the adrenaline rush of beating out whoever 'number 92' was to earn your starting position has sort of worn off? We feel the daily competition will not only increase our intensity at the DH slot, but it should also significantly increase beer sales by getting more of those slack-jawed mouth-breathing luddites..... errr.... I mean 'our adoring fans' into the park an hour earlier to watch BP every day."

Going to MSU in the deal was top catching prospect Ryan Doumit (.281/.351/.468 in 438 career ab's, all as a Cannibal).

Said GM Beard, "While it always hurts to see a good young player go, we do realize that Doumit had been blocked here by 2007 1st rounder Brian McCann (.290/.332/.504 career). We sincerely hope this trade allows Ryan to go on earn the starting position we think his talent deserves."

Friday, January 9, 2009

An Evaluation: The Dust Settles on Vermont's Year of Trading

Burlington Free Press

Halfway through the 1st block of the 2008 NASBL season it was apparent that the Vermont Fighting Sioux did not have the horses to make a strong playoff run; a fact that was predicted by this blogger almost 365 days ago. Vermont's roster was in need of a shake up. Filled with aging and underperforming stars, Sioux management set out to turn Vermont's heroes of yesteryear into stars of tomorrow.

This article is not meant to rehash each trade in detail, heck, they've all been posted in the past. What it will do is take a hard look at Vermont's personnel actions between April '08 and January '09, during which 9 trades were made involving a total of 31 players and picks.

During the '08 NASBL season, Vermont was a seller. The advent of the Hot Stove season saw a switching of gears with Vermont using acquired picks to gather proven talent. In all, the assets acquired and traded away fall into three categories; 1) draft picks, 2) players with value for this coming '09 season and beyond and 3) throw in players or those who have suffered injuries leaving their future value unknown. We will look at each category and see if it resulted in a win or loss for Vermont and then render a final opinion based on the overall picture.

Category 1 - Net Result of Draft Picks

Traded Away - 7th and 9th round picks

Acquired - 3rd, 4th, 7th, 2-8th round picks

Verdict - A win for Vermont

Category 2 - Players with Present & Future Value (listed in descending order of '08 MLB Win Shares)

Traded Away - Derek Jeter, John Lackey, Darren Oliver

Acquired - Carlos Quentin, Raul Ibanez, Aki Iwamura, Braden Looper, Jack Wilson

Verdict - While one should never argue that there is a direct correlation between Win Shares and NASBL value, the above represents +46 Win Shares for Vermont.

Category 3 - Players with Limited/Unknown Future Value

Traded Away - Reggie Willits, Billy Wagner, Jorge Posada, Ron Mahay

Acquired - Juan Pierre, Ryan Langerhans, Carlos Ruiz, Santiago Casilla

Verdict - The best players here are Posada and Wagner and if they can regain some of their past value, it's definitely a net loss for Vermont.

Final Verdict -
Vermont's biggest gains were in personnel, especially the bat of Carlos Quentin. That, combined with a modest improvement in draft picks, leads us to conclude that Vermont should be better off in the 2009 NASBL season as a result of the 8 trades made over the past year. But you all know where the proof ultimately lies.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Time for Eldest Sherlag to hire an Experienced GM

Illinois Times Editorial--

Illinois rose to respectability last season posting 87 wins and their first over .500 record. However, it was another last place finish for the Chows. There is almost no margin for error in the Tastes Great League -- and particularly in the East. Maybe in the Less Filling, a franchise could survive the learning curves of a GM with no experience, but Illinois is in the Big Boy League and every move must be executed to perfection in order to succeed.

Illinois fans have had to put up with a lot of losing on the filed, now thanks to Sherlag's blunder the Chows are losing in the draft. By missing the postseason, Illinois had positioned themselves ot pick seventh in this years draft. The Chows had talked to us off the record about their draft thoughts and how critical it was to be picking 7th. The list of players that would definitely be there made Sherlag comfortable trading a bit of the future to get Huff.

