Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Push or Pull

The Push/Pull rating is probably the least most looked at rating of any position player. What does it mean exactly? The information says that a 0 is a dead pull hitter, so 100 would mean the exact opposite or dead opposite field. Basically, it is a hitters tendency and determines where the ball goes when contact is made about 80% of the time.

Chart for right handed hitter vs right handed pitcher
0-49 is hit to left side
50 is hit up the middle
51-100 is hit to right side

Chart for right handed hitter vs left handed pitcher
0-49 is hit to right side
50 is hit up the middle
51-100 is hit to left side

Note: This chart is in a simplistic form and can be broken down even further to determine which fielder will be involved in most cases.

For switch hitters and left handed hitters all you need to do is think opposite or watch the box scores as to where they hit the ball against different pitchers to get the hang of where it is going to go.

Whether the ball is on the ground or is in the air depends on several factors but mainly depends on the hitters power and the pitchers FB/GB ratings.

If you have a hitter that is about a 15 or 85, he will be hitting to/over the infield gaps. About 30 or 70 power alley hitters but at the SS/2B in the infield. 50 of course would be right up the middle.

Does this really matter all that much? Actually I am not sure myself. It might if you have a weak power hitting team and run aggressive on hit and run.

Here is question that everyone can debate: Why is the range and glove of a 3B need to be so great while that of a 1B is so little?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Look At the Draft Class for Season 11

1. D'Angelo Cerda, P, Wichita Wingmen - Made headlines as the Number 1 pick in the season 11 draft and holding out for the biggest bonus so far at $6M. Sporting projected great control and splits with some pretty good pitches. Should be a very good pitcher though the Cy Young award may be a bit elusive for him.

2. Omar Carrasco, P, Washington D.C. Revenge - Agent collusion that's what I call it, as Omar heard of the D'Angelo signing and immediately signed a few hours later for 700K less. Omar has good control with fantastic splits with a very good out pitch and 4 quality pitches. It will be fun to see these two go at each other. Which one will be better remains to be seen.

3. Graham Black, CF, El Paso Sand Walkers - The Sand Walkers are not sure he could be a ML CF with his weak glove but are willing to give him a chance otherwise it will be off to COF. Has average and long ball capabilities in the hitting department and a base stealing threat.

4. Kennie Frascatore, P, Tacoma TIE Fighters - Starting pitcher with great control and splits. Pitches are not an outstanding but should be satisfactory. Could be a high gopher ball pitcher without a very good PC catcher but should give 5 or 6 quality start innings.

5. Omar Chavez, P, Austin City Limits - Austin decided on a 3 pitch pitcher that could go 9 innings every time he pitches at the ML level. Has great control, splits and pitches but could be slow to develop late to his full potential.

6. J.J. Charles, P, San Diego Surf Babies - Unsigned

7. Jim Olson, SS, Sioux Falls Stoned Presidents - Real power hitting ML SS are hard to come by and he nearly has it all. However he is a bit of a risk due to his health which could shorten or end his career early.

8. Ching-Lung Fujiwara, P, Scranton Schrutes - Unsigned

9. Ray Krause, RF, San Francisco Super Sonics - His glove could cause him trouble in the OF. At the plate he could hit 50HR but could have a .260 average and be walked a lot. Could be very slow to develop and reach potential.

10. Rich Grace, P, Trenton Tunnel Rats - A 3 pitch pitcher that has great control and good splits for a lefty with 2 great pitches. His third pitch could cause some trouble.

11. Mike Franco, P, Kansas City Cattle Herders - A pitcher that can give 6 solid innings each time out. Has good control and has unhittable splits with a great out pitch. His other pitches aren't exactly show stoppers but will keep batters guessing. Could be slow to attain the projections and his health could cause big time problems.

12. Tom Fischer, 2B, Charlotte Gooners - Is by no means a 2B but will find a home somewhere in the outfield on a ML roster. Doesn't have exceptional power but will deliver at the plate with power numbers.

13. Dion Hull, P, Richmond Poor Men - Great control, good splits while the pitches leaves a little to be desired. Should still become a good ML pitcher.

14. Cristobal Sivilla, P, Toledo Mud Hens - Great control, weak splits and decent pitches. Could be slow to attain the projections and could be marginal at the ML level as a starter.

15. Matty Manzanillo, 2B, Cincinnati Waste Managers - A little weak in the range to play 2B maybe but there will be a spot on a ML roster. His hitting though not powerful will be enough to maintain an adequate average.

16. Jon Cosby, P, San Jose Bad News Bees II - With so many pitchers taken already, it seems a little odd for one of this quality to be picked at this late. Jon projects to a staff ace of the future, however it is possible he dropped so low due to his low patience that could cause problems in development.

17. Wayne Evans, P, Boise Posse - Another future staff ace with good control, splits and pitches. Can count on this kid at the ML as a probable #2 or #3 starter in the near term.

18. Martin Munro, 1B, Oakland Surenos - A power house 1B whose defense may be a touch weak but adequate. Speaking of power, 50+ home runs with an above .300 average is very highly possible or to me a sure thing.

19. Thomas Simpkins, CF, New York Moguls - How this kid will develop is a mystery to me with the lack of patience. He does project to be a good fielding CF with high power numbers with the tendency to strike out.

