Oct 14, 2008

S9 AL Wild Card Standings @ 150 Games

With 12 games remaining in the season, three AL division winners have essentially been decided, including Pittsburgh and Cheyenne who have clinched their divisions, and the New York Cyclones who find themselves with a cushy six game lead over Clint Ramirez and the Washington Foo Fighters. However, including a tie atop the AL South (Charleston and Tampa Bay), six other AL teams find themselves legitimately in the AL playoff hunt. A brief discussion of the playoff hopefuls are presented below.

Charleston / Tampa Bay (Record: 82-68, tied for AL South lead, tied for Wild Card lead)
Perennial AL South heavyweight finds its run of six consecutive division championships in jeopardy as the upstart Lazer Beams look to hoist their first ever divisional flag. However, Tampa Bay will have to overcome a tougher remaining schedule to keep pace with the Chew-Baccas. Specifically, of the 12 remaining games, Tampa Bay plays nine games against contenders, whereas Charleston plays only five games against such teams. Ultimately, this could come down to the last three games of the season where the two teams will face off in Charleston.

Montreal (79-71, 3 GB Wild Card #1, Games Rem vs. Contenders: 9)
Given that the Valiants consider themselves in full rebuild mode, manager gophilsgo likely considers this season a success to find a Wild Card berth a real possibility. However, like Tampa Bay, Montreal finds itself with 9 of 12 against Wild Card contenders or divisional leaders, including two against Charleston, four against TB, and three against Pittsburgh. As discussed above, Charleston and Tampa Bay have a lot on the line, but Montreal may catch a break facing Pittsburgh, who could be resting up for the playoffs.

Washington (78-72, GB WC#1: 4, Rem vs. Cont.: 6)
The Foo Fighters look to bring playoff excitement to the Beltway for the first time in franchise history. Relative to the Valiants, Washington has an easier path to Wild Card glory as they face contenders three fewer times. Of these, three games are against the Cyclones, who have been battling fatigue and may be looking to rest up for a first-round matchup.

Salt Lake City (78-72, GB WC#1: 4, Rem vs. Cont.: 5)
If the Salt Lake City can pull out the last wild card slot, second year manager Caracarn may buckle to media scrutiny and finally answer two of Griffey’s more lingering questions: “What the hell is an Aiel Warrior?” and “Do they taste as good as waffles?” Whatever they are, the Aiel Warriors have five remaining games against contenders: two vs. Cheyenne and three vs. Pittsburgh. While facing off with the Junior Circuit’s heavyweights would seem a daunting task, both teams are likely to be playing at reduced strength as both have a first-round playoff “bye” practically in-hand.

Philadelphia – (77-73, GB WC#1: 5, Rem vs. Cont.: 5)
The Revolution have been relatively hot over the past ten games, posting a 7-3 record over that span. With three teams to hurdle for the last playoff spot, they’ll have to continue their solid play. While Philadelphia has only five remaining games against contenders, those include two against TB and three vs. Washington, who should be fighting to the last out of the season in Griffey.

To have this many solid contenders left in the season speaks strongly of the improved management seen in Griffey over the past few seasons. Given the tightness of the race, strength of the remaining schedule could be the most prevalent factor in weeding out the “coulda-beens.” As such, the favorites are as follows:

AL South Champ: Charleston Chew-Baccas
AL Wild Card (5th seed): Tampa Bay Lazer Beams
AL Wild Card (6th Seed): Salt Lake City Aiel Warriors.

Oct 8, 2008

S9 Power Rankings - 133 Games

1. San Antonio fighters (88-45, Run Differential: +278, Prev Rnk: 1)
San Antonio has scored the most runs of any non-Coors based team in Griffey. Not surprisingly, four fighters lead their positional races for the Silver Slugger award – C Alex Langston, 3B Dwight Meyers, SS David Murata, and LF Darren Charlton. Having held the top slot in the Power Rankings all season, the fighters look to be the World Series favorite in S9.

2. Pittsburgh Ponies (84-49, RD: +181, PR: 4)
The Ponies have been running neck-and-neck all season with the Duck Snorts, jockeying for the AL’s best record. Coming into the stretch, Pittsburgh trails Cheyenne by one game, but the Ponies dealt the defending AL Champs a three-game beatdown since the time of the last Power Rankings. Matt Ross bla bla bla, and not to be remiss, Dean Bukvich, bla bla bla – you’ve heard it before: these guys are more than a handful for any team facing them in a shortened playoff rotation.

3. Cheyenne Duck Snorts (85-48, RD: +234, PR: 3)
A trio of rookie standouts has helped Cheyenne maintain the AL’s best record. Lefty Norm Rapp ranks in the top ten for AL hurlers in the major rate categories (opponent AVG, OBP, and SLG as well as WHIP and ERA). With a .351 batting average, first baseman Pete Casian boasts Griffey’s longest hitting streak on the season. Victor Javier has belted 33 HR while swiping 22 bases.

4. Monterrey Rancheros (87-46, RD: +161, PR: 2)
The Rancheros, who previously held the second slot in the last Power Rankings, were dealt a severe blow in losing Chris McCarthy from their rotation. The young portsider had posted a miniscule 1.17 WHIP across 172 IP prior to the injury.

5. Fargo Fuzznuts (85-48, RD: +93, PR: 6)
A 27-13 record in one-run games coupled with a third-tier run differential suggests a strong team with a touch of “smoke and mirrors.” A tie for the third best record in Griffey, an eight-game lead in Griffey’s toughest division, and back-to-back NL Pennants says, “I got your smoke and mirrors right here, b%$#@.” Go figure.

6. New York Cyclones (77-56, RD: +141, PR: 7)
The Cyclones, boasting a dominating rotation featuring Terry Torres, Philip Black, and Miguel Perez, have limited AL opposition to the third lowest runs allowed. This fearsome rotation is balanced by the offensive feats of MVP candidate Richie Miller. Miller has thrashed AL pitching for a career best 1.033 OPS, while swiping 82 bases – an individual total which surpasses that amassed by 10 full teams in Griffey. As has been typical of past seasons, the Cyclones appear to be battling fatigue coming down the stretch.

7. Atlanta Ripettoes (79-63, RD: +117, PR: 5)
Perennial NL East frontrunner Atlanta has featured a top-shelf rotation, but has to be considered a second-tier contender in the NL due to a near league-average offense. Still, the division is theirs (the Ripettoes boast a 25 game lead in the division), and the Ripettoes will have more than a puncher’s chance of claiming NL glory.

