Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Look Back at the Chows 2009 Draft

Illinois Times – Chows 2009 draft did not generate a play-off birth or any sure-fire franchise players, but it did help change the face of the Chows and will be responsible for almost a third of Illinois’ returning players. Here is a round by round look at the draft one year later.

Round 1 – Edinson Volquez – Volquez had a mixed rookie season for Illinois going 13-12 but posting a 5.43 ERA. His 219 strikeouts in 213 innings showed why Sherlag thought Volquez has the stuff to be a front of the rotation starter. Unfortunately Volquez has had offseason surgery and will only have a limited role for Illinois in 2010.

Round 2 – Traded for David DeJesus – Once it was apparent that Illinois was not postseason bound in 2009, Sherlag packaged DeJesus, Marmol and Carlson to DFW for a first round pick. It is hard to determine what portion of the trade value was attributable to DeJesus, but the first round pick should help Illinois in 2010 and beyond.

Round 3 – Traded with Billy Butler to get Aubrey Huff. Huff had a fantastic first two blocks for the Chows before being dealt to VFS for a 2nd and a 5th. Essentially, Illinois traded Billy Butler and a 3rd for a 2nd and a 5th – seems like a wash. Sherlag was able to gamble on contention in 2009 without hurting 2010.

Round 4 – Jesse Carlson – Another cog in the trade with DFW – Carlson put up nice numbers for Illinois before the annual fire-sale.

Round 5 – Kosuke Fukudome – Fukudome did not pay many dividends in 2009, but should be a nice player for Illinois in 2010. He will now be rated in CF and RF and posted an OPS of .828 and an OBP of .387 vs RHP in MLB this season.

Round 6 – Francisco Cordero – Another Chow pick that will pay dividends in 2010. Cordero was the Reds closer all season and posted 39 saves, a 2.16 ERA and only gave up 2 HR in 66 innings of work. He should be a late inning reliever for Illinois and will likely set-up Nathan.

Round 7 – Chad Bradford - Bradford put up a 2.57 ERA for the Chows before being dealt for Kouzmanoff – a deal the Chows made due to usage concerns after trading away Huff and Tulowitzki. Kouzmanoff is unlikely to be kept by Illinois but has an outside chance of remaining a Chow or being dealt due to his great defense at 3B.

Round 8 – Martin Prado -- Prado is another sure keeper for the Chows in 2010. He became the Braves full-time 2B in MLB last season and will probably become the same for Illinois next year. He finished the year with an OPS of .822 for the Braves and figures to have a very strong card vs. LHP. He will also provide Morandini some flexibility being rated at 1B, 2B, 3B and possibly RF.

Round 9 – Marcus Thames – Thames will not be kept and did not have a good 2009.

Round 10 – Dennis Sarfate – Another pick that will not be kept next season.

Round 11 – Jesus Flores -- Flores started off on fire in MLB but then suffered a season ending injury. If he is somehow uncarded, he may be the Chows IR guy, but most likely he will not be kept due to his limited usage.

Round 12 – Mark Ellis – Ellis had a nice season for Illinois and took a lot of AB from Kelly Johnson by the end of the season. He is unlikely to be kept next year.

Round 13 – Trever Miller – Posted a 2.82 ERA for Illinois last season but will not be retained.

Round 14 – Micah Owings -- will not be retained next season.

Round 15 – Michael Bourn – Bourn was a successful late flier pick for the Chows. He will be retained and has a decent card against RHP. Bourn stole 61 bases in MLB last season while playing a good CF. His OBP of .362 against Righties will give him a chance to be on-base enough to use his speed.

Synopsis – Illinois will keep Volquez, Fukudome, Cordero, Prado and Bourn. Additionally, De Jesus, Huff and Carlson were turned into 2/3 of a 1st, a 2nd and a 5th. While this draft does not yield any superstars, it gave Illinois some nice players, improved their OF defense and gives the team a little more depth and flexibility.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Tale of Two Troys

On July 11, 2009 Chows GM/owner Brad Sherlag made what in hindsight is the worst trade in franchise history. However, if we go back in time to that date, a little perspective could be added. Below is the Troy Tulowitzki story as it relates to the Chows.

Why draft a SS with Hanley
– When Tulo was drafted by the Chows, they already had budding superstar Hanley Ramirez manning SS. Faced with a chance to make the play-offs and a 4 fielding rating, Sherlag went ahead and took Tulo who he considered the best player available. “Troy had a fine season for us and really was a key to us winning 87 games. Unfortunately 87 wins was last place in our division so the nice season we had was pretty much forgotten. His 2 at SS solidified our defense and he 31 HR and drove in 85.”

Offseason Trade Attempts – With Troy being hurt a good portion of his sophomore season and Hanley becoming a better defender, the Chows really did not need Tulo too much. Unfortunately his trade value was not very high and the offers coming in just weren’t enough to tempt Sherlag. “We couldn’t get a first rounder or any significant players for Tulo before the 2009 season began. We even offered to package Troy and our first pick to move up in the first round but found no takers. It wasn’t as if the league was clamoring to trade for him.”