20. Groucho Priest, LF, Portland Opossums - Does project to be a decent LF or outstanding 1B. Has the plate presence to put up very good power numbers.

21. Angel Norris, 3B, Syracuse Orange Crush - Adequate defense for the ML. Hitting wise could find him walking a lot and a doubles and singles hitter with a few home runs thrown in. Health and makeup is questionable and could cause a short career.

22. Malcolm Smith, CF, Philadelphia Phillies - Unsigned

23. Pascual Pena, C, Columbus Criminals - Normally a catcher taken in the first round will have the hitting prowess and defensive skills to be the best in the league. However, very seldom do both happen at the same time. The hitting is definitely there but the defensive skills are severely lacking. Will probably play DH and backup catcher on most clubs.

24. Mac Hooper, P, Cincinnati Waste Managers - Most clubs taking pitchers after the 16th pick are normally looking for pen help. Mac fills the bill as his control is very good but splits are lacking for those of a true starter with decent enough pitches. Long relief is a good possibility at the ML level.

25. Daryl Damon, 2B, Burlington Lake Monsters - While 2B is probably out of the question, COF is a possibility. While not a chick magnet in the power department, he will hit for a good average.

26. Joe White, P, Charleston Apologists - Finding a quality starting pitcher this late in the first round is tough, but Charleston found one. May not be a dominate lefty starter but will give 5 or 6 solid innings each time. Great control, good splits and pitches.

27. Lance Belitz, SS, Las Vegas 69ers - Playing SS at the ML level is not out of the question, but if he doesn't, there are other opportunities. Hitting should be decent with some power.

28. Derrek Whitney, P, Little Rock Pebbles - Another starting lefty pitcher that fell through the cracks to the late 1st round. With adequate control, decent splits and pitches should easily make a ML roster. Many may have shied away due to his somewhat low health which could be bothersome early in his career.

29. Danny Terry, SS, Portland Opossums - Unsigned

30. Greg Mercedes, P, Nashville Kool Kats - A lefty setup pitcher, I wouldn't say a closer. Has great control and good splits. Does have a good out pitch but not exactly enamored with the other two for a strike out pitcher.

31. Dennis Hewson, LF, Jackson Holes - Projects to be a good LF. Will have good power numbers but will be streaky with the long ball.

32. Richie Reuschel, P, Cleveland Katanas - Good control, high medium splits, pitches are varied. Doubtful that he will be a starter at the ML level although long relief is plausible.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Pitchers and Pitches

I have been following a thread in the Forum about a pitchers pitches and if they are weighted. I am not the only one here following this little tidbit of information either, though no one has a real definitive answer either. WIS is not about to tell you how the formula works or what factors impact pitching resolution. Matter of fact they elude answering the questions about pitching the best they can. I am not sure about all of them myself but I have reasoned out a few about pitchers by the results in the box scores. This is where everyone needs to concentrate in my opinion. As in the real world the answer to the entire situation is "effectiveness" and that is the word WIS eludes to more than being definitive. With that being the answer any pitcher can be effective on any given day, that does not mean he will be effective every time they pitch. Cy Young pitchers have bad days also, so there must be some factor or combination of factors that will give them a bad game every now and then. With that being said, what one needs to concentrate on, more or less, is finding the pitchers that are effective the best.

One of the things I requested every one to do was read the help section about player settings for pitchers and players at the beginning of the season. Some of those elusive factors are mentioned there that no one seems to pay much attention.

One thing of importance that everyone seems to put less importance on is the players physical abilities. I have noticed that these ratings are affecting a players performance on the field more and more over the course of a season.

Lets take a little more indepth study of a pitcher and can be applied to any player if one stops and thinks about it.

Stamina - Does a high stamina make a pitcher more effective? Not really as it actually determines what role a pitcher plays more than anything else used in conjunction with his physical abilities of course.

Control - Does a high control make a pitcher more effective? Of course, it would be really silly to think otherwise. However low control pitchers can be just as effective. Patience, Temper and Makeup come into play here. I wouldn't want a high temper guy with low control, tend to lead to hit batters, fights and ejections especially if he hits a high temper batter.

Splits - It was noted that a real effective pitcher will have a vsR of 70 or better in this category. Most left handed pitchers don't have this, so what makes them tick that makes them effective against right handed batters? It has to be Patience, Temper and Makeup and their pitches. The same can be said of right handed pitchers with less than the vsR 70 also. Can low split pitchers be effective? I think so if their control is very high, have good pitches along with good Patience, Temper and Makeup and a good PC catcher will help.

Velocity - This one sometimes mystifies me. Most like the high velocity pitchers because they tend to strike more batters out which is true. In the same realm though, they also have a tendency to give up more home runs. It is my feeling that a high velocity pitcher better have real good control, splits and pitches to be effective. Once again Patience, Temper and Makeup come into play.

GB/FB - I am not real keen on a fly ball pitcher in a heavy plus park but they seem to fare just as well as a ground ball pitcher. My feeling here is that defense helps more than anything else along with the Pitches, Patience, Temper and Makeup.

Pitches - This is where things seem to get a little muddied and are a big factor as to whether a pitcher is effective or not.

Pitch #1 - The first pitch is the out pitch so we have found out, so if it is not in the 80's or 90's he is not going to be as effective.

Pitch #2 - If pitch #1 is his out pitch, then the second pitch becomes important and probably needs to be in the mid 60's and up at least.

