Sunday, July 26, 2009

20 To Go

AL North

The Augusta Polar Bears and Cincinnati Waste Managers are still dueling for supremacy. The Columbus Criminals are playing well of late but just can't gain ground.

AL East

The Cleveland Katanas needs a couple wins to mathematically wrap things but it is really in the bag. The Washington D.C. Revenge has its sights set on a wild card spot along with the Rochester Phantoms.

AL South

The Jackson Holes have a 100 win season already and are coasting with the division title in hand and probably the #1 seed also. The Richmond Poor Men and Little Rock Pebbles are both still in the hunt for a wild card spot.

AL West

Boise Posse gave an 11 game lead and in all likely hood will win the crown.

NL North

The Hartford Cream and the Clear have hit the 100 win mark and have the division crown wrapped up with a bow. The #1 seed however is still up for grabs.

NL East

The Burlington Lake Monsters have a 9 game lead for the crown with the Toledo Mud Hens a distant second.

NL South

The Charleston Apologists has a run away with the division from the start but are only up by 11 at the moment and only 1 game behind the #1 seed. The Nashville Kool Kats are playing well again this season and lead the wild card race.

NL West

The San Jose Bad News Bees II, Oakland Surenos and Las Vegas 69ers are playing dueling banjos as one will streak then the other. One of the losers will more than likely gain a wild card spot.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Inside The Numbers

Todays look is at pitcher of the week (POWP) Ruben James. He is a very good power pitcher and is Cy Young capable, though probably not this season. For the most part, Ruben pitches 6 innings plus per outing and is used in the pen occasionally throwing about 100 pitches per start. Although the old timers will tell you they always like power pitchers, there is a big drawback. He may strike out more batters and fewer balls may be put in play but power hitters love power pitchers and a stacked lineup hurts his capabilities. The number of pitches vs number of innings and home runs given up could be a product of a weak stable of pitches. With the control, splits and fly ball ratings though, I doubt this.

Todays look at player of the week (POWB) Brant Cooney. Brant is a young power hitting 1B. A demotion at the beginning of the season may have woke this kid up, but taking that risk and the result, rest of the season to get him back on track may have been lucky? After looking at his stats, the big question remains in my mind, is the park conducive? The one thing that jumps out at me is his BB to SO numbers. Looking at his ratings I would have assumed he would have had more walks than strike outs.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Fatigue Problems

I know it is a complaint issue in several worlds. For a rookie or novice owner, I can understand how it happens. Sometimes they ignore the problem and hopes it fixes itself, in most cases it won't without intervention. Maybe they don't know the best way to fix the problem and don't ask for help. I also know that not every owner can check their teams after every playing cycle which can cause unexpected problems. Real world stuff does happen, but the commish should be notified if at all possible.

As some have said, turning the AI for the minors can help. The only warning I have for that is if you handle draft signing like I do. If you haven't signed everyone and you have the money, the AI will do it for you.

Most of this is about pitching fatigue, but don't forget about position fatigue also, a player is more apt to be injured the lower he goes. I used to complain about owners playing players out of position in the minors, not any longer. I would rather see a fresh body at a position whether he can play it or not than have a good player on the DL.

There are a couple unavoidable situations I have been in where there is no immediate fix. Starting pitchers going one or two innings before being injured, not a problem if it happens once, but I have had that scenario happen on back to back days. That is a tough recovery when you already have a roughed up pen. I had a 21 inning Rookie league game in another world this season, try fixing that in a day or two. But still, fixing the problem only takes a day or two if you are proactive.

In the minors I don't worry about my pitching that much. What I do care about is quantity and quality. In Low A, I normally carry 17 pitchers and I try to carry 14 or more at all other levels. The 17 is on purpose, it will allow me to control problems that may arise at High A and the Rookie League. A spare or two at AA and AAA will allow me to control problems there.

Most generally it is stated never to demote a player ever, I agree with that under most circumstances. If the player is going to be a ML quality player one day, never demote him. However, if the player has no relevance to the ML team now or in the future and he is needed at another level, it sure isn't going to hurt him or your organization all that much. He may opt to leave the following season, but then what difference will that really make?

