Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Sunday, November 9, 2008
These races are all going pretty well as expected.
Chicago is in a new park, and they currently have the top "ranked" team based upon overall OVR. It's not a fluke. They haqve won this division for 3 straight seasons. This team is poised to make a real run at the league title this season. Their pitching is good (currently #1 in AL) and they have a dangerous line-up. After 44 games, they are actually performing a bit off the pace their run differential would indicate. So watch out for this team to keep rolling.
Cleveland is performing about as expected given run differential, and they are on a 2-season run as an AL WC entry. This is a solid team, and it looks like they will be in the hunt for a 3rd straight playoff appearance, but most likely as a WC.
Charlotte is the defending division title holder, and it looks like they are poised to repeat. But - Watch out for both Buffalo and Boston. Buffalo might be the most improved team in the AL so far, and it will interesting to see if they can hang around all season. Boston might be down a bit. This franshice won the title 4 straight times in seasons 1-4 and feel to 2nd last season. Are they in a prolonged downward turn, or can they rebound?
Charleston has made three straight WC appearances, and I'd bet they'll be in the playoffs again. Their OVR says they are the 3rd best team in the AL. We'll see, but this is a solid team, and it looks like their best seasons are coming. However, they are over-performing abit based upon run differential. So - which is it? Is the record a better indicator of quality or the runs/runs allowed ratio? We'll see, but I'd bet the runs/runs allowed will more likely move closer to the record. Florida won 100+ games in seasons 1-4. This franchise won the division in seasons 2-5. This is still a good team, but they might be really pushed to catch Charleston this season.
Cheyenne is the two-time defending WS Champ. Until some team takes this crown away, they are the best team in Mattingly, and I don't see anything to indicate their run of success will end this season. This team won 338 regular season games the past two seasons. They are on a run of 3 straight 105+ win seasons, they have made 5 straight playoff appearances. No team in the division will push them this season, either.
Toronto - under new ownership - is the 2-time defending division champ. That's not likely to change this season. This is a team on the rise, and they are #3 in the NL in OVR at the ML level. They might be over performing a bit right now based upon run differential, but this is a good team that will probably be in the playoffs.
Witchita is another good team (3 straight division titles) that's good again. It's another team whose record might be a bit better than their actualy quality, but it's a team that will most likely make the playoffs again.
New Orleans is a terrific team - tied with SF with the top OVR in the NL. Expect this team to reach the playoffs with the #1 or #2 seed. There just aren't many holes here at all.
Okay - now the interesting NL division.
San Francisco has won 100+ games 4 straight seasons. About the only thing this team hasn't done is win a WS, but don't bet against this team this season. As good as it's been - this might be the best team SF has fielded yet. The pitching is absolutely dominant, and the line-up is very good. There are no holes at all here.
Los Angeles is likewise coming off of 4 straight 100+ win seasons, but they are currently in 3rd place. That won't last. This team has made 3 WS apps in the past 4 seasons, and it's won 2 WS titles. That's not a fluke. This is a loaded team with deep pitching and a terrific line-up. Like SF - there aren't many holes.
Scottsdale is coming off a WC appearance in season 5. This team sits in 2nd place in the best division in Mattingly. Is the team good enough to push SF and LA this season? Most likely - no. But it's a team that could win 97-98 games and will be a tough opponent all season. SCO lost it's young closer for the season, and unless something develops there, this team will remain a WC playoff contender and no more. But it's got a great line-up, so watch out.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Season 4 - 73-89 .451 4th place
Saturday, September 13, 2008
1 - New Orleans Voodoo
2 - Los Angeles Dodger of Sarasota
3 - Wichita Force (eliminated)
4 - Chicago (eliminated)
5 - San Francisco Seals
6 - Scottsdale Gunners
The National League has been dominated al season by a three powerhouse teams - New Orleans, LA and San Francisco. Only the NL North had a competitive division race, and the two tops teams Fargo and Chicago struggled to play .500 ball.
The playoffs look like they are going to hold to form. Chicago and Wichita are out. Chicago’s “reward” for winning the NL North was a first round match-up with San Francisco. Chicago won the first two games, by SF’s pitching took over in the final three games and they advance. Wichita, with the #3 seed, drew #6 seed Scottsdale in round one, and in another 5-game series Scottsdale moves to round 2. So of the 4 NL teams left, New Orleans is the only team NOT from the NL West.
Here’s how the teams ranked entering the playoffs:
New Orleans - #1 - runs scored, #1 avg., #1 opp. runs, #3 era, #1 fielding %
LA - #2 - runs scored, #6 avg., #2 opp. runs, #2 era, #3 fielding %
Wichita (eliminated) - #6 - runs scored, #5 avg., #4 opp. runs, #4 era, #2 fielding %
Chicago (eliminated) - #7 - runs scored, #4 avg., #9 opp. runs, #9 era, #4 fielding %
San Francisco - #5 - runs scored, #9 avg., #3 opp. runs, #1 era, #10 fielding %
Scottsdale - #3 - runs scored, #3 avg., #6 opp. runs, #8 era, #11 fielding %
New Orleans looks like the favorite and deserving of their #1 seed. New Orleans pitchers won league-wide pitcher of the week honors 4 times - Maeda (2), Jamison and Tavarez, and they had two players of the week - Gonzalez and Yoshii. They have 8 NL All-Stars - Maeda, Gonzaga, Cummings and Tavarez from the pitching staff, and Ramirez, Cambers, Gonzalez and Peters. This is a great team, and their season success 113 wins - is no fluke.
LA is the number 2 seed, and they are likewise, an excellent team. They are one season removed from back-to-back WS titles. They have deep and excellent pitching, put up excellent offensive numbers in a VERY tough home park for hitters. Watch out for their pitching staff, though. Cora and Brew lead a rotation and bullpen that can lock down opposing bats, and if their pitching gets on a roll, they could very well pose a real threat to New Orleans. Key players - Cora (SP), Brew (CL), Dixon (SS) and Gonzalez (RF), Ross (1B) and Franco (3B).
San Francisco has - I think - the best overall pitching in our league. There simply isn’t a better rotation than theirs: Jones 23-6, 1.97 ERA (the likely NL Cy Young winner), Tucker 15-8, 3.06 ERA, Matos 15-4, 3.65 ERA, Mattingly 12-9, 3.27 ERA and Leary 12-9, 3.59 ERA. Then Rogers closes things down, and he’s a stud - 40/51 SV/OPP. 2.55 ERA. If San Francisco’s pitching gets hot, I wold not be surprised to see them beat New Orleans and advance to the WS.
Scottsdale is the #6 seed and the third team from the NL West remaining in teh NL playoffs. They edged Wichita in a 5-game series, but they will have their hands full with LA in the division series. That said, Scottsdale is a dangerous team. They played in a hitter friendly park, so their hitter’s numbers might be easy to dismiss. But - this is a terrific hitting team with power from the top through the bottom of the order - six hiiters with 23+ HR and 80+ RBI’s. Hughes 48 HR, 124 RBI’s, Saez 38 HR, 102 RBI’s and Hernandez 45 HR, 124 RBI’s (a leading NL ROY candidate) form a tremendous 3-4-5 in that order, and they can beat anybody on the strength of these bats. The pitching is not bad, either. Woods is a 16-game winner, and Calderon finished 2nd in the NL Fireman of the Year standings. A series win against LA would be a big upset, but it’s not impossible.
Chicago Style Pizza (eliminated)
Charlotte Knights (eliminated)
Cheyenne is the defending WS Champion, and they won 120 games to dominate the AL. Charlotte won a tight division battle with 87 wins (advanced on tie-breaker), but every other AL team had at least 97 wins.
As expected, the two play-in series went 5 games each. Cleveland knocked Charlotte out of the playoffs and Charleston beat Chicago in a mild upset.
