Monday, January 31, 2011

Revised Round 3/4 Draft Order

Yesterday's posting of the FA Money awards and Round 3/4 Draft Order contained an error.

Brad Sherlag's Illinois Chow Chows actually had the 2nd best playoff record among non-playoff teams in 2010.

After correcting the $2000 FA Money award that had erroneously been given to MSU/ FRE, the Chows will now pick 11th in rounds 3 and 4, with Fredonia dropping to 15th in those rounds.

The revised / corrected draft order for rounds 3 and 4 is:

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

Sunday, January 30, 2011

NASBL Round 3/4 Draft Order

The base round 3/4 draft order for the 2011 NASBL Rookie / Free Agent Draft will be:

1. Lehigh Valley IronPigs
2. Lake Champlain Cannibals
3. Georgia Roadkill
4. Grundy County Grizzlies
5. Outlaw Josey Wales
6. Dallas Fort Worth Spurs
7. Honolulu Hawaiians
8. Springfield Isotopes
9. Seattle Pilots
10. Troy Haymakers
11. Pocono Chin Music
12. Illinois Chow Chows
13. Slatington Bulldogs
14. Freedonia Fireflies
15. Vermont Fighting Sioux
16. New Jersey Trash Heap

Some of the noteworthy Fun Awards:
$3,000 to SPR for the best winning percentage for a team that did not make the playoffs
$2,000 to Freedonia (formerly MSU) for the 2nd best winning percentage for a team that did not make the playoffs
$500 each to GCG and GRK for having more road wins than home wins
$100 each to LCC, HHA, and SPL for having the most All-Star starters in their respective divisions (3 AS starters for each team)

GCG's Zack Greinke contributed FA Money for his sweep of the Cy Young Award, most wins, and best ERA.

ILL earned monetary awards for the Rookie of the Year award, and most wins (both by Brett Anderson, with 20 wins), as well as the Fireman of the Year Award and most saves (both by Joe Nathan, with 44 saves).

Newly minted Iron Pig Albert Pujols chipped in money for his MVP award, as well as most RBI and runs scored.

Tim Lincecum of NJT scored 3 times, with the Cy Young Award, most K's, and for being the All-Star starter for the Tastes Great.

The winners of the $50 booby prize for the "anti-awards" were:

Ryan Zimmerman, LCC, for his league-leading 29 GDP
Jonathan Broxton, OJW, for his league-leading 10 blown saves
Mark Reynolds, TRY, for his amazing 232 strikeouts
Mark Buehrle, SPL, for his 18 losses

Monday, January 24, 2011

IronPigs Welcome Relief

Starters Josh Johnson, Hideki Kuroda and Francisco Liriano collectively breathed a sigh of relief following the supplemental draft. As has been well documented, IronPig starters have been asked to go deep into ballgames due to a lack of quality relief and/or innings. That should not be the case in 2011 with returning closer Jonathan Paplebon bolstered by the return of former IronPig closer Matt Capps and the addition of Sean Burnett. For the first time in recent memory the Pig's Pen should be a strength rather than a liability.

A Sad Day in Springfield - Goodbye & Good Luck Mr. Isotope

Springfield (AP) - It is a sad day in Springfield. Yesterday, the Seattle Pilots selected Lance Berkman in the NASBL supplemental draft, officially ending Berkman's career with the Isotopes. Since being drafted #7 overall in the 2001 NASBL draft, Berkman has earned the nickname "Mr. Isotope" with his stellar play on the field of play and his stellar work in the Springfield community.

In ten seasons with the Istopes, Berkman hit .303 with a .406 on base percentage and a .570 slugging percentage. Berkman's yearly averages with the Topes are as follows: 138 games, 477 at bats, 93 runs scored, 145 hits, 32 doubles, 2 triples, 30 home runs, 102 runs batted in, and 79 walks. He owns virtually every Topes offensive record of significance and won an MVP award. These are hall of fame numbers and it is hopeful that when Lance's career is over and he is enshrined in the NASBL hall of fame, he will be wearing an Isotope hat.