Pitch #3 - Not all pitchers have a third pitch and there are lots of 3 pitch only pitchers and some are starters. For 3 pitch only I would say it needs to be in the 50's at least and the higher the better for any other.

Pitch #4 - Normally this pitch is in the 40's and I would say that it could be a bait pitch more than anything else. However there are times when this pitch is higher than pitch #3, this should be watched very carefully. If pitch #3 is not in the 50's, say 30's or 40', and pitch #4 is in the 60's or higher this tends to make the pitcher give up many more home runs.

Pitch #5 - This pitch is normally what one would call a throw away pitch if available. It has been said that if this pitch is really low that a good coach will get him to drop it or it would never be thrown. My question is how low is low and that answer has never been given, but I would assume that low would be less than 20. I have seen this pitch much higher than pitch #3 and pitch #4 lately, I do not know if this has any effect on the home run business in this manner.

The effect of a catchers PC is involved also. This is another factor that comes into play somewhere along the line. 50 is the standard for that, below 50 supposedly gets negatives and above 50 gets positives. What was said is that it gives a bonus to the pitches but it only effects OAV and SLG%. If that is the case then it becomes a defensive measure as is intended. That means if the resolution was that the ball was put in play, there is more of a likelyhood that it becomes an out or a home run may become a double or single.

Another factor that some don't realize is the batter himself, his Patience, Temper and Makeup also play a big factor in the resolution of an AB along with his hitting abilities. Does he have the patience to wait on that bad pitch #3? Does he have the makeup to know that pitch #3 is coming instead of pitch #4. Or did he swing and miss on a ball out of the zone because he guessed wrong?

Lets not forget about ball park factors also. Does weather get thrown in every once in awhile? Of course I didn't mention fatigue either, I have noticed that some pen pitchers can't throw two days in a row even if they are at 100% either.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

How To Find Draft Bargains

One of the great things about HBD is there are LOTS of ways to build a good team - free agency, the international market, trades and the draft. In many ways the draft is the most difficult way to go - the benefits are 3-5 seasons away and depend on successful development and injury avoidance (for one). But despite the popular sentiment that draft scouting needs to be "fuzzier," there are still bargains to be had. There's a huge difference between landing 1 or 2 major-leaguers in the draft (like I did here last year picking 7th) and landing 5 (like I did in another world that drafted this morning).

I did quite a bit more prep for that draft than I've done before, and some of the guys I had rated very high lasted a lot longer than they should've (imho). Here's what they looked like:

1) Pitchers with LOW control (50's) but very good splits, groundball and pitches. If you do a player search and look for guys like this you find that they generally perform quite well. I think what happens is a lot of owners do their first sort of pitchers by their control rating, then "eyeball it" one by one until they've manually ranked 100 or so players (or they just automatically move down those 50's control guys). In my other draft I had targeted a guy who projected to 54 control, 92/91 splits, 84 groundball, and 97/72/54/51 pitches for my 2nd-rounder. I actually had him as the 6th best player. He went #49. At 2 (64 overall), I ended up getting a high-DUR RP rated 59 control, 88/86 splits, 82 groundball, and 82/72/42 pitches.

2) Good-D 2B'men. Good-defense SS's and CF's don't fall far, and you see lots of good-hitting 2B with Range/Glove of 73/70 getting playing time. Conventional wisdom seems to be that you can give up a bat at SS and either C or CF, but 2B get a lot more chances than CF's - it's really a more important position defensively. We had quite a few of these in Double Mendoza: a couple went pretty high (26 and 30 overall), but one with Range/Glove of 93/92 and a vR split of 90 fell to #106 overall (probably because 0 power but who cares at that point?).

3) RH Pitchers with low vR (as opposed to LH Pitchers with a low vR). All other things being equal, a righty with a 60 vR is oing to be more effective than a lefty with a 60 vR. Seems pretty obvious, right? Looking at the DM draft, it doesn't look like most owners took that into acount.

4) Low pitch-count RP's (with good ratings). When your choices are a LF with 40's in all hitting categories; a lefty RP with Sta 25, Dur 32 and Con/vL/vR of 89/88/57, and a starter with Con/vL/vR of 80/32/32, who to take? The RP is the only major league player - tailor made to come in and get 1 lefty hitter. A number of these guys feel out of site in DM...I didn't apply my own rule well enough and missed on all.

Happy bargain-hunting!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Analysis of the Chicago/El Paso trade

Sandberg's railing on the Chicago/El Paso trade and bdrose has voted to veto (presumably seeing it as imbalanced in favor of El Paso...not sure, he hasn't said).

I love a good trade brouhaha.

While I prefer El Paso's side of the deal, too, I don't think it's a slam dunk by any means. Here's my take:

Chicago gets Ryan Rivers, a 30 year-old SP/LR with a pretty hefty contract, and $5 million, which pays Rivers for the rest of this year and about 45% of next year. Sandberg says Rivers' ratings have been dropping for 2 years, but that's not quite accurate; they dropped in Season 9 due to 2 injuries, but in Season 10 (at age 29), he actually gained a point each in his vL and all 3 pitches. Given his good makeup, there's a good chance he'll maintain his current ratings for the rest of his contract (age 32). At 91 health, he's not a great injury risk. His Season 10 (147 IP. 3.42 ERA) was probably the most valuable year any of these guys has had (not necessarily the best, which likely was Johnson's 88 innings of 3.06 for San Jose in Season 9), and there's nothing about the guy that suggests he couldn't do those numbers again.