8. Cincinnati Centipedes (77-56, RD: +123, PR: 8)
The centipedes have gone through a few rough patches since the last Power Rankings, including a seven game losing streak followed by a separate 4-9 stretch. While locking down a divisional title seems a stretch at this point, an offense featuring the likes of Pat Funaki (OPS: 1.057) and Pep Zentmeyer (OPS: .981) should be formidable from a Wild Card slot.

9. Chicago Cubs (73-60, RD: +147, PR: 9)
The Cubs boast the NL’s top two individual OPSs to date: Gabby Young (1.084) and Davey Hernandez (1.060). The Cubs have the misfortune of playing in the same division as Cincinnati and Fargo. Despite their strength, the Cubbies may be on the outside looking in as one Wild Card Slot will likely go to Monterrey.

10. Tampa Bay Lazer Beams (74-59, RD: +29, PR: 10)
The Lazer Beams still maintain a three game lead in the NL South over Charleston, but the Chew-baccas are a strong team and could pounce of Tampa slips. Tampa has been paced by AL Cy Young candidate Emmanuel Nieves, who has posted a 1.24 WHIP over almost 200 innings.

31. Colorado Springs Jack Rabbits (51-84, RD: -182, PR: ???)
The Jack Rabbits, Griffey's loveable nomads, may wander from city to city in the off season, but always manage to fight their way back to the AL West cellar. Contrary to form, however, Colorado Springs had been flirting with .500 for much of the season before Fate, neglecting her duty previously, set the Jack Rabbits on a 12-38 skid. In troubled times when $700 billion can be thrown around with nary a thought, such consistency anchors our reality and expectations. On that note, the "Seattle Anchors" seems to be a viable S10 choice...

Oct 3, 2008

Fully Operational

Our fearless league namesake takes on the Death Star....or stretches at the Trop.

Sep 28, 2008

Power Rankings @ 105 games

1. San Antonio fighters (73-32, Run Differential: +196, Prev Rnk: 1)
The fighters were the top dog in the last power rankings, and San Antonio has spent the last 50 games cementing their status. Darren Charlton (41 HR) and Alex Langston (32 HR) have powered the fighters to a team total of 225 HR, good for second –highest team total in Griffey. Opponents have also had difficulty scoring against the fighters – San Antonio has relinquished only 412 runs, the lowest total in the NL.

2. Monterrey Rancheros (69-36, RD: +118, PR: NR)
The Rancheros acquired SP Ed Miller from Montreal, and Miller has responded with a 2.70 ERA in 56 innings in Ranchero green. As a result, the previously unranked Rancheros have vaulted to the #2 spot in the power rankings and Griffey’s second best record thanks to NL’s top ranked pitching staff (WHIP: 1.25).

3. Cheyenne Duck Snorts (67-37, RD: +159, PR: 5)
Cheyenne’s heavy hitting and improved pitching have propelled the Duck Snorts to the top ranking in the AL. Led by Lou Young (1.011 OPS, 29 HR) the Duck Snorts boast the AL’s highest home run total (218) and rookie Norm Rapp (10-5 record, 1.13 WHIP) has bolstered a flagging rotation. Cheyenne recently lost starter Orlando Romero from the rotation for the season due to a strained groin, so it remains to be seen whether they can maintain pace.

4. Pittsburgh Ponies (64-40, RD: +131, PR: 2)
Like the Duck Snorts, the Ponies have also battled injuries to their vaunted rotation, losing Marlon Cummings for the season. Still the Ponies have maintained what is undoubtedly Griffey’s best rotation – Pony stalwarts Matt Ross and Dean Bukvich have already claimed Pitcher of the Week hardware in S9. Thus far, Pittsburgh’s success has been tempered by a middling offense, which has posted a .799 OPS to date.

5. Atlanta Ripettoes (64-41, RD: +100, PR: 6)
The Ripettoes' second-year SP Max Guillen has impressed thus far in S9, posting a 13-4 record, 2.83 and garnering Pitcher of the Week honors. The Ripettoes certainly consider themselves capable of cutting down the fighters, but a trade to strengthen the offense, which ranks in the middle of the pack of most categories, may be necessary. Look for Atlanta to be players in a big trade before the transaction deadline.

6. Fargo Fuzznuts (68-37, Run Differential: +59, PR: 7)

7. New York Cyclones (62-43, RD: +109, PR: NR)

8. Cincinnati centipedes (59-45, RD: +89, PR: 3)

9. Chicago Cubs (55-50, RD: +91, PR: 8)

10. Tampa Bay Lazer Beams (59-46, RD: +32, NR)

Sep 7, 2008

S9 Power Rankings - 50 Games

1. San Antonio fighters (31-18, Run Differential: +75)
The NL champs from S6 are off to a bold start in challenging the reigning NL Champs Fargo. The fighters boast a Griffey-best run differential of 75 runs and a 4.5 game lead in the NL South over the upstart Monterrey Rancheros. San Antonio is again paced on offense by Darren Charlton and Dwight Meyers (21 HR and 17 HR, respectively), but Harry Pena (3.89 ERA) has made his much-anticipated ML debut, providing the fighters with a dominant mound presence as well.

2. Pittsburgh Ponies (33-16, RD: +67)
The Ponies, featuring Griffey’s best team WHIP (1.20) also boast Griffey’s best record. True-to-form from past seasons, Griffey’s first two Pitchers of the Week have both been Ponies (Matt Ross and Dean Bukvich). However, due to a middling offense, the Ponies have had mixed results in asserting themselves head-to-head against other AL frontrunners. The Ponies swept a three Chew-baccas early in the season, but have since dropped series against Tampa Bay and Cheyenne.

3. Cincinnati centipedes (28-21, RD: +70)
Despite being only second-place in their own division, the centipedes superior run differential and relative health have earned them an early-season seeding higher than division-leading Fargo. Further, the centipedes already shocked Griffey’s reigning champs with an early season sweep. Cincinnati also features the NL-best team batting average (.289).

4. Charleston Chew-baccas (29-20, RD: +69)
Under new management, Charleston has made a departure from the slow starts of seasons past and currently cling to a one-game lead in the tightly contested AL South. Despite playing in a hitter’s park, the Chew-baccas are second in the AL in team ERA and WHIP. While Frank Lee has battered opposing pitching for 20 HR and a 1.078 OPS, the offseason loss of All-World catcher Javier Marquez has slowed the offense somewhat, relegating the team to the middle-of-the pack in most offensive categories.