Here’s how the teams ranked entering the playoffs:
Cheyenne - #2 - runs scored, #2 avg., #1 opp. runs, #1 era, #6 fielding %
Florida - #4 - runs scored, #5 avg., #2 opp. runs, #2 era, #5 fielding %
Chicago (eliminated) - #5 - runs scored, #6 avg., #3 opp. runs, #5 era, #3 fielding %
Charlotte (eliminated) - #10 - runs scored, #8 avg., #6 opp. runs, #7 era, #2 fielding %
Cleveland - #6 - runs scored, #3 avg., #4 opp. runs, #3 era, #7 fielding %
Charleston - #3 - runs scored, #4 avg., #5 opp. runs, #4 era, #12 fielding %
Cheyenne looks like the best team in the whole league, and I don’t see a serious challenger to them in the AL playoff field. Cheyenne has great pitching, with a rotation that nearly matches San Francisco’s: Williams 23-4, 2.46 ERA (Cy Young winner?), Frias 24-5, 3.47 ERA, Thomas 18-9, 4.38 ERA & Bruske 16-6, 3.73 ERA. McMasters is a dominant closer - 56/62 SV/OPP, 1.37 ERA. Leads don’t get away from this great team. The offense is just as good. Two players on this team I really like are JD Jackson (LF) (130 Runs, 224 Hits, 84 XBH, `23 RBI’s, .328/.385/.540) and Estrella (SS)(IMHO - he’s the best position player in the entire Mattingly World)(138 Runs, 23 HR, 87 RI’s, 43 SB, .287/.419/.454) Then there’s Torres - 38 HR and 129 RBI’s. Tis team should roll over the rest of the AL playoff field, and probably won’t get pushed until the WS. Of course, we’ll see about that!
Florida has another great individual player - Zhou (37 HR, 146 RBI’s) a player of the week winner. They won 101 games, so this is a solid team, and they earned their #2 seeding. The strength of the team is its pitching, and they have a very good top three to the rotation: Perry 22-5, 3.34 ERA, Meyer 19-5 3.53 ERA & Robbins 15-4, 2.74 ERA anchor a very good staff. McConnell closes, and he converted 89% of his chances - 34/38, 3.02 ERA. This team - if the top three pitchers - can hold Cheyenne down, might be a challenger to Cheyenne.
Cleveland is an interesting team. They are a wild card team with 99 wins, so they can’t be taken lightly. But there really isn’t a major standout on the team. They have a solid, well-balanced rotation: Davis 16-6, 2.81 ERA, Terraro 13-6, 3.09 ERA, Hayes 12-9, 3.13 ERA, Michaels 14-4, 3.87 ERA and McGee 11-5, 3.74 ERA. This rotation won’t scare anyone, but they have been really good over the 162-game season. The issue I see, is that in the playoffs, you rally need an “ace” or two, especially given the match-ups tey will face. The offense is very similar. There isn’t a big stud you have to shut down, nor are there lots of great bats. But there are several good hitters lead by Mathews, 31 HR, 116 RBI’s, .306/..409/.526. Beyond him, there aren’t any stars, but they do feature 5 hitters with 20+ HR’s. That said, this could be a tough team in a long series.
Charleston is the 4th wild card team still standing - in fact - all 4 WC teams are still alive! This is a team I see as a real dangerous AL team, and maybe the one with the best shot at beating Cheyenne. They have a good pair of starting pitchers: Delgado 22-5, 2.12 ERA (AL Cy Young winner?) & Peters 18-9, 3.74 ERA. If Delgado can win his games, they only need to take two more to advance. That’s possible. Charles also has an offense built around three big-time sluggers: Hammond 51 HR, 126 RBI’s, Mota 41 HR, 97 RBI’s (low durability limited him to 134 games) and Webb 41 HR, 109 RBI’s. This is the sort of team - a couple of big pitchers and some hitters who can carry a team, that can be real trouble for a higher seeded club.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Quinn Turner in Toledo, Sam Wilson in Arizona, Magglio Franco in Chicago, Mac Stull in Cheyenne, and Larry Creek in Wisconsin get special mention.
1 – pick returned to owner
2 – Martin Garcia (C-) Has to be considered a disappointment. His .228 AVG and .279 OBP are poor, but he has performed better in the last week. The upside is he is 23 so he may be better yet if Toledo has patience.
3 – Little Rock – Rafael Gallaraga (C-) A really high ERA at around 7.87 so the number 3 pick has soaked up innings but has been bad overall.
4 – Mexico City – Damon Tallet (C ) Another pitcher and another high ERA, this time not as bad at 6.09! MC expected better than they got on this guy.
5 – Arizona – Marquis Pride – (B-)The best of the top three pitchers but still no star with a 5 plus era. At 22 he appears to be a pretty decent pickup. Is he a starter or a LR? That remains to be seen.
6 – San Diego – Alex Flores – (B) Injured but has a promising future with the Conquistidors. We expect SD is fairly pleased with this pick.
7 – New York – Patrick Morton – ( C)Another average pitcher with a 5 plus era. As we work through this list the question lingers, were there any stud Rule 5 pitchers in this draft? So far
the answer is no.
8 – Cincy – Oscar Chang – (D)Offered back and claimed off waivers. He now hurls for Fargo and he is not setting the world on fire.
9 – Fargo – Julio Flores – (B+)A decent Catcher with decent numbers both hitting and catching. Fargo got a cheap player to fill some gaps with Julio! At 22 he is young so Fargo may be onto something with him.
10 – Wisconsin – Larry Creek –(A) Drafted, offered back and claimed by Las Vegas. His 3.33 era as a setup man makes him the best pitcher of the first 6 taken this year.
11 – Cleveland - Dave Spencer – (B+)Drafted by Cleveland, cleans out his locker but just drives a few hours to Toledo where he is playing well. He is on pace for 65 RBI and 33 stolen bases. Toledo has a nice young player here.
12 – Charleston - Bennie Cooper –(C-) He tried to do the Charleston and the Toledo shuffle but neither team seems too excited by him. He is just 22 so he may be held onto for now.
13 – Chicago – Magglio Franco – (A) Mags has decent numbers. He is a good gap filler for the Pizza guys. That is what I wrote a week ago, but that underestimates him. A good young player.
14 – Cheyenne – Mac Stull – (A)Nothing short of fantastic work by Stull. The best team in the AL West was shrewd to get this guy. A great pick at 14.
15 – SD – Paul Hall – (D)First pick of Round 2 ends up in Pawtucket and he is a nice inning eater but he does not have the numbers to show he will get much better!
16 – Toledo – Quinn Turner –(A) Just a super player for Toledo. He has been another nice find for the GM in Ohio, solid work!
17 – Arizona – Sam Wilson – (A)What’s not to like? He will easily get 100 RBI and hits .300. He is the best hitter of the group picked so far and will be hard to top!
18 – New York Bombers – (F)Lorenzo Cruz – An era approaching 10…..yikes!
19 – Fargo – Felipe Perez – He was offered back and accepted back. Playing AA ball
20 – Chicago – Gaylord Hudek – (inc)A part time player that at 23 may be kept by Chicago.
21 – Cheyenne – Stump Barkley – (inc) ERA of 8 plus, no great shakes……but he has only pitched 18 innings
22 – Toledo – Jerome Murphy – (inc) Part time 22 year old, upside is the reason for this rebuilding project
23 – Chicago – Arthur White – Not likely to be kept after this year. He is a part timer and 26.
24 – Toledo – Rob Price - He was offered back and accepted back. Playing AAA ball
25 – Chicago – Gus Harriger – (B) A surprisingly good pickup! He strikes out a lot but he is pushing toward 35 home runs.
26 – Toledo – Cody Heath – (C+) A nice young player for that may show some improvement next year more than this year.
27 – Chicago – Jamey Bennett – ( C ) A gamble pick that is average at best. Chicago took a flyer on him to see what would happen. The results are mixed.
28 – Toledo – Denny Park - He was offered back and accepted back. Playing AAA ball
29 – Chicago – Wilton Hollins – (B+) Plenty of upside for this young pitcher. Likely to stick with Chicago and stay in the pen.
30 – Toledo - John Thurman - He was offered back and accepted back. Playing AAA ball
31 – Chicago – Bucky York – He was offered back and accepted back. Playing AA ball
Monday, August 25, 2008
30. San Francisco - John Penny - RP - $2330k bonus - RL
John looks to be a pretty good setup reliever or left specialist. If my scouts are off and he's better vsR than his 61 my scouts show, he could be a closer because he has very good control (88), vsL (80), velocity (92) and a 95 rated fastball to go along with a 65 slider. He has tremendous durability at 93 so he'll be out there almost everyday getting lefties out, but his health (47-53) is a risk. Solid end of the first round pick, but not great.
31. Los Angeles - Herm Jarvis - SS/3B/2B - unsigned
Either Herm didn't want to play in LA/Sarasota or trev decided not to pay him a relatively paltry $1.81M because he should be signed by now. He has very good power (81) and can hit lefties well (72) but righties not as well (57). His contact (41) and eye (46) leave much to be desired, and he's not really a good enough fielder to play SS at the ML level since range, glove and arm strength are all rated to mid-70's at best. Solid ML infielder here.
