Monday, June 29, 2009

Durham Bulls, Pre-Season 7

The Durham Bulls will only go as far as their starting pitching will take them. Milton7, manager of the Bulls, has been slowly filling in the holes of a team that looked worse than Swiss cheese when he started managing them three seasons ago. In trying to keep visiting teams from hitting a lot of HRs in this bandbox of a park, milton7 is focusing on good groundball inducing pitchers. We seem to have found our closer, Floyd Dessens, who led the team with 30 saves, 2.30 ERA, .177 OAV, 0.95 WHIP, and a 10.26 K/9. Recently promoted long reliever/spot starter Tom Clark, looks to give the bullpen a boost after pitching 23 2/3 IP with a sterling .183 ERA, .183 OAV, 0.85 WHIP, and 8.75 K/9.
Jordan Flores, a long relief pitcher pressed into the starting rotation, started 34 games but was only 4-5 in the win/loss column. We would love to put him back in the pen to finish out the last two years of his five year contract, but good starting pitching is hard to get in this league. His .223 OAV, 1.18 WHIP and 9.71 K/9 from the left side would, combined with Tom Clark, make the Bulls long relief tandem one of the best in the league. The Bulls have focused on pitching with their last two draft picks: Jared Mathews SP mostly in Low A ball this season was stellar with a 17-1 record, .174 OAV, .243 OBP, .212 SLG, 0.87 WHIP, 1.38 ERA and 153 strikeouts in 156 IP. This season’s pick, Wallace Donovan, was snubbed for any honors in the Rookie league this season because of his pitching role, but he still had amazing numbers. In 36 games, he pitched 50 1/3 innings, struck out 56 batters, won 4 games and saved 1, and his numbers of .172 OAV, .207 OBP, .194 SLG, 0.74 WHIP, and 1.25 ERA were awesome. The Durham Bulls brain trust can’t wait for these youngsters to make it to the Bigs.

Offensively, the Bulls await their 20 yr. old table setter, Bobby Ray Stokes, to continue his development and claim the LF position that is being saved for him at the ML level. Bobby has exceptional speed, swiping 98 bases out of 103 attempts at the High A level this season. His OBP of .431 also helped him score 149 times in only 125 games as his durability of 75 improves. Davey Jose will be hard pressed to improve on his all star rookie (rule 5) season of batting .278 with 61 HRs and 127 RBIs. The Bulls count on superstar, Francisco Guillen, to give them at least his average of 38 HR, 121 RBIs, and 186 hits per season in the last two years of his contract. The Bulls need to add more pop to their lineup as they are not taking advantage of their bandbox ballpark. This is demonstrated by leading the league in SB with 88 more than the second place team, but only ranking 21st in HRs.

In conclusion, the Bulls will make a push for the playoffs if they are able to improve their starting pitching immediately with a rule 5, FA , or international FA addition. If not, they will stay a sub .500 team until their prospects are able to help the big league club.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Notable Pre-Season 7 Retirees

R.J. Matos, Age 39, primarily used as a defensive CF with decent range and footspeed wound up being more of a utility man in his later years retired this offseason.

Another CF, Jason Booker, Age 38, also retired. He made the Season 1 NL All-Star Team, had a very good glove, and has an impressive career OPS of .908. After a ligament tear in Season 3, his range decreased to the point where he finished out his big league career playing mostly LF and RF.

Of the pitchers who retired this offseason, Closer Ray Lincoln , Age 38, was among the more notable. He was a Season 1 AL All-Star with the Islanders and finished with an impressive 114 saves in his 4 years at the ML level. The last two seasons were mysteriously spent in Philadelphia's minor leagues (where he won AAA Fireman of the Year Award in Season 5, by the way).

Also notable, Ken Gentry, Age 38, retired. He was a Season 1 All-Star with Boston and went on to post a lifetime ML WHIP of 1.36 with a lifetime ML ERA of 4.47.

Lastly, retiring with similar lifetime statistics as Gentry, two-time All-Star Todd Latham, Age 39, hung it up. He managed to make it to the All-Star Game in both the AL and the NL as a flyball style SP. Other than his miserable time in Colorado, where he never pitched well, he had a solid career and tops our list as the most significant retiree heading into Season 7.

Friday, June 19, 2009


Well, it was an amazing season for the Stickballers ... not their highest number of wins, but definitely their most rewarding.  The WS heroes turned out to be two unlikely guys, and two likely guys, two young guys and two old guys.  I'd say the overall best performance goes to young, unlikely hero, Edwin Frank LF (.417/.453/.967).  Jose Johnson did not disappoint either, he went .390/.464/.898 ... and was rock-solid all season long.