So I don't think he's the total bum Sandberg does. Nothing great, but not a total bum. Sure, his contract is too much, but if you take into acount the $5mm El Paso is throwing in, his cost is down to $2.38 million a year for the rest of his contract.

El Paso gets Terry Johnson, a decent reliever with the aforementioned Season 9 plus another good year (although only 22 innings) under his belt (the knock on Johnson, though is that 58 vR - despite his other ratings, that 58 makes Season 10 - 5.46 ERA - as likely as Season 9); Lee Harris, a 39 year-old RP who has seen (much) better days (nice career but THIS is the guy in the deal who's ratings are plummeting. To say he has a career 4.09 ERA is accurate but misleading...it's been 2 years since he's been anywhere near his career ERA. And he's a threat to blow an elbow every time he thinks about warming up); and Joe Keats, a fair 1B who suffers from the fact that everybody has a better one...Sandberg calls him a "good bat off the bench," which I can go along with, but that's another way of saying "Can't crack the lineup".

There you go...the other side of the Chicago/El Paso trade. If I had to say one team "won" the trade, I'd go with El Paso. But in terms of it dramatically tilting the league's competitive balance or damaging a franchise's future (what I personally have to see to cast a veto vote), I don't think any of the players involved carry that kid of weight.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Time For Who Is Hot and Not List

Another 10 or so games has gone by and things start to settle down. Who is making the grade?

Syracuse Orange Crush: 8-2 over last 10 and has a 3 game lead in the North.
Jackson Holes: 8-2 over the last 10 and a 3 game lead in the South.

Boise Posse: 1-9 over the last 10 and has lost the last 5 in a row at home even.
Portland Opossums: 2-8 over the last 10 and a 7 game losing streak. They have an excuse called the schedule.
San Diego Surf Babies: 3-7 over the last 10 but maybe has started a winning streak.

Charleston Apologists: 9-1 over the last 10 and lighting up the scoreboard.
Oakland Surenos: 7-3 over the last 10 and on a 3 game win streak. Good enough to take over the top spot in the South.
Kansas City Cattle Herders: 7-3 over the last 10 and on a 5 game win streak has allowed them get close to the top spot in the East.
Burlington Lake Monsters: 7-3 over the last 10 but on a 3 game slide.

Madison BUTCHERS: 1-9 over the last 10 and on a 5 game losing streak. They hit the hot teams at the wrong time.
San Jose Bad News Bees II: 2-8 over the last 10. Playing league leaders didn't help.
Tacoma TIE Fighters: 3-7 over the last 10. Had a bad experience in the Northland and the schedule gets worse.
Las Vegas 69ers: 3-7 over the last 10. Had a fallout in the Southland add in some mad wet Hens and you have a disaster.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A GM's Thoughts and Dairy #1

Ever wonder what goes through the mind of a GM and the decisions one makes? Just like todays economy one must be justifiably prudent in their actions most of the time. Maybe a class on Econ 101 would be helpful. How many saw that the economy was gonna go south other than me? Only those that grew up in the 60's and 70's I would imagine and they probably understand this parallel. Boom followed by recession, history repeats itself once again. Everyone can disagree with me on this but there was two key things that happened then, that happened now. Once again the powers that be try to solve the effect instead of the cause and then don't pay attention to a more serious problem brewing elsewhere.

Okay what does that Econ 101 history lesson have to do with this game? I took the Sand Walkers team over last year (Season 10) as I wanted a team in the South division just so I could be in El Paso. Sounds like a dumb reason but it is true. The team had the fourth pick in the draft that is an effect. The cause is simple, the ML team was pathetic, some hitting and very little in the pitching department but low salary. The minors had very little in the cupboards also being another cause. Being a new owner I was more crippled with spending caps, another cause, as it is hard to discern some talent between good and borderline. So which cause and effect to fix as you can't fix three at the same time and keep another problem from brewing. It really takes two seasons to fix the cap problem and get them where you want, so nothing to fix there as it was set the best it could be, maxed out upwards.

Since the cupboard was bare, it was decided that it would be more prudent to start restocking the minors first. I could have tried to fix the ML team with some Free Agents, but that would not have been prudent because I needed too many. Too many is more than three by the way. So it was decided to go after at least two blue chip IFA prospects and hope for a good draft. That would be a start at restocking the minors with 5 to 8 players. Watching the Waiver Wire and maybe picking up another player or two also. Rule 5 is a way of picking up a good player or two for the future also. So, how did I do?

Rule 5
Benny Harnisch. Young Long reliever with emergency start capabilities with some room to grow.

Vin Acosta - Okay not a blue chip player but very cheap and if his defensive abilities are realized could make a good key position bench player.
Louie Duran - Was drafted as a 2B but best he could be is a RF, has some hitting upside. Depending on how he develops could be in the ML.
Midre Jose - Will progress through the ranks to AAA at least this year and find a Starting Rotation job next season. Well worth the money spent.

Alex Russell - 1st round pick that will probably need at least 3 seasons in the minors before being a starter at the ML level.
Billy Kinney - 3rd round pick that will need more time depending, but should be good as a 4th or 5th starter.