32. Cheyenne - Emmett Walsh - C/DH - $1000K - LowA
Emmett is a decent catching/DH prospect with all hitting ratings in the 60's except batting eye which I see as topping out at 74. He's extremely durable, but not really good enough to justify getting all that time at the ML level. A pitch calling rating of 61 is decent but combined with only 70/68 for arm strength and accuracy, he's not really the guy you'd love to have behind the plate defensively everyday.
The best of the supplemental round picks:
33. Little Rock - Bennie Zambrano - 1B/DH - $1000k - RL
A power hitting 1B with very good contact (83) and splits (82/67) and good batting eye (73). His health is risky at 57, but hopefully he can avoid the nerve irritations and bulging discs and he'll be very productive come season 8 hitting right in the middle of the Nine's lineup for many years to come. A very nice pick here.
34. Charlotte Knights - Rudy Bennett - SS - $960k - RL
Rudy can field his position very well with good enough range and glove (82/85) to go along with a great arm (90/89). He can hit pretty well too with 71 contact, 57 power, 70/52 splits and 55 eye. He should stay healthy and is reasonably durable such that he should make an impact by year 7 if not the end of next season. A real nice pick up here at 34. Surprising that he was passed up by others.
38. Chicago Pizza - Tony Bennett - 1B/DH - $800k - RL
The Pizza have this crooner playing Catcher, but that won't last. He could play 1B or DH at the major league level because he sure will hit, especially left handers. With 72 contact, 99 power, 88/56 splits and 84 eye Tony will put fear into the best left hander out there, and he should make the Pizza owner very, very happy come year 8. A very good DH/1B prospect who could be a MVP candidate if he could hit righties better.
40. San Francisco - Jack Ashley - 2B - RL
Jack has very good range for 2B, but not a great glove. However, his impact will be in the field, possibly at leadoff due to very good contact (75), splits (75/74), speed (85) and eye (82). His power of 31 is good enough for the occasional extra base hit, so he should be a very productive and healthy 2B for years, impacting the Seals' order come the end of season 7.
54. Charleston - JR Sweeney - 3B - RL
JR looks like a very good fielding 3B with a very strong arm (84) who can hit well enough too. He has good hitting ratings accross the board (62 contact, 69 power, 68/83 splits and 54 eye) and should always be healthy (100). A pretty good selection at 54 if I don't say so myself...
61. Florida - William Cairncross - RP/spot starter - RL
One of the best pitchers taken after the first round William has the elements of what I like in pitchers, which is good control (83), very good vsR at 82 and good enough vsL at 62 to go along with decent pitches, including one at or above 85 (forkball is 85 with others at 67,63, 42, 39). He could be very productive as a long reliever in the ML and spot starting occasionally as needed. Very good pick here.
39. Jin Che Woo of New Orleans (solid SS with a great glove and adequate bat to start for many years);
54. Rodney Walker of Charleston (end of the rotation SP with good splits (64/69), control (70) and three decent pitches combining to over 200)
55. Mendy Martin of Chicago (a solid 3B with decent fielding and good hitting ratings, especially splits and 77 power)
63. Raul Saez of San Diego (if he stays healthy, which is unlikely, this is a find at 63 - 86 control, very good splits and 4 pitches combining to about 290)
70. Dennis Martin of Scottsdale (a SP almost identical to Rodney Walker with a bit worse control and splits but with slightly better pitches)
75. Bruce Terrell of Austin (a very good fielding SS (85/83 range/glove and 100/92 arm) with 100 batting eye. So what if he can't hit himself out of a paper bag (0 pwr), he has 57/55 splits and 47 contact. He'll be very useful.
76. Felipe Rodriguez of New York (a RP/SP combo (65 stamina) with 79/58 splits and pitches of 82/84/63/31 to go along with 81 control)
78. Edge Simpson of Jacksonville (if he only had better control he'd be an excellent pickup here. But at 49, his mid/high 70's splits and very good pitches might not be enough.)
79. Elston Overbeck of New Orleans (Like Edge, his control will be his downfall, but if not, he's got great upside.)
82. John Rogers of Little Rock (RP/spot starter with 71 control, 62/68 splits and 3 pitches combining for 250 make him a great selection here)
87. Erik Leach of Chicago Pizza (not sure what he's doing in RF but at 1B/DH he'll hit for sure)
91. Fred Kane of San Francisco (control and very good splits make Fred an excellent RP selected at the end of round 2)
93. Pedro Jimenez of Cheyenne (a 3B that should be a pretty good hitter at the ML level)
Monday, August 18, 2008
1. New Orleans - How can you not choose the hottest team in baseball? 19 in a row and counting is simply amazing. Maeda is 14-2 with an ERA under 2 this season.
2. San Francisco - Best expected winning percentage in the league. Stacked team that is performing once again. Jones (15-3, 2.06 ERA) will challenge Maeda for the NL Cy Young
3. Cheyenne - Defending World Series champs are primed for another run. 3.54 Team ERA is good enough for second in the league. Starters 1-3 are amazing with no slouch at number 4.
4. Florida - Second in runs scored and third in team ERA makes this team very balanced. Louie Zhou is absolutely pounding the ball this year (.323 AVG, .618 SLG, 30 HRs, 104 RBIs). Biggest threat to Cheyenne in the AL.
5. Los Angeles - The Dodgers of Sarasota in Gainesville, FL are having another solid year. Will be hard to top SF and NO in the stacked National League though. R.O.Y. candidate Tomas Tavarez is having a solid campaign (.960 OPS, 26 HRs).
6. Scottsdale - Third NL West team in top 6. Best offense in baseball. Hernandez, Saez, and Hughes are as good as any 3-4-5 in the league. Can this team find pitching before the playoffs? The Gunners are in the bottom half of the league in ERA.
7. Chicago - Forbes and Snyder are having solid years, but will it be enough to top Florida and Cheyenne in the AL? Tyler White going down for the season is a big loss, but we all know the talent is there to step up.
8. Cleveland - Good campaign. Sticky Ratliff is having a down year for his standards. He will need to pick it up for the Curse to have a chance at winning the AL.
9. Charleston - Geraldo Delgado is at it again. 16-4, 2.35 ERA, 149 Ks should be good enough to call him AL Cy Young front-runner.
10. Wichita - Julio Cedeno is having a solid but not spectacular year. Teams are finding it a lot easier to pitch around him without Zhou in the lineup.
11. Boston - Kevin Bravo is once again proving to be the best CF in the AL (34 HRs, 1.031 OPS, 3 plus fielding plays, 0 minus fielding plays).
12. Las Vegas - Best of the rest. Nothing spectacular about this team, but they seem to always be there. Pitching will need to improve for them to make the playoffs.
13-32 - Get your teams above .500 and we'll talk
Friday, August 15, 2008
1. Iowa City - Walter Parnell - SS - $4M Bonus - RL
Very deserving of the top pick in the draft, this durable, potentially gold glove SS (projected 100 fielding rating) can really hit too with very good contact (88) and solid power (71), splits (71/65) and eye (72). Should be an All-Star for many years to come.
2. San Diego - Bobby Kennedy - SS - $3910K - RL
Very solid second pick, but not nearly the fielder of Parnell. Not great range at SS (78) and alraedy has 6 (-) plays and a .911 fielding % in rookie ball. However, Kennedy looks like he'll be a very good, productive hitter and regular at SS or any other position in the field for 150+ games per season.
3. Tacoma - J.T. Salazar - 2B - $3820K - RL
J.T. should hurt many pitchers with his bat (83 power, 95/80 splits and 67/73 contact/eye). He's not very durable (74) and is somewhat injury prone (66), but when he plays he will be effective defensively and an All-Star calibre hitter. He's tearing up rookie ball so far.
4. Toledo - Steven Sexton - SS - $3720K - RL
The potential is there for Steven to be a very productive SS at the ML level. He should hit for power (82), average (82/72 splits and 64 contact) and get on base frequently (80 eye). But, his health is poor (44 now and up to 53), so that he may never reach his potential. Right now, though, he's been healthy and ripping in rookie ball.
