Thursday, February 21, 2013

Haymakers add Big Bat

Troy, NY:  Turns out the rumors from yesterday's edition of Springfield Times were true.  The Haymakers moved the VFS round 1 pick and a round 3 pick to the Bulldogs for Allen Craig and a VFS round 9 pick.  "Craig is going to add a lot to our lineup.  It was a big haul to give up o get him, but we knew that we could not get this kind of bat from the draft," said GM Ken Anderson, "We had been shopping the pick and couldn't be happier with this kind of return.  The top three of Edwin, Josh and Craig with Fowler leading off will bring the memories of 2010."  That 2010 team went to the championship series, eventually losing to the Iron Pigs, so those are some big shoes to fill.
   Craig will most likely fall in as Troy's number 5 hitter, behind the big bats of Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Hamilton, in what will be a deep lineup of hitters.  He will most likely DH, but may see limited time at 1B and in the outfield.
   He excelled in his first season with the Bulldogs, hitting .314 with a .613 slugging percentage in 200 at bats.
  Craig's presence will most likely move newly acquired Carlos Beltran to the bench, but the GM says there will is enough playing time to go around.  "Everyone will get their AB's," he said, "I spoke to Carlos and he knows he will be playing.  Between Carlos, Craig and Corey (Hart), the playing time will not be a problem in RF or DH."   
   There is much excitement as the team beings camp, with a new battery of Chris Iannetta and Russell Martin and new backup 3Bman Kevin Youkilis adds a nice veteran presence.  The lineup looks good but again the questions still surround the rotation, as the Haymakers have been lacking an ace since trading Jered Weaver.  Bumgarner has the ability, but he is a lefty and it may take him another year or two.  That doesn't solve the problem for this season though...but who will be watching?  The fan will be looking to the fences at all the homeruns, hit and given up!

Chows Move up in Round 1

Illinois Times - The Chows traded a surplus - glove men at 2B - to move up in round 1 of a talented draft. Once the 7th overall pick, Beckham's bat never developed the way Illinois had expected. With the emergence of Barney as probably the best glove at the position, Beckham and Barney be became redundant. "There are 7 guys we absolutely love in this draft so moving up to pick 7 ensures we get one of them. Since the Chows are not going for it this year, we can take the upside guy here instead of worrying about how good a season they will have this year."  We will likely never know if one of those guys would have slipped to 12 but Sherlag feels good getting one of his 7.

Outlaw All-Time Home Run Leaders

Twenty-two years of Outlaw All-Time home run leaders from 1991 to 2012 including the predecessor NASBL Cleveland Indians and San Diego Padres:
  1.  564, Manny Ramirez, 1995 - 2011
  2.  380, Albert Belle, 1992 - 2001
  3.  182, Jason Bay, 2005 - 2012
  4.  158, Alfonso "We dont need no steenkin' deefense" Soriano, 2004 - 2008
  5.  tie  157, Mark McGwire, 1999 -2002
   5.  tie 157, Aramis Ramirez, 1999 - 2008
     Adrian Gonzalez will join the top 5 with 9 more dingers..

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Annual Springfield Times Mock 1st Round

Projected 1st Overall Pick Mike Trout
 Springfield (AP) –

In what now seems to be the norm, a flurry of trades has led to numerous first round picks changing hands. In what may be a record - four teams (Outlaw, Vermont, Georgia, and Shawnee) do not have selections in the first round of this year’s draft. At first glance, this year’s draft class appears to be stronger than last year’s. The big difference being the dynasty changing potential of the top picks in this year’s draft (Trout, Strasburg, Harper, Machado, and Darvish).

Last year, three first round picks helped propel the Slatington Bulldogs to the NASBL World Series Championship. This year, it is the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs’ turn to see if it can turn its three first round picks into a title for 2013. If the draft goes the way that the times predicts, the Iron Pigs would net Bryce Harper, Jarrod Parker, and A.J. Burnett – not a bad start in following up the Bulldogs’ championship playbook.