Although, he put up worse than typical numbers for the Topes last season, Lance still hit 25 home runs and drive in 81 runs. Lance deserved to leave Springfield on his terms, not by being unceremoniously cut by Doug Sherlag like any other player.

I have a question for Doug Sherlag. Who is the Topes player that was too valuable to cut to make room for Mr. Isotope? Jamie Moyer....Ryan Raburn....Tyler Clippard....Joe Thatcher? None of these guys are good enough to force a legend out the door. I know many Topes fans felt the same way when the Topes cut ties with Eric Chavez. In hindsight, that appeared to be the right move by Doug Sherlag, but this one feels different.

Nobody has meant as much to the Topes organization as Lance Berkman. He gave respectibility to a fledgling expansion team and this seems to be a knee-jerk reaction to missing the playoffs last year. Much of me feels pride that the Topes organization considers a 93 win season as a failure. World Series or bust.

However, this move by Doug Sherlag is indefensible and shows a lack of class as an organization. Doug Sherlag can learn something from Mark Hildebrandt. Mr. Hildebrandt knows that Omar Vizquel is not just any other player. Shame on Mr. Sherlag for not feeling the same way about Lance Berkman.

Springfield Times Releases Annual Mock First Round

Springfield (AP) – The two 2010 NASBL World Series teams showed that in order to play for it all, you need to mortgage the future a little bit. Neither Lake Champlain nor Seattle has a pick in this year’s 1st round. Three teams (Dallas, Slatington, and Lehigh Valley) each have two picks in the first round. The other team without a 1st rounder this year, is Outlaw Josey Wales, who made a pre-draft trade to get Matt Kemp and a 4th rounder instead of taking a chance with an unknown commodity at #5 in the draft.

Since the last day of the NASBL season, the twitters have been ablaze – Heyward, Posey or Buchholz at #1. Without further adieu, the following is the Springfield Times’ Annual First Round Projections.

#1) Dallas Ft Worth – Jason Heyward (RF)
Since Barry Bonds’ retirement, Red and the Spurs have been looking for someone to fill his shoes. Hopefully the Spurs’ fans don’t put that kind of pressure on Jason Heyward, but if anyone can live up to the hype, it is the J-Hey Kid.

#2) Lehigh Valley – Buster Posey (C)
Young, quality catchers don’t come along everyday. The Iron Pigs don’t appear to have anyone at this position that would stop Kevin from taking Mr. Posey, no apologies necessary to Russell Martin. Will Posey be the next Joe Mauer (top catching prospect made good), or the next Matt Wieters/Geo Soto (top catching prospects who still have something to prove to justify their selections).

#3) Vermont – Clay Buchholz (SP)
Would have been the #1 pick in many years, but this draft is loaded so Justin will gladly take him at #3. Buchholz will join Jimenez, Hanson and Braden to give the Sioux, arguably the best young rotation in NASBL.

#4) Georgia – Mike Stanton (RF)
It is amazing that with the #4 pick, Georgia will be able to get such an elite player. Stanton is only twenty years old, has insane power, a plus arm, and outstanding range in right field. Latos is a great starting pitcher, but passing up Stanton proves too difficult for Johnny here.

#5) Slatington (via Trade – originally Outlaw) – Pedro Alvarez (3B)
Adam Leickel gets to make his first choice in the NASBL rookie draft and it is a tough one. While Latos appears to be the proverbial “best player on the board”, the Bulldogs already have six carded starting pitchers on their squad. Alvarez appears to be one of the few young offensive players in this draft that can be difference makers in the long term and Leickel is happy to turn Matt Kemp into him.

#6) Troy – Mat Latos (SP)
Troy’s offense stacks up as possibly the best in NASBL. Adding Latos to the Haymakers staff will mean tough sailing for other teams in the Less Filling West.

#7) Lehigh Valley (via Trade – originally Slatington) – Colby Lewis (SP)
After passing up pitching with its first first-rounder, the Iron Pigs need some innings. Although older than some other options, the Iron Pigs go with the best combination of innings/performance in Colby Lewis.