Tulos rough start in MLB in 2010 – Troy had an OPS of .724 in April and .710 in May. He was off to a rough start and then caught fire in June. Was June’s hot streak a sign of things to come or just a good month? “On July 1st Troy had an OPS of about .800 when we started trade talks. We wanted to get a good young pitcher or a high draft pick in return. It wasn’t going to make sense to have Troy on the bench next season. We thought an .800 OPS was Troy’s true level at the plate and were afraid he would have a 2nd half with more months like April and May. We targeted a few teams and sent out feelers. Our primary target was Clayton Kershaw from LCC but he would not budge. We were offered a 2nd from one club and then a pretty low 1st from another. After it was apparent we could not get Kershaw we countered to LCC with an offer for his 1st. LCC jumped on the deal and we felt we did OK getting back roughly the same pick that we used to take Troy in the first place.”

Troy Explodes – Maybe it was leaving Hanley’s shadow, maybe it was the hope from leaving the perennial last place Chows or maybe it was just finally maturing as a ballplayer – but from July 11 until the end of the season Tulo was one of the very best players in the major leagues.

July 1.013 OPS 7 HR
August 1.005 OPS 5 HR
September 1.037 OPS 7HR
October 1.136 OPS 1 HR

Overall Troy finished with an OPS of .929 raising it over by over 120 points after becoming a Cannibal. Factor in his defense and he is probably a top 10 overall player next season.

Bad Deal – “Looking at our draft analysis it is almost impossible to get full value for Troy with that pick. The guy we draft will not be as meaningful this season and then must outpace Troy the rest of his career. If we were to deal Tulo today we would be getting back a frontline SP, 3B or a bevy of draft picks. Even if we had gotten Kershaw, the deal would look like a bad one now. But on July 11th, we made what we believed was a fair deal at the time. We just couldn’t see having Troy on our bench again and a bad second half would have made him unmovable again this offseason.”

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Vermont at Seattle - LCS Game 3

BOXSCORE: 2009 Vermont Fighting Sioux At 2009 Seattle Pilots 10/20/2009

Fighting Sioux AB R H RBI AVG Pilots AB R H RBI AVG
M.Joyce RF 5 2 2 3 .300 I.Suzuki CF 5 0 1 0 .222
C.Jones 3B 4 2 2 0 .385 O.Hudson 2B 2 0 0 0 .250
A.Pujols 1B 5 2 3 3 .500 E-R.Durham 2B 3 1 1 0 .200
C.Quentin DH 3 3 1 2 .200 J.Mauer C 2 0 1 0 .300
R.Ibanez LF 6 3 3 2 .500 F-G.Zaun C 2 1 1 0 .500
K.Shoppach C 2 2 0 1 .143 T.Glaus 3B 2 0 0 0 .360
M.Aviles SS 4 2 2 1 .500 G-M.Lowell 3B 3 1 1 3 .125
B-J.Wilson SS 2 0 0 0 .000 M.Teixeira 1B 3 1 1 1 .135
R.Cano 2B 3 2 2 2 .667 J.Dye RF 2 0 0 0 .139
C-A.Iwamura 2B 2 0 0 0 .333 H-G.Matthews Jr RF 2 0 0 0 .250
C.Crisp CF 1 1 0 0 .167 B.Giles DH 4 1 1 0 .333
A-A.Huff PH 2 1 2 5 .667 M.Tejada SS 1 0 0 0 .176
D-A.Jones CF 2 0 0 0 .333 I-A.Miles SS 3 0 3 0 .417
R.Winn LF 4 0 1 1 .391
-- -- -- --- -- -- -- ---
Totals 41 20 17 19 Totals 38 5 11 5

A-Pinch Hit For Crisp In 4th Inning
B-Subbed Defensively (SS) For Aviles In 4th Inning
C-Subbed Defensively (2B) For Cano In 4th Inning
D-Subbed Defensively (CF) For Huff In 4th Inning
E-Subbed Defensively (2B) For Hudson In 5th Inning
F-Subbed Defensively (C ) For Mauer In 5th Inning
G-Subbed Defensively (3B) For Glaus In 5th Inning
H-Subbed Defensively (RF) For Dye In 5th Inning
I-Subbed Defensively (SS) For Tejada In 5th Inning

Fighting Sioux.. 5 0 3 12 0 0 0 0 0 - 20 17 1
Pilots.......... 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 0 - 5 11 0

Fighting Sioux (3-0) IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA SCORESHEET
J.Litsch WIN(1-0) 7 7 3 3 2 4 0 3.86 A1 D3
J.Suppan 0 2/3 4 2 2 0 1 2 27.00 D4 D9
C.Wade 1 1/3 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 E1
Totals 9 11 5 5 2 6 2

