Fair Play Committee Members

Bulls7210, Jweatherman, Rds_lsu, Ttnorm and Quebec.

Commissioner: Harkov

Friday, May 30, 2008

NL North Preview

Season 8 – NL North Preview

Ottawa Rocks (Last season’s record: 91-71, World Series Champions)

Key Additions: David Perez (FA), Jim Donovan (FA) and Chris Riley (FA)

Key Losses: Roy Bere

Outlook: Ottawa returns the majority of its players from last year’s championship team. Look for solid starting pitching especially if Brad Adams can return to his form from two seasons ago when he was named NL Rookie of the Year. There is some concern over how #3 starter Edgardo Blanco will pitch after his season ending injury last September. The bullpen will again count heavily on Stephen Herndon to get to one of the top closers in the league Andy Curtis. The team added some depth with their free agent additions of first baseman David Perez, left fielder Jim Donovan, and utility man Chris Riley. Questions still remain on the production generated from the left field position as Donovan is only a part-time player in the late stages of his career. No doubt the offense starts with Larry Brown who set a ML record last season with 113 stolen bases. Expect him to lead the league again and be a potential MVP candidate. Overall this looks to be a team that should challenge for the division title and have a chance to defend its title.

Scranton Salt Dogs (Last season’s record: 93-69, NL North division title)

Key Additions: Tomas Borbon (Rookie), Louis Dixon (R), Oswaldo Jacquez (FA) and Ralph Lowe (FA)

Key Losses: Gene Haynes

Outlook: Scranton continued its trend of adding talent to its team. Starting pitching should be very strong with Cy Young runner up Darwin Rhodes anchoring the staff. They look for Horacio Martinez to rebound after a tough year and show he is a top tier pitcher. The bullpen contains a group of both young and old with some of their roles still to be defined once the season gets underway. It appears that the closer job will go to Vladimir Sierra who finished last season converting 10 out of his 11 chances. Offensively the team has added two new starters in Dixon and Jacquez while Borbon will platoon with Walt McGee behind the plate. Emerging star Harold Cox should anchor the offense while the oft-injured veteran Sarma Borland should provide the power if he can stay on the field. This team should contend with Ottawa for the division title and should still be playing ball come October.

Portland Showers (Last season’s record: 90-72, Wild card)

Key Additions: Rickey Baez (Trade), Craig Karl (R) and Curt Obermueller (FA)

Key Losses: Rob Sweeney, Luther Marte and Ben Lambert

Outlook: Portland looks like a very solid team again this season. The starting pitching appears a little suspect once you get by the top two of Nick Wood and Michael Dillon. Wood, in his last year of his contract, should be exceptional again as he showcases his skills for potential suitors in free agency. The bullpen remains mostly intact from last season with the loss of set-up/closer Ben Lambert making this group a little thin. John Coomer moves into the full time closer role this year and will need to convert a higher percentage for this team to remain in competitive. Offensively this team lost two major bats during the off season with the biggest being Luther Marte who couldn’t agree with the club on an extension and signed a one year deal with Boston in the American league. There still remains a very solid core of hitters including Bubbles Jerchower, mashers Tom Torres and Luis Limon. Tyrone Kennedy may be the wild card for this team, if he’s able to take the next step and prove to be a dangerous hitter this team would bump right up with Ottawa and Scranton. Expect this team to finish behind the before mentioned clubs but be right on their heals all year.

Cincinnati Cinners (Last season’s record: 66-96, 4th place in division)

Key Additions: Eric Nye (FA), Matthew Banks (FA) and Trevor Delahanty (R)

Key Losses: Curt Obermueller and Ewell Poole

Outlook: This team hit rock bottom last year after six straight second place finishes in the division. Dante Edmonds appears to be the only bright spot amongst this aging starting staff. Much is the same for the bullpen which has a collection of pitchers nearing the end of their careers. Vin Campos will need to log major innings and Craig Ojala will need to close the door on every opportunity to insure wins for this team. Obviously, the offense revolves around one of the greatest hitters in both leagues, Jeff Jennings. We know he’ll post his 70 HR 150 RBI numbers again this year but as in other years can they score more then they give up. Trevor Delahanty should be a nice addition to the middle of the line up but this will be his first year in the majors. Also, Matthew Banks will bat at the top of the order and hope to get on for Jenkins to drive home. Overall this is an aging team that just doesn’t have the talent of the other team’s in the division.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

AL West Preview

Kansas City Grillers
Last Season: (1st Place)
Manager: drsnell (1st season)

Key Acquisitions: C Dave Carson (FA – DC); P Rock Clayton (FA – LOU)
Key Losses: P Keith Hardtke (FA – SA); P Jayson Harrison; P Victor Canseco (FA – CHI); C Duke Thompson (FA – PHI)

In Season 7, Kansas City continued to reign supreme over the AL West winning their 4th consecutive division title under 2 managers. They look to continue their dominance under new manager drsnell.

