Saturday, March 29, 2014

AJC "Smart Money on Iron Pigs to Repeat"

On the heels of their correct '13 pre-season prediction the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs would take home the NASBL title, the Atlanta Journal Constitution "AJC" said to expect more of the same as they predict back-to-back titles for the first time in the "Modern Era" of the NASBL. There should be very competitive battles in most divisions except the TG South where the Iron Pigs should clinch early & gear up for another title run. Here goes the AJC picks for the '14 season:

Taste Great East
1. LCC
2. SPR
3. ECN
4. ILL

Taste Great South
1. LVI
2. OJW
3. GRK
4. CCC

Less Filling West
1. DFW
2. SHA
3. TRY
4. SPL

Less Filling Central
1. GCG
2. VFS
3. PCM
4. SLB

TG Playoffs:
LCC over SPR (WC)
LVI over LCC

LF Playoffs:
VFS (WC) over DFW
VFS over GCG

World Series:
LVI over VFS in 6 games

Post-Season Awards
TG MVP Freddie Freeman LCC
TG CY Adam Wainwright GRK
TG FOY Craig Kimbrel OJW
TG ROY Jose Fernandez ILL

LF MVP Miggy Cabrera GCG
LF CY Cliff Lee GCG
LF FOY Greg Holland TRY
LF ROY Matt Harvey VFS

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Many trades shape the EdCouch roster...

He has been called "Bob Barker" and after completing his 12th trade since the off season began, GM Killmer says the New Potatoes are ready to compete this season and with the addition of Braun,Bautista,Alex Cobb, Eithier and Albert Pujols(at the cost of trading away some fan favorites, very good players and high draft picks) the GM says the team is in a position to compete for the next few years.

Some local critics have mentioned that the ages of the players acquired are 30 or older(exception Cobb) and the GM has taken on some risk of age related regression, but Killmer says that the risk has a very good chance of paying off the next several years.

With LCC having such a great team in the same division, Killmer acknowledges that it will be a close fight for the division and may have to look to the trade wire like he did last year to reinforce the teams bullpen.
It looks like the New Potatoes will have to improve on their 104 wins from last year to have a chance to win the division and to fight for a better record than cross division rival and two time champs LVI, who once again have a stacked team.

The GM is also excited about two of the teams late draft picks, one being the power the crafty veteran Raul Ibanez can add to the current team and the bright future of Willy Pertalta(if he can seem to find the strike zone he should really develop).

As usual only time will tell where the New Potatoes will land, but there is one thing for sure, the fan's are excited about both the current team and the teams chances of competing the next few years!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sioux Acquire Medlen - Announce Intentions

- Burlington, VT

The Vermont Fighting Sioux have acquired front of the rotation starter Kris Medlen from the Troy Haymakers in exchange for Dillon Gee and picks in the 2nd and 4th rounds of the 2015 NASBL Rookie/FA draft. The Sioux also received back TRY's 8th and 10th round selections.

The moment Ken Anderson hung a For Sale sign on Medlen, Justin Rabidoux quickly assigned the Sioux scouting and medical (TOMMY JOHN, hello) departments to evaluate Medlen's immediate and long-term value. The immediate value is clear, another front end starter added to a now (crosses fingers) very top heavy Sioux rotation. Long-term, who knows, and frankly in the NASBL the future, nonetheless the present, is not guaranteed. So the Sioux pushed their chips to the center of the table and declared themselves all in for the 2014 NASBL title. "Heck, if LVI can do it twice, why not us once?" quipped an anonymous VFS front office source.

It's funny how a season and its expectations can change in the briefest of moments. Sitting with the 7th pick in the opening round of the NASBL 2013 R/FA draft, Vermont would've been content with its forecasted selection of Starling Marte. Heck, one can never have enough LHP whooping bats in a division led by Jack Howard's Southside Hurling Grizzlies. But then a funny thing happened, fellow NASBL execs, no doubt scared away by his pending TOMMY JOHN surgery (this will be a theme for the Sioux this year, looking at you too Jarrod), one after another passed on talented hurler Matt Harvey. Rabidoux was more than willing to grab him for this year and beyond, hoping Harvey would have a Cy Young caliber 2014 and then a Strasburg-like bounce back from surgery leading to a successful NASBL career.

Entering the draft the Sioux had 159 of the required 162 starts from a rotation comprised top to bottom of:

Mat Latos
AJ Burnett

Medlen, ready to deal for Vermont in 2014

Jarrod Parker
Eric Stults
Dillon Gee

That group was an ideal Sioux quintet, given Vermont's recent history suggests 81 win campaigns are ideal.

After the draft and Medlen acquisition, the group is now:

Matt Harvey
Kris Medlen
Mat Latos
AJ Burnett
Jarrod Parker/Eric Stults

Having an extra leftie allows Rabidoux to send the southpaws out against LHB-heavy squads.