Without further adieu, the following is the Springfield Times’ Annual First Round Projections.

#1) EdCouch New Potatoes – Mike Trout (OF)
Although the New Potatoes appear to be loaded with great defensive outfielders (Jon Jay, Austin Jackson, and Melky Cabrera), Mike Trout has been hyped at a level that has never been seen in NASBL history. With that in mind, the Times would be hard pressed to believe that the New Potatoes would use this pick on anyone but Trout. The only question remains - has there ever been a DH in NASBL history that was rated a 2e0 in centerfield?

#2) Dallas Forth Worth Spurs – Stephen Strasburg (SP)
While the aforementioned Mike Trout hype is the biggest the Times can remember, it is followed closely by the hype for starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg and outfielder Bryce Harper. Considering the current Spurs roster, as constructed, the Times predicts that Stras-mas will come early this year in Dallas and the Spurs will eschew Harper for Strasburg. This is the toughest call in this draft. A healthy Strasburg has the ability to be the best player in NASBL, but it is hard not to be wary of past history. The last instance that the Times can recall hype of this level for a starting pitcher – it was for a hurler named Mark Prior.

#3) Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs – Bryce Harper (OF)
The youngest player available in the draft, and the one with the biggest upside in power, is Bryce Harper. Would have been the #1 pick in the draft in most every year and the Iron Pigs are thrilled that they can grab such a player with the #3 pick in this draft. Has a cannon arm and should plug in at right field in the middle of the Iron Pigs order for the next 15-20 years (not an exaggeration).

#4) Pocono Chin Music – Manny Machado (3B)
The 2nd youngest player in the draft is a youngster named Manny Machado. Although not quite hyped at the same level of the three players picked above him, Machado oozes talent and a maturity far beyond his years. Third base has turned into a difficult position to find a cornerstone player in NASBL. Macahdo could undoubtedly turn into one and there does not appear to be anyone blocking Machado at 3B for the Chin Music. There are talks that Machado’s ultimate position may be SS in NASBL, which would make him an even better value here.

#5) Grundy County Grizzlies – Yu Darvish (SP)
Power pitchers typically perform well in NASBL. Darvish struck out 221 MLB hitters in only 191 innings in his first taste of MLB competition. Darvish is incredibly polished for a 25 year old pitcher, having pitched his native country to World Baseball Classic glory. The Grizz hope that Darvish’s success in MLB and internationally will translate to success in the much tougher competition of the NASBL.

#6) Troy Haymakers (via Trade from Vermont) – Fernando Rodney (CL)
Ken Anderson has made many trades during this NASBL offseason that put the Haymakers in line to compete for a championship in 2013 (rumors are he may not be done and is shopping this pick). Considering this, the Haymakers are looking for the best player on the board here…regardless of age. Although older than normal, as far as first round standards are concerned, Fernando Rodney was probably the best reliever in all of major league baseball last year. If Troy keeps this pick, the Haymkers will use all 75 of Rodney’s innings to frustrate NASBL opponents this year. As they say, flags fly forever, and Ken Anderson sees his squad able to compete for the title this year.  Rodney gives him the best chance.

#7) Illinois Chow Chows (via Trade from Springfield) – Yoenis Cespedes (OF)
Cespedes was a You Tube sensation via a video posted by his agent showing the youngster performing all sorts of heroic feats, on and off of a baseball diamond. Sources tell the Times that an e-mail account linked to Chows owner Brad Sherlag appeared to be enamored with this video – “liking” at more than 1000 times. The Chows recently traded a gold glove caliber second basemen to the Topes in order to move up five spots in the draft. Brad Sherlag must have someone specific in mind for this pick. Put it all together and you get Yoenis Cespedes.