A powerful lineup returns almost completely intact and showcases powerful bats top to bottom. Einar Candelaria (.296, 42, 132), Charles Regan (.320, 43, 144), Lariel Martin (.294, 33, 118) are one of the league’s most productive infields. Outfielers Alfredo Woolf (.346, 11, 70, 55 SB), Javier Rosado (.262, 15, 56), and Javier Macias (.299, 13, 69) supply even more pop.

On the mound Russ Jerchower leads the starters, while the Grillers hope Billy Daniels can regain his past form. Jerome Peterson is still one of the top closers in the American League.

Proj. Lineup:
C: Dave Carson
1B: Einar Candelaria
2B: Ben Darwin
3B: Charles Regan
SS: Lariel Martin
LF: Alfredo Woolf
CF: Javier Macias
RF: Javier Rosado
DH: Lyle Beck

5 Key Pitchers:
SP Russ Jerchower
SP Keith Bennett
SP Billy Daniels
RP Jerome Peterson
RP/SP Aaron Glass

Honolulu Dashboard Hula Dolls
Last Season: 78-84 (2nd Place)
Manager: jweatherman (7th season overall, 2nd with team)

Key Acquisitions: RF Rob Sweeney (Trade – POR)
Key Losses: DH Rickey Baez (Trade – POR); CF David Chang; RF Norm Aldridge; 1B Octavio Infante; SP Rod Bennett (FA-SC); RP Eddie Waltman (FA – DOV)

Fresh off their best record in 4 seasons, the Dashboard Hula Dolls look to continue building momentum in Season 8.

Success this season will begin and end on the mound. Unfortunately, that’s where a bulk of the question marks also lie. The rotation is anchored by Eddie Baker, who entrenched himself as one of the AL’s top starting pitchers last season (13-12, 10 CG, 3.72 ERA, 1.26 WHIP). Behind Baker is crafty lefthander Bruce Wells, who pitched well after being acquired mid-season from St. Louis. The bullpen stabilized itself near the end of the season with a back-end of Donald Choi, Dave Griffith, Jimmie Mateo and Matt Mullaney all stepping into their own.

Offensively, Honolulu’s biggest weakness is inconsistency so management brought in RF Rob Sweeney (.272, 26, 89) from Portland and claimed 1B Adrian Parker (.262, 11, 45) off late-season waivers in hopes of generating regular run production. Rookies Darrin Beam, Fernando Matos, Nicholas Lemon and Jimmie Flores are ones to watch.

Proj. Lineup
C: Fernando Matos
1B: Adrian Parker
2B: Pascual Guzman
3B: Alex Woo
SS: Chris Peterson
LF: Darrin Beam/Jimmie Flores
CF: Nicholas Lemon
RF: Rob Sweeney
DH: James O’Connor

5 Key Pitchers:
SP Eddie Baker
SP Bruce Wells
RP Jimmie Mateo
RP Dave Griffith
RP Matt Mullaney

Arizona Rattlers
Last Season: 71-91 (3rd Place)
Manager: Fantasy Frea (2nd season)

Key Acquisitions:
Key Losses: P Raul Polanco

The Rattlers look to bounce back from a disappointing second half of Season 7, which saw them go from division contenders to a 3rd place finish. They took great steps to improve their lineup and power potential by adding free agents Jason Nunnally, Will Lansing and Kevin Martin (.272, 34, 95).

The key to Arizona’s season is oft-injured Ronnie Field. When he’s healthy, he’s a great arm at the top of the rotation. If manager Fantasy Frea can find a solid bullpen rotation to compliment Field and his fellow starters Arizona should be a team to watch in the division race.

Proj. Lineup:
C: Benny Knoblauch
1B: Jason Nunnally
2B: Carl Cornelius
3B: Archie Lyons
SS: Jimmie Wilfredo
LF: Kevin Martin
CF: Will Lansing
RF: Bob Flores/Troy Shelley
DH: Lou Washington

5 Key Pitchers:
SP Ronnie Field
SP Carlos Valdes
SP/RP Jamey Jackson
RP Luis Prieto
RP Gregory Hart

Salt Lake City Sea Monkeys
Last Season: 55-107 as Seattle Sentinels (4th Place)
Manager: psanders84 (2nd season overall, first season since #)

Key Acquisitions: 2B Ismael Iglesias (FA-BUR)
Key Losses: P Ron Tucker (FA – SC); OF Peter Allen (FA – BOS)

Psanders84 returns for a second stint with the franchise currently in Salt Lake City. Even though they are coming off a 4th place finish, the cupboard is far from bare. SP Rafael Morales (7-10, 5.14 ERA, 1.42 WHIP) is one of the best young arms in the game and Pascual Frias (31/37 save opps) has been a consistently solid reliever for several seasons.

A young lineup should be able to score regularly, even with rumors that veteran slugger Louis McCartin (.282, 29, 119) may be on the trade block. The trick for this squad is to improve pitching depth, that means Javier Trevino and Rich Bell need to earn their salaries.