5. Cheyenne Duck Snorts (30-18, RD: +63)
The reigning AL-champs have scored the most runs of any team on this list, thanks in part to rookie Victor Javier and 2nd-year player Lou Young. Javier, an S7 IFA, has slugged .645 and stolen 8 bases in 24 games; Young has swatted 17 HR, driving in 45. In past seasons, Cheyenne has been paced by a strong pitching staff; however, in S9, Duck Snort pitching has posted a pedestrian 1.50 team WHIP.

6. Atlanta Ripettoes (30-18, RD: +43)
The stark contrast to the Duck Snorts, the Ripettoes have mowed down opposing hitters as evidenced by a skimpy 1.30 team WHIP; however, excluding Raul Trajano who has only 11 at-bats, only four Ripettoes have an OPS above .800. But, when that small company includes Michael Snow and Jerrod Grudzielanek, you can still do pretty well.

7. Fargo Fuzznuts (31-18, RD: +20)
The reigning champs still lead their division and have a sparkling record; however, a pre-season injury to SP Butch Logan and a recent injury to SP Zachrey Spradlin have left the Fuzznuts scrounging for answers for their rotation. Don’t sell the champs short, though – Fargo has a few chips to deal to patch holes, and Spradlin should be back for the stretch run.

8. Chicago Cubs (26-22, RD: +55)
Lead by CF Davey Hernandez (.330/.420/.741) and early ROY frontrunner Gabby Young (.284/.396/.628), the Cubs top the NL in team OBP and SLG. However, the Cubs have suffered bad luck in one-run games (2-8 record thus far), dragging their record down. If the Cubs are looking to unseat the Fuzznuts and pass the centipedes to claim NL North glory, manager erffdogg will need to find a way to overcome this shortcoming.

9. Anaheim Jack A$$es (29-20, RD: +33)
The Jack A$$es have parlayed a solid team WHIP (1.38), into an equally solid record despite mid-tier offense. Mateo Escobar has anchored the rotation with his 3.56 ERA, despite a disappointing 2-5 record.

10. Tampa Bay Lazer Beams (28-21, RD: +25)
The Lazer Beams, under new management, have been a surprise team in the AL South. Tampa Bay has featured a strong bullpen, including Darin Simas (1.05 WHIP), Chris Weaver (1.18 WHIP), and Neifi Small (1.21 WHIP). Veteran Lariel Santana has been revitalized since coming over from Kansas City, posting a 1.197 OPS over 27 games.

Sep 5, 2008

S9 Pitching Leaders, Quarter Pole

Vin Rosario, SA, 7-0
Matt Ross, Pitt, 7-2
Howard Bell, Atl/Kirt Thompson, LAA, 6-1
Terry Torres, NYC, 6-2

Matt Ross, Pitt, 1.23
Kirt Thompson, LAA, 1.93
Robert Wainhouse, Oak, 2.29
Ed Miller, Mon, 2.47
Armando Benitez, CSp, 2.54

Matt Ross, Pit, 65
Dean Bukvich, Pit, 61
Chris McCarthy, Mnt, 60
Bryan Leonard, KC, 53
Kyle Fisher, Chr/Ned Truby, Mon, 52

Matt Ross, Pitt, 0.78
Chris McCarthy, Mnt, 1.01
Robert Wainhouse, Oak/Eugene Brooks, Chr, 1.02
Zachrey Spradlin, Far, 1.08
Tom Jennings, Chi, 1.04

Angel Cedeno, Atl, 15/16
Mike Miles, Pit/Brendan Singleton, Syr, 12/12
Douglas Gagne, Mem, 12/13
Ivan Jones, Hon, 12/14

S9 Hitting Leaders, Quarter Pole

Batting Average
Royce Minor, Col, .416
Art Sauerbeck, SA, .379
Wilfredo Brito, Hou, .375
Javier Marquez, Ari, .373
Alex Santana, Mon/Nash McGee, Bos/Joey Lane, Col, .362

Home Runs
Kevin Swift, Syr, 20
Javier Marquez, Ari/Frank Lee, Chr, 19
Del Polanco, Ari/Gabby Young, Chi/Don Niekro, NYC/Darren Charlton, SA, 18

Don Niekro, NYC, 50
Royce Bagley, Col, 48
Kevin Swift, Syr, 47
Javier Marquez, Ari, 46
Keith Ledesma, Chi/Frank Lee, Chr/Curtis Bland, NYC, 46

Stolen Bases
Brook Wilson, Oak, 48/48
Rigo Castillo, CSp, 25/26
Tomas Estrada, LA, 25/28
Richie Miller, NYC, 24/27
Darren Charlton, SA, 16/16

Hitting Streak
Juan Fernandez, Bos/Don Niekro, NYC (still active), 21
Royce Bagley, Col, 19
Nash McGee, Bos/Cy Nelson, Col/Royce Minor, Col, 18

Jun 16, 2008

Commish Hobnobs With League Namesake

Among my many responsibilities as commissioner, I must on occasion represent Griffey League at various community functions. For example, I helped promote league namesake Ken Griffey Jr.'s charity vintage yesterday at a wine tasting after the Reds loss to the Red Sox.* We discussed the amazingly tight division races in both the AL and NL West and Kevin Knott's case for MVP, among other league business.

*Actually, my wife got me tickets to the game for Father's Day and I scored an invite to the wine-tasting through work. I did not, in fact, discuss anything baseball-related – real, fake or otherwise – with Junior. We just chatted briefly about our kids, which was pretty cool.

Jun 10, 2008


Congratulations to Ken Griffey Jr., a natural-born ballplayer and one of the greatest of all time.

Jun 3, 2008

Power Rankings @ ~49 games

1. Cheyenne Duck Snorts [36-13, Run Differential (RD): +107]
Its classically bad form for the author to rank his team #1, but the defending champs sport Griffey’s best record, boast the fewest runs allowed, 2nd best run differential, and recently topped Matt Ross and the Ponies in a three game set. It’s a long season, and given the choice, most AL playoff opponents would probably pick facing Cheyenne over Pittsburgh, but based strictly on S8 performance, there is no strong argument for another #1. However, it should be noted that Cheyenne has enjoyed a 12-4 record in one-run games. Even the best teams hover typically around .500 in this category, and Cheyenne may not be able to expect such a performance for the remainder of the season.