Analysis: Though not what I had hoped for in picking up 5 to 8 players but I did manage to pick up four good pitchers for the future. Coupled with the previous owners first round pitcher will give me a viable rotation in a season or two that could feature three Cy Young candidates. But I didn't come up with anything in the hitting department.

The Season 10 ML team was bad as expected using what was serviceable from the previous season and what was available in the minors. I really thought they would have been a little better than their record indicated. Looking back at the season, maybe I could have won more games if I had gotten a Free Agent or two as our 1-run record was 21-24. Would have it been wise to spend $10M to $15M on a couple players to win 10 to 15 games at most? The answer is probably not as it would have taken $20M or more to shore the problems and making trades was out of the question.

Season 11 budget was the easiest to set up, since I did get enough players to restock the minors as hoped. Though I do have the 3rd overall pick and I get the 40th as a supplemental also which surprised me. It depends on the board, but will probably go for a power hitter first. Of course I upped my training and advance scouting to max and decided to get out of the IFA market opting for Free Agents. The tough decision is whether to go after College or High School players or a mix in the draft. I just like College better, now I just hope it is a decent crop this season as it could be split or lean one way or the other. Medical went to $16M where it will stay.

I didn't go after any hitting in the Free Agent market as it turned out I had a decent bunch to start with from last season just relatively young. They are not going to power over anyone, but will be a defensive small ball lot that will win games. I did spend a lot of money on the pitching staff this year and it is showing so far.

Rule 5
Felix Embree. Not really wanting him but his future hitting style was worth a shot especially at lead off and there wasn't any pitching that was going to help available.

After examination of the team, the minor league cupboard is still pretty bare. Hoping the draft will help once again and keeping a close eye on the WW.

As play keeps going in the minors, I am keeping a watchful eye on my blue chip players waiting on that first improvement bump to see where they stand and a possible promotion to go with it.

The play of the ML team is about as I expected. They don't get worried about facing the big boys and play their game. What does happen is going to those plus away stadiums, the power just isn't there to keep up.

John Tamura - Injured again, what can you expect with a 31 health. Although he is a big bat that I lack, he will probably stay on the DL till someone else gets injured and I can bring him off and release him.

Duke Jackson - He showed improvement at AAA and it was decided to give him a chance as a call up for the injured John Tamura. So far so good in the pen.

Dicky Woo - I had enough of his antics in the pitching department today and I need a backup catcher so down to AAA he goes and will probably never see the ML again for the Sand Walkers.

Joe Clemens - Was brought up from the AAA deactive roster as the missing backup catcher. Why? Look at his durability, can only be a spot starter and backup with a good bat. Will be his last season and was held in ready reserve long enough. Will make a good DH when the time comes also. Should get 150 AB's in with 15 to 20 starts and 6 DH starts.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Who Is and Who Isn't

It is that being 20 games into the season. Who started playing ball, who stopped and maybe who is still struggling.

NL Hot:

Chicago Cosmos 7-3 - Caught the Butchers to create a tie for first in the North.
Philadelphia Phillies 7-3 - Jumped out to a five game lead in the East.
Charleston Apologists 9-1 - after a slow start has gotten hot and moving to the front fast in the West.

NL Not:
Toledo Mud Hens 2-8 - Suddenly so cold in Toledo that the bats froze.
Austin City Limits 3-7 - Just can't get it going.
Sioux Falls Stoned Presidents 3-7 - Low point losing to Austin.

AL Hot:

Columbus Criminals 7-3 - Caught the Crush for a tie in the North.
Cleveland Katanas 7-3 - Blades of steel knocking everybody down while cruising to a 9 game lead in the East already.
Jackson Holes 7-3 - And almost lost the lead in the South.
Little Rock Pebbles 8-2 Bam Bam here we are tied in the South.

Al Not:

Wichita Wingmen 1-9 - They came at us from all directions, the first place teams that is.
Washington D.C. Revenge 1-9 - We couldn't beat Trenton?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Escuela Tops Prospect List

Carlos Escuela, San Fran's power-hitting infield prospect taken 7th in last year's draft, tops the inaugural Joey Belle Top 100 Prospects List.

Escuela has a slight edge on fellow shortstops (although all will probably move to other positions in the majors) Clarence Marte of Chicago and Bailey Johnson of Sioux Falls.

Austin (11), Washington D.C. (9), Las Vegas (8) and Scranton (8) have the most players on the list; no other team has more than 4. Four teams are without a Top 100 prospect this year.

By Position:

C - 6
1B - 2
2B - 8
3B - 5
SS - 13
LF - 7
CF - 4
RF - 5
DH - 1
SP - 33
RP - 15

By Pick #:

1 to 10: 23
11 to 20: 22
21 to 30: 18
31 to 40: 10
41 to 50: 1
50 to 76: 9
Int' FA: 17

By Year Drafted/Signed:

4: 1
5: 2
6: 6
7: 16
8: 18
9: 32
10: 25

Pos Tm Lvl Pick# Sea

1 Carlos Escuela SS SF AA 7 10
2 Clarence Marte SS CHI HiA 1 10
3 Bailey Johnson SS SFLS ML 1 7
4 Brandon O’Halloran 2B SCR LoA 3 10
5 Frank Suzuki SS POR AA IFA 10
6 Juan Gomez RP LV AA IFA 8
7 Rob Workman SP WAS HiA 6 10
8 Charlie Cosby SP RIC AA 3 9
9 Jimmie Feliz SP WAS AAA 10 9
10 Erubiel Maduro LF OAK HiA IFA 9
11 Jorge DeJesus SP SCR ML 1 8
12 Wesley Telford RP OAK LoA 15 10
13 Craig Hague SP SJ AA 13 9
14 Andrew Corino SS BOI LoA 13 10
15 Jesus Diaz RP CIN HiA IFA 10
16 Vince Cross SP ELP AA 6 9
17 Miguel Mesa LF WAS AAA IFA 9
18 Otis Langston RF CLE AA 17 9
19 J.T. Burns C OAK HiA 27 9
20 Hector Rodriguez SS JAC AAA IFA 8
21 Robert Crawford 3B SCR HiA 2 9
22 Matty Ford SS WAS AAA 13 7
23 Richie Scheffer LF SFLS AAA 7 8
24 Harold Bryant SP CHA AA 5 9
25 Wilt McDowell RF BUR AAA 6 8
26 Jacob Nomura C TAC AAA 20 7
27 Quilvio Nunez C NY HiA 64 9
28 Chip Cromer CF SCR AAA 4 7
29 Esteban Velasquez SP WAS ML IFA 7
30 Joaquin Polanco SP BUR LoA 46 10
31 Hugh Rivera SS BOI AA 11 9
32 Nap Myatt LF AUS AAA 10 7
33 Peter Itou SP NAS LoA 29 10
34 Woody Blair SP AUS AAA 16 7
35 P.T. Lincoln RP MAD AAA 31 7
36 Midre Jose SP ELP HiA IFA 10
37 Rod Goldberg 3B NY HiA 23 10
38 Carlos Javier SP CIN HiA 22 9
39 Trent Diaz SP AUS AA 12 9
40 Alex Woodson CF LV ML IFA 7
41 Brett Jacobs SP LV ML 25 4
42 Sid Selby CF AUS AAA 17 7
43 Hughie Bruskie RF LV ML 30 6
44 Leonardo Hardy 2B SF LoA 16 9
45 Enrique Velasquez SP KC AA 30 9
46 Al Escobar SP COL AAA 17 8
47 Albert DeJean SP SCR ML 6 6
48 Andre Brownson C CHN AAA 37 6
49 Hack Bush 3B SYR AA 25 10
50 Louie Paniagua SP AUS HiA 8 10
51 Ernest Farr LF TAC AA 19 9
52 Matt Christiansen SP SFLS AA 14 10
53 Mickey Beckett SP NY AA 15 9
54 Clarence Richard 3B AUS AA 3 8
55 Davey Molina SS CHN AAA 28 6
56 Tomas Cruz SP AUS AA IFA 10
57 Rudy Merritt SP SF AAA 11 8
58 Ryan Lord C OAK HiA 76 9
59 Amos Christians SP JAC AAA 5 8
60 Derek Betemit SP LR AAA 24 9
61 George Titan SP MAD AAA 36 7
62 Rob Stein 2B BOI AAA 16 8
63 Walter Tuner LF LV AAA 27 7
64 Bill Wengert C LV HiA 75 9
65 Francisco James SS WAS HiA IFA 10
66 Raul Arias SP CHI AA IFA 10
67 Don Vitello 1B SCR HiA 51 9
68 Yorrick Fassero 2B CHI LoA 20 10
69 Jimmie Stokes RF SFLS AAA 8 9
70 Derek Walker C SJ AAA 21 8
71 Al Borges RP LV AAA IFA 7
72 Dannys Jacquez 2B CHN LoA 37 9
73 Derek Walker C SJ AAA 21 8
74 Flip Ingram RP NAS AA 25 9
75 Jason Cardona C JAC AAA 67 8
76 Billy Ray Buford SP RIC AAA 12 6
77 Zachrey Holzemer C SCR AAA 69 5
78 Felix Koh 2B AUS AA IFA 9
79 Larry Sutton RP WAS AAA 59 9
80 Matt Flores DH KC AA 21 9
81 Alberto Castilla SP SYR AAA IFA 9
82 Ralph Tatum SS COL AAA 32 5
83 Brian Jiang 3B SCR HiA IFA 9
84 Andy Newman SP CIN AAA 8 7
85 Archie Blake SS AUS AA 36 8
86 Sammy Canseco SP BUR LoA 33 10
87 David Lee 2B BUR ML 5 7
88 Damon Ramsey SP LV LoA 26 9
89 David Whitehead RF COL LoA 26 10
90 Benny Figueroa SS WAS AAA IFA 8
91 Brutus McKinley C WAS HiA 51 10
92 Neifi Foster CF WIC ML 17 6
93 Kelly Nelson RP AUS AA 18 8
94 Jason Griffin C CLE AA 31 9
95 Alex Russell SP ELP HiA 4 10
96 Marty Daly 1B AUS AAA 37 7
97 Everett Trammel RP TAC AA 55 8
98 Paul Shibata RP LR AA 35 10
99 Wilson McCurry 2B POR LoA 12 10
100 Roosevelt McGowan LF KC HiA 30 8

The Amateur Draft

I was going to hold off on this article because they are planning to make changes to the draft but it is not known exactly when that will be or what changes they are planning to make. All they have actually said is that it will be easier to rank players. Whether it will change the draft settings page is unknown.