What I try to do on the make up of a team is to have 10 starters, their makeup usually consists of good stamina, control and pitches, notice I don't care about splits. From those 10 I choose the best 5 as starters with ML prospects getting first dibs of course. Then I might put in three relief pitchers to round out the pen. They are usually closer types, but I seldom run a closer in the minors. In reserve I just care about having some extras. At the beginning of the season I call all of them Setup A so I don't have to figure out what they are. About 30 games into the season, I determine if they are Setup A or B depending on their ERA, the worst becomes B's. If I have a pen starting pitcher performing better than a starter, I won't hesitate to change them. I never run with a mop up pitcher either, I find that roll rather useless. I also try to make sure pen pitchers are limited a little so they don't get over pitched and fatigue below a days rest.

If I run into trouble at another level, I will promote a guy up the line to fix the problem if necessary. I start the movement from Low A of course. Then I go and find another body to replace him from IFA, FA, WW, tryout camp or Rookie League.

Everyone has a different way of handling the draft and moving players once the season is over. But here are a few things that could be helpful. After rollover I try to have my Rookie League already stocked with 20 players. I get them from tryout camp and the WW or left overs from the previous season. It also provides for a handy pool of extra players for the first third of the season. Most generally I try to find starting pitching types or middle relievers.

Why do it this way? I am not burdened with needing to find a certain type of player or needing to sign a player I draft immediately. What I normally do in the draft is find the best player for the first round and a needed player the second round. I try not to draft relief pitchers at all unless they are first round quality. I set the draft up to draft SP only in the pitching realm as described earlier though I pay more attention to splits. Normally I only sign my top ten picks and the best players that are better than what I already have on the roster. The top 3 may wind up in Low A. I used to be against this but it does have some advantages. Like resting position players with like abilities instead of a lessor quality player. In all reality, I have not seen any player actually advancing at a faster or better pace. Also, if I need another player, I can always sign him off the draft list.

At the end of the season, I promote the best players out of the Rookie League, release the real bad ones, usually ones that have absolutely no value or have a bad health. Then I sign the rest of the draft picks to repopulate and watch the WW also. I might have players that are career rookie league players, if they retire the next season, it won't hurt that much. Actually, I don't mind career minor league players retiring, it is replacing them that is a pain sometimes.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fatigue-free MInors? Yea or Nay?

There are some HBD Worlds that require their owners to field complete minor-league rosters and keep their players (especially) pitchers from degrading to 0 fatigue. Near as I can tell, these are the arguments against and for such requirements:


1) There aren't enough minor-league players to go around. Technically, this is true or close to it in some of the older worlds (like Belle). It's also true that if all teams signed most of their draft picks and used excess prospect budget $$ at the end of the year to sign int'ls, and paid attention to promote minor leaguers annually (even the ones who aren't prospects), there would be enough minor leaguers.

2) It's too much trouble to manage.

3) It doesn't really matter to the real outcome we're concerned with (major league results).


1) The general argument for the requirement is: "If we want to be a high-quality league, do it the RIGHT way." Don't allow practices that are legal within the HBD framework but are shortcuts that give small but real advantages.

2) In the specific case of minor leagues, the argument is that not signing enough minor leaguers yields a small financial advantage. It's not big - my minors payroll is currently 7.447 mm, and I found one team with 4 mm less. But the question is whether this is the kind of $4mm advantage we want teams to be able to get (as opposed to, say, managing their draft so they sign their picks for $4MM instead of $8MM).

There may be other arguments for or against - post others as replies here or on the World Chat - thanks.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Home Run Derby

Congrats to Luke Joyner as he grabs the title in his first All-Star attempt. He beat out Wilson Costello who owns the record for putting the most Center Field fans in the infirmary this season. It just goes to show that it is easier hitting a Matty Vaughn fast ball than the ducks thrown in the Derby.

Friday, July 3, 2009

At the Half (NL)...

NL North: Thanks to the league's leading offense, Hartford is running and hiding from the rest of the division again. 2B Alberto Pinzon leads the attack with a 1.049 OPS in his MVP bid. Sioux Falls is bidding to top .500 and is lurking on the fringe of the wild card race.