Proj. Lineup:
C: Pascual Viriato/Jimmy Ramsey
1B: Al Tavarez
2B: Felipe Andujar
3B: Richard Little
SS: Raul Cedeno
LF: Ismael IglesiasCF: Jerry Carter
RF: Louis McCartin
DH: Joe Simon

5 Key Pitchers
SP Rafael Morales
SP Javier Trevino
RP Pascual Frias
RP Frank Rapp
SP/RP Rich Bell

Thursday, May 15, 2008

2008 Season Begins

Welcome back everyone to the 2008 season. This season shapes up to be one of the most competitively balanced to date in the National League. The American League is slowly closing the gap with Durham. All things being equal it should still be a very good season there.

I would like to take this time to welcome the new owners (and not so new owner).

First in was a former owner, who ran the Tacoma Tigers back in 2005. Psanders84 returns to the same team in hopes of continuing to turn this franchise around. His previous outing produced a 34-128 record with an extremely young team. Under his guidance, this team is poised to make a run at a .500+ record this year. With Rafael Morales anchoring the rotation, the Salt Lake City Sea Monkeys should be competing for a division crown soon enough.

The next owner to secure a franchise is drsnell. This rookie owner is taking on a winning Kansas City team that won the division in 2007 for the fourth season in a row. It will be very interesting watching this owner mold the team into his idea of a winner. This owner will try and use his college coaching prowess in the front office this year, as he has chosen to listen to the fans and keep the team right here in KC.

Last but not least, drubrally. Our second rookie owner that has the passion the former city of Tampa Bay was looking for. Drubrally, has chosen to relocate the former proud franchise to Nashville. This owner dreams of increased ticket sales and a more offensive producing stadium. He comes from a very successful coaching career in which he has won two national championships in the college game. While this is a different game, drubrally is very excited about this new challenge.

Here’s to wishing everyone a very good season and to come out fighting when you hear the bell.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Ottawa Rocks Durham!!

Congratulations to the Rocks for their seven game World Series victory!!!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Low A World Series Preview

Low A World Series Preview
The Low A WS matches two coaches who used to rumble in the SEC in Crum. One went on to win NCs and the other... well he doesn't coach there anymore. Not that that has anything to do with the Low A WS (I just wanted to plug my latest NC and give js a hard time for leaving Vandy). The Low A playoffs pretty much stuck to the script with the best record from the NL matching up against the second best record from the AL. The Chew are led by RBI machine Doyle Guerrero and his 26 HR and 150 RBI. The Pelicans will look for Orber Amaro to continue swinging the hot bat that produced 38 HR and 140 RBI.The Pelicans will throw Low As best pitching staff, 3.26 Team ERA, against the Chew machine that produced Low As best offense, .340 team batting AVG, 248 HR and 1325 RBI. First round draft picks Red Roosevelt, 3.69 ERA, of the Chew and Fausto Rivera, 2.08 ERA, of the Pelicans offer a preview of what one day may be a Major League World Series Game 1 match up.Follow the action at http://hdersiimlr.blogspot.com/

Friday, May 2, 2008

Rocks take Game 1 of NL Divisional Series

After squandering a 4-1 lead in the sixth the Ottawa Rocks took game one of the NL divisional series 6-4 in 12 innings. The game started with a bang in the bottom of the first inning when Roy Bere threw out Malcolm McCartin at the plate where he violently collided with catcher Buster Patterson. Patterson remained in the game and seemed to have no lingering effects as he later added two hits and two RBIs. Alan Brownson in his first playoff start of this post season survived the first inning and pitched six strong innings. Brownson’s night ending shortly after NL MVP candidate Robert Tomberlin hit a two run homer to make the score 4-3. After two solid innings from Stephen Herndon, the Rocks gave the ball to closer Andy Curtis. Curtis, as you remember, closed all three games during the wild card series but was unable to finish this one giving up a run in the ninth and being removed from the game. In the 12th, David Hyun, who has been mired in a slump during the playoffs, hit a 2 run homer to right center field to give the Rocks the lead and eventual win. This gives the Rocks a 4-0 record this post season and continues their incredible play over the last month.

Don’t forget about tonight’s early start time due to Kentucky Derby weekend. Both teams will fly out immediately after the game for Saturday afternoon’s game three in Ottawa.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Anaheim Sneaks Past Portland

Game 5 of the NL Divisional Play-In Game, turned out exactly the way the hype predicted. The Bombers Donne Rushford came through with a walk-off ground rule double over a drawn in outfield to push across the series clinching run against Portland. Giving Anaheim Bombers its first playoff series win.

The 29 year old, CF, had to be the least likely person the Showers were concerned with. Said Donnie in a post game interview, “ I wasn’t even sure if I was going to be invited to the post season after being sent down earlier in the year.”

Albert Pulido, (0-1) had this to say about the events leading up to the game winning hit. “ I just didn’t have good stuff out there.” Nick Wood did all he could to help the Showers advance going five innings allowing one run on four hits while striking out three. Nick was seen in the dugout arguing with the pitching coach, Homer Rogers, possibly about being pulled after only 70 pitches.

On to the next round for Anaheim where they will face the #2 seed Scranton Salt Dogs coming off their first round bye.