W.Rodriguez LOSS(0-1) 0 2/3 3 5 5 3 0 1 9.45 A1 A8
T.Wakefield 1 2/3 2 3 3 2 0 0 18.00 A9 B9
L.Hawkins 1 4 4 4 2 0 1 13.50 C1 C8
L.Nunez 0 2 3 3 1 0 1 10.12 C9 D2
T.Wellemeyer 0 2/3 5 5 5 1 0 0 67.50 D3 E1
J.Marquis 3 1 0 0 1 2 0 0.00 E2 F3
S.Torres 2 0 0 0 1 2 0 0.00 F4
Totals 9 17 20 20 11 4 3

ATTENDANCE- 7,865 DATE- Tuesday, October 20th 2009 TIME- Day
T- 4:04
LEFT ON BASE- Fighting Sioux: 7 Pilots: 8
DOUBLE PLAYS- Fighting Sioux: 1 Pilots: 2
DOUBLES- M.Joyce(1st), C.Jones(1st), A.Pujols(1st), R.Ibanez-3(4th),
M.Aviles(1st), R.Cano(1st), A.Miles-2(2nd)
HOME RUNS- A.Pujols(1st), C.Quentin(2nd), A.Huff(2nd), M.Lowell(1st),
WALKS- M.Joyce, C.Jones-2, A.Pujols, C.Quentin-3, K.Shoppach-2, R.Cano, C.Crisp,
G.Zaun, M.Teixeira
HIT BY PITCH- K.Shoppach
STRIKE OUTS- C.Quentin-2, A.Iwamura, A.Jones, R.Durham-2, J.Dye, B.Giles-2,
GIDP- R.Ibanez
WILD PITCHES- T.Wellemeyer-2

What a day for the Vermont Fighting Sioux! They shellacked the Seattle Pilots
pitching for 20 runs while Jesse Litsch(1-0)with help from the bullpen
allowed Seattle 5 runs.

Aubrey Huff had a big day with his bat. He emptied the bases with a Grand
Slam homerun (his 2nd of the season) in the 4th inning and singled scoring a
run in the 4th inning. Vermont kept the scorekeepers busy in the 1st inning
when they had 5 runs on 3 hits and the 4th inning which saw them plate 12
runs on 9 hits. Vermont ended up with 17 hits for the game while Seattle had

Wandy Rodriguez(0-1) was charged with the loss. His ERA ballooned from 3.00
to 9.45 as he allowed 5 runs in 2/3 of an inning.

Seattle at Vermont - LCS Game 2

BOXSCORE: 2009 Seattle Pilots At 2009 Vermont Fighting Sioux 10/18/2009

Pilots AB R H RBI AVG Fighting Sioux AB R H RBI AVG
I.Suzuki CF 4 0 0 0 .225 J.Gerut CF,LF 5 0 2 0 .400
O.Hudson 2B 3 0 1 1 .267 C.Jones 3B 4 1 0 0 .333
C-A.Miles 2B 0 0 0 0 .222 A.Pujols 1B 4 2 1 0 .429
J.Mauer C 4 0 1 0 .289 A.Huff DH 3 2 2 2 .500
D-G.Zaun C 0 0 0 0 ---- C.Quentin LF 4 1 1 1 .143
T.Glaus 3B 3 0 0 0 .391 B-C.Crisp RF 1 0 0 0 .200
E-M.Lowell 3B 0 0 0 0 .077 M.Joyce RF 3 0 0 0 .200
M.Teixeira 1B 3 1 1 0 .118 A-A.Jones PH,CF 1 1 1 11.000
J.Dye RF 3 0 0 0 .147 K.Shoppach C 2 1 1 2 .200
F-G.Matthews Jr RF 1 0 0 1 .500 A.Iwamura 2B 3 0 2 1 .429
B.Giles LF 3 1 1 0 .344 J.Wilson SS 3 0 0 1 .000
G-R.Winn LF 1 0 0 0 .421
R.Durham DH 3 0 0 0 .167
M.Tejada SS 3 0 0 0 .182
-- -- -- --- -- -- -- ---
Totals 31 2 4 2 Totals 33 8 10 8

A-Pinch Hit For Joyce In 7th Inning
B-Subbed Defensively (RF) For Quentin In 8th Inning
C-Subbed Defensively (2B) For Hudson In 8th Inning
D-Subbed Defensively (C ) For Mauer In 8th Inning
E-Subbed Defensively (3B) For Glaus In 8th Inning
F-Subbed Defensively (RF) For Dye In 8th Inning
G-Subbed Defensively (LF) For Giles In 8th Inning

Pilots.......... 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 - 2 4 0
Fighting Sioux.. 0 0 0 0 0 4 4 0 - 8 10 1

S.Marcum LOSS(1-1) 5 1/3 8 4 4 1 6 3 3.12 A1 C7
L.Hawkins 0 2/3 1 2 2 2 0 0 6.00 C8 D3
G.Balfour 0 1/3 1 2 2 2 1 0 2.84 D4 D7
L.Nunez 0 2/3 0 0 0 1 0 0 0.00 D8 E1
S.Torres 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 0.00 E2
Totals 8 10 8 8 7 8 3