5. Little Rock - Santiago Seanez - SP - $3630K - High A
Santiago is the first pitcher taken in the draft and while he's going to be a productive SP in the Majors in just 2-3 seasons, he will not be a front of the rotation kind of guy that you would expect to get this high in the draft. His splits are ordinary for the ML level (74/61), but he has excellent control (95) and a great, hard sinker (90) along with decent fastball, changeup and curveball all rated in the 50's. A very solid future ML SP, but the best in the draft?
6. Trenton - Will Waters - RP - $3540K - RL
A somewhat surprising pick at #6 when you consider his likely effectiveness, Will should be a solid setup reliever at the ML level, but no star. His splits are ordinary (59/69) with decent enough control (77) and two very good pitches in his fastball (81) and forkball (88). His overall rating is driven by incredible health (100) and durability (72) for a pitcher.
7. Mexico City - Dennis Martin - SP - $3440K - RL
Dennis projects to be an excellent left handed SP for Mexico City. He should eat up innings with his excellent stamina(95), control (90), and health (99) coupled with very good splits of 88/65 and a very good splitter (89), good cutter (73) and decent change (56) and a show-me curve (36). A very solid pick at #7, but at 2-4 in rookie ball, not yet proving it.
8. Pawtucket - Luis Estrada - 2B - unsigned - none
Pawtucket needs to sign this adequate fielding, tremendous hitting 2B. His 97/92 splits, 89 contact and 77 eye should make his decent power (69) even more productive. There's a huge upside, but also great downside with his 32 health. Give him what he wants and pray he stays healthy, because he could win an MVP.
9. Scottsdale - John Phillips - SP - $3250K - Low A
John should be very good in a few seasons primarily because of his control (88)and great fastball (94). He will pitch late into games with great stamina and has decent enough splits (53/71) and 4 complimentary pitches to be very effective. Another solid, workhorse SP.
10. Arizona - Frankie Christensen - Unsigned - none
I think Frankie either wants too much money or realizes he's just not going to be that good. A disappointing pick at #10 because of his inability to get righties out (25-39). He will be healthy (95), durable (29) and can pitch the whole game (88), but he has no great pitches (82/61/40/54) and control of 99 can only get you so far with poor splits.
11. Burlington - Randy Palmer - RP/Closer - $3070K - RL
This potential closer should be very effective (95 control and 88/91 splits) if he stays healthy (44-49). He's durable and can go 2-3 innings in relief, has decent pitches (79/67/39), but he's not likely to avoid the DL on a regular basis. A risky investment at #11.
12. Charlotte - Artie Webster - CF - $2970k - RL
A leadoff hitter (100 speed and 89 batting eye) in CF (85 range) with a good glove (83), he can really hit too (85/70 splits and 77/51 contact/power). Artie should be roaming CF for the Knights by season 7, and annoying pitchers with his speed and bat on a regular basis for years to come. Would be a tremendous prospect with better baserunning (only 62 projected), but nevertheless a very good selection here.
13. Sacramento - Deivi Castro - SP - $2925k - Low A
Deivi will likely have trouble at the ML level because of his splits (46/63) and pitches (69/68/46/32) being rather pedestrian. He's very health and durable though. Should eat many, many, many minor league innings for the next decade.
14. Austin - Aaron Post - RP/SP - $2790k - RL
If he stays health (62) he's likely to be one of the more effective pitchers in this draft class with 5 pitches to choose from including an excellent 4-seamer (92) and good sinker (75) and slider (67) to go along with solid control (78) and splits (82/72). A solid, albeit un-awe-inspiring pick here.
15. New York Bombers - Otto Henry - SP - $2690k - RL
Otto should be a very good pitcher for the Bombers as long as his catcher calls his curveball and cutter (90 and 86) instead of his change and slider (36 and 39). He has good enough splits and decent enough control to get ML hitters out. Another solid pick here.
16. Cincinnati - Dave Shunick - 2B - $2600k - Low A
A leadoff hitter for sure, Dave has splits, contact and eye all over 70 to go along with good speed (77) and baserunning (82). He'll be adequate in the field, but may see time in LF later on in his career.
17. Jacksonville - Wayne Prior - 2B/LF - $4,154k - RL
The Jellyfish GM Stepped up to the plate and showed Wayne the money, and now Wayne will begin a long career showing fish fans his 4 tools (he's only a decent fielder). He can hit for average and power (80), get on base (74 eye) and steal too (88 speed with 76 baserunning). A very nice pick at #17.
18. Charlotte - Doug Hayes - C - $2410k - RL
With the Knights second pick already they selected a decent catcher, but one that I don't believe was worthy of the 18th pick. His vsR is only projected to 51 and he is not a great pitch caller (56) so he's likely going to be best used as a DH, and for that position he's just not good enough.
19. Las Vegas - Nipsey Harris - LF/2B - $2320k - RL
Nipsey will be very good against lefties, with very good power and batting eye, and good enough against righties (58) to be an everyday, productive LF at the ML level. If his arm accuracy were to be undervalued by my scouts, he could also be used at 2B.
20. San Francisco - Scott Nielsen - CF - $2220k - RL
A very nice pick here for a very good hitting CF; a very tough position to find 88 range and 78/74 contact/power ratings. He will be heathy and hitting 5th or 6th in the lineup for the Seals by season 8.
21. Fargo - Anthony D'Amico - RP/spot SP - $2130k - High A
I really like this young pitcher. He has great splits (94/84), 5 solid pitches (86/66/73/59/57) and 86 control. Health is somewhat of a concern (67-78) but not all that much. I expect many 2 inning saves and over 100 very good ML IP in the future.
22. Chicago Chubs - Jose Moreno - SP - $2040k - Low A
A tough one to call here, but I'm going to say he's not going to be very effective at the ML level because of his splits of 48/62. He'll make it, and pitch at the back of the Chubs' rotation, but he'll not win many games. He has great control (89), stamina, durability and an excellent slow curve.
23. Tampa Bay - Tony Eusebio - SP - $1940k - Low A
A three pitch SP with poor splits (54/43) usually doesn't fare well at the ML level, and I don't expect Tony to be the exception.
24. Cleveland - James Baez - SP - $1850k - RL
James has can pitch forever (100 stamina), but not that often (19 durability), is somewhat a health risk (68-77) and doesn't have very good control (52). But, he has an excellent fasball (94) and very good slider and curveball (77/73) and good enough splits to make an impact at the ML level for the Curse.
25. Charleston - J.P. Velazquez - RF/3B - $1625k - RL
I sure wish he had better contact (46) and batting eye (53), but if he did, I'd not likely have been able to draft him because his other offensive ratings are very good (79 power and 85/81 splits). His health is risky too, but I project him to be in RF by season 8 and am reasonably satisfied with the selection.
26. Chicago Pizza - Ernest Ramirez - 2B - $1660k - RL
Ernie has great range at 2B and very good power (83). Like J.P. before him his contact and eye are not great. He has decent splits and should be very durable, so a very good pick at #26.
27. Sacramento - Alvin Simms - RP - unsigned
A rather poor choice here. Not really a ML talent.
28. New Orleans - Roger Cooper - CF - $1470k - RL
Hit it anywhere, I dare you, and he'll flag it down. A tremendous fielding CF'er, Roger will steal many bases and will hopefully bunt for many singles because he's not going to hit for power (17). A great pick at #28.
29. Chicago Pizza - Patsy Banks - DH - $1380k - RL
He's listed as a catcher, but there's no way he plays there in the Majors; and he will make the majors, of that there is little doubt. He can hit with vsR of 91, power/contact of 82/64 and eye of 74. He won't likely play more than 120 or so games, but he'll help out a great deal in those games.
30. To be continued
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
As of right now there are 7 players on the 60 day DL in the ML. 6 of them have injury ratings around 50. Every single one of them had either no injuries before this season or just 15 day stints. Now all of a sudden in season 6 every one of them have gotten hit with a 60 day DL!
In AAA there are 17 players on 60 day DL. 12 of them are around 50 injury rating and 4 around 65. Barely any injuries in all previous seasons. Now in season 6 ALL 17 players got hit with a 60 day DL!
What do you all think?
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Sunday, June 8, 2008
1. Ivan Blanco - Kansas City Force - $7.1M Bonus - RF
An excellent signing by the Force for this future major league Right Fielder. He can really hit with projections of 92 contact, 75 power, 74/68 for vsL/vsR and a 78 batting eye. This is evidenced by his having hit 390/466/727 in 77 AB's in the minors. With excellent health and durability, Ivan should be real "force" by season 6.
