Sunday, March 29, 2015


One is right-handed, one is left-handed.  One is a 13 year veteran who has played for only one NASBL team,  One is a 15 year veteran who has played for only one NASBL team.  One is 39 years old and healthy, one is 34 years old with injuries that will severely limit his 2015 NASBL season.  One has 188 wins, one less than NASBL all-time leader Randy Johnson and 12 short of 200.  One has 185 wins, three less than Randy Johnson and 15 short of 200.  Let the race to 200 NASBL wins begin!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Haymakers Land Myers - Looking to the Future

Troy NY:  The Haymakers were busy early on in the 2015 draft this season.  They made a number of picks that would be useful in the future and hopefully would be trade-able chips to bring future talent to the team.  On Saturday Troy was able to make use of some of those trade-able chips to land what hopefully will be a major part of the future of the team.  They traded recent pickups Michael Morse and Pat Neshek along with Phil Hughes and a round 6 pick in 2016 for Wil Myers, Bartolo Colon, Latroy Hawkins and a 2016 round 4 pick.  It is clear that the team was high on the 2013 top 5 prospect Wil Myers who has a boatload of potential with the bat.  In 2012, Myers hit .314 with 37 homeruns between AA-AAA, and in 2013 he his a combined .290 with 27 homeruns between AAA and the Tampa Rays.  Although he had a down year in 2014 and missed time due to fractured right wrist, he is still only 24 and has a big spot to play in the deep outfield in San Diego.
   The Haymakers are hoping that Myers and recent second overall pick George Springer can help anchor a lineup that will be dominated by former first round picks and young talent.  The team also has Yeonis Cespedes and is high on A.J. Pollock.  That leaves four players to fill 3 outfield spots, and that does not even include fan favorite Josh Hamilton, who has been through some hard times recently.
    "We have a whole lot of young talent on our team right now," said GM Ken Anderson, "our plan is to let everyone get out there and let the pieces fall in to place for 2016.  It seems the only players that have jobs locked in are Sandoval and Hosmer.  Our team is going to be a challenge to win games this year, but we are already looking to the future."
    Troy recently had their fan appreciation day, and a number of players showed up to show their appreciation to the fans.  There was even a crazy hair challenge, where the players got to show off their wild mugs.  The winner was AJ Pollock, who rather controversially wore a bubble gum bucket on his head. Here are a few of the candidates:

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Springfield Times 2015 NASBL Mock Draft

Springfield (AP) –
In what now seems to be the norm, a flurry of trades has led to numerous first round picks changing hands. Although one shy of last year, four teams (Illinois, Canyon Country, Seattle, and Vermont) do not have selections in the first round of this year’s draft.  It should be noted that last year’s NASBL Champion – Ed Couch New Potatoes also was without a 1st round selection in last year’s draft.  So take heart, Chow Chow, Canyon, Pilot and Fighting Sioux faithful.

While this draft appears to be lacking in the sheer number of impact hitters, there is a plethora of good young pitchers available that any NASBL organization would love to have on its staff.  As such, supply and demand show 10 hitters going in Round 1 according to the Times.

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

#1) Slatington Bulldogs – Jose Abreu (1B)
Last year, the Bulldogs traded its #1 overall selection for Wilson Ramos and the #2 overall pick.  GM Adam Leickel has given no indication that the #1 pick is available for trade this time around – and for good reason.  In a day and age where power is a rare commodity, Jose Abreu seems to stand head and shoulders above anyone else available in this draft.  Without a carded 1st baseman on the Bulldogs roster, the first pick is not really in doubt here.  The only question will be how many seconds Leickel takes to give Commissioner Beard the card with Abreu’s name on March 7th.

#2) Troy Haymakers – Sonny Gray (SP)
Although there appears to be many good young starting pitchers available in this draft, only one has been successful over 283 innings of major league baseball.  That alone is enough to give Sonny Gray the edge here.  Staying healthy is a skill and a skill that Sonny Gray appears to possess.  No small feat for a young starting pitcher.  With Bumgarner, Hughes, Collmenter, and Gray in its rotation to go along with a resurgent offense/defense, the Haymakers will be a force to be reckoned with in NASBL this year.