#8) Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (via Trade from Georgia) – Jarrod Parker (SP)
While the Iron Pigs lineup looks solid, it can clearly use some help in the rotation. Parker is a young hurler with over 180 really strong innings that will fit in nicely as the #2 starter behind last year’s first round pick, Jordan Zimmermann.

#9) Canyon Country Cannons – Jason Kipnis (2B)
Brendan Conrad inherits a strong team, albeit one with an apparent hole at 2B for 2013 due to an uncharacteristic off year from Ian Kinsler versus right handed pitchers. In steps Jason Kipnis, a young player who would perfectly compliment Kinsler at the heavy side of a platoon at 2B this year and as the 2nd basemen of the Cannons’ future.

#10) Seattle Pilots – Brett Lawrie (3B)
While Chipper Jones is a fine offensive 3rd basemen, it may be his last season in NASBL if the rumored talks of his retirement are not unfounded. From all indications, Brett Lawrie is a gold-glove caliber 3rd basemen, and still very young. Lawrie just missed qualifying for last year’s NASBL draft, where it was believed he would have been a top 5 pick – if he was eligible. Lawrie would appear to fit in nicely as the Pilots 3rd basemen of the future.

#11) Slatington Bulldogs (via Trade from Troy) – Matt Moore (SP)
Adam Leickel went all in last year, and it brought the Bulldogs a championship. You will not hear Bulldogs fans complaining (at least you should not), but the all in strategy undoubtedly left some holes for this year’s squad. The Bulldogs can go pretty much anywhere with this pick, but it could be argued that Moore would have gone #1 overall in last year’s draft, had he met the minimum innings requirement. Although his season in MLB was slightly disappointing based on the hype, Moore still had a respectable 3.81 ERA and struck out 175 hitters in 177 innings. Moore is a great value at #11 and the Bulldogs grab him here.

#12) Springfield Isotopes (via Trade from Illinois) – Anthony Rizzo (1B)
With no offense intended to Jarrod Saltalmacchia or Adam Dunn, the Topes do not have a legitimate first sacker on its roster. Ever since the Topes released Lance Berman a couple of years ago, there has been a revolving door at 1B in Springfield. Topes fans have called it the Curse of the Big Puma. Lucky for Doug Sherlag, there appears to be a player available that fits this need and could end the curse forever. His name is Anthony Rizzo and the Topes are glad he is available at #12.

#13) Dallas Fort Worth (from Shawnee) – Salvador Perez (C)
Ryan Hanigan is a nice backstop for the Spurs, however he is on the wrong side of 30 and Red Robbins won’t pass up his chance to draft Hanigan’s successor. At 22 years of age, Perez has an absolute cannon for an arm and has shown the ability to hit for average and power in his limited at bats in major league baseball. There is a chance that Red still grabs his catcher of the future here, but prefers the more polished offensive game of Yasmani Grandal or Wilin Rosario with this pick.

#14) Lake Champlain Cannibals – Brendan Crawford (SS)
Although Troy Tulowitzki is one of the top players in NASBL when healthy, Tulo suffered various ailments in major league baseball, meaning the Cannibals do not have a shortstop with meaningful at bats on its roster.  At 25 years of age, Crawford already has the reputation of a gold glove shortstop. Although there is no doubt that Crawford’s bat lags behind his glove, Steve Beard understands the value of a young player that has already received a “1” at SS in his first full season. The Times believes the last time that Hal bestowed a “1” on a player in his first full season at SS, that player was named Elvis Andrus. Go ahead and ask Mark Hildebrandt how that pick worked out.

#15) Seattle Pilots (via Trade from Outlaw) – Brandon Moss (OF/1B)
The Pilots appear poised to compete for a title in 2013 based on the strength of its rotation and a solid lineup at all positions. Although Moss only has 265 at bats - what at bats those are. Brandon Moss could be the difference between a wild card and a championship for a NASBL squad. Whenever he comes to the plate against a right hander, Moss’ raw power has the ability to garner the type of respect that is only usually reserved for the likes of Barry Lamar Bonds. By far the best offensive card available against righties, Moss is also extremely solid against lefties and would be a beast in the playoffs for the Pilots.