2. Felipe Torres - Iowa City Whitetails - $8.7M Bonus - SP
Also an excellent signing for the price, this sinker baller also has good secondary pitches as indicated by his plus slider, splitter and change up. His projected 93 stamina, 85 control and splits of 83/72 with a 92 rated sinker make him a potential top of the rotation SP.
3. Byung-Hyun Nakano - New York Bombers - $13M Bonus - RP
Nakano should be closing many games for the Bombers in the coming seasons with very good curveballs and tough sinkers. He has good stamina at 36, excellent control at 91 with tremendous splits at 93/96. Unfortunately, his owner jumped the gun and brought him straight to the majors where he's not surprisingly gotten shelled with a 6.23 ERA and 1.66 whip in 21.2 innings. He also gave up 7 HR's. Starting next season in AA or AAA would be a good idea.
4. Al Javier - San Francisco Seals - $10M Bonus - SS
Al has al the makings of a very good major leaguer, although I'm not convinced his future lies at SS since his range is projected to top out at 76; although his glove, arm strength and accuracy are more than good enough for the position. He can really hit too with 88 contact, 57 power, splits of 69/82 and a decent eye projected to 55. He hit very well in his 1st pro season with 359/434/629 and 11 HR's and 60 RBI's in 248 at bats in rookie league.
5. Kiki Tatis - Pawtucket Pawn Stars - $7.8M Bonus - SP
Kiki projects to be a middle of the rotation SP who can eat up a ton of innings, and stay healthy doing it with very good control at 83 and solid splits of 74/67. However, he has only one good pitch, and that's a sinker my scouts rate at 81. All other pitches are below 60. He also was brought straight to the majors, and definitely should be in the minors for a couple of seasons to reach his potential.
6. Tony Trevino - Los Angeles Dodgers - $10.5M Bonus - LF
This future HR champion can hit the long ball. This is clear from his 1st pro season where he hit 297/400/622 with 20 HR's in 246 LoA at bats and 373/465/880 with 11 HR's in only 83 HiA at bats. This smart baserunner should be a fixture in Los Angeles come midway through season 6, if not before then.
7. Pascual Crespo - San Diego Conquistadors - $12.3M Bonus - SP
San Diego's future Ace should be ready by the end of season 7. He has very good control at 87 with great splits at 72/96. Truly only a two pitch pitcher with a very good first pitch rated to 88 and a second at 74, his other show-me pitches should help him be a very solid ML starter and appear in a few all-star games. He was 5-2 with a 3.04 and 1.15 whip in rookie ball.
8. Mark Lui - Syracuse Stragglers - $3.9M Bonus - SP
The highest overall rated of Syracuse's many IFA pickups, Mark will have a difficult time succeeding at teh ML level with only 71 control and splits of 59/43. He does have two ML quality pitches in his fastball and slider. He had 2 mediocre starts in HiA and ended up with a 5.40 ERA and 1.63 whip.
9. Junior Batista - Scottsdale Gunners - $18M Bonus - SP
A very costly and risky investment by Scottsdale doesn't seem to have paid off already as Junior suffered a severe injury in his 1st pro season (torn labrum and still out for 179 more days). His poor health rating (47) will be a cause for more concerns. However, this talented fastball/change-up pitcher has a great deal of upside.
10. Benny Espinosa - Tacoma Winter Stix - $18.5M Bonus - 3B
The highest paid of all the international free agents, Benny would not appear to be worth the money. Sure, he can hit and definitely field his position with the best of them, and will undoubtedly contribute as an everyday 3B at the ML level, but it sure was a lot to pay.
11. Diego Gabriel - Iowa City Whitetails - $8M Bonus - 1B
This hard hitting (91 power), high contact/low strikeout first baseman (99 contact and 80 batting eye) should hit lefties and righties equally well (splits of 77/76). His 71 health projection is of some concern, so hopefully there are no nerve irritations, bulging disks or other power sapping injuries in his future. He did not see any action this season.
12. Felipe Johnson - Charleston Hurricanes - $8M Bonus - SP
Felipe has stamina (68) and health concerns (70) for a ML SP, but his stuff is not questioned. He has solid control (81), good splits (60/78), great durability (35) for a starter and a blazing fastball rated to 94. He should be a good ML starter if no injuries hit him hard. He was 1-3 in 18 starts with a 4.07 ERA in High A ball.
13. Moises Belliard - Syracuse Stragglers - $4.9M Bonus - SS
This slick fielding SS will wow them with the glove and should be good enough offensively to have a long major league career. He has a very good batting eye (81) and good enough speed (86) where he might see some time at the top of the Stragglers' lineup someday. A very good pickup for the price.
14. Damaso Alvarado - Jacksonville Jellyfish - $4.8M - SP
Damaso struggled in his first pro season going with a 36 ERA in AA and a 6.75 ERA and 1.77 whip in AAA. He could use some time in High A Ball next season to get back his confidence. There's reason to believe he will be a solid ML SP in the middle to the end of any rotation.
15. Benito Lopez - Scottsdale Gunners - $5.8M Bonus - SS
Benito has all the natural tools to be a ML shortstop, with good batting eye (75), splits (83/66) and contact (61). He has little power, but that's not his game. Unfortunately, he has mediocre speed as well. He hit 311/403/416 in loA ball this season and should move quickly through the Gunners farm system.
16. Felipe Sardinha - Cleveland Curse - $14.6M Bonus - 1B
That's a lot of money for a 1B, but he should be worth every penny. Felipe will undoubtely be seen in the HR Derby many times in the near future. His 88 contact, 100 power, splits (80/72) and batting eye of 75 have him projected as an MVP candidate. He did not disappoint in LoA with numbers like this: 350/442/617 with 14 HR's and 56 RBI in 240 at bats.
17. Wilfredo Seanez - Syracuse Stragglers - $6.1M - RP
Another of the Stragglers many IFA pick-ups, Wilfredo should be a fixture in their bullpen by season 6. He has very good control (89) and splits (61/68), a +++ fastball (95) and plus slider (76). He should avoid injuries and progress well, quickly.
18. Vladimir Seguignol - New York Metropolitans - $5.5M Bonus - RP
This son of former KGB spies stationed in the Dominican was lights out in his first pro season going 10-for-10 in saves with a 1.08 ERA and .90 whip in loA Ball. He has a good splitter (75) and very good sinker (85) with control (85) and splits (64/76) that should make him a welcome addition to the NY Bullpen by year 7.
19. Ivan Martinez - Iowa City Whitetails - $3.2M Bonus - SP
Ivan will eat as many innings as you can give him (100 stamina). Unfortunately, his lack of control (47) and only average splits (51/60) without more than 1 plus pitch (fastball at 89 - second pitch, slider at 67), will make him cannon fodder for ML hitters. This is evidenced by the absolute pounding he took at the LoA level - 7.90 ERA and 2.34 whip; albeit in only 3 starts.
20. Enrique Ortiz - Tampa Bay Rowdies - $8.3M Bonus - CF
Enrique has ML tools enough to be a solid CF or more likely 4th OF, but his health rating of 53 might get in the way. He has a very good batting eye (76) and good speed and baserunning (83/86). The Rowdies ownership hopes his success in his 1st pro season is a sign of things to come as he hit 375/452/583 with 17 HR's and 102 RBI in 451 AA at bats before tearing up AAA during his brief 28 at bat stint there.
21. Benito Mondesi - Trenton Generals - $2.9M - Catcher
Illegitimate great-grandson of the Generalissimo himself, Benito might not end up catching many games at the ML level, but he certainly will be hitting the pitchers. His great contact (91), splits (90/62), good power (71) and batting eye (75), combined with a 49 rating for pitch calling and only 64 arm accuracy are calling out for the DH/1B position at the ML level.
22. Felipe Moya - Trenton Generals - $5.0M Bonus - SP
Felipe will be a solid middle of the rotation SP for the Generals as he has very good splits (73/80) and two plus pitches in his fastball (83) and slider (80). His somewhat poor control (54) may not hurt him too much, but it certainly did in his 1st season as he walked 42 batters in only 83 IP resulting in a 6.07 ERA and 1.53 WHIP in Lo A Ball this year.
23. Alex Pena - Kansas City Force - $4.5M Bonus - RP
Alex will be helping out the Force's ML Bullpen someday. He has very good control (85), splits of 72/73 and an excellent forkball. He was 3 for 3 in save opportunities in his limited action this season.