Fighting Sioux (2-0) IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA SCORESHEET
B.Sheets WIN(1-0) 9 4 2 0 3 3 0 0.00 A1
Totals 9 4 2 0 3 3 0

ATTENDANCE- 21,762 DATE- Sunday, October 18th 2009 TIME- Night
T- 2:55
LEFT ON BASE- Pilots: 6 Fighting Sioux: 9
DOUBLE PLAYS- Pilots: 0 Fighting Sioux: 1
ERRORS- B.Sheets
DOUBLES- M.Teixeira(3rd), B.Giles(3rd), A.Iwamura(1st)
HOME RUNS- A.Huff(1st), C.Quentin(1st), K.Shoppach(1st)
WALKS- O.Hudson, T.Glaus, M.Teixeira, C.Jones, A.Pujols, A.Huff-2, K.Shoppach-2,
STRIKE OUTS- T.Glaus, M.Teixeira, J.Dye, A.Pujols-2, C.Quentin-2, C.Crisp,
M.Joyce, K.Shoppach, A.Iwamura
GIDP- M.Tejada
WILD PITCHES- L.Hawkins, G.Balfour
PASSED BALLS- K.Shoppach-2

Aubrey Huff left the yard and had 2 RBI and Ben Sheets went the distance as
the Vermont Fighting Sioux defeated the Seattle Pilots by a score of 8 to 2
at Fighting Sioux Field.

Sheets(1-0) had a strong outing. He didn't allow much, just 4 hits and 3
walks in 9 innings. Vermont rapped out 10 hits for the night.

Shaun Marcum(1-1) was the loser. He served up 3 gopher balls in 5 and 1/3

Seattle at Vermont - LCS Game 1

BOXSCORE: 2009 Seattle Pilots At 2009 Vermont Fighting Sioux 10/17/2009

Pilots AB R H RBI AVG Fighting Sioux AB R H RBI AVG
I.Suzuki CF 5 0 0 0 .250 M.Joyce RF 2 0 1 1 .500
O.Hudson 2B 5 1 2 0 .259 C.Jones 3B 5 1 3 1 .600
J.Mauer C 4 0 2 1 .294 A.Pujols 1B 3 1 2 0 .667
T.Glaus 3B 4 0 0 0 .450 C.Quentin DH 3 0 0 0 .000
M.Teixeira 1B 4 0 1 0 .097 A-A.Huff PH 1 0 0 0 .000
J.Dye RF 4 0 1 0 .161 R.Ibanez LF 4 0 2 2 .500
B.Giles DH 4 1 2 0 .345 B-A.Jones CF 0 0 0 0 ----
M.Tejada SS 4 0 1 1 .200 K.Shoppach C 3 0 0 0 .000
R.Winn LF 3 0 0 0 .444 M.Aviles SS 4 1 2 0 .500
D-R.Durham PH 1 0 1 0 .222 C-J.Wilson SS 0 0 0 0 ----
E-G.Matthews Jr PR 0 0 0 01.000 A.Iwamura 2B 4 0 1 0 .250
C.Crisp CF,LF 4 1 1 0 .250
-- -- -- --- -- -- -- ---
Totals 38 2 10 2 Totals 33 4 12 4

A-Pinch Hit For Quentin In 6th Inning
B-Subbed Defensively (CF) For Ibanez In 8th Inning
C-Subbed Defensively (SS) For Aviles In 8th Inning
D-Pinch Hit For Winn In 9th Inning
E-Pinch Ran For Durham In 9th Inning

Pilots.......... 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 2 10 0
Fighting Sioux.. 2 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 - 4 12 1

C.Lee LOSS(1-2) 5 1/3 10 4 4 4 7 0 4.82 A1 D3
G.Geary 1 2/3 0 0 0 0 1 0 4.91 D4 D7
L.Nunez 0 2/3 2 0 0 1 0 0 0.00 D8 E2
E.Ramirez 0 1/3 0 0 0 0 0 0 3.86 E3
[1]Totals 8 12 4 4 5 8 0

Fighting Sioux (1-0) IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA SCORESHEET
E.Santana WIN(1-0) 9 10 2 2 1 10 0 2.00 A1
[1]Totals 9 10 2 2 1 10 0

ATTENDANCE- 18,408 DATE- Saturday, October 17th 2009 TIME- Day
T- 2:59
LEFT ON BASE- Pilots:10 Fighting Sioux:11
DOUBLE PLAYS- Pilots: 3 Fighting Sioux: 0
ERRORS- M.Aviles
DOUBLES- J.Mauer(2nd), M.Teixeira(2nd), B.Giles(2nd), M.Tejada(1st),
TRIPLES- O.Hudson(1st)
WALKS- J.Mauer, M.Joyce-3, A.Pujols-2
HIT BY PITCH- K.Shoppach
STRIKE OUTS- I.Suzuki-2, O.Hudson, T.Glaus-2, M.Teixeira, J.Dye, B.Giles-2,
M.Tejada, C.Jones, C.Quentin, K.Shoppach-2, M.Aviles, A.Iwamura,
GIDP- C.Jones, A.Huff, C.Crisp

Ervin Santana struck out 10 batters as the Vermont Fighting Sioux outscored
the Seattle Pilots 4 to 2.