So after all this questions still abound. Is this enough to topple GCG, DFW and the rest of the Less Filling? Was it worth it to acquire Medlen for two high picks? Drafting Harvey, whose rehab timetable is unknown, smart move? And on and on.

One thing we do know, the rotation entering the draft had a cumulative 13 wins above replacement (data from Fangraphs). The rotation after the draft (not counting Stults) has 19 WAR. Will those extra six fictional MLB wins translate into NASBL? To what extent? If we assume it actually means six more NASBL wins, that is likely the difference between missing the playoffs and being in contention for a division title and wildcard spot. If that's what 2014 holds for the Sioux, they'll happily take that gamble.

This season is setting up as a parlor game of sorts for VFS. A series of dominoes led to the current pitching staff. Without six other GMs passing, understandably so, on Harvey, VFS would not have pulled the trigger on the Medlen trade. With all the dominoes in place, the 162 roll crap game begins - here's to hoping the Sioux keep rolling their point!!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

The PRICE is Right

Grundy County Grizzlies reacquired their 2010 1st Round Draft Pick, LHSP David Price.  Bob Barker, I mean Ed Kilmer, GM of the EdCouch New Potatoes traded David Price to Jack Howard and the Grundy County Grizzlies for RHSP Alex Cobb and Door Number 4 (the Griz’s 2014 4th Round Draft Pick).   Howard and Kilmer exchanged emails for a week or so.  Howard made several counteroffers.  But, Kilmer’s price for Price was his price.  Howard ending up paying Kilmer’s price for Price.

One might question why Kilmer would seek to trade the ACE of his Potato Head Staff.  After all David Price was the EDCouch’s STAR Player last year.  David’s 2013 NASBL record reflected his 2012 major league CY Young award winning season.  David won 18 of his 27 New Potatoes’ decisions.  Price’s ERA was a very respectable 3.57 and David had 214 strikeouts over 210 innings.  Needless to say, David Price carried the Potato Heads on his back to a division win and playoff spot.  Without Price, it is unlikely the Potato Heads would have won 104 games in 2013; second most in the NASBL.

A big part of the reason Kilmer may have traded Price to the Griz was to acquire Cobb.  To be quite frank, Cobb’s Strat card for the coming season is better than Price’s card. It appears that Price will mow down left-handed batters as expected.  However, David is vulnerable to right handed hitters.  Cobb on the other hand has a very balanced solid card.  Additionally, Cobb is a RHSP, which usually produces better results than LHP in Strat, especially in small leagues such as the NASBL.   Cobb showed a lot when he overcame a baseball to the forehead.  Cobb returned to the mound after seeing stars and became a Star.  Alex pitched better upon his return to the mound than he had pitched before his injury.
Or, maybe Kilmer has a devious plan.  Kilmer may have schemed to add another LHP to make the already unbalanced Griz staff more southern oriented.   The GRIZ will rely on LHSP at their ( 1), (2), and (3) rotations spots in 2014.  The Griz will trot Cliff Lee, Price, and Cole Hamels out to bump, or maybe it will be Price/Hamels/Lee, or possibly Hamels /Lee/Price; depending on the Mrs.’s time of the month. 

Whatever, NASBL managers are licking their lips with sweet anticipation thinking how they are going to kick Griz butt.  Justin Rabidoux of the Vermont Fighting Sioux got a hard-on (woody, penile erection, or whatever you may wish to call it [I like to call it Mr. Happy}) when he picked Paul Konerko in the 2014 Supplemental Draft.  Konerko kills LHP and that pick alone make the Sioux favorites to win the division this season.  It will be interesting to see who drafts Jordy Mercer, for Mercer’s stick against LHP is stronger than Howard’s Mr. Happy.   

So why would Howard trade for a 3rd LHSP.  Jack stated he regrets 2 trades more than all others.  He wished he had never traded away Brandon Phillips who anchored his infield defense and he regretted trading David Price.  Howard got good return for those players, but he had not realized how much the two meant to him and the Griz team.  Howard drafted Price in the #9 slot of the 2010 draft (just ahead of Andrew McCutchen) with the intent of handing David the ball every 4 days for the next 20 years.  Howard had sought to reacquire both players at different times over the last few years with no luck.  Then Mr. Kilmer came emailing.

Mr. Happy rose to the occasion when Kilmer offered Price and Howard could not refuse.  At the news conference announcing the reacquisition of Price, Howard said, I will restate what I said 4 years ago when we drafted the young lad from Vanderbilt: “We hope last year’s performance was just a dip for this former top prospect and we hope he will lead our rotation in the future.”  With the acquisition of a 3rd LHSP, Howard is pondering moving his whole pitching staff south to see if the warmer side of the mound can cause havoc throughout the NASBL.