#3) Georgia Roadkill – Josh Harrison (2B,3B,SS,LF,RF)
Super utility player Josh Harrison could play 2B or 3B for the Roadkill, depending on where Johnny Miller plans on playing last year’s 2nd round selection Anthony Rendon.  One thing is for certain – no matter where Harrison plays he will hit.  There was serious talk in MLB circles that Harrison was the true MVP of MLB’s Pirates squad last season – this on a team with NASBL superstar/Spur Andrew McCutchen.  Harrison just may be the same for the Roadkill upon season’s end.

#4) Dallas Fort Worth Spurs – Jake Arrieta (SP)

Red Robbins appears to be set on the offensive side.  What the Spurs need is an ace to anchor its staff in the playoffs.  Jake Arrieta grades out as a top 5 starting pitcher in basically any conceivable measurement – outside of innings pitched.  In a division in which a .500 record won it last year, the Spurs can reasonably look at who will give them the best chance of winning the title again – not necessarily the pitcher that gives them 200 regular season innings.  Arrieta is that guy and has the prospect pedigree necessary to believe his 157 innings of dominance in MLB this season were not a fluke.

#5) Lehigh Valley (via trade from Illinois) – Xander Bogaerts (SS/3B)
The Iron Pigs could go many directions with this pick.  Having traded Zach Greinke for the rights to this selection, it is not a reach to believe this means the Iron Pigs are not all in on winning a title in 2015.  As such, the Iron Pigs can afford to look past production this year and look at “best talent available”.  What makes this pick hard to project is that best talent available is a subjective measure.  This could mean someone as raw as Javier Baez/Xander Bogaerts, someone as polished as Marcus Stroman or someone in between like Mookie Betts/George Springer.  There’s an old saying that GM Kevin Burns may ascribe to – “when in doubt, grab the shortstop”.

#6) Outlaw Josey Wales – Billy Hamilton (OF)
Outlaw is undergoing a youth movement.  Gone are stalwarts David Ortiz and Adrian Beltre and in are such youngsters as Albert Pujols.  OK maybe not a full scale youth movement, but close enough of a rebuild to give Mark Hildebrandt three picks in the first round.  The first of which the Times predicts will be used on something that Hildebrandt values greatly – defense up the middle.  They say you can’t steal first base, but Billy Hamilton can steal every other base known to man and patrol a mean CF.  If he learns to hit a little better, Hamilton will be the “steal of the draft” – cue rim shot - here at #6.

#7) Pocono Chin Music – Masahiro Tanaka (SP)
Tanaka would have been the 2nd pick in the draft (1st on some team’s boards above even Abreu) if this draft had taken place at the MLB All Star Break.  However,  rumblings came of a sore arm, followed up by an extended stay on MLB’s disabled list.  Tanaka’s injury issues appear to have been healed via good old fashioned rest and not via the knife of a surgeon.  However, the lingering injury issues create enough uncertainty that Tanaka lasts until #7 – but the Times does not see a way that Bill Anderson lets Tanaka get past this pick.

#8) Springfield Isotopes – Marcus Stroman (SP)
We knew that it was bound to happen eventually, but it appears that age/picking near the bottom of the draft each year has finally caught up to the Isotopes.  The Topes got younger during the offseason in adding Brett Lawrie, Pedro Alvarez, and Colby Rasmus to its roster.  However, the youth movement has not yet reached the Topes’ pitching staff.  The Topes need someone to supplant C.C. Sabathia or Jered Weaver as the ace of its staff.  As such, the rumor is that the Topes have fallen in love with Stroman and will grab him here if available.

#9) Shawnee Crows – Danny Santana (SS/CF)

Unless Kole Calhoun has exceedingly more range than the “2” given to him by Hal, the Crows are going to need some outfielders.  At first glance, GM Mike Johnson has a tough choice here between a youngster with huge upside in George Springer and a guy who had a huge, probably non-repeatable year in MLB in J.D. Martinez.  However, there is another alternative here.  Yes you read that position right.  Danny Santana channeled his inner Robin Yount during his rookie season in MLB playing both shortstop and center field – hitting regardless of where he played.  What makes this pick so attractive is that Santana can play center for the Crows in 2015 and put pressure on Crows incumbent Erick Aybar at short in 2016.  Major League Baseball’s Minnesota Twins seem to foresee Santana as its long term solution at SS.  There is no reason that Mike Johnson can’t do the same for the Crows.