NL East: Sorry guys, but this is the least interesting race in Belle. Not only is everyone under .500, but Burlington is running away with it. Free agent SP Frank Huff has been decent with 8 wins and a 4.26 EA, but not the dominator the Lake Monsters envisioned when they signed him for $18 million per. Huff and Albie Rivera will have to get hot for Burlington to go anywhere in the playoffs.

NL South: Charleston, winner of 3 of the last 4 championships, looks even more dominant this year. At 38, Matty Vaughn is having his best season...and that's saying something (5 Cy Youngs). The Apologists are in hailing distance of the all-time team ERA record (3.01 by San Jose in Season 3). Nashville is just off a little from the 94-101 win teams of the last 4 years. They could go on a streak and lock up the first wildcard anytime, though. Austin brought up 7 rookies at game 22 and has played .630 since.

NL West: The race to watch with Las Vegas, San Jose and Oakland separated by 2 games. The Bad News Bees II's surge has been fuled by improved pitching and the slugging of ROY and MVP-contender Derrek Walker (.346, 23 HR). The Surenos are getting an MVP performance from Wilfredo Feliz and have their own outstanding rookie catcher in J.T. Burns (.279, 24 HR). RF Hughie Bruskie leads the 69er offense with .307 and 23 HR.

MVP: Wide open. Gary Goodwin will be in the mix if Toledo trades him at the deadline. San Jose's Derrek Walker and Oakland's Wilfedo Feliz are certainly in it. Hartford's Alverto Pinzon, Nashville's Dickie Hudson and Hartford's Luke Joyner are 1-2-3 in RBI.

Cy Young: Charleston's Matty Vaughn is the clear leader but it's not over. Nashville's Jesus Javier is right on Vaughn's heels with a 2.11 ERA. Vaughn's teammate Kazuhiro Lim is 10-1, 2.74. Hartford's Felix Woodward (12-3, 3.13) and Vegas' Adrian Jensen (11-5, 3.19) could work inot contention.

ROY: San Jose's Walker leads the pack; Oakland's Burns, Sioux Falls' Richie Scheffer (2.99, 22 HR), Oakland's Erubiel Maduro (.266, 14HR), and Austin's Clarence Richard (.303, 17 HR) are the pack.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

At the Half (AL)...

We have some great races and a few surprises as we close in on the halfway point. Around the world...

AL North: Augusta rode a hot start to the division lead, but Cincy and Columbus are hanging in (despite being under .500). One 12-of-16 streak might decide this division.

AL East: For the first time since Season 7, Cleveland has a challenger. After years of patient rebuilding, flynnp has D.C. battling the mighty Katanas. The Revenge are excellent across the board: 2nd in runs scored, 3rd in ERA, and 3rd in fielding %. 1B Eric Brantley (1.053 OPS) and 3B Vinny Ma lead the offense, while Fausto Ontiveros (9-0, 2.95 ERA) and Norm Barkley (8-3, 3.56 ERA) pace the staff. And...look out AL for years to come...13 players on the ML roster are 25 or under. Meanwhile, Cleveland is playing its usual .700, leading the league in runs by a wide margin, and pitching to the tune of a 3.78 ERA. Should be a great race.

AL South : Only division with all 4 teams over .500 - Jackson's in control and on a 20-6 streak. Standout performances include the Holes' Del Mendoza (leading the league with 11 wins; 2.78 ERA) and Wilson Costello (leading the world in HR -42, RBI - 93, and OPS - 1.182).

AL West: Boise has forged a 10-game lead and looks like they'll cruise in. San Diego, Portland and San Francisco are all in rebuilding mode and could well be dealing at the deadline.

MVP: Hard to see anyone challenging Costello and his 93-HR pace.

Cy Young: Just as wide-open as MVP is shut. Jackson's Mendoza and Johnny Collier, Rochester's Ken George, Little Rock's Del Ramirez, Cleveland's Lorenzo Rodriguez and Aaron Torres, and Washington's Fausto Ontiveros are in the mix, but there might be 5 or 6 more who could win it with a big second half.

ROY: Little Rock's SS/CF Jerry Bernaro probably has the edge, but Cleveland's Otis Langston has 30 roundtrippers. Charlotte's Harold Bryant and Washington's Brook Wengert lead the pitchers.