Santana(1-0) had a strong outing. He allowed only 10 hits and 1 walk in 9
innings. Vermont had a total of 12 hits for the game.

Cliff Lee(1-2) was the loser. He got hit hard, allowing 10 hits and 4 walks
in 5 and 1/3 innings. When asked about his strikeout total for the game,
Santana offered, 'The fan's really got into it. It is fun to see them tally
up the strikeout totals up there in the stands. Fortunately, I kept them
busy this afternoon - of course, it would be all for naught without the 'W'.'

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pilots to Face Sioux in LFCS

Game 1: MSU's Derek Lowe (17-5, 1.81) vs SPL's Cliff Lee (13-12, 4.01). The owner of one of the best ERA's in league history is spotted to a 4-run lead in the bottom of the 1st, when a flurry of Surf hits plate David Wright, Carlos Delgado, Mike Cameron, and Ryan Doumit. The lead, more than twice what Lowe allowed per 9 innings this year, looked safe until the top of the 4th, when a solo shot by Joe Mauer and a 3-run job by Miguel Tejada tied the game. From that point, both starters once again found their strides, trading zeroes until the top of the 7th. The difference in the game was a bases-empty big fly in the bottom of the 8th, giving MSU a 1-run lead. The team with the largest number of 1-run games and 1-run wins in NASBL 2009 (37-17) then took care of business, with Brian Fuentes closing out the 7-6 win. MSU led the series 1-0.

Game 2: MSU's Josh Beckett (10-10, 4.05) vs SPL's Shaun Marcum (9-8, 3.50). In a game where Seattle actually had a pitching edge on paper against the 2nd best pitching team in the league, young starter Shaun Marcum did not disappoint. The 2nd-year starter went 6 strong, striking out 2 and allowing just 1 run on 4 hits. Meanwhile the Pilots offense was going to work on Josh Beckett, scoring one run in the 4th, then strafing him for 2 in both the 5th and 6th innings. Brian Giles and Randy Winn went yard in the 5-1 Pilots win. Series tied at 1-1.

Game 3: SPL's Wandy Rodriguez (6-4, 4.59) hosting MSU's Cole Hamels (13-11, 4.01). Both starters give their teams all that can be expected. Wandy's magic ends in the 6th when he gives up a 2nd run and leaves the game tied 2-2, while Cole is king through 9, when he too leaves the game tied at 3. The game moves to extra innings, a forum where MSU's regular season record was an unparalleled 15-3 (.833). Game 1 closer Brian Fuentes, author of 5 late-inning wins in the regular season, puts up 2 scoreless innings. But despite threatening, MSU's offense is unable to break through against SPL's Latroy Hawkins and Leo Nunez. Finally in the bottom of the 12th, Seattle's aptly named Randy Winn goes yard for the 4-3 win and the 2-1 series lead.

Game 4: D-Lowe vs Cliff Lee II looks like anything but a pitching duel early, as the Surf leads 3-2 after the 1st. But Lowe is practically perfect the rest of the way out. Mike Cameron of the Surf hits his 3rd homerun of the postseason, and David Wright, Ryan Braun, and Carlos Lee add circuit clouts of their own in the 7-2 Surf win. Series tied at 2-2.

Game 5: Daisuke Matsuzaka (11-9, 3.69) of the Surf vs Felix Hernandez (8-12, 5.45). The much-heralded 3rd year man King Felix has never been able to get much traction in the regular season (20-40 career record), but on this October day against an equally highly touted 2nd year man, the King earns his appellation. Hernandez goes 7-1/3, allowing 4 runs (3 earned), while the Pilots put 9 baserunners aboard against Daisuke, plating 5 of them. The Pilots continue to pile it on against the pen, ultimately pushing the score to 8-4, and taking a 3-2 series lead.

Game 6: The series goes back to Miami, with SPL's Shaun Marcum facing MSU's Cole Hamels. Both starters pitch magnificently, turning a 1-1 game over to their respective pens. At the end of 9, the score is still tied at 1 apiece. And also at the end of 10. Finally, in the bottom of the 11th with a man on, veteran post-season hero Carlos Delgado lashes the bat, reversing an Edwar Ramirez pitch for a 2-run walkoff to tie the series up for the 3rd time and forcing a game 7.