2. Cincinnati centipedes (35-13, RD: +82)
For fans of Griffey World, the centipedes success does not come as much of a surprise. The NL upstarts were a non-factor for the first 2/3 of S7, but kicked their performance up a few notches for the stretch run, narrowly missing a playoff berth. Thanks to a 1.000+ OPS from rookie Pep Zentmeyer, the ‘pedes haven’t looked back in S8 and lead Griffey’s toughest division as a result. While clearly a top team in the NL, their 3rd ranked run differential and a large gap between actual (.729) and expected (.659) winning percentage suggest they may not be as good as their record indicates. Don’t get the wrong idea – Cincinnati should have major input in shaping the NL this season, but given the above plus the strength of their division, they have a way to go before locking up that first round bye.

3. San Antonio fighters (31-17, RD: +110)
The S6 NL Champs are looking strong again in S8, led by LF Art Sauerbeck who, with a 1.071 OPS, is on pace for a career best total…and of course, there is always Dwight Meyers, who is currently on a 21-game hitting streak. A strong bullpen performances from Vin Rosario, Alex Lee, and Danny Mullins have shortened games considerably for fighters’ opponents.

4. Fargo Fuzznuts (34-14, RD: +87)
Where most teams would love to have a cleanup man with a 1.000+ OPS, the defending NL Champs feature four such sluggers in their lineup, including recently acquired Alan Green. That the Fuzznuts are ranked here in the Power Rankings, but are currently 11th in the NL in runs allowed, speaks to the dominance of their top-ranked offense.

5. Pittsburgh Ponies (31-17, RD: +80)
Few would expect to see the four-time champs ranked down this far, but that’s more a tribute to the success of the NL teams above than any sort of decline in Pony Prowess. While Matt Ross has already claimed Pitcher of the Week honors and leads all major individual pitching categories, travisg’s boys are more than one-trick Ponies – Juan Tejada is tied for 8th in the AL in RBIs (45) to pace the offense.

6. Atlanta Ripettoes (30-19, RD: +71)
The Ripettoes represent the last of the 30-win teams in Griffey to date, but are currently the class of the NL East, which is a perennial dogfight. With the Yank-mes already conceding the division, Atlanta’s true S8 rivals are the other divisional leaders. As in seasons past, jabronidan has turned to all-World talent Michael Snow –Griffey’s RBI leader with 69 – to pace the offense. However, the Ripettoes boast a balanced attack, as Denny Yamamoto has already garnered Week 2 Pitcher of the Week honors.

7. Montreal Valiants (27-22, RD: +45)
The Valiants are the last of the Griffey’s “sure things” for the playoffs. Montreal again finds itself in the top tier of AL pitching, ranking 3rd in WHIP behind AL frontrunners Cheyenne and Pittsburgh. The offense has lagged somewhat as S7 rookie phenom Russell Brow languished on the DL. Brow is back, so look for the Valiants to put some distance between themselves and other AL contenders here in the next few games.

8. New York Yank-mes (27-21, RD: +64)
The Yank-mes are ranked here largely on the strength of their performance to-date, but it is difficult to tell what that means going forward. New York is openly in firesale mode, but gerald007 has wisely done so maybe a season too early than a season too late. As a result, the Yank-mes have already acquired a bounty of quality ML-ready talent in their trades. They may yet compete for the last NL Wild Card spot, but given the strength of hungry NL contenders, the future is unclear.

9. Philadelphia Revolution (29-19, RD: +39)
The Revolution are out to a solid lead in the AL East; however, recall Philly came back to the pack in S7, which resulted in a dramatic end-of-the-year battle with the Cyclones. Matt Waters and Kiki Astacio, both in the AL’s top 10 for RBIs, pace the offense.

10. Chicago Cubs (29-20, RD: +37)
The Cubs boast a much better record than would be expected based on their run differential, but their success appears consistent with the talent on paper. Unfortunately for Wrigleyville’s heroes, they share a division with 2 other top NL teams. Nonetheless, longtime Griffey observers saw the Cubs’ success coming, as the franchise is finally reaping the fruits of many seasons of high draft picks.

Bubble Teams: Washington DC Foo Fighters, Anaheim Jack A$$es

Jun 2, 2008

Lets Get Ready to Rank Players

The Draft Matters!

Its that time of the season again. We look at the top of the draft board to see who we think we can get with our pick. We analyze our organization and decide do we pick for a need or do we take the best available prospect available at our slot. Things get dicey after this. I know I frequently try to decide how many prospects am I going to look at and rank. My system seems to change every season and I'm sure this is true for many of us. Some seasons there is time to look at 150 prospects, some seasons more others less. After about 50 the eyes are bleary and I begin to wonder if I'm ranking players in an accurate way. It was my love for this part of the Hard Ball Dynasty game that led me to look at all of the franchises Draft history and see if the draft matters and I believe know that it certainly does. First, lets look at the top 6 organizations in terms of draft picks playing in the ML.

Big Six

Fargo Fuzznuts-15 drafted palyers in the ML.

Its easy to see why Fargo has been one of the dominant organizations in this world. They have won 5 staight division titles. They have had 96 or more wins every season that cjl9652 has been the owner and have made it to 1 World Series. This organization has used the draft to maintain the high level of succes. With 16 1st round picks thus far, 7 are currently in the ML. Fargo also is tied with the Arizona Buckeyes (who just missed making this list and the next list, Sorry!) with 5 current MLers from the 2nd and 3rd rounds. Suprising however to see that of the 15 ML players drafted by Fargo only 3 are still on Fargo. cjl9652 has used his picks as chips to piece together an amazing organization. More on Fargo in the next section.

Pittsburgh Ponies-15 drafted players in the ML.

Pittsburgh has been the dominant franchise of Griffey World. 7 straight playoff appearances, including 6 division titles. 4 World Series championships and at least 92 wins in every season point to this being an amazing franchise. While travisg didn't draft Matt Ross, he has drafted all the support staff Ross has needed to maintain play at the highest level. Pittsburgh has used 21 1st round picks to produce 12 current major league players. 7 of these 12 1st rounders in the ML are still on the Ponies. Travisg has used the draft to get good players. 8 of these palyers are on other franchises but travis has done a good job of trading to keep the pieces in place to remain on top.

Kansas City Twisters-11 drafted players in the ML.

The Twisters have made the playoffs every season in this world. They have won the division 5 times and got the wild card twice. They have never won fewer than 85 games and have a World Series appearance to their credit. disaacs has used 14 1st round picks to produce 7 current ML players.The Twisters still have 8 of the 11 ML players on their roster. disaacs has built through the draft, getting and holding on to high quality players that have helped his franchise be a playoff fixture.

Philadelphia Revolution-11 players drafted in the ML.