24. Albert Cabrera - Charleston Hurricanes - $2.1M Bonus - SP
Albert will have a hard time succeeding at the ML level due to below average control (49) and only 1 plus pitch. He has very good stamina and good splits (68/66) so he could be a long A or B type reliever someday.
25. Domingo Canseco - Chicago Style Pizza - $5.7M Bonus - SS
A great glove (84), very strong and accurate arm (92/94) combined with good power (73) and splits (74/62) will make Domingo a major leaguer. The downside is poor batting eye (43), contact (46), baserunning/speed (45/41) and health concerns (62) may limit his success once there. He hit 370/388/642 in HiA this year.
26. Midre Cela - Boston Bean Pots - $7.6M Bonus - SS
Midre will be a very good hitter at the ML level, and should field well enough to play SS, but I see him as a utility guy who gets just about every at bat that all the regulars can't take. His 72 durability limits his playability.
27. Ramon Cho - Los Angeles Dodgers - $5.6M Bonus - 2B
Ramon's poor health (52) may impede his progression. If not, then it will be his splits (43/36) and lack of power (17). However, he will steal a ton of bases with baserunning and speed (projected to 97/100).
28. Oswaldo Gonzales - Austin Sixth Streets - $1.6M Bonus - 2B
Oswaldo has the distinction of being the lowest paid on this list. He is similar to Ramon Cho in that he has very good contact (82) and speed/baserunning (91/96) but poor splits and only a mediocre batting eye (53). He has great range and did prove himself in RL with 352/424/482 and 18 steals in 22 attempts.
29. Alex Samuel - Chicago Chubs - $7.1M Bonus - 2B
I can't see Samuel making the majors as a second baseman. I do see him in the Majors, but possibly in the outfield. He can hit with 86 power and splits of 60/86 and a good batting eye of 70. There's some durability concern here with only a 72 rating, but perhaps he's a utility guy? He hit well in HiA with 344/409/679 and 15 HR's in 209 AB's.
30. Orber Vazquez - Scottsdale Gunners - $4.2M Bonus - Catcher
Like most good hitting catchers (66/71/80/67/85) his pitch calling (55) leaves much to be desired. However, it's not so terrible that he wouldn't see some time in the field. He projects as a DH/1B type. He didn't fare so well in LoA with only a 254 average in 189 at bats.
31. Delino Castillo - Austin Sixth Streets - $10M Bonus - RP
Delino's only problem is he doesn't have great control (70). He does have 1 +++ pitch (95) and another very good one (89) and solid splits for an end of the game reliever (66/81). He fared will this year with a 2.51 ERA and 1.26 whip in High A Ball.
32. Ricardo Guerrero - Trenton Generals - $4.5M Bonus - SS
The Generals' scouts were busy and found this great fielding, little hitting SS. He has 90+ accross the board defensively, but a poor batting eye (39) and inability to hit lefties (30) will limit his usefullness.
33. Bernie Carrasquel - Austin Sixth Streets - $8.4M Bonus - LF
Bernie can hit, but as a left fielder probably not well enough to justify his signing bonus. He does nothing extremely well, but was very impressive in LoA with 315/401/587 and 24 Home Runs this season.
34. Ruben Aramboles - Cheyenne Beagles - $6.6M Bonus - 2B
Ruben is a solid fielding second baseman with no power (0). He projects as a backup IF/4th OF.
35. Tony Cruz - Syracuse Stragglers - $6.6M Bonus - Catcher
Yet another IFA signing by the Stragglers is another of the hitting catchers/DH type. He has great splits (85/91) a very good eye (78) and good contact/power ratings (55/71). His pitch calling (55) will not help much. He hit well in AA at 340/409/597 with 15 HR's in 288 at bats this year.
36. David Lopez - San Diego Conquistadors - $11.9M Bonus - SP/RP
San Diego paid quite a bit for this Anchorman. He should be using an effective sinker (87) to eat up innings as the long A/spot starter at the ML level in the near future. He has very good splits at 71/87 and good control at 77. He was used as a reliever in HiA this year to the tune of 1.76 ERA and 1.17 WHiP.
37. Vicente Mendez - Kansas City Force - $1.8M - RP
Vicente's 43 health rating will definitely hurt his otherwise bright future. He has great splits (78/84), control (93) and two plus pitches (both 86) which will make him enticing as trade bait. Nevertheless, he was a steal at the price.
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Based upon Seasons 1-3
One of the most puzzling parts of HBD, for veterans and rookies alike, is how to make sense of pitching ratings. The superstars with OVR of 90+, control of 90+, splits of 80+ and 3 80+ pitches are easy to understand. But there aren’t many of them in the league. In fact, there aren’t even all that many good pitchers with OVR’s above 80. So, we have to build staffs using flawed pitchers with some holes in their ratings. Some of these pitchers are better than others. But the question remains as to why some pitchers perform well and other do not.
Which ratings are the best drivers of pitching performance?
I searched the league looking for the following pitcher profile: age – 28-32, OVR 70-79, and 50+ starts over seasons 1-3. The age selection is designed to capture three straight seasons of relatively stable ratings for the study. This selection allowed me to capture pitchers within a season or two of the in which their age was 27. Ratings seem to fluctuate a bit more on the younger side as pitchers develop, and they seem to plateau for two or three season from age 27 to age 29. I tried to look carefully at the 32-year old pitchers to ensure their ratings did not fall off so much that performance might be significantly impacted. I was pleasantly surprised to see how many pitchers held their “peak” ratings through age 31.
I selected OVR 70-79 for two reasons. First, the majority of starting pitchers in the league have OVR’s in this range. Second, I wanted to find a group of pitchers with strengths and weaknesses in their ratings. This allows us to compare relative strengths to see which ratings or combination of ratings seem to drive excellent performance. I want to see if I can illustrate whether and how a pitcher with average or poor splits might be successful, or what the threshold is for bare minimum control for success. This group of pitchers let us see that a bit more clearly.
I chose to focus on starting pitchers for two reasons. Their performances do not seem to vary as widely as relievers, and this would give me a significantly higher number of innings to examine.
THE PITCHERS & WHAT IS MISSING
There are 28 total pitchers that fit the profile I sought. What I am unable to do is normalize the performance of the pitchers to take into account ballpark effects. We simply do not have access to data that deep to make those calculations. So the best I can do is offer the raw numbers, identify the pitcher as AL or NL and whether the pitcher’s home park was hitter or pitcher friendly.
Two other gaps for MOST of the pitchers is an analysis of the impact of team defense and catcher’s pitch calling. Frankly, I think the pitch calling factor is all but negligible for 90% of the pitchers in the league. I simply cannot find a team in any league I’ve ever been in that had its pitching performance significantly impacted by pitch calling. Can it make some difference around the margins? It probably does, but I suspect it’s a minimal boost. Defense is a whole different story. HBD really ought to provide TEAM DER, but they don’t. I cannot go back and run those numbers (and I am certain – but can’t prove it) that team defense explains some of the results of pitchers in the study.
Here are the AVERAGE ratings and WHIP and ERA for the group.
OVR – 74, DUR – 27, HEALTH – 79, STAMINA – 79, CONTROL – 75, SPLITS 63/65, PITCHES – 82, 68, 57, 46
WHIP – 1.45, ERA 4.85, H/9 9.85, BB/9 3.23, K/9 – 6.53
SPLITS COMBINED – 129 (rounding affects number), PITCHES 1-3 – 207, PITCHES 1-4 – 253.
So – what is it? Is it control that drives performance, or is it splits? What about pitch quality (movement)? And the answer is -- in varying combinations, all of the above.
1. Control – there are actually two thresholds for control. Pitchers with a control rating of 90+ can overcome, to quite a bit of success, average or even poor ratings in other areas. However, pitchers clearly MUST have control ratings of at least 50 to have a shot at being good.
2. Splits – if the pitcher has a combined set of splits of 150+, that pitcher has a very good chance of being successful, barring a disqualifying rating in control, or pitch quality.
3. Pitch quality (movement) – there are six pitchers in the study with combined pitch quality for pitches 1-3 of 220+ AND a sum of pitches 1-4 of 280+, and all six rank in the upper part of the sample. Two of the three “elite” performers have this characteristic. The 5th pitch was totally irrelevant. One of the top three has a “0” for a 5th pitch, and there is no correlation I can find between the 5th pitch and performance predictors.
I believe the following “decision” tree or evaluation method will yield reasonable pitching performance predictability.
1. Control – 50> should NOT be considered viable as ML contributors, 90+ should be examined VERY closely, because they are likely to be at least decent – with SOME decent splits (100+) and average pitch quality.