#8) Illinois – Austin Jackson (CF)
Picking a young, gold-glove caliber defender in centerfield could really help out the Chows pitching staff. A defensive outfield of Bourn, Fukudome, and Jackson would be the best in all of NASBL. Jackson will serve as the heir-apparent to Carlos Beltran, whose days as a perennial “1” in CF appear to be over (Beltran received a “4” this year from HAL) and his youth gives Jackson the edge over Andres Torres.

#9) Freedonia – Madison Bumgarner (SP)
Only twenty years old, Bumgarner has already showed the ability to pitch effectively at the highest levels/pressure of MLB. The Fireflies are betting that this will translate into NASBL success.

#10) Springfield – Neftali Feliz (CL)
Feliz reminds many of a young K-Rod, minus the anger issues. The Topes used a closer by committee last season and have been unable to find a closer since trading away two of the best in NASBL in recent years (Joe Nathan and former first rounder Jonathon Papelbon). In the Tastes Great East you need a guy that you can give the ball with confidence in the 9th inning to win. Many Topes fans point to this as the main reason Springfield finished on the outside looking in on the 2010 NASBL Playoffs. Feliz is young and the perfect closer for the Topes ballpark (unhittable against lefties).

#11) New Jersey – Andres Torres (CF)
The Trash Heap have no real centerfielder on its squad and Torres is a perfect fit in New Jersey. The only reason that he is available at the 11th pick is due to his age. With a team like the Trash Heap, winning now is a viable, and usually the best, option. The Heap hopes that Torres is merely a late bloomer and not a flash in the pan.

#12) Pocono – Jaime Garcia (SP)
Garcia has the best card of any starting pitcher left at this point with more than 100 innings. In addition, Jaime is only twenty four years old. This is a great combination that Bill Anderson simply cannot pass up.

#13) Grundy County – Tim Stauffer (SP/RP)
Grundy County has a really solid team going into the draft with no obvious holes. Therefore, when in doubt, take the best starting pitcher available, innings be darned. As a starting pitcher, Stauffer’s card is only rivaled by that of Felix Hernandez, and last I checked, King Felix is not available in this draft. Use Stauffer’s 83 innings wisely Mr. Howard - and then ride him in the playoffs.

#14) Honolulu – Daric Barton (1B)
Stan loves his defense and Barton is a “1” at 1B. In addition, Barton is an on base machine who led the AL in walks in 2010. The Hawaiians have continually struggled at finding a guy to plug in at 1B year in and year out. At only 25 years old, Barton may finally be the answer to the Hawaiians 1B issues.

#15) Dallas Ft Worth (via Trade – originally Seattle) – Jhoulys Chacin (SP/RP)
At 22 years old, Chacin struck out a guy an inning as a starting pitcher in MLB 2010. The type of electric stuff that Chacin has in his repertoire normally translates very well in NASBL. Red is hoping that Chacin is no exception.

#16) Slatington (via Trade – originally Lake Champlain) – Starlin Castro (SS)
I keep on talking about how deep this draft is. Castro is a testament to this fact. Castro finished in the top 10 in hitting in MLB’s National League in 2010 as a 20 year old shortstop. Normally, you would be talking about a top 5 five pick based on those facts alone. The rap on Castro is that he is extremely error prone, but what 20 year old shortstop not named Andrus isn’t. Great value here for the Bulldogs.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Building the Wales

Every year I like to look at how my players got here. This year, thirteen the of the seventeen Outlaw keepers were acquired by draft, including six 1st rounders, three 2nd rounders, and one leftover from the old, old NASBL rookie draft protection. It's a very draft-heavy team, although it doesn't beat the record of 14 draftees on our 2009 team which included eight players from the amazing 2008 draft. If you haven't noticed, Outlaw has a strategy of building from the draft. Only four players were acquired by trade. Here are Outlaw's keepers listed by seniority, with their years of service and how they were acquired:

Manny Ramirez, 16 years, 1995 old NASBL rookie draft protection

Omar Vizquel, 15, 1996 trade for Mark Langston

Tim Hudson, 11, 2000 1st round

Jake Peavy, 7, 2004 2nd round

Jason Bay, 6, 2005 1st round

Adrian Gonzalez, 4, 2007 1st round

Jonathon Broxton, 4, 2007 2nd round

Mike Napoli, 3, 2008 supp 1st round

Dustin Pedroia, 3, 2008 1st round

Joakim Soria, 3, 2008 2nd round

Ryan Dempster, 3, 2008 10th round

Scott Baker, 2, 2009 trade for a 3rd round

Elvis Andrus, 1, 2010 1st round

Nelson Cruz, 1, 2010 1st round

Adrian Beltre, 1, 2010 trade for a 4th round

David Ortiz, 1, 2010 7th round

Matt Kemp, 0, 2010 trade for 2011 1st round

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Outlaw Adds Kemp

Outlaw Josey Wales is pleased to introduce the newest member of the team, Matt Kemp. The team has been searching for a true centerfielder of the future ever since Kenny Lofton patrolled the open reaches of Wreckin' So Field. Kemp comes with some performance issues in the current year, and the price of a high first round draft pick was steep, but this young man has too much talent to pass up. Outlaw lifestyle coach Shemp Howard will be working full time with Matt to remove some, uh, distractions from his life and refocus the young man's energy on baseball, baseball, and baseball. If he is successful, Outlaw will finally have found it's centerfielder for the 10s.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Chows get back what they lost - ILL #1 and ILL #2

Illinois Times - Last year Chows owner/GM Brad Sherlag mortgaged the future between the draft and opening day by trading away their 1st and 2nd round picks. Today, the Chows give up on this year and reacquire both picks in a series of moves.

First, Illinois traded Angel Pagan for the ILL #2 draft pack. Interestingly enough, that was an identical move to the one that brought Pagan to ILL. Combing the tradewire:

LVI sends Angel Pagan to ILL for Chad Gaudin and ILL#2

VFS sends Jim Thome to LVI for ILL#2

ILL send Angel Pagan to VFS for ILL #2

Sherlag explained the deal as follows, "I guess this shows that we did not overpay for Pagan last year. While he is a nice player, he did not have the type of season we expected. We wish Angel luck this season with his new club. Trading Pagan for a pick lets us keep both of our on the bubble guys. Fukudome will move into the role as our primary RF this season and Willingham will have more time in the field and less at DH."

Moments later, the Chows consummated a 2nd trade this time trading their #2 starter Chris Carpenter and a #5 for Max Scherzer, the ILL #1 and TRY #10.

Sherlag explained this trade as follows, "We feel that Carpenter is a cornerstone type player, even at the age of 35. We drafted him high in the 1st round last year despite his age and he did everything he could to get the Chows to the postseason last year. Unfortunately we didn't give him the run support he deserved. We tried to see what type of value Chris would bring early in the offseason and determined we were better off keeping him. But, when this deal came along we had to go for it. Scherzer is the type of arm we love and getting our #1 pick back just felt right. We think we have the makings of a good young rotation to back Halladay with Anderson, Scherzer, Volquez, Duensing and Wells. When you factor in Zambrano, we have a lot of darts to throw at the wall for 2012 and see what sticks. If all goes well, we will not have to draft starting pitching high in 2012 and will be able to concentrate on upgrading our offense. We do have a plan, time will tell if it works or not."

Rumor has it the Chows have done absolutely no draft preparation. In years past they had conducted multiple mock drafts by this point and knew who they would be taking in the first couple of round under any scenario. This season, the Chows did not feel the need to prepare with no picks until late in round # 3.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Another Young Starter on the Move

Troy, NY: The Haymakers pulled off another blockbuster today, while answering the question of who would be the ace of the staff after the trade of Weaver; moving promising young starter Max Sherzer and a round 1 pick, and a round 10 pick to the Chow Cows for Chris Carpenter and a round 5.