Game 7: Cliff Lee vs D-Lowe III. The first two times the teams' aces met, Lee came out on the short end of the hickory stick. In game 7 though, Lee was flawless. The Pilot's ace never allowed the Surf offense to get off the ground, as he scattered 6 hits and a walk while striking out 9 in the deciding game. RBI by Ichiro, Joe Mauer, and Troy Glaus seal the deal for Seattle, who will advance to face Justin Rabidoux's Vermont Fighting Sioux in the Less Filling Championship Series.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Chows On the Block

GM Brad Sherlag is actively shopping a couple of Chows and willing to listen to offers on a few others. The Chows have some roster room this offseason and could potentially deal draft picks for players.

On the Block

Joe Blanton - Blanton is a workhorse who logged 195 innings again this season in MLB. His strikeout rate represents he may have turned a corner. Should be a solid middle of the rotation guy.

John Maine - A nice 1.29 WHIP and a reverse split for his 15 starts make Maine useful next year while you wait for him to recover. He is a definite keeper for the Chows, but paired with Volquez, Maine will force the Chows to carry a lot of starters next year.

Francisco Cordero - Figures to be a set-up man for the Chows, but can easily close for someone. Has a nice ERA and only gave up 2 HR all season. Another guy that is a sure keeper.

Kosuke Fukudome - Fukudome will start for the Chows in RF and play a little CF as well. However, if you need a CF would be willing to deal for a corner outfielder with a better card and similar age.

Chows needs include 2B, OF, and DH. Would also like to upgrade at SP.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Iron Pig Hot Stove

Several current players may be available for trade if there is interest. Tradeable players include:

DH, Travis Hafner: The big fella hit .292/.375/.490 vs. RHP last year in 338 ab
LF, Chase Headley: This patient 25 yo switch hitter, posted a .262/.342/.392 in 543 ab
1B, "Hammerin" Hank Blalock, good nickname, not much performance
1B, Todd Helton: This experienced veteran produced some fantastic numbers .332/.437/.548 vs RHP
2B, Louis Castillo: This slick fielding, switch hitting 2b posted a .319/.411/.345 line vs RHP with 20 sb
LF, Lastings Milledge: This young right hander batted a nifty .327/.383/.436 vs LHP in 244 ab
All pitchers not named Papelbon.

Inquire within!

Iron Pig Year in Review

About the only thing that went right this season was obtaining the #2 pick in the upcoming draft. The team showed some signs of life and we have some optimism for 2010, but we still have grave concerns regarding the pitching staff for next season.

The team ERA was miserable especially considering half of the games were played at a ballpark with zero ballpark homerun chances. Midseason acquisition, Jonathan Papelbon was the lone bright spot on the pitching staff, posting a 1-1 record with 11 saves (we won a total of 51 games), an era of 1.99 and 41 strikeouts in 32 innings. On the flip side, Jon Garland struggled mightily with a 5-17 record, an era of 7.04 and 90 strikeouts in 188 innings. Rookies Johnny Cueto and Kevin Slowey flashed glimpses of what the IronPig fans hope to see for many years to come while grizzled veterans Gil Meche and Aaron Harrang both had sub par seasons.

When manager Burns was asked about the 2009 pitching staff, he had only this comment, "We were awful. We had a total of 36 innings of pitching that met my expectations. Paps and Capps were all that was decent. There will be changes for 2010."

All star Jose Reyes posted terriffic all around numbers. His .310, 99 runs, 80 extra base hits (including 23 triples), 71 rbi and 64 stolen bases all were team highs. It is reported that he "tweaked" his hamstring while playing tag with his kids after the season. The injury is not reported as being serious and he is expected to be ready for spring training next season. We will keep you posted pending further developments.

Several batters feature prominently for the 2010 season including rookies Evan Longoria, Chase Headley, Justin Upton and Adam Lind. This core of rookie talent is expected to perform much better in 2010 because of the experience garnered in 2009.

During an interview with rookie RF Justin Upton, a reporter asked him what he had learned in 2009. "**** yeah man, I ****'* hated ****** losing man. I don't know about no ****** experience, but I tell you this, ****** lefties better ****** watch out for me next ****** season."

Manager Burns noted after the interview that famous public speaker and rookie mentor, Crash Davis will be hired to assist all team rookies with their interview skills and that reporters really do not have much to fear from his team.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

LCC Tradewire

Lake Champlain would like to trade 2 for 1, or pick up a draft pick for the following:

Jim Thome: as always, old fella walks and hits homers (.265/.383/.498 vsR)

Jose Valverde: 54ip closer is completely lethal vsR (.144/.231/.269). 2.33 ERA, 1.13 WHIP

Jason "The Razor" Frasor: 57.1ip, solid vsL (.712 OPS), and stupid good vsR (.140/.209/.180). 2.50 ERA, 1.02 WHIP

Takashi Saito: best LOOGY in a right-hand package (.195/.273/.257). 55.2 IP, 2.43 ERA

Jarrod Saltalamacchia: "Armpits" has the longest name in baseball history, and an equally long career ahead of him.

Rickie Weeks: had it going on before the injury that turned...

Craig Counsell: into a starting infielder. Nice defense, nice OBA, very flexible.

David Ortiz: hit 1 HR in the first 2 months, and still ended up with 28. Plenty of spit left in the tank.