#16) Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (via Trade from Slatington) – A.J. Burnett (SP)
The Iron Pigs offense should allow them to compete this year in NASBL. The rotation was addressed somewhat with its earlier pick of Jarrod Parker. Although low innings starters like Brett Anderson and Brandon Beachy would thrive in the postseason, the Iron Pigs may need a workhorse near the top of the rotation if it wants to make it there. Enter A.J. Burnett. No one has ever questioned Burnett’s talent, and he seems to have put it all together in 202 strong innings in a bounceback season in MLB and would look great near the top of the rotation for the Iron Pigs.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Much like the beloved horse in the children's book Animal Farm, Dan Haren finds himself relegated to the scrap heap.  This after tossing 1562 innings over the last 7 years.  5 years with more than 200 innings, 264 in 2010.266 in 2012.  80 wins.  Workhorse Haren when asked how it felt to be unemployed, whinyed, stomped a hoof and began munching on a bale of hay.  PCM management feels the old grey mare will do better work in a park with deeper, much deeper fences.  The days of Pedro and Johan long gone PCM brains are tasked with finding the "2013" flamet thrower!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Outlaw All Time Career Wins Leaders

Twenty-two years of Outlaw All-Time wins leaders from 1991 to 2012 including the predecessor NASBL Cleveland Indians and San Diego Padres:

  1.  159, Tim "Chicks Dig the Longball" Hudson, 2000-2012
  2.  113, Andy Ashby, 1994 - 2003
  3.  103, Jake Peavy, 2004 - 2012
  4.    87, Charles Nagy, 1992 -1999
  5.    83, Mark Lanston, 1991 -1995
The NASBL all-time home run leader at his position is also Outlaw's career wins leader.

After nine trades NewPotatoes are getting closer to goals..

EdCouch GM says that after nine trades he feels the team is close to their goal of competing for a title now and the future. The unofficial selection of Mike Trout with the first pick(rumors are that EdCouch and Trouts agent have agreed to a long term deal, though the details of the deal are not known) will be a huge first step to real both of the goals.
EdCouch is still looking to upgrade pitching and have had several discussions recently with teams about this subject. They look forward to the draft to upgrade in several areas.

Rumor Mill Part II - Sioux to Part Ways with Franchise Stalwart

Burlington, VT

Superstorm (is that a thing now?) Nemo will not stand in the way of NASBL news. Despite being pounded by more than a foot of snow, the VFS rumor mill keeps chugging along. To spare you the preamble, you can go here to see how we got to this point.

This time we honor Ervin Santana; a Sioux front line hurler for the past seven seasons. While his star never shone as bright as Ubaldo's, it did shine longer. In his Vermont tenure, Ervin went 59-58 and was part of the rotation for three playoff teams (2007, 2009, 2011), including his best season when he went 16-8 with a 2.85 ERA in 2009 and was the staff ace of a team that SOMEHOW BLEW A 3-0 LCS SERIES LEAD. "NO, I'M NOT STILL BITTER", said an enraged GM Justin Rabidoux.

Ervin leaves Vermont with a full trophy case of accolades.

His 182 games are tops in franchise history and he is also the career Sioux leader in IP (1,130) and Ks (872). His 59 wins were second only behind Ubaldo's 62 as were his 36 CGs, again, trailing only Ubaldo's 45. He also occupies prominent locations on the career leader board in ERA, Ks/9, H/9 and shutouts.

On a single season basis, Ervin's 17 CGs in 2009 is a franchise record and in a recurring theme his single season marks of 237 Ks and a 2.85 ERA are second only to Ubaldo.

Ultimately Santana's increasing proclivity to surrendering the long ball (his HRs allowed have increased in each of the past five MLB seasons, including a ghastly league high 39 in 2012) paved the way for his exit.