Last week Commissioner Beard informed the Chows that they will be drafting 8th due to overusage penalties. A stunned Brad Sherlag could not talk to Beard soon enough claiming "This must be a mistake - we were (and always have been extremely careful about our usage." It seems that Sherlag simply didn't understand rule 6-3 which reads:

"Overusage penalties for pitchers are the same as for batters, with the additional provision that teams will not incur overuse penalties for pitchers carded as starters only who do not exceed the number of starts on their cards, if they pitch no relief."

Although this rule is patently clear -- Sherlag claimed he did not realize that Micah Owings was limited in innings pitch regardless of how many starts the Chows gave him. Because Owings had appeared in two games as a reliever for Arizona in the MLB the previous season he was not carded as a starter only. Therefore, Owings usage was limited to 152 2/3 innings. The Chows pitched Owings 182 2/3 innings.

"We thought as long as we limited Micah to 27 starts and never used him in relief, he could throw as many innings as game situations dictated. We just simply misunderstood the rule. We had plenty of starts and innings left for Capuano. We were out of the race and could easily have given Capuano more starts in the final block. We will chalk this up as a painful lesson - at least the penalty didn't cost us a play-off birth."

Misunderstood the rule? A real GM knows the constitution backward and foreword to make sure he makes the best decisions for his club. A real GM also knows the difference between Dimitri and Delmon. The honeymoon in Illinois is over. Chows fans are tired of waiting, both for a play-off birth and for the Chows turn in each round of the draft. Chows fans will be waiting one pick longer now -- hopefully they will not be waiting another season for success.

IronPigs Wave Goodbye to Top Prospect

In a surprise move, Lehigh Valley traded up and coming prospect, Carlos Quentin to Vermont in exchange for two draft picks.

Manager Burns told the media that he was surprised and disappointed not to have Carlos on the roster. Carlos had an up and down first season with the IronPigs, but we loved his work ethic. He had been penciled in as the DH and #3 hitter for the upcoming season. At this point, Burns is not sure what the organization will do with the draft picks.

It will be difficult to replace Carlos' upbeat personality in the clubhouse but we will do our best.

Local sports talk show hosts have been speculating as to what the IronPigs should do with the new found picks. Support appears to be equally divided amongst the IronPig fan base. Many fans would like to see the top pick used to bolster the offense. Other fans are interested in beefing up the starting rotation. Still others are in favor of trading the pick to increase the number of draft choices. Management has thus far been unwilling to comment. Stay tuned for further developments.

Knights Acquire Kent for 2B Insurance

(New York Daily Mirror - January 7, 2009)

NEW YORK - The Knights have acquired veteran second baseman Jeff Kent from the Miami Surf in exchange for the Knights' sixth round pick in the 2009 draft. The Knights also acquire the Surf's eighth round pick in the trade.

Kent, who will turn 41 in March, will primarily be used in a backup role to Ty Wigginton, who figures to be the team's starting second baseman in 2009. Wigginton had a good season in 2008, hitting 30 homers and knocking in 86 runs. However, the Knights, concerned about overusage issues, decided that Kent would fit the bill to fill in for Wigginton on occasion and to serve as a right-handed pinch hitter.

A few years ago, this would have been a major acquisition for the Knights. Kent has had a terrific NASBL career with four different organizations. His best year was 2003, when he smashed 45 homers, knocked in 152 runs and batted a combined .319 for the Cannons and Cannibals, earnig him the Less Filling MVP award. Overall, Kent has 1,480 career hits, including 244 homers, a .274 career average and 810 runs scored. His power numbers have fallen in recent years, as has his ability to be an everyday player.

Kent joins Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza and David Cone as fading stars who have donned the Knights uniform in the twilight of their careers.

LVI Slugger Packs Bags for New England

Burlington, VT

The Vermont Fighting Sioux have acquired slugging LF Carlos Quentin from the Leigh Valley Iron Pigs as well as LVI's 4th round pick in exchange for the Sioux's coveted 1st and 2nd round picks (#3 in each round). Quentin's bat will be immediately plugged into the cleanup spot to provide protection for all-world 1b Albert Pujols.