On the pitching side, Rocky Martin, Colorado's Ace, performed very well (4 wins), but it was the 37-year-old crusty veteran, Sidney Coleman (4 wins) who came in and won the final WS game for the Stickballers.  He has a mutual option for next season.  Can he keep going at 38?  We'll see... 

Tuesday, June 16, 2009




National League:


Repeating NL East Division Champions, and winner of Season 3 World Series:


The Pawtucket Powderfingers


Summary:  The Powderfingers won 83 games this season and advanced through the NLCS thanks primarily to excellent starting pitching and the improved play of three former #1 Pawtucket Draft Picks … all of which sit atop the Powderfingers’ lineup and set the table for the rest of their very youthful hitters.  They’ve exclusively featured their top 3 SP’s (all of which have Ace ‘stuff’) so far in the Playoffs, while using the other two Starters in Long Relief roles.


SP1 – Bosco Morton (OAV .241/ WHIP 1.15/ ERA 2.17) Former Cy Young Award-winner won 19 games this season and collected 145 strikeouts along the way.  Very good at inducing the groundball.

SP2 – Magglio Bennett (OAV .229/ WHIP 1.12/ ERA 3.38) Young sinkerballer with high stamina won 15 games and collected 215 strikeouts along the way.

SP3 – Bartolo Escobar (OAV .215/ WHIP 1.01/ ERA 3.25) Former All-Star won 16 games and collected 167 strikeouts along the way, while only giving up 45 walks all season long.


Long Relievers –  (To be described later)


Short Relievers – (To be described later)


Closer – Paul Paul (OAV .245/ WHIP 1.21/ ERA 1.79) While this previous All-Star’s parents may not have been very imaginative, they clearly passed along some pretty awesome genes.  Paul saved 33 games out of 35 opportunities and averaged 8½  strikeouts per 9 IP while allowing very few walks and only 3 HR’s (and 8 earned runs) all season long. He is the kind of “automatic” Closer that shortens the game for you.



1. 2B Steven Garcia (.257/.359/.374) Drafted with the 15th pick in Season 1 Amateur Draft, Garcia started just over 100 games and stole 54 bases this season.

2. CF Manny Chang (.280/.338/.472) Drafted with the 18th pick in Season 3, 6’ 4” Chang was called up mid-way through the season.

3. 1B Vasco Castro (.325/.412/.557) Drafted with the 21st pick in Season 2, last year’s Rookie of the Year swatted 47 homeruns this season.

4. 3B Clay Gordon (.274/.343/.512) Former All-Star Game MVP hit 38 HR’s and drove in 125 RBI’s this season.

5. LF Buddy Byrd (.243/.316/.458) Season 2 Fifth-Rounder hit 36 HR’s this season.

6. RF Del Rosa (.267/.334/.447) Young natural SS with sneaky power in his bat plays very well in RF having committed only 2 errors after starting 119 games there this season.

7. DH (To be determined) (.XXX/.XXX/.XXX) Pawtucket features an excellent defensive bench, but doesn’t have a true DH-style hitter to fill the this spot.

8. C Jackie Davenport (.222/.279/.333)  Gold-Glover Davenport is a defensive catcher with very good play-calling ability (3.64 ML Career ERA).  Of note, he is backed up by C Jolbert Calderon (.244/.321/.394), a previous All-Star, who is also an excellent defensive catcher (ML Career ERA of 3.79).  Together they provide veteran leadership and are a major key to Pawtucket winning the NLCS. 

9. SS Alex Buchanan (.257/.326/.364) Has only started 73 games this season, but his veteran status and solid glove have given him the nod in most of Pawtucket’s post-season games this year.  Despite the low number of starts, he’s managed to play in over 100 games this season, so Buchanan is a regular contributor and will get plenty of playing time in the World Series.


Bench:  (To be described later, see DH description above).



American League:


Repeating AL West Division Champions and Season 1 ALCS Winners:


The Colorado Stickballers


Colorado has won their division in all but one of the six seasons in Stickball World, but has failed to take home a WS Trophy yet.  In fact, they only won the ALCS once, in Season 1.  They are known for having an explosive offense, and feature a lineup of very patient power hitters, but their Closer was in the running for this year’s Cy Young Award, so don’t discount their bullpen's ability to pitch well in pressure situations.


SP1 – Rocky Martin (OAV .276/ WHIP 1.27/ ERA 3.66) Former Rookie-Of-The Year, this 16 game winner collected 171 strikeouts this season and has maintained his excellent (esp. for Colorado), low-WHIP pitching throughout the playoffs.