Paul Konerko: 28 bombs, and the kind of guy a lefty-loving pitching team probably shouldn't let get loose in the league (1.009 OPS vsL)

Chris B. Young: awful overall season is mitigated by a .920 OPS vsL. Again, very handy for slaying SPR and (alas) LCC starting pitchers.

Hideki Matsui: yet another 28hr guy, the 3rd one we have on the block. Balanced DH card with good OBA and power.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

GCG - Post Season Decisions

Trade a 1B? or two??
Next Season does not look as hopeful as this season dd - so where will draft leave me? What will my draft philosphy be? Best Available? Prospect for the future? Stupid pick? Can't wait.

See someone you like - make an offer

1B/3B/OF – Kevin Youkilis BAvg-.305 / 27 HRs
1B – Miguel Cabrera BAvg-.324 / 34 Jacks
1B – Ryan Howard BAvg-.279 / 45 Bombs
1B – Justin Morneau BAvg-.274 / 30 Dingers
OF – Matt Holliday BAvg-.313 / 24 Long Goners
OF – BJ Upton BAvg-.241 / 11 Four Baggers
SS – Stephen Drew BAvg-.261 / 12 Roundtrippers
2B – Dan Uggla BAvg-.243 / 31 Fence Toppers
3B – Alex Gordon BAvg-.232 / 6 Left the Yard
RHSP – Zack Greinke ERA 2.16 / WHIP (it Good) 1.07
RHSP – Matt Garza ERA 3.95 / WHIP 1.26
RHSP – Hiroki Kuroda ERA 3.76 / WHIP 1.14
RHRP – Brian Wilson Saves – 38 / ERA 2.74 / WHIP 1.20
LHRP – George Sherrill Saves – 21 / ERA 1.70 / WHIP 1.12
IL - LHSP - Greg Smith - pitched about 50 minor league innings after injury

On Bubble:
2B/3B/SS – Alberto Callaspo BAvg-.300 / 11 HRs
2B/3B/OF – Jamey Carroll BAvg-.276 / 2 HRs
SS/3B/2B – Jed Lowrie BAvg-.147 / 2 HRs
CA – Ivan Rodriguez BAvg-.249 / 10 HRs
OF – Vernon Wells BAvg-.260 / 15 HRs
RHRP – Jon Rauch – Saves 2 / ERA – 3.60 / WHIP 1.33
RHRP – Brad Ziegler – Saves 7 / ERA 3.07 / WHIP 1.50
RHSP - Braden Looper - ERA 5.22 / WHIP 1.49

Probable Cuts:
CA – Gerald Laird BAvg-.225 / 4 HRs
OF – Fred Lewis* BAvg-.258 / 4 HRs
RHRP – Chad Durbin Saves – 2 / ERA 4.39 / WHIP 1.48
RHRP – Joe Nelson Saves – 3 / ERA 4.02 / WHIP 1.46
LHSP – Odalis Perez – did not pitch in 2009
RHSP – Mark Prior – has not pitched for several years
RHRP – Steve Shell – ERA 5.40 / WHIP 1.40
LHRP – Brian Shouse – ERA 4.50 / WHIP 1.36

Saturday, October 10, 2009

GCG’s Mediocrity Replaces Usual Ineptness

Grundy County joined the NASBL in 2001. For years GCG has been the cellar dwellers or perhaps bomb shelter dwellers as we got blasted day-in and day-out. Fortunes may have turned around for the Bears after winning our most games (75) of our nine year history and taking 2nd place in the weakest division in the NASBL for the second year in a row. The Grizzlies were a preseason favorite and possible pick for their first ever playoff. The Fighting Sioux were even so worried that the Bears could be a challenger that they paid a huge price to acquire Carlos Quentin as the 2009 rookie draft was about to begin.

Well, the Griz were viewed by their fans as failures again – but this time it was not because they were bad with no hope. We left spring training as a challenger. We ended the season as a pretender.

This Year’s Plusses/Highlights
1st ever 100+ RBI Season – Ryan Howard – 103
1st ever 30+ Homeruns Season (previous high 27) – Ryan Howard – 37 (in a park rated 0)
2nd on Season High Runs scored – BJ Upton 100 (Pierre 1st w/ 101 Runs)
Tied for 2nd Season Batting Average – Matt Holliday .311 (tied with Pierre/Pierre also No.1 w/ .350)
1st in Season Doubles – Justin Morneau - 41
Ryan Howard set anew Griz most extra base hits season record with 61
BJ Upton (81) edged Matt Holliday (76) as the new season high on free passes
Odalis Perez (a trash pick this year) Best ever Season ERA 3.05 and Winning Percentage .733 (11-4)

This year’s failures:
Longest winning streak 6 games (once/4 @ home & 2 on road), then four games twice, three games twice. Can’t win a pennant if you can’t string some Ws. Major league comparable – 2009 Griz pretty similar to 2008 Tigers.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Knights Ship Out Kendall, Reacquire Guzman in First Deal of 2010

(New York Daily Mirror - October 7, 2009)

NEW YORK - The Knights certainly aren't waiting for the demolition to begin on old Empire Field before starting to prepare for the 2010 season. The club didn't even wait for catcher Jason Kendall to completely clean out his locker after the Knights' recently completed 2009 campaign in which Kendall caught every inning of every game, thanks to the ineptitude of the front office.