Vermont Fighting Sioux
Accused of overpaying in the blogoshpere, Sioux GM Justin Rabidoux responded by saying "Any time you can add a young player the caliber of Carlos, 26, you do what you can. If that means paying a bit too much, then that's what we'll do. Besides, we still have Georgia's #1 pick from the [John] Lackey deal, so we still have a chance to strike it rich in the draft. Plus, after we missed out on Matt Holliday, we got beat up in the media. Now, we make a move, and get hammered. Go figure."

LVI GM Kevin Burns is sure to be a happy Pig. In only one season in NASBL, Burns has established himself as an astute evaluator of talent and will surely make wise decisions with his new found draft picks.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

NASBL Round 3 / 4 Draft Order

The 2009 NASBL Round 3 / 4 Draft Order calculations are complete. The calculations consist of a base of $10,000 FA Money per CMI and Game Results deadline each block, modified by a system of bonuses and penalties outlined in the NASBL Constitution. Bonuses can be earned by turning in CMI and results early, by posting articles to the NASBL News or sending them to me for Front Page use, or through a series of Fun Awards bonuses that will be detailed below. Penalties primarily result from the late turn in of CMI or Game Results.

Without further ado, the 2009 Round 3 / 4 draft order is:

1. LVI
2. DFW
3. OJW
4. LCC
5. GCG
6. SPL
7. MSU
8. GRK
9. ILL
10. TRY
11. VFS
12. SPR
13. PCM
14. NYK
15. HHA
16. NJT

The 2008 Fun Awards bonuses are as follows:

LVI - $50 for ERA leader (Daisuke Matsuzaka, 2.60), $100 for Cy Young (Dice-K), and $100 for Rookie of the Year (also Dice-K), $200 for 4 All-Stars

DFW - $150 for 3 All-Stars

OJW - $150 for 3 All-Stars

GCG - $500 for more road wins than home wins (34 road, 30 home), $100 for Rookie of the Year (BJ Upton), $50 for most offensive strikeouts (Ryan Howard, 181), $150 for 3 All-Stars

LCC - $3,000 for most wins by a non-playoff team (94), $100 for MVP (David Ortiz), $50 each for batting average leader, runs leader, and RBI leader (.360 / 137 / 159, all by David Ortiz), $150 for 3 All-Stars. Also lost $2,000 FA Money in trade

SPL - $50 for hits leader (Ichiro Suzuki, 213), $200 for 4 All-Stars

MSU - $100 for Fireman of the Year (JJ Putz), $50 for stolen base leader (Jose Reyes, 78), $50 for saves leader (Putz, 36), $300 for 6 All-Stars

GRK - $2,000 for 2nd most wins by a non-playoff team (91), $250 for 5 All-Stars

ILL - $100 for most All-Stars in the Tastes Great (6), $100 for Fireman of the Year (Joe Nathan), $300 for 6 All-Stars

TRY - $50 for 1 All-Star

VFS - $50 for player with most blown saves (Hideki Okajima, 11), $50 for 1 All-Star

SPR - $50 for 1 All-Star

PCM - $100 for MVP (Prince Fielder), $100 for Cy Young winner (John Smoltz), $100 for most All-Stars in the LF (7), $50 for All-Star MVP (Torii Hunter), $50 for homerun leader (Prince Fielder), $350 for 7 All-Stars

NYK - $50 for pitcher with most losses (Barry Zito, 23), $50 for league record in losses (Zito), $200 for 4 All-Stars. Also gained $2,000 FA money in trade.

HHA - $50 for pitcher with most wins (Justin Verlander, 21), $50 for player with most offensive GDP's (Miguel Tejada, 29), $250 for 5 All-Stars

NJT - $100 for 2 All-Stars

Saturday, January 3, 2009

A Look at the New Haymakers

Daytona Beach, FL: There have been many changes to the Haymakers since the end of their dismal 2008 season; a new manager and coaches, a lot of offseason trades, and a new winter facility while the team's GM attempts to be a professional umpire. When Ken Anderson was asked about the GM's possible dual role he said jokingly, "I'm just trying to help out the team any way I can...if I can make some calls in favor of my team I'm gonna do it!" With all the changes on the team, they are still struggling to find their identity. Here's a comparison of the Haymakers lineup and rotation from 2008 and projected 2009 starters.