"Ervin will always hold a special place in our fans' heart for his competitive spirit and all the great memories he gave us. Unfortunately for him, his name is most linked in a Buckneresque manner with the great LCS collapse of '09 when he had two chances (Ed. note: Ervin started and won Game 1, but started and lost Games 4 & 7 of the series) to close out the series and win a title for what many consider the best Vermont team of all time", continues Rabidoux. "That team, while only finishing 91-71, made many end of the year trades and come playoff time had a murderous roster with all the parts necessary, and then some, to win the title. Who knows, if we had won, Albert Pujols would likely still be on the roster." (Ed. : He was traded to LVI that off-season in an attempt to get younger. Unfortunately for Rabidoux, younger has meant primarily Tommy Hanson and his career 24-36 record)

Sioux fans, as you're stumbling up and down Church Street tonight, pour one out for old Ervin.

This is how we'll choose to remember the great warrior that was Ervin Santana

Friday, February 1, 2013

Rumor Mill Part I - Sioux to Part Ways with Franchise Stalwart

Burlington, VT

Coming off a 72 win season, it's no shock that changes were in the air for the Vermont Fighting Sioux. The depth of the changes, however, may have some longtime loyal Sioux fans questioning the franchise's loyalty.

Leaks have been pouring out of the VFS front office, presumably from disgruntled employees. The latest leaks, if true, will be a hard pill to swallow. While NASBL nation awaits the formal announcement of cuts on February 16, some Sioux rumored casualties are making their way to the blogosphere and the talk radio air waves.

Ubaldo Jimenez is one such casualty. His advancing age and reduced production have exposed him to the waiver wire if rumors are to be believed. His MLB ERA have increased in each of the past five years, and his transition to a DH league resulted in a spike in homers allowed. Putting the ball over the plate and general wildness have always been issues for Ubaldo, but were seen as minor flaws on an otherwise excellent resume. Now these bad habits are just more reasons he's no longer welcome in the Wigwam.

Looking back at his stellar, but brief VFS career (4 years of service) highlights just how good he was in his prime. Ubaldo is the owner of the most impressive pitching season in Sioux history, posting a 23-5 record with a 2.58 ERA in 2011. Additionally, if you check the record books, his name is everywhere.

                                                     VFS Lifetime Leaders:

Jimenez - Celebrating another victory in 2011

Unfortunately Time Caught up with the Former Sioux Ace
#2 in Win %, .626
#1 in ERA, 3.58
#1 in CG, 45
#3 in IP, 905
#2 in Ks, 786
#1 in H/9, 7.83
#4 in K/9, 7.82
#1 in shutouts, 9
#1 in wins, 62 (to go with 37 losses)
#9 in games, 122

Single Season VFS Leaders:

Ubaldo produced the best individual seasons in wins (23), starts (33), win % (.821), shutouts (4), ERA (2.58) and IP (269). He also recorded top 5 seasons in every pitching category excepting the obvious one, saves.

Asked to sum up Jimenez's impact to the franchise, GM/Owner Justin Rabidoux said, "Ubaldo will be remembered for his contributions to the franchise as a whole, and especially during our special playoff run of 2009 (ed. note: Ubaldo was also the NASBL LF Rookie of the Year in 2009), as well as his outstanding 2011 Cy Young season. In fact, you could make a strong case he should've been the MVP in 2011 as he dragged an otherwise pedestrian team single-handedly into the playoffs; I mean, the team's most productive offensive player that year was Supplemental Draft pick Casey f'in McGehee. Ubaldo finished 18 games over .500 as a pitcher and the Sioux finished 18 games over .500 as a team. You do the math." Tell us how you really feel. Rabidoux continued, "We wish Ubaldo all the continued success and hope he finds a comfortable landing place, and who knows, maybe we'll see him back here on day soon."