With 5 seasons under his belt with the Revolution, its clear that timgod99 has used the draft to maintain the Revolution annual spot in the playoffs. In his 5 seasons the Revolution have won 3 division titiles and a wild card berth. They have won at least 85 games in each of those 5 seasons. The Revolution has used 14 1st round picks to produce 8 current big league players. Of the 11 current major league players that the franchise has drafted only 3 are still on the Revolution. Much like Fargo, it appears that timgod99 takes the approach of taking the best player available and using those chips to build his franchise to his liking through trades.

Cheyenne Duck Snorts-10 players drafted in the ML.

The Duck Snorts are fresh off the season 7 World Series title and an excellent exmple of a team that has built itself up through the draft. 10 players drafted between seasons 1 and 4 are now on Major League rosters. Bajoraa is seeing the fruits of quality drafts as is evidenced by 2 straight division titles and one of the best records in the league this season. 4 of Cheyenne's 11 1st round picks are currently in the Bigs. Cheyenne has also been one of the most successful organizations at finding good players in lower rounds with 2 8th rounders and a 15 th rounder currently playing in the Majors. Of the 10 players in the majors, 4 are on the Duck Snorts. The Duck Snorts have used the draft to get high quality players and have shaped their organization from there.

New York Cyclones-10 players drafted in the ML.

The Cyclones enterd this season coming off the franchises first playoff appearance, a 91 win wild card season. Of the 10 players drafted playing in the majors, 6 are still on the Cyclones. It appears that Veneer is building his franchise through the draft. The Cyclones big league team features one of the youngest ML'ers in Griffey, 20 year old pitcher Miguel Perez the season 6 1st round pick. It will be interesting to watch Perez's development in coming seasons as the franchise trys to surround him with a good, young base of players.

Franchises that just missed the Big 6:

Arizona and Salem have both drafted 9 current Major Leaguers and Cincinnati, New Orleans, Oakland and Rochester have drafted 8.

Big Six part 2

In this section we will look at the franchises with the most drafted players on their roster. The first list featured some of the biggest playoff fixtures in Griffey. Those teams have managed to use the draft to maintain a high level of success, but not always by hanging on to their draft picks. The teams on this list appear to be more of the up and comers of the world, with a couple of exceptions.

Oakland Dragons-14 drafted palyers on their ML roster.

The Dragons have won three division titles in their history, one under current owner bobby1978. The ML team features 15 players 27 or younger. They have held onto 4 of their 8 drafted players in the ML and have aquired the other 10 along the way. The organization appears in good shape. They have 5 straight AAA playoff berth with a World Series championship at that level, 3 AA playoff appearances in the last 5 seasons, and the Hi A, Lo A and Rookie teams have all been in the playoffs 4 straight seasons. Based on the fact that these young players have come up through a successful organization I would bet we'll see success soon in Oakland.

Washington DC Foo Fighters-12 drafted players on their ML roster.

At the Big League level this franchise has struggled. They have finished 3rd or 4th in their division every season and have never had more than 73 wins. As of this article the team in 2 games over .500 and looking at their roster, success may not be too far off. They have hung on to 5 of the 7 current Major Leaguers they have drafted and have aquired the other 7. The franchise will have some choices to make soon as they have more palyers older than 27 than younger, but another strong draft may help make those decisions easier. Recent success in the minors also points to this franchise being close to turning the corner. They were in the AAA world series last season and the Hi A and Lo A teams have had success recently. It appears with a couple of good moves this is a team that could compete sooner rather than later.

Salt Lake City Aiel Warriors-11 drafted palyers on their ML roster.

This has been a consistent team over 7 seasons. Winning between 75 and 88 games every season but one. This consistency has brought this team only 3rd and 4th place finishes. To compete in their competitive division the Warriors need sttong players. The AAA team has been to the playoffs three straight seasons, so some of the younger players have seen success at this level. Now they need to find a way to take this collection of talented players and make them successful in a tough division. Salt Lake City faces some of the same issues as Washington, they have more players over 27 than under. Management will need to find a way to get better and younger at the same time.

Chicago Cubs-11 drafted players on their ML roster.

Season 7 brought the first winning season for this franchise since season 2. This team has come out of the gate very strong and when you look at the roster you see that this team should be a force in the World for a long time. Only three players on the ML roster are over 27 years of age. This young group has enjoyed great success at the minor league level. 6 staight playoff berths at AAA. 6 straight playoff berths at AA with 2 World Series titles. 6 straight playoffs at Hi A with 4 World Series titles and 7 straight playoff berths at Lo A with 1 World Series title. It is scary to think about how good this team should be going forward. They have hung on to 6 of the 7 ML'ers they have drafted anf aquired 5 others. This team has built it self into a future power through successful drafting.

Fargo Fuzznuts-10 drafted players on their ML roster.

We have already talked about Fargo's success at the big league level above. They have been great. Equally great has been their minor leagues. AAA, AA, and Hi A have seen 4 playoff appearances each with a AA World Series titile. The LoA team has 5 playoff appearances. We talked in the earlier post about Fargo's use of its draft picks to obtain the pieces to succeed at the ML level. Though they have only kept 3 of their 15 drafted ML'ers, they have used the players they have drafted to aquire very talented players from other franchises that fit their needs. It appears that Fargo will continue to be successful based on their history with the draft and their ability to get the best players into their organization.

Kansas City Twisters-10 drafted players on their ML roster.

Just like Frago, this team has been a playoff standard. Well guess what, the minor leagues have produced success as well. 3 straight AAA berths, 3 of the last 4 seasons at the AA level and 2 of the last 3 at the Hi A level. Kansas City has kept 8 of 11 ML players from their own drafts and have aquired a couple of other ML players other teams have drafted. They have proven that they know how to draft and I would expect that they will continue to draft well and continue to be successful at the Major League level.

Franchises that just missed the second big 6:

The New York Cyclones, Montreal, Charlotte and Cheyenne all have 9 drafted palyers on their big league roster. Pitsburgh, New Orleans, Arizona and Atlanta have 8.

Here's hoping we all find that stud at the top of the draft and a couple of hidden gems later. Good Luck!

May 21, 2008

More Rookies - S8

Atlanta - Al Melendez - RF

Al Melendez
Age: 21B/T: L/L
Born: Villa Mella, DO
Position(s): RF
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Melendez is a corner outfielder who does a bit of everything well, but nothing spectacularly. The 21-year old Dominican should be capable of driving plenty of balls to the gap particularly against righties. Currently penciled in as the Ripettoes leadoff hitter vs. righties, Melendez should be able to take advantage of his blend of power and baserunning ability to get himself into scoring position for Michael Snow and friends.