While the scaffolding is going up around Empire Field and last minute preparations are being made for the grand opening of spanking-new Knights Field next door, the Knights have already made their first move of the '10 season, trading the stalwart backstop Kendall, an NASBL All-Star in 2009, and the team's fourth round pick in 2010 to Springfield for shortstop Cristian Guzman.

The trade immediately fills a gaping hole in the Knights infield, but the team doesn't appear to be all that concerned about the creation of another one. With captain Michael Young moving to third next season and Clint Barmes manning second, the Knights needed a shortstop. The 'Topes needed a catcher and a higher-level draft pick for 2010, so a match was born.

Guzman, 31, is not a stranger to New York, having played for the Knights in their inaugural season in 2001. He batted a meager .224 then but did smack 13 triples, a team record that still stands. The Knights cut him after the 2001 season, but he was picked up by the Roadkill and had several solid seasons in Georgia. In limited playing time for the 'Topes in '09, Guzman hit .281 with 8 homers, 38 RBI and a .727 OPS.

Kendall, 35, just completed his 11th season in the NASBL, but surely none was more taxing on his abilities. Long-known for his durability, Kendall was forced to catch all of the Knights' 162 games in 2009 due to a front-office error that caused the club to carry only one catcher this season - him. The team's efforts to land a second catcher via a mid-season trade were not successful. A career .304 batter in the NASBL, Kendall has hit over .300 in all but two seasons and has over 1,500 career hits. But the grind of catching 162 games wore him down, causing his offensive production to drop off prohibitively. His .233 average is a career low and he managed just a .599 OPS in 2009.

Apparently, the Knights did not have Kendall in their future plans, even as a backstop. This raised the hackles of some Knights, who felt that the club owed him a debt of gratitude and shouldn't have given him the bum's rush. "It ain't right," said CF Matt Kemp earlier this afternoon when told of the trade. "The man busted his horns for the team and they just throw him out? Sheeeit." Captain Michael Young was more diplomatic about it: "Jason's a great guy and a great teammate, but I know that the club is looking to get younger at catcher. Over the past few years, we've had some older catcher like Javy (Lopez), Varitek and now Jason. The club's looking for someone to anchor that spot for years to come."

Some in the media were surprised when the Knights passed on Geovany Soto with the overall first pick in the draft, but Mitch Pak's instincts in this case were right; while Soto had an OK rookie season with Troy, the team's first pick, Jon Lester, was a 12-game winner with a 3.81 ERA and will probably garner some Rookie of the Year votes.

Chows Season a Mixed Bag

News and Notes from Around the Chows

The Doctor is In – Roy Halladay was a horse for the Chows setting franchise marks in pretty much every category. Below are the franchise single season records set by Halladay with the old record in parenthesis. Doc has an outside chance of becoming the first Chow to win the Cy Young Award.

Wins – 19 (15)
CG – 22 (13)
Sho – 4 (2)
ERA 3.28 (4.24)
IP 268.2 (246.1)
K 221 (183 – also broken by Volquez)

Is That how You Spell Shawn?Morandini was convinced all season that Chone Figgins would turn things around and start getting on base. Figgins continued to lead-off against RHP all season despite batting just .234. Chone’s On-Base percentage was only .312 and his OPS was a barely believable .576. “We kept waiting for Chone to approach his MLB numbers but he never came close.” In the majors in 2008, Chone had an OBP of .378.

Driving Them In – The Chows failed to have anyone on the club drive in 100 runs. Beltran came close with 93. The worst part is that departed chow Huff still managed to come in 4th on the club with 64 despite only playing in 82 games. Ramirez and Pena were barely able to best Huff – driving in 69 and 76.

Too Bad you Can’t Steal 1st Base – Rushed into the starting line-up late in the year after the departure of DeJesus, Bourn was clearly not ready for prime time. He batted only .204 with an OBP of .248 but still managed to lead the Chows with 23 steals.

Power Arm – Rookie hurler Edinson Volquez struck out 219 hitters in 213 innings and won 13 games for the Chows. He was either very good or very bad finishing the year with a 5.43 ERA but hurling 5 complete games and posting a winning record.

Kelly, Kelly, Kelly, Kelly, K-E-L-L-Y – Why did GM Brad Sherlag think Kelly was a 1st Round talent? Johnson essentially lost his job to Mark Ellis by the end of the year. Kelly was supposed to be the heavy hitter of the Chows 2B combo but posted an OPS of only .696 for the season. Rumor has Prado moving over from 3B and Johnson being cut. Can you say bust?