Catcher: In 2008 Greg Zaun saw the most time there and what somewhat effective in 218 at bats, hitting .298 with 28 RBI's. Troy probably had the weakest trio of players in the league play this postion and it doesn't look much better so far for next season. Projected starter in 2009: No One.

Firstbase: After a solid 1st season in 2007, Conor Jackson started very slowly in 2008 but came on strong at the end of the year. Conor hit .254 with 14 homeruns and 57 RBI's in 2008 and looks to be more productive in 2009. The rumors of moving him to the outfield turned out for be not true for now. Projected 2009 starter: Conor Jackson

Secondbase: Mark Ellis hit .257 with 26 homeruns as the starter in 2008 and looked like Ruth against lefties (ask Beard about it); hitting .311 with 20 homeruns in only 190 at bats. Some injury concerns made the team go another way, and brought in a guy the team feels is one of the better 2B-man in the league with gold-glove fielding. Projected 2009 starter: Brandon Phillips

Thirdbase: Aubrey Huff had a weak season at the hot corner hitting only .249 with 11 homeruns and 46 RBI's and could only field balls hit directly at him. Huff is expected to rebound very nicely in 2009 but the Haymakers did not like his glove and was traded for hitting prospect Billy Buter and a draft pick. Then the Haymakers picked up thier second gold glover of the offseason. Projected 2009 starter: Adrian Beltre

Shortstop: A platoon of David Eckstein and Macier Izturis yeilded light hitting and bad fielding returns. Izturis was traded during the season and Eckstein looks to be released. At least now they have someone who can field. Projected 2009 starter: Jason Bartlett

Rightfield: First round pick Hunter Pence couldn't match his power potential with Haymaker Gounds deep fences, hitting only 7 homeruns in 410 at bats. He still has a lot of skills and looks to be the starting RF'er in Troy for a long time, provided he learns how to hit lefties. As a right handed batter, he shouldn't have a problem doing it. Projected 2009 starter: Hunter Pence

Centerfield: After Vernon Wells was traded, Andrew Jones looked very lost at the plate. Hitting .182 with 16 homeruns and 110 strikeouts in 385 at bats he was told that he was sold to the local high school for a can of Milwaukee's Best. He reportedly is battling for a starting job there. The talented but troubled Elijah Dukes was picked up during the season and hopes to take over full time duties in 2010. Projected 2009 starter: Cody Ross & Elijah Dukes

Leftfield: Matt Holliday but together a good season in his one year with the Haymakers; hitting .286 with 30 homeruns and 96 RBI's in the spacious Haymaker Grounds. He was traded after the season in the deal that brought secondbaseman Brandon Phillips, moving Andre Etheir into the starting role. He has some big shoes to fill and only hit .242 with 11 homeruns and 29 RBI's in a part time role in 2008, but he has looked real good in winter ball and should be successful next season. Projected 2009 starter: Andre Etheir.

DH: Matt Stairs and Jason Kubel hit a combined 17 homeruns and 76 RBI's in 2008. Stairs was only signed for 1 year and was never expected to return. The young slugger Billy Butler will see time against lefties while Kubel may be retained to hit against righties. Projected 2009 starter: Billy Butler & Jason Kubel

Will the team field better in 2009? Definetly; with upgrades in fielding at 3B, SS, 2B, and RF and the only downgrade in CF...the overall defense should be solid. Will the team hit better in 2009? Maybe; there are a few young, talented bats but they are really a year away. At this point Jackson, Ethier and Pence will be the heart of the order and that's not saying much. Big bats Holliday and Huff were traded in order to improve the team fielding. The Haymakers have a lot of picks in the draft and will be looking to make the most of them. What's their gameplan? "I haven't really thought about it too much yet," said the GM, "We are trying to get back to the speed, defense and pitching that we had in 2007. That's the game we like to play and the way we like to win. We have a lot of work to do, but I think we can be successful."