Chicago - Davey Hernandez - CF

Davey Hernandez
Age: 21B/T: S/R
Born: Preston, CU
Position(s): CF
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Chicago, who acquired this Cuban import as an IFA in Season 5, will turn to Hernandez to patrol CF in S8. Hernandez has above-average range, but has been known to occasionally turn a routine flyball into high adventure. Hernandez will more than cover these missteps with his bat, which should produce more like that of a quality first baseman’s than a centerfielder’s.

Oakland - York Cornelius - RF

York Cornelius
Age: 25B/T: R/R
Born: Camarillo, CA
Position(s): RF/1B/LF/DH
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Cornelius garnered Season 7’s AAA MVP honors and has nothing left to prove in the minors and should make an appearance with the Dragons in Season 8. The RFer thrives against left-handed pitching, but could be neutralized somewhat by ML-level right-handers. Regardless of the handedness of the pitcher, Cornelius has a discerning eye and should hammer mistakes into the stands.

Fargo – Sherman Atchley - SS

Sherman Atchley
Age: 21B/T: R/R
Born: Tarpon Springs, FL
Position(s): SS
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Dealt to the NL Champs in S7 from surplus SS talent in Tacoma’s farm system (now Chicago), Atchley is another player who sacrifices a modicum of defense for a wealth of offense. The youngster from Tarpon Springs FL is capable of prodigious power displays and makes contact with most of what he swings at. Power like that would be valuable at a corner spot, but will provide a substantial advantage coming from the SS position.

San Antonio - Harry Pena – SP

Harry Pena
San Antonio
Age: 22B/T: S/L
Born: Los Llanos, DO
Position(s): P (SP1)
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

San Antonio GM niss has been silent regarding whether this pitching prodigy will make an appearance with the big club in S8, but there is little doubt that Harry Pena is ready now. Pena features a four-pitch repertoire, including an excellent sinker/slider combo offset by and average change-up and a show-me curve. Hitters have difficulty punishing Pena’s rare mistakes, as the 6-1 lefty keeps the ball down in the zone. If promoted, Pena could be a legitimate Cy Young candidate.

Honolulu - Rico Andujar – SP

Rico Andujar
Beach Bums
Age: 20B/T: R/R
Born: Rio San Juan, DO
Position(s): P (SP1)
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Arguably the prize of the S6 IFA class, Andujar dominated the minors in S7, posting a 1.02 WHIP across two levels. Andujar is in AAA now; some might contend that a full year in AAA would be prudent for his development, but it would be almost impossible for management to keep the talented righty in the minors if the Beach Bums find themselves in the pennant chase.

May 20, 2008

Rookie Watch - Season 8

Below are 10 rookies in the majors now or soon-to-be called up that should make immediate impacts in Season 8 (presented in no particular order).

Salem Warlocks – Wayne Morris – LF

Wayne Morris
Age: 21B/T: S/R
Born: East Weymouth, MA
Position(s): LF
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Morris, the Warlocks’ first-round draft pick from S7, sniffed the big leagues at the end of the season last year and has locked down a starting job in S8. The left fielder, who features an impressive throwback-era mustache reminiscent of a Pringles can, hits lefties and righties equally well and could be a 50+ SB man this season. A little better range and glove would allow Salem to play him at 2B, but Morris features enough pop in his bat to pass expectations for a left-fielder.

Washington Foo Fighters - 1B Clint Ramirez

Clint Ramirez
Washington D.C.
Foo Fighters
Age: 23B/T: L/L
Born: Atascadero, CA
Position(s): 1B
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Clint Ramirez, the first pick of the S6 draft, will be defending the Beltway from Foo this season. The first baseman has 50-HR power with patience to match -- and still has room to improve at the plate.

Cheyenne Duck Snorts – Lou Young - RF

Lou Young
Duck Snorts
Age: 22B/T: R/R
Born: Portola Valley, CA
Position(s): RF/2B/LF/DH
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

“When GMs come calling, this is the guy I get asked about more than anyone,” stated bajoraa, the Duck Snorts’ GM, in reference to this five-tool slugger. Young, who has deceptive speed for a 220-pounder, should be capable of launching moonshots and maintaining a .300+ batting average from the middle of the champs’ lineup this season. Detractors note that Young has mediocre durability and sometimes lacks the accuracy necessary to harness his bazooka throwing arm.

New York Cyclones – Miguel Perez – SP

Miguel Perez
New York
Age: 20B/T: S/R
Born: Luverne, MN
Position(s): P (SP3)
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Griffey World owners drooled over Perez’s potential in the S6 draft, but the stocky right-hander gave indication that baseball may not be his future. Consequently, this talented hurler fell to the Cyclones at #13, where veener provided 6.5 million reasons to come to New York. Perez is only 20 years old, and still has not developed an ML-caliber 3rd pitch, and his 2nd pitch is currently only passable. However, the Cyclones have a fantastic talent on their hands, and assuming continued growth, Perez should contend for the AL Cy Young by S10.

Pittsburgh – Dennis Martin – C

Dennis Martin
Age: 23B/T: R/R
Born: Tokyo, JP
Position(s): C
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Martin was an S4 IFA developed slowly by perennial favorite Pittsburgh. More than strictly a catch-and-throw receiver, this Japanese import has impressed scouts with his plate discipline and gap power, especially against portsiders. That said, the man can throw, too – a near imperative skill as stolen bases escalate in Griffey. Look for Martin to receive 250-300 plate appearances as part of the Ponies’ catching platoon.

Anaheim Jack A$$es – Vince Andrews – SS

Vince Andrews
Jack A$$es
Age: 22B/T: L/R
Born: Sacramento, CA
Position(s): SS
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Another prospect who came on to the scene in S4 is ready for the majors in S8. Poor player development practices by previous owners may leave whiffs of unrealized promise where Andrews’ defense is concerned; however, the 22 year-old should be an extra-base hit machine. A move to RF or 3B may be in Andrews’ future, but he should have the bat to stick in the big leagues for a while.

Rochester Regal Beagles -- 2B Dusty Farrell

Dusty Farrell
Regal Beagles
Age: 22B/T: R/R
Born: Stuart, VA
Position(s): 2B/IF/OF/DH
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Farrell is a future Gold Glove winner at 2B, with a bat that NL pitchers will have to respect. The tall (6-4) keystone sacker punishes left-handed pitching and can more than hold his own against righties. Farrell is no slow-poke, but lacks the basestealing prowess one might like to see in a middle infielder. Look for Farrell to belt 30-HR from a key defensive position.

