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!