SP2 – Sidney Coleman (OAV .300/ WHIP 1.52/ ERA 5.71) Colorado’s all-time winningest pitcher, this wily 37-year-old sinkerballer responded well this season, despite being placed on the trading block at the beginning of the season, by winning 17 games.  He allows a ton of baserunners but the offense seems to rally around him and he always seems to get the double play when he needs it.

SP3 – Bill Brown (OAV .293/ WHIP 1.49/ ERA 5.51) Colorado’s Season 1 Supplemental Pick won 19 games this season.  He is due to make a lot of money next season, and is doing everything he can to demonstrate he’ll be worth it by sporting a 0.83 WHIP in the playoffs.  Both he and Rocky Martin will be Arbitration-Eligible next season.

SP4 – Albert Farrell (OAV .216/ WHIP 1.30/ ERA 4.55) The very young Farrell was brought up to the Majors toward the end of the season (due to an injury to the regular #4 SP) but played well enough to stick and make the Playoff Roster.  He’ll only start if Rocky Martin is too fatigued to go when his number is called, although Farrell has been called upon to start 2 times so far in the Playoffs and has responded well with a combined 2.45 ERA in those two starts. 


Long Relievers – This is a weak spot for the Stickballers, but they do feature a couple of durable arms here who do manage to, at least, not allow a ton of walks.  The manager is quick to pull the trigger on these guys when they do get in to trouble.


Short Relievers – SP5, Quentin Krueger (OAV .305/ WHIP 1.59/ ERA 5.59), has moved into the Setup A role and seems to be thriving there.  He is in the Setup Role along with a group of sinkerballers who specialize in getting the tough out.  The setup crew, comprised of four short-relievers plus Krueger, is utilized frequently and, excepting the transplanted Krueger, has a combined regular season ERA of 3.50.


Closer – Rex Harris (OAV .203/ WHIP 0.88/ ERA 1.90) Former Fireman of the Year, Harris had an amazing season this year (especially considering he pitches in Colorado), where he saved 38 games out of 40 opportunities, averaged 8 strikeouts per 9 innings pitched, and only gave up 9 walks and 11 earned runs in 42 innings pitched.



1. CF Johnny Jodie (.310/.369/.426) Fleet-footed rookie stole 36 bases while platooning in CF this season.

2. 3B Pablo Duran (.307/.412/.522) Former All-Star has a great eye, hits with some pop, and plays a mean 3B.

3. RF Nick “The Stick” Abbott (.395/.488/.678) Former MVP acquired near the beginning of this season via trade, he hit nearly .400, stole 33 bases, and smacked 29 HR’s this season.  Nick “The Stick” almost gets on base one out of every two at-bats and scored a freakish 154 runs after only 466 at-bats during the regular season.

4. 1B Jose Johnson (.358/.433/.848) Probable MVP again, Johnson hit 85 HR’s and drove in 238 RBI’s this season.  No, that’s not a typo.

5. DH J.P. DeRojas (.294/.393/.675 - combined) Drafted in Season 1 in the second round, DeRojas was traded away at the very beginning of the season only to be brought back later in the season.  The team just wasn’t the same without him.  He hit 48 HR’s (combined) this season and knocked in over 100 RBI’s despite starting less than 100 games.

6. LF Edwin Frank (.326/.405/.498) Acquired in the preseason, Frank hit 34 doubles and drove in 100 runs this season.  He’s been exceptional in the playoffs hitting .417 with 7 HR’s in 36 at-bats.

7. 2B Dean Gardner (.297/.372/.610) 19 stolen bases and 38 home runs this season, not to mention only 4 errors committed after being moved from SS to 2B mid-way through the season.

8. C Jamie Cornelius (.325/.396/.540) While not the Stickballers best defensive catcher, Cornelius’ bat gets him a lot of playing time. C Lee Benson (.270/.343/.476) is their defensive catcher (4.07 ERA – in Colorado), and he sees a lot of time, esp. vs. righties.

9. SS Al Ozuna (.257/.321/.373) Picked up off the scrap heap mid-way throught the season, this former LA defensive SS took over the position to allow Dean Gardner (see above) to move over to 2B.  In his 85 games started with Colorado, he finished with a .977 Fld% and a very respectable 6.02 RF.


Bench:  Colorado, like Pawtucket, features primarily defensive guys on the bench, but sometimes they’ll start a defensive stalwart and keep either DeRojas or Cornelius on the bench just in case an important pinch-hit opportunity arises.



Thursday, June 4, 2009

Is everyone enjoying the Draft Review?  I know I am, and I hope the reviews continue.  Stay posted.