Florida Tropic - Elvis Bailes – 3b

Elvis Bailes
Age: 25B/T: R/R
Born: Pekin, IL
Position(s): 3B
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Elvis Bailes projects to have a shortstop’s glove at 3B, and has plus-gap power to boot now. The durable 3B continues to develop defensively, and should provide a solid anchor at the hot corner, helping a listless Tropic franchise right the ship.

Chicago Cubs – Kirt Jensen RP

Kirt Jensen
Age: 26B/T: L/L
Born: West Branch, MI
Position(s): P (ClA)
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

The Cubs took their time promoting this burly southpaw under chejay, but erffdogg has finally promoted Jensen to the Northsiders’ bullpen. Jensen features a five pitch repertoire, including a cut fastball, which is a borderline plus-plus offering. In addition, Jensen has the durability to toss 150 IP, handling both lefties and righties with aplomb.

Cincinnati centipedes - Pep Zentmeyer OF(?)

Pep Zentmeyer
Age: 23B/T: R/R
Born: Wills Point, TX
Position(s): 2B/3B/SS/OF
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Another player with a great bat, but who is a defensive tweener, Zentmeyer owned AAA pitching the last two seasons. Like Vince Andrews, Zentmeyer’s value would be increased if he can stick defensively in the infield, but the right-hander’s future may be patrolling a corner outfield spot at the GABP. Zentmeyer, who has posted an OPS in the minors no worse than 1.012 in any of the last three seasons, looks to guide the centipedes one last step toward the post-season.

Apr 29, 2008

S7 Recap -- AL West

Cheyenne Duck Snorts
What Went Right: The Ducksnorts won a franchise-record 100 games by shaving 95 runs from the runs-allowed column. They rode a balanced attack past Matt Ross and the Ponies to an AL title, before defeating Fargo in seven for a World Series championship. 3B Julio Sanchez, CF Tim Broome and DH Johnny Harvey paced a dynamic offense with OPS above .900, and 2B Aramis Santiago made up for a dismal season at the plate by picking up his second consecutive Gold Glove.

What Went Wrong: Cheyenne managed to wring some solid performances from a merely above-average pitching staff and overcame nine blown saves from closer Tony Nomo.

S8 Outlook: Most of the team's best players remain under contract, and a slew of young players appears ready to contribute at the ML level. Cheyenne looks ready to become Griffey world's next repeat champion.

Colorado Mile High Rapids
What Went Right: Colorado led Griffey in runs scored for the fourth consecutive year, the seventh straight season the franchise has scored at least 1,000 runs. Closer Don Little joined C Royce Minor, 2B Raymond Owen, SS Cy Nelson, LF Rickey Kelton and RF Brady Cortes in the All-Star Game.

What Went Wrong: Unfortunately, the Mile High Rapids allowed more than 1,000 runs for the fifth consecutive season since moving from Boise. Little converted 25 of 29 saves, despite a 1.68 WHIP and 6.16 ERA. The team posted its first non-winning season in franchise history with an 81-81 record.

S8 Outlook: This could be the last go-'round for this explosive but aging club. With several key players poised to hit FA after the season, longtime owner Stewart_UK must find a way for this franchise to win its first postseason series. Limiting opponents to fewer runs is the key, but no easy solution has been found.

Albuquerque Ranchers
What Went Right: The Ranchers allowed 1,066 runs, the club's best mark since S4. SP Enrique Gonzalez posted his best ERA (4.59) since the team's S3 move to Albuquerque, and closer Joe Taylor was selected to his first All-Star game. 3B Willie James was arguably the league's best, posting a .323/.383/.564 line with 35 HR and 141 RBI.

What Went Wrong: Entropy has set in for this once-proud franchise, winners of 94-plus games for the league's first four seasons, including division titles in S3 and S4, but four seasons removed from their last above-.500 record. The Ranchers scored a franchise-worst 971 runs, the only time the club scored fewer than 1,000 runs in a season.

S8 Outlook: This team could use a change of scenery, a facelift or both. Aging stars like Gonzalez, Curt Bates and Emil Blanco offer some valuable trade chips to rebuild a thin farm system. Establishing a better ratio between runs scored and runs allowed is a must for this team's new owner.

Salem Warlocks
What Went Right: Armando Benitez set a franchise record for strikeouts and WHIP, with 155 and 1.41, respectively. 1B O.T. Jamison turned in another splendid season, posting a .308/.385/.516 line.

What Went Wrong: Everything else. While this franchise has seen worse seasons, the sting of a second consecutive heartbreak hurts more because better days had been in sight not so long ago.

S8 Outlook: Despite skidmark's yearly calls for a fire sale, no buyers can be found. The ghosts of previous absentee owners still haunt this franchise, which lacks even a single quality arm, and a system-wide power outage has handcuffed the offense. Given the dearth of desirable talent, the Warlocks might be best served by boosting payroll to sign quality FA or take on bad contracts in exchange for prospects.

S7 Recap -- NL West

Los Angeles Mojo
What Went Right: The franchise improved its offense in its brief sojourn to Los Angeles, keyed by young stars like C Chuck Simmons and 2B Kevin Park. Staff ace Sandy Conway turned in a sparkling performance, posting a career-best 1.13 WHIP in 240.1 innings and making his first All-Star team, and veteran SP Mitch Gant won 17 games.

What Went Wrong: The Mojo's lack of a HR threat cost them in the playoffs, where Fargo outpowered them to advance to the NLCS.

S8 Outlook: New ownership will take over a team that stands at a crossroads. A solid young core of position players like Simmons, Park and 3B Kordell Russell remains in place, but some big decisions loom in FA. Longtime closer Rickey Young and CF Wiki Mota both seek lucrative extensions, and the Great Stars might not be able to afford both.

Anaheim Jack A$$es
What Went Right: New owner hurdle52 eked out only the second winning season in franchise history thanks to a blistering start by veteran RF Ron Barber. The 35-year-old punched in a 1.087 OPS through 40 games, but the hits stopped coming as NL pitchers adjusted to him, and the Jack A$$es fell back to earth. Chad Matthews earned his second consecutive All-Star berth and finished with an impressive .325/.376/.589 line, and veteran ace Dwight Watkins posted a 7-3 record and 1.11 WHIP after coming over from Syracuse in a midseason trade.

What Went Wrong: Barber cooled off to finish with a merely mortal .258/.316/.521 OPS, and the pitching staff lacked the horses to finish the race.