Next week: A look at the Haymakers pitching staff for 2009.

Chows get Maine Man

Illinois Times --

And then there were two. Illinois GM/Owner Brad Sherlag inherited a play-off caliber tem from Yorktown just a few seasons ago. At the time Sherlag touted how lucky he was to take over a franchise in such good shape in the NASBL. The foundation that was in place of Beltran, Beltre, Dunn, Kearns, Giles, Barrett, Vidro, Walker, Halladay, Harden, Schilling and Gagne was to leave the Chows in good-standing for years to come. Today Illinois traded Adrian Beltre and the only two left from that promising group are Halladay and Beltran.

"Adrian has been a cornerstone of our team since we moved to Illinois. His defense and his slugging will be missed. However, we were short on pitching this season and having traded both our 2nd and 3rd round picks to bolster our offense, we were not sure we could get enough starting pitching to fill our holes in the draft. We were looking for a pitcher for one of our third basemen and John Maine is a guy we have always liked. We considered him in the draft last year and just one year ago he was a 1st round pick. We think he will be a nice middle of the rotation guy for us for the foreseeable future."

Illinois now holds 1/4 of last year's 1st round in Tulowitzki, Pena, Johnson and now Maine. Maine figures to be the Chows 3rd starter but could be pushed down to number 4 if the Chows go with a pitcher with their first pick. "We really think we can get a good starter if we go that route with the 7th ......... er check that 8th pick." More on the mishandling of the draft and the Micah Owings situation will be covered in the Times editorial on Sunday.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Iron Pig 2008 Draft Review

Happy new year to all of the NASBL managers and fans. We thought it would be interesting to see how the initial year of IronPig draft choices fared in their rookie seasons.

Round 1, Pick 11: SP, Diasuke Matsuzaka. Diasuke had an excellent year. He won the Tastes Great Cy Young, Rookie of year, had one of the top ERA's of all time (2.60), posted a record of 17-8, struck out 242 batters and pitched 13 complete games. All in all, he had a wonderful first season. Current status: Traded for Jose Reyes.

Round 2, Pick 22: OF, Josh Hamilton. Josh had an up and down year in his first NASBL campaign. He batted 0.247 with 18 doubles, 19 HR and 57 RBI. His OPS was a meager 0.824. He Progressed nicely over the course of the season and we expect great things from him in the upcoming season. Current status: Starting CF.

Round 3, Pick 48 (last pick in round): 3B, Mark Reynolds. Mark had a nice rookie campaign posting a 0.301 average, 24 doubles, 12 homeruns, 49 RBI and an OPS of 0.867. He fared particularly well vs. LH pitching posting a batting average of 0.417. He seemed to lose focus defensively as the season progressed. Current status: 3B platoon.

Round 4, Pick 64 (last pick in round): SP/RP Sean Marshall. Sean had a successful first campaign posting a record of 5 wins and 3 losses, 3.67 ERA with 58 strikeouts. He was a solid contributor and we expect much of the same in the upcoming season. Current status: Relief pitcher and spot starter.

Round 5, Pick 55: OF Carlos Quentin. Carlos had a rough rookie campaign. He posted a line of 0.190, 8 doubles and 2 homeruns. He appeared completely overmatched in his rookie season, but has been tearing the cover off the ball in the winter leagues. We believe that it is too early to decide on a player of Carlos' talent. We believe that he just needs a little bit more time to work on pitch recognition skills. Current status: Full time DH.

Round 6, Pick 66: C Miguel Montero. Miguel had an up and down season. He batted 0.256 in limited action. He appeared to be completely overmatched at the plate. Current status: Traded.

Round 7, Pick 77: SS Eric Aybar. Eric batted 0.231 for the season and never really seemed to get into a rhythm. We believe that he needs more time in the minors. Current status: Released.

Late rounds: All players taken in the late rounds have been served restraining order papers which prohibit them from coming within 100 feet of the IronPig locker room. Management would have preferred something more drastic, but legal counsel strongly objected.