This is for the newbies more than anything but could be informative for the more experienced. Your Amateur Draft board will appear on the AM cycle 1 on March 12 with 500 hopefuls contained therein (well actually more than that). Not everybody's board will look the same as there are 1000+ players total in the draft and I am not sure that everyone sees them all. The first thing you will want to do is look at the Amateur Draft Settings page and become familiar with it. If you have questions don't forget to ask for help. It is complicated understanding their meaning behind some of the options. Once your draft board appears you can play with the the settings and it will realign the players in your draft board to those wishes. One thing to note about the settings page, any time you have ranked the players manually then change your settings page it will rearrange your draft board again and you will need to re-rank the players again.

The target count is how many of that position you would like to draft at that position, I will not guarantee that is how many that will get drafted at that position. The weight determines how much emphasis at that position is desired. Basically what it does is resets your pool with more of that position being pulled forward so you will have a better chance at drafting players at that position. In other words it could bring a 67 OVR player into the mix and be placed over a 70 OVR or better players. The Player Type can be useful in finding a specific type of player at a position, like a slugging 2B. I rarely use that feature for the actual draft as there other ways of doing it.

The "any" target becomes useful when the next player on your board does not meet any of the other targets but is ranked higher than the next available targeted player and there are no equally weighted targeted players(in regards to OVR). This is where the Rating Threshold comes into play.

The trickiest thing I have ever seen is the Rating Threshold and their explanation. If you have set up your players manually, then this should be irrelevant and set to None or zero, because you would want to take the best player on the board in your eyes. However used in conjunction with the "any" and targeted players it does become a factor, so think about how you would want it set. Do you want to take the best player (and I use that loosely since it is OVR) or continue with a player that meets your target that might be next or further down the board? In my thinking you wouldn't want to use more than 2 in the Rating Threshold because it is talking about OVR after all.

Some things to be warned about is in the Bio of the players and their meaning and the signing risk level. If in the Bio, it has anything other than "Will sign for slot money" he becomes a risk and may not sign (we call them "iffy" picks). I always run the "Very Conservative" approach for the first round and "Conservative" for the rest, but that is me and I am not recommending it. Running that approach I have never had a player not sign however.

Some of the iffy bio statements.
1. Probably won't sign - I drop these ones to the bottom of the board, so I don't know if they will sign. Someone here probably knows whether some might sign or not.
2. May not sign - I drop these ones also, but have seen some sign.
3. Wants to be drafted in the first round or will finish school (college) - I have seen these sign in supplemental as it is still considered first round. Have seen them sign in 2nd round also, but will hold out for first round money at a minimum.
4. Wants to be drafted in first round or go to college on scholarship (HS). These ones are the toughest, most sign, some do not and hold out the longest.
5. Wants to be drafted in the first 5 rounds (College or HS) - Most of these sign after a while as long as it is within the 5 rounds.
6. Wants to play another sport or scouted to play another sport - I don't bother with these types because they want a big payday and are usually not worth it unless they are considered blue chip 1st rounders.
7. Will sign if the deal is right - They normally sign before or after a few days hold out.

What to do if you drafted an "Iffy" pick. Meet the demands listed during the negotiation phase. He will either sign or you will get a message telling you he is contemplating the offer or is complacent with the offer and not ready to sign. Just let it sit and do nothing is the best course of action. Some of the time you will get a message that he accepts the offer or ups the offer before the Rookie season starts. If you haven't heard anything by the 20th game of the rookie season, you can negotiate again meeting his demands but throw in a ST invite. At least he will know you still want him and you will probably get the same reply. I know it can be frustrating because the money is tied up, but never pull the offer off the table. I had one that waited till the last 10 days of the Rookie League season to sign.

When ranking your players, take heed to all the various ratings. Remember the players in the pool are rated as your scouts see them and that is how much you spent on scouting. Which means that the numbers can be skewed a little (or a lot depending) after you draft them and that means current and projected. Some of the things people forget to watch the most is the physical ratings and secondly is the pitchers ratings. Don't let the overall rating fool you.

If you haven't realized by now a Pitchers Overall rating can be inflated by a high Stamina and a hitters by high Power where the rest of the ratings don't support it. There are some other combinations that cause it also but are rarer. So be careful in this regard also.

A quick word on scouting budget and the board. If you had, say a 14-14 even split on scouting, you will see 250 college players and 250 high school players and they will be ranked by overall. My 16-10 uneven split budget I will see about 400 college and 100 high school and they will be ranked by overall also. I have to really look at the High School players because of the lack of scouting to see where they actually fit in, mostly it becomes an educated guess as I can't trust the HS scouting. If your adv scouting was 14 with the 14-14 split, chances are you will not see much of a skew if any at all. If your adv scouting was higher there will be a difference either good or bad. If your adv scouting is lower, you better have taken good notes.

About 65% of your draft will be pitchers, most of questionable ability. It used to be that you had an even split on position players and pitchers. But rule changes created a rookie pitching fatigue problem and there wasn't enough to go around, thus the current split. But now it has created a problem getting enough position players.

After you sign your players, I would put them in the Rookie League for their first season. Some like to fast track them and put them in Low A. Well at least that is the term that is used, whether it actually helps a player to do that is very questionable.