S8 Outlook: Matthew is the brightest star in a dazzling infield constellation, including SS Vince Andrews and 3B John Podsednik. With Barber turning 36 and entering FA, the outfield consists of Esteban Rodriguez and not much else. The bullpen could use a reliable closer, as well. Anaheim will need an aggressive offseason to build on a refreshing turnaround.

Honolulu Beach Bums (Seattle Sensation)
What Went Right: One of Griffey's original franchises slid back to .500 and a third-place finish, two seasons after earning its only postseason berth with a S5 division title. The club greatly improved its S6 pitching, when the Beach Bums gave up 854 runs, by holding opponents to just 770 runs. Veteran right-hander Ivan Jones turned in another solid season, posting a 1.20 WHIP and 3.30 ERA, and lefty Max Ibanez allowed only 1.27 baserunners per inning and 3.95 earned runs per nine.

What Went Wrong: By scoring a paltry 710 runs, the Beach Bums tagged Jones with an unimpressive 6-10 record, although Ibanez finished with 12 wins for the second straight season. The offense was hampered by leadoff man LF Rico Melendez, whose OBP plunged from .386 to .311, leaving only table scraps for 1B Vic Marquez (37 HR, 76 RBI).

S8 Outlook: A move to spacious Safeco Field bodes even more trouble for an offense that struggles to put men on base and runs on the board, but spells relief for a pitching staff that could see a number of FA defections. C Buzz Lewis remains one of the league's best, and he leads a cast of upstarts that includes 3B Nolan Cashman and SS Matty McGee. With little payroll committed to this season, Seattle could opt to make a big FA splash or plow the funds into scouting and player development.

Oakland Dragons
What Went Right: Not much went right for the Dragons in their first season in Oaktown. The team underperformed by nearly six wins off its expected rate, as the pitching staff allowed the league's third-most runs. SS Ernie Person continued to post terrific numbers, and undervalued CF Augie McMillan won his first Gold Glove. A great season by lefty reliever Luis De La Vega was marred by a stress fracture in his elbow.

What Went Wrong: No starter distinguished himself, and both Person and McMillan suffered from the move to spacious Network Associates Coliseum. The offense lacked a big bopper who can reach the fences at home and cap rallies on the road.

S8 Outlook: The team's best players should be back for another season, but so will the rest of a mostly underwhelming roster. Most scouts believe ace-in-waiting Robert Wainhouse could already be a Cy Young candidate, but Dragons management has him assigned to Triple-A after repeating (and dominating) the previous level as a 22-year-old. But even if he starts the Opening Day game, Oakland has to find at least two or three more quality starters to fill out the rotation and a cleanup hitter to drive the offense. Unless an aggressive approach is taken, Oakland fans could be forced to wait another season to see a contender.

Apr 28, 2008

S7 Recap - NL South

San Antonio fighters

What Went Right: The fighters presented NL opponents with a formidable, balanced approach, finishing third in the league in both runs scored and runs allowed…Three fighters launched 40+ HR and Dwight Meyers fell one short of the benchmark with 39…Derek Stark was lights-out in the closer’s role, notching 41 saves in 43 opportunities. Stark limited opposing hitters to a .517 OPS.

What Went Wrong: The fighters never quite recovered from pitcher Clarence Ogea’s debilitating elbow injury. Once in the post season, the defending NL Champs swept a flailing KC team only to get swept themselves by the Yank-mes.

S8 Outlook: The fighters have no shortage of power in their lineup, and should be able to continue their punishment of NL hurlers in S8. Stud SP Harry Pena looms in the minors and could be the elite pitcher San Antonio needs to lead their return to the World Series in S8.

Kansas City Twisters

What Went Right: The Twisters hung on by the narrowest of margins to claim the 2nd NL wild card slot. As a result, KC maintained their perfect record in making the playoffs each of Griffey’s 7 seasons….Edwin O’Malley garnered RF Silver Slugger honors thanks to his .997 OPS…Lariel Santana provided the power belting 36 HRs while joining O’Malley on the All-Star Team.

What Went Wrong: KC finished in the middle of the pack in both runs scored and runs allowed, and nearly blew a substantial lead in the Wild Card race. Limping in to the playoffs, the Twisters were swept by San Antonio as the bullpen collapsed.

S8 Outlook: The Twisters appear to be a team at the crossroads. Solid pieces are present in the lineup in O’Malley and Santana, and Bryan Leonard should continue to anchor the rotation. However, KC will need more offensive and pitching firepower to catch San Antonio or stave off hungry Wild Card contenders Cincinnati, Chicago, and others. Reinforcements do not appear to be available at AAA, so if the Twisters are to make a 8th consecutive playoff experience, they may have to make a big play in free-agency.

Montgomery Miracles (S8 -New Orleans Domination)

What Went Right: Kevin Knott slugged 41 HR, and Paulie Thompson was a bright spot in the bullpen posting a solid 1.24 WHIP…With the first pick in the draft, Montgomery selected Alfonso Prieto, who has a fantastic ceiling… Other than that, not much went right for Montgomery, except that they shared a division with Florida, which kept them from the cellar.

What Went Wrong: The Miracles’ offense could have used a Miracle itself, having scored only 685 runs – barely 4 runs a game, and 2nd worst in the NL. The pitching wasn’t any better, allowing 910 runs, also 2nd worst in the NL.

S8 Outlook: New manager jhorsley has numerous holes to fill. The Domination have speed to burn offensively, but could sorely use another slugger in the lineup to drive the fleet featherweights in; however, those power sources are lacking in the New Orleans system. Solid pitching prospects are in the low minors, but are a few seasons away from contributing at the ML level. Given that previous managers saddled him with some long-term dead weight contracts, including $11M for pitcher James Wang, it will interesting to watch jhorsley's approach.

Florida Tropic

What Went Right: Jimmy Carter posted an OBP-heavy .931 OPS… Florida garnered Griffey’s Miss Congeniality honors, posting a full 22 wins fewer than any other team in either league.

What Went Wrong: Both UN troops and Bono were sent to Miami too late to prevent atrocities afflicted upon the pitching staff, many of whom were forced to pitch under subhuman conditions.

S8 Outlook: There are legitimate players on the ML squad and four 70+ OVR players in AAA. If the team is managed in a manner necessary to reasonably maximize wins at the ML level, given the payroll flexibility, this can be a 70+ win team in S8 without saddling the team with burdensome free-agent contracts. A .500+, Wild Card-contending season may even be possible if free-agency is hit strategically. Another 34-win season should be deemed unacceptable by Tropic fans.