Sunday, November 9, 2014

Farm Report

1) Vernon Carson (3B)- Able to field the hot corner with Elite Power and splits, but lacks that elite contact to be a future MVP candidate year in and year out. Likely will develop into a Jim Thome style hitter with a line of .285/.375/.555

2) Graeme Evans (CF) - Amazing range and speed, but lacking in hitting fundamentals will limit his upside. Will be a great defensive replacement shown by his great number of good plays already in his career. However, his playing time may be limited by a mediocre stick. Will likely be looking at a career line of .265/.345/405.

3)Esmerling Moya (SS) - Great Glove with decent splits against RHP will likely land Moya at the ML level at some point in his career.

4)Gernanimo Profar (CF) - A lighter hitting, less range version of Evans. Has a solid shot at to become a ML 2b or CF.

5) James Nishikowa (RP) - Already has the skills to be a middle of the road ML RP, but is blocked by talent and better FA available at the ML level as of now.

6) Esteban Martinez (SP) - Not a world beater, but Esteban will be an inning eater at the ML level assuming he doesn't get rocked and pulled early.

7) Gary Neilson (2B/CF) - Skills to be a ML player at most stops, but can't make the Boise squad. Has be blocked for many years and will likely be a career AAAA player unless the ML squad moves someone.

8) Erik Murray (3B/SS) - A player stuck between two positions. Bat is a little light for 3B and can't field well enough to play SS. Solid player all around, though.

9) Walter Thames (SP) - An intriguing prospect with good pitches and location, but gets wild at times. Will be keeping a close eye on his progression through the MiL

10) Rubby Owen (SP) - future ML inning eater.

Paul Truby
Chipper Beck
Cookie Sosa
Lorenzo Valdes
Miguel Urena
Gabby Wirth
Bill Rooney
Trent Velandia
Tony Marquez
Ernest Voyles

 My 2 Crown Jewels are both SP's & were both #1 Overall Draft Picks: Paul Truby & Chipper Beck. They are both future Aces & possess similar stuff. They both have elite Control, great splits, especially vs R. They should be at the Top of my rotation for 10 + seasons. Sosa, Valdez, & Urena, are my best position player prospects. Sosa projects to be a very good 2B or possibly a solid CF, with elite Contact and Batting Eye, decent vs R, elite vs L and half way decent power, OK speed and base run. He should be a multi All Star selection. Ditto that for Valdez. Depite the fact that he is a COF, He is a Switch Hitter with Elite power & batting eye, and very good Contact and splits. Urena is similar to him. He's also a COF, and their projected Contact, Power and Eye are almost identical. The main difference being Urena is projected at almost Max Power at 98, but his left split is almost anemic. All 3 will be at the top or middle of my order for a decade plus, as well. Worth and and Rooney are lacking in the control department, but if they get close to their projected Splits and pitches, they will both be above average P's at the ML level. Velandia and Voyles should both be decent RPs at the ML level and Marquez should be a great back up C or decent starting C, in the Bigs.

1. RF Bucky Paul
2. SP Benny Aviles
3. 2B Sam Buck
4. RF Andre Logan
5. SP Carl Thomas
6. SS Greg Trachsel
7. RP Fred Donahue
8. DH Jose Mendoza
9. SS Rolando Ortiz
10. RP Ricardo Lee

Others to Watch: RP Haywood Allen, RP Preston Piper, RP Von Feller, RP Harry Albaladejo, SS Mitchell Villone, LF Victor Gomez, DH Flip Hill

1, Bucky Simmons
Future staff ace