Carpenter last pitched for Troy back in 2007 before missing two full seasons with injury and returned to form nicely in 2010 for Illinois, winning 17 games and boasting an ERA of 3.30. He currently holds the record for single season wins (15) for the young Troy team and is looking to at least match or best that this season. "There are a lot of exciting things going on here," said Carpenter, "This team is determined to be a force in the Less Filling West, and I'm just going to work hard to help out as much as I can."

Some questions linger about the ace's age; 35, and history of injury; missing all of 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2009...but the GM does not seem concerned: "He's been healthy for the past two seasons and the big thing is that he is a horse and can basically go out there almost every 4th day if needed. As long as he is healthy he will pitch well, and if we can get at least two full seasons out of him, I'm sure we will be more than satisfied."

Looks like the Troy fans have a lot to look forward to this upcoming season at Haymaker Grounds; this reporter just wonders what happened to the long term dominance that this franchise was going for.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Miffed Players Speak Out

Troy,NY: After the announcement of the blockbuster trade that brought slugger Josh Hamilton to the Haymakers, two of the players in the deal are not happy about it. "You wanna know how I found out I was traded?!?" quipped Jered Weaver, "You called me and asked me to comment on it. This is the biggest BS I have heard in a long time."
Andre Ethier, another player traded away in the deal had a similar reaction, "I found out from the article I read in the paper. I have spent three years working hard for this team...and to think I thought this was a classy organization. I just spoke to Ken the other day and we were chatting about how exciting the upcoming season would be."
When asked to comment on the players reactions GM Ken Anderson noted that he wanted to contact the players personally but the quick process of the deal kept him from doing so, "Everything happened so fast. We really do wish Andre and Jered the best; they are quality players and should be successful in Springfield. In fact, I'll be sure to let them know that once I'm off the phone with you."
The third player traded in the deal, Omar Infante, was unavailable for comment.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Second Coming?

Troy, NY: The Haymakers made a big splash today by acquiring top bat Josh Hamilton in a five player deal. Hamilton, 29, easily becomes the best bat in the revamped lineup and is expected to have a breakout season in the NASBL while mentoring young bats like Butler, Sandoval, Soto and Gardner.
The excitement was in the air after the announcement was made. "We can't wait to see this lineup in action," said GM Ken Anderson, "Hamilton is a monster at the plate. He's easily one of the top hitters in the league and should be fun to watch with (Jose) Bautista batting behind him."
Bautista, who was a mid round draft pick selected to help out against lefties last season, will also be a MVP candidate this upcoming season as he looks to double his career NASBL homerun total of 40.
The new look lineup should look like this:
Brett Gardner (CF/LF)
Brandon Phillips (2B)
Josh Hamilton (LF/CF)
Jose Bautista (DH)
Billy Butler (1B)
David Murphy/Jeff Francoeur (RF)
Pablo Sandoval/Mark Reynolds (3B)
Geovanny Soto (C)
Jason Bartlett (SS)
Troy also picked up top relief pitcher and former Haymaker Mike Adams in the deal, who should fill in nicely in the set-up role.
The biggest concern will the the loss of staff ace Jered Weaver. Some doubters wonder if moving the young ace who finally should produce like expected is worth picking up the bat. At this point the best arm on the team is Brett Myers, and while he would fill nicely as a number 2; it's questionable if he could qualify as a number 1.
"We considered that, but thought that the long term increase in production from Hamilton was worth the loss of Weaver," said the GM, "If you want to compete is this league you need a top ten bat in your lineup; so we went out and got the best bat in the league. Plus we have some other pitchers who can fill in nicely."
The final deal worked out as follows: Jered Weaver, consistant but often platooned Andre Etheir and super-sub Omar Infante for Josh Hamilton and Mike Adams. Infante finally had a breakout year, but could not upseat Brandon Phillips as the starting 2B-man. He was considered to play 3B, but the team did not want to give up on top draft pick Pablo Sandoval.
It's no doubt the fans will come out to watch Hamilton, but only time will tell if he can give the fans the playoff appearance they so desperately desire. That's a lot of pressure to carry around.