2. Pitch Quality – Add the values for pitches 1-3 & 1-4. If you get sums of 210+ AND 250+, AND control is 50+, this pitcher is very likely to be a solid contributor.
a. If the sum of the splits is 160+ AND control is 50+ AND pitches 1-3 OR 1-4 add up to at least 220 or 280 respectively, the pitcher will likely perform well.
b. With splits at 150 - 160, you MUST have one pitch quality rating of 220+ for pitches 1-3, OR 280+ for pitches 1-4.
c. If the splits are between 120 and 150, AND control is above 80, the pitcher can be effective IF one of the pitch quality sums is 220+ for 1-3 or 280+ for 1-4.
Splits are – by quite a bit – the least predictable rating standing alone. Good splits MUST be accompanied by other good to very good ratings. Poor to average splits CAN be overcome with excellent control (90+) or great pitch quality.
THE ANALYSIS – The Best
There are three really nice pitchers in the study. Russell Perry and Dion Roberts, both with ATL and Jay Meyers SAC all have put up very nice numbers in the first three seasons.
Perry – 42-26, 1.26 WHIP, 4.22 ERA, 6.8 K/9, 94 GS, 1 CG, 1 - 14 win season, and 1 – 20 win season.
Roberts – 36-16, 1.27 WHIP, 4.12 ERA, 7.29 k/9, 80 GS, 1 CG, 1 – 16 win season, with of ERA 3.25.
Meyers – 39-23, 1.38 WHIP, 3.74 ERA, 6.72 K/9, 94 GS, 2 CG, 3 straight 10+ win seasons, ERA 3.17 season 1.
Russell Perry, ATL, AL, 29, 76 OVR, 82 Control, 71/76 Splits, Pitches - 73, 78, 83, 63
Dion Roberts, ATL, AL, 31, 75 OVR, 84 Control, 83/83 Splits, Pitches - 89, 67, 59, 48 Jay Meyers, SAC, NL 30, 79 OVR, 69 Control, 85/72 Splits, Pitches - 95, 75, 66, 62
All three of these pitchers pitched for teams with pitcher friendly parks. Meyers (SAC) had the biggest advantage in that regard. ATL is an AL team, so Perry and Roberts’ performance MUST be viewed with the DH in mind. In RL, the ERA differential ranges from about .53 to .78 over the past twenty years. We lack historic data, but the AL league ERA is higher. So Perry’s 4.22 ERA and Roberts’ 4.12 ERA compare VERY favorably to Meyers 3.74 ERA.
These three pitchers were just terrific for their teams. So what – if anything – can we learn from their ratings? Quite a lot as it turns out. Perry, Roberts and Meyers each performed well with DIFFERENT combinations in areas of excellence.
Perry (76 OVR) has exceptional pitch quality, 73, 78, 83 and 63. (That 83 really stands out for a third pitch!) His 1-3 number is 234 and 1-4 comes in at 297 (the 2nd highest among the sample). Perry’s splits are very good – but not great at 147 (71/76), and control is a very solid 82. Perry’s formula for success, therefore, is good control + great pitch quality.
Roberts (75 OVR) has great splits at 166 (83/83 – the highest combined total among the sample). Roberts’ control is 84 which is solid, and his pitch quality, 89, 67, 58, 48, (1-3 = 214, 1-4 = 262) rank as good – but not great. Both are in the upper third of the group, but these ratings do not push the top rated pitchers in this regard. Roberts’ formula for success is good control + great splits.
Meyers (79 OVR) is the most interesting of the three. His control rating is a very pedestrian 69 which is 6 rating points below the group average of 75. It’s also 15 lower than Roberts and 13 lower than Perry. Not surprisingly, Meyers walks about .5 more batters per 9 innings than either Roberts or Perry. BUT – Meyers has been every bit as successful as the first two pitchers. He has outstanding splits – 159 (85/72) which is 2nd highest in the sample, and he combines these terrific splits with excellent pitch quality, 95, 75, 66, 62 (1-3 = 236 and 1-4 = 298). Meyers has the highest rated pitches in the entire sample. Meyers’ formula for success is great splits + great pitch quality overcoming modest control.
CONTROL – The Great and the Not So Great
Two pitchers in the study – Greg Decker (TRE) 18-27, 1.67 WHIP, 5.60 ERA in the NL, and Andres DeRojas (TB) 31-30, 1.72 WHIP, 5.45 ERA in the NL, really illustrate the issues poor control creates for pitchers.
These pitchers are both 29, the OVR – 71/72, control 37/30, splits 73/86 & 68/71 (both figures are in the upper tier of the sample), Decker’s pitch quality for pitches 1-3 is better than most of the sample, but his excellent 4th pitch (68) puts his 1-4 sum 3rd in the entire sample. DeRojas’ pitch quality is not as strong. His 1-3 pitches are in the “good” category, or upper half, but his 1-4 pitch ratings are average for the sample.
Greg Decker, TRE, NL, 29, 71 OVR, 37 Control, 73/86 Splits, Pitches – 76, 75, 67, 68
Andres DeRojas, TB, NL, 29, 72 OVR, 30 Control, 68/71 Splits, Pitches - 93, 67, 51, 41Andres
There are pitchers who performed better with comparable splits and pitch quality, but the low control numbers (Decker – 37 & DeRojas – 30) make these pitchers the weakest pair in the entire sample. DeRojas’ value IS improved a bit by eating up innings. He’s got 94 starts and averaged 5.51 Innings per start.
Edgar Flores (JAC) 31-29, 1.36 WHIP, 4.38 ERA in about 50/50 AL/NL, and Tori Lesher (JAC) 40-27, 1.29 WHIP, 4.26 ERA in the NL, are both successful pitchers. Both have pitched in fairly neutral parks. Here are their comparative ratings: OVR 74/74, control 97/93, splits 60/44 & 55/67. Flores’ pitch quality is quite a bit better, but neither are in the upper part of the sample on EITHER pitch quality or splits. Flores 44 rating against RH is the 2nd lowest in the whole sample.
Andres Cairo (SAC) 30-35, 1.32 WHIP, 4.03 ERA in the NL is another great control pitcher who’s been solid. His splits aren’t great, but his pitch quality is outstanding.
So how are these guys effective? It’s those terrific control numbers – 97, 93 and 97. These pitchers do very good jobs of reducing the number of base runners allowed by simply not walking many. Flores – 2.12 BB/9, Lesher 2.11 BB/9 and Cairo 2.27 BB/9. So these pitchers overcome average or poor splits two ways. Flores & Cairo – pitch quality, and for Lesher it’s his decent splits and very average pitch quality.
The Whole Sample
As I see it, Perry, Roberts and Meyers are the top three pitchers in the group. I’ve already discussed them.
Russell Perry ATL
Dion Roberts ATL
Cody Lewis AUS
David Torrealba AUS
Vasco Estrada BOS
Terrance Cook CHA
Matt Dawkins CHA
Ken Hayes CHY
Glenn Kieschnick CHI
Mariano Johnson IAC
Edgar Flores JAC
Tori Lesher JAC
Mel Curtis LV
Sam Kraemer LV 30
Raul Plata LR
Santiago Escobar LA
Jeff Byrnes MEX
Ted Hollins NYB
Quinn Lemke NYB
Larry Cirillo NYM
Dave Kirkland PAW
Dennis Lombard PAW
Jay Meyers SAC
Cleatus Lee SCR
Andres Cairo SYR
Andres DeRojas TB
Bill Kirkland TOL
Greg Decker TRE
Group Averages :
82 PITCH 1
68 PITCH 2
57 PITCH 3
46 PITCH 4
129 SPLITS (SUM)
207 PITCHES 1-3 (SUM)
253 PITCHES 1-4 (SUM)
I believe we can conclude there is no single answer as to whether it’s control, splits or pitch quality that we should examine. Poor control CAN be overcome with excellent splits or pitch quality. Average splits CAN be overcome with solid control and excellent pitch quality. Average pitch quality CAN be overcome with great control and average splits.
Here are the key numbers:
CONTROL – 90+ (can overcome weak splits and average pitch quality)
SPLITS – 150+ can be solid IF control is 50+ and average pitch quality
PITCH QUALITY – 220+ (pitches 1-3) or 280+ (pitches 1-4) can be solid IF control is 50+ and average splits
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
The ownership was pretty excited after least seasons wild card finish. The young pitching staff seemed to be maturing and the rookie LF and MVP candidate Dennis Magadan (49HR, 143 RBI, 15 stl, .267 avg) had the fans buzzing. The growth of Carlos Canseco the young SS also held great promise. FA acquisition Junior Tabaka was solid and the much sought after Ernest Hodges set the table at the top of the order.