#10) Grundy County Grizzlies (via trade from Canyon Country) – George Springer (OF)
Quick question – how many players in NASBL hit more than 30 homers in 2014?  The answer is only six (Chris Davis, Paul Goldschmidt, Edwin Encarnacion, Brandon Moss, Miguel Cabrera, and Evan Longoria).  For comparison purposes, thirteen guys hit more than 30 homers in 2013 and fourteen in 2012.  Home runs are down in NASBL and are becoming a rare commodity.  George Springer is a guy who has arguably the best power in this draft.  Plus, someone needs to help Lorenzo Cain patrol the outfield for the Grizz.  As such, Jack Howard is thrilled that Springer is still here at #10.

#11) Grundy County Grizzlies – Yordano Ventura (SP)
What do you look for in a first round starting pitcher if you are Jack Howard here?  Youth? Check - Ventura is 23.  Health? Check - Ventura started 30 games.  A live arm? Double Check - Ventura’s average fastball velocity was 96.9 MPH in MLB this season – best of ANY starting pitcher.  How this guy is still here at #11 is anyone’s guess, but Howard gladly grabs Ventura here.

#12) Lake Champlain Cannibals – Dellin Betances (RP)

Betances struck out 135 guys in major league baseball this year – AS A RELIEF PITCHER!  Although Clayton Kershaw may set the league’s record for complete games and the rest of the Cannibals staff are no slouches, the Cannibals manager may have to stroll to the mound every once in awhile to bring in a reliever.  90 innings of good god almighty out of the bullpen is just what the doctor ordered here for Commissioner Beard and should help the Cannibals to compete for a title in 2015.

#13) Shawnee Crows (via trade from Seattle) – JD Martinez (OF)
I’m not sure even Mike Johnson can convince himself that the resurgence of JD Martinez in Major League Baseball is a repeatable occurrence.  However, it doesn’t really matter.  In an age where power has fallen off the table (see George Springer pick analysis above), the Crows add one of the biggest power bats in this draft by grabbing Martinez here.  Martinez immediately gives the Crows the impact bat that it needs in the middle of its order.

#14) Outlaw Josey Wales (via trade from Lehigh Valley) – Mookie Betts (2B/OF)
The Times staff honestly has no idea what Outlaw will do with these picks.  With a lot of pitchers on its staff, Outlaw can go with the best available offensive player here and try to compete in the Tastes Great South or Hildebrandt can go full scale youth movement.  The Times predicts the full scale youth movement route and the next two picks reflect this.  Despite lacking a starting job for the Red Sox entering this season, Betts is deemed untouchable by the Sawx – and for good reason.  On base skills like Mookie’s just don’t come along very often – especially coming from a 21 year old.  No matter where he ends up, Betts will get on base.  An extremely valuable skill and one that insures Betts will not make it out of the first round.

#15) Outlaw Josey Wales (via Trade from Vermont) – Gregory Polanco (OF)
The Times is going again with the best young player on the board here for Outlaw. You’d be hard pressed to put together a list of who that could mean and not have Gregory Polanco at/near the top.  Polanco is a corner outfielder with a cannon arm who held his own against righties at the age of 22.  Not sure if a youth movement is truly Hildebrandt’s strategy, but if it is he could do a lot worse than a draft of Billy Hamilton, Mookie Betts and Gregory Polanco.

#16) Ed Couch New Potatoes – Steve Pearce (1B/OF)

The New Potatoes are looking to repeat as champs.  As such, Ed Kilmer will take the best player available with this pick – regardless of age/position.  That is far and away journeyman Steve Pearce.  Pearce will singlehandedly make left handed pitchers cry, while also pounding the ball against righties.  The Potatoes lineup looked loaded before this pick – good luck to opposing pitchers once Kilmer adds Pearce to the squad.