Here is how I normally set up my Draft Settings as an example, not always as it could change after I look at the draft board the first time. I set the target to 0 for all positions and the weight to 5 and type to none except RP and DH where I use 1 in the weight. I always rank RP's manually and I may set DH to 0 later if I don't see one I could use at another position being a NL team. I set the Rating Threshold to "none" and set round 1 to "very conservative" and the rest to "conservative". This setup is called taking the conservative best player available approach or BPA for short. When the draft occurs it will take the highest ranked player available on my board that meets the signing risk level. Using this method I have not had an iffy pick not sign but there is always a first time.

One must be very careful using this setup because you might draft 20 pitchers or more. That could cause a big problem if you don't have enough position players on the roster already.

Once the draft is over, I look at the results and usually only sign 10 or so players at that time. Just enough to fill out my rookie roster and replace some of the ones that aren't worth a plug nickel. At the end of the season and I have promoted all my players, I will sign the rest. You have until the ML WS starts to do that. This allows me to keep my rookie league populated. Though it probably ruins my chances of getting a DITR after All-Star break.

Manually ranking the players is just like Rule 5. Since there are 500 players to rank, I only rank the top 100 as after that they will only be career minor league players most generally. I probably actually look hard at the top 200 on my draft board getting those 100 and I probably spend the most time on my top 50.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

What Makes A Good World and Blog

There are several things that add excitement to any world. WIS has laid down the ground rules in what they expect from the GM's with their latest code of conduct.

Asking questions and getting results as we have seen is very good. Though sometimes the answer is not what one expects, I did disagree with the answer as I thought he should have been a Type B for the record.

An active world chat is always fun. Coming up with fake things with your fake players in chat is also fun. Ribbing and smack talk is also fun as long as it is not confrontational, hurtful, demeaning or downright disgusting.

A good Blog on the other hand takes several people to actually make it real good. Writing skills is not a prerequisite by the way. Taking the time to write an article once a week or more/less can go a long way in the enjoyment of others as well as yourself. Learning how to write is not hard but not easy the first time until you learn about all the ins and outs. I write for 6 different worlds I am in as I am retired and have a lot of spare time on my hands unlike most. Most of the training articles were pre-written by me for other worlds that just needed a little tweak here and there. Many articles I write are informative or are just for fun, pleasure or a joke. The hard part is being objective and truthful. The truthful part is the hardest sometimes by the way. Maybe you would just like to write about your team and thoughts. Like the direction you see taking your team, trades, call ups, drafts etc, it can make a good history that you can refer to later. Also writing about players not on your team can be helpful as it kind of forces you to look at their ratings and stats more closely and how they relate to one another more.

What I would like to see is at least one person from each division writing about what is going on within their division as most keep themselves apprised of what is going on there the most. Though I would like to see everybody write about their team at least once during the season as a preview at least. Like what your plans are as far as starters and possible rookies getting a chance to win a job, etc. Team song is always a fun inclusion.

How easy is it to become a writer on the blog? All you need is a gmail email account. Send the email address to me in Trade Chat and I can invite you to be a blog writer. It sends the invite to your email where you respond to the acceptance and your in. If you do not wish to setup an email account just Trade Chat me and I can give you the leagues user and pass codes to be able to write to the blog that way.

Who is Hot and Who is Not

Normally this is a 10 game update, but I be a game late, oh well things happen. So who has had a great start to the season and who has struggled?

It would seem that the start of the season looks a little whacky, but are they?

Madison BUTCHERS - After losing their first two games on the road has stormed back to take the division lead in the North as they swept El Paso in their home opener.

Philadelphia Phillies - Has jumped out early in the East, but the current series with Toledo could determine how things could go in the division.

Nashville Kool Kats - Swept Austin to start, but had problems with division mate Charleston then swept Scranton. Currently duking it out with El Paso in early division matches.

Tacoma TIE Fighters - Eke or is that eeking out wins could be a way of life, rumor has it they may change their name to X Wing Fighters next season so they can be sure to be on the winning side.

Toledo Mud Hens - The rooster is crowing but their current series could play an important pecking order down the line.

El Paso Sand Walkers - The biggest surprise so far in this young season, even to me.

Oakland Surenos - Tied for first in the West, could be a long season of flip flopping between the front runners.


Sioux Falls Stoned Presidents - A team I thought would challenge is struggling.
Burlington Lake Monsters - Won the division last year, nothing has gone right so far.
Austin City Limits - Plays well in the home confines, but the road has led to a flat tire.
San Jose Bad News Bees II - Have stung themselves with bad play.

The teams in the AL seem to be opening a wide gap early, will that hold or will things start to smooth out is the question.

Syracuse Orange Crush - Has carbonated to the lead in the North even though the home confines has been so-so.

Cleveland Katanas - The WS champ wannabe is off and running already for another run.

Jackson Holes - Last years runner up has jumped out early in the South, they looked in their rearview mirror and see trouble approaching however.

Portland Opossums - Wasn't sure if Portland was a good home but has been kind so far as they have jumped out to the West lead.

Little Rock Pebbles - After losing 2 of 3 to Jackson, they have to win to keep up and so far so good.

San Francisco Super Sonics - Struggled early in pitchers parks but have since gone on to a 5 game win streak.

Cincinnati Waste Managers - Losing 6 in a row and can't win at home has the GM scratching his head.
Trenton Tunnel Rats - The tunnel has collapsed and is filled with water, what to do.