But then Season 4 began and the bats were silent, and the pitching less than special. The season seemed to be slipping away. But suddenly things have corrected a bit and the team is playing much better. The question now is.......Is the early hole too deep or will they be ok?
The hitting has come around and so long as the pitching improves the Sun Spots hope to be in the thick of things. Julio Martinez continues to baffle. He is highly paid, highly rated, but yet seems to continue to be a pedestrian starter. He needs to perform like a #1 starter for this team to compete.
At 30-12 Cheyenne is once again running away with the division title. Currently at 19-23 the Sun Spots are looking up at the 24-18 Las Vegas squad as well. Internal emails show that the Spots hope to be 5-7 games over .500 by the break. That means they need to go about 24-15 over the next 39 games. That goal is attainable. Let's see if it happens.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Under the earliest baseball rules laid out by the Knickerbocker club in 1842, there was no set number of innings. Rather, the first team to score 21 "aces"(or runs) was the game's winner. This lasted until 1857, when leading baseball figures held a convention in New York and revanped the rules of baseball, essentially making it the game it still is today. Instead of 21 aces, they decided that games shouuld last a set number of innings. An initial proposal called for seven inning games, but for reasons lost to history, they decided on nine instead - perhaps to match the number of players per team, whiich they also standardized at nine.
Imagine how baseball history might have unfolded if games were 7 innings. No-hitters might triple, four man pitching rotations might still be in vogue, The closer's role would have diminished in importance (top save seasons around 20?), Position players would get about 20% fewer at bats. How different would baseball history be had those 2 innings not been tacked on back in 1857?
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Among the veterans of the game, conventional wisdom dictates that the OVR is not the best indicator of a player’s true value. I tend to agree. There are many components of the player’s overall rating (OVR) which do not seem to bear directly upon the player’s actual performance. SO from a pure hitting perspective, what ratings really matter? As it turns out, it’s exactly the ones we would most rationally expect – contact, power, splits and batting eye. NONE of the other ratings appears to have any true correlation to the quality of the hitter.
I looked over Mattingly’s three season history to see if there are some good predictors of a hitter’s performance as measured by the following five career hitting stats: batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, slugging + on-base percentages, and RC27 (runs created per 27 outs). We can debate the relative merits of batting average to on-base percentage and whether the runs created formula is valid. I wasn’t too concerned with any of that for now. I just wanted to see whether the very best players in the league over the first three seasons in those categories shared some common characteristics, and if so, to see if I could identify them.
The two ratings which indicate the strongest correlation to excellence in batting average are contact and batting eye. This makes some sense IF we assume the game engine uses batting eye in two ways – strike zone recognition (more walks) and hitting zone recognition. In other words, when a player has an excellent batting eye, he is swinging at strikes that he can drive as opposed to swing at strikes that he cannot handle as well. In real life, this is EXACTLY what great hitters are able to do.
So – our top five career batting average leaders are:
A few things really jumped out at me when I broke these numbers down a bit. First, power hitters seem to do better than pure contact hitters, but high power ratings weren’t great predictors here. There is a 30% difference between the top power rating and the lowest among these hitters. Splits also didn’t seem critical – which frankly surprised me. Obviously, the combined splits run from a high of 169 to a low of 145. Four of the 5 hitters had splits totaling 160+. So they are important - but not as important as other ratings. The two lowest splits against lefties are carried by hitters with 90+ ratings against righties. But look at the last figure – contact plus eye ratings. It’s uncanny how tight these combined ratings are among these 5 terrific hitters (157, 160, 160, 164, 161). SO – we are probably looking for hitters with 80+ contact and batting eye ratings as real superstars in terms of batting average, and 70+ is likely to yeild a very, very good batting average.
Okay – it’s batting eye. Of the five top career numbers, 4 have batting eye ratings of 90+ and the 5th (Ratliff) plays in a hitter’s park and has an excellent rating of 83. Unlike the batting average comparison, extremely high contact ratings don’t seem vital. Of the top 5 career hitters, only one had a contact rating above 80, with the remainder in the 70’s. These are excellent ratings, but not in the 90’s like hitters with the huge batting averages.
The bottom figure for each player is the sum of the contact, batting eye and split ratings. The right handed splits tend to be consistently higher than the lefty ratings. Also, when these ratings are added together, you can see very small deviations between the players. So while splits in and of themselves aren’t necessarily indicators of success, the top hitters generally have higher ratings against right handed pitchers (there are many more righties – makes senses), and those splits need to be accompanied by good ratings in contact and batting eye. Id’ recommend looking for hitters with combined ratings in these areas of 280+ (70+ average) with 300+(75+ average) showing truly excellent potential for success.
“It’s the power, stupid.” Okay – so this is a d’oh moment. But are there other ratings that need to be high to have a really great slugger? As it turns out, the answer is a little yes and a little no. Contact does not seem to be vital. Obviously, you’d rather not have a strikeout king, but a relatively low contact rating does not mean a player with a high power rating won’t hit for lots of power. He will. But it looks to me as though the sum of power and eye will be a pretty decent indicator of the sort of slugger you have.
Darwin is a bit of an odd hitter among the group. The sum of his power and batting eye is 11% off the top figure, but his splits are the best among the group. He does really well when you add power, the splits and batting eye together, but that leaves a gap among the top three and bottom two. So – this is an area where it looks like you start with the power rating (the higher the better), look for a good batting eye, and look for nice splits. Don’t get too worried about contact.
Angel Sanchez 435
Chance Goldberg 414
Sticky Ratliff 411
Kevin Bravo 411
Paul Cho 410
Graeme Hernandez 402
Sherman Darwin 396
Cookie Gonzalez 391
Benito Estrella 385
Cap Glass 383
Ricky Cormier 375
Bo Finley 352
These are the 12 hitters that ranked among the top 5 in career batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, on-base+slugging and RC27 in Mattingly. The figure is the SUM of their respective contact, power, batting eye anad split ratings. Based upon this rather simplistic review, it looks to me like the two least critical ratings – in terms of predicting offensive success – are contact and the lefty split. Power looks to be the biggie with batting eye next and the righty split the third of these “more significant” ratings. Quite obviously there are more sophisticated ways to look at this. But this gives us a place to start.
400+ (average of 80+) across the board = a true superstar.
350+ (average of 70+) across the board = an excellent player, all-start caliber player.
300+ (average of 60+) across the board = everyday quality hitter
250+ (average of 50+) across the board = role player or with defensive excellence a SS/CF
 Sticky Ratliff shows up in every category. He is a terrific hitter, but he’s played all three seasons in a hitter friendly park.
Monday, March 24, 2008
When asked about his own team's chances, his reply was full of hedges, "Our team goes as does our Ace, Geraldo Delgado. I expect a better offense this season as my younger guys mature and perform up to expectations, particularly at second base where we've got two standouts in Andruw Hammond and that kid Alex Bryant. I also expect great things from CF Jesus Mota and #2 starter Emmanuel Guerrero." We also inquired about any free agent targets or looming trades, but Al was the typical GM in responding, "You never know!"
Monday, March 17, 2008
Do not overestimate the value of velocity. It does not seem to matter in a pitcher's performance. In fact, two of the best pitchers in the league (Carlos Maranon and Edwin Patterson) have velocity ratings lower than 43.
Do not pay attention to overall ratings too much. These ratings tend to be overinflated by stamina and durability ratings. I tend to look at a pitcher's splits rating(vsL and vsR), control rating, and pitch quality rating the most when evaluating pitchers.
A pitcher with stamina over 70 can be used as a starter (over 60 if he is really good)
You can switch a player's position at anytime in the edit rosters page. I try to meet the minimums at every position, and especially up the middle of the field (ss, 2b, and cf).
A high overall rating does not necessarily make a player better than one with a lower rating. Example - A catcher with a 70 overall rating could be an exceptional hitter and very good behind the plate. But a pitcher with a 75 overall rating could have bad control, low splits, and make it up with high stamina and durability. The pitcher in this example would be useless at the major league level, but the catcher would be very valuable. Just keep this in mind.
This is a start for new owners. If anyone wants to add, please do so.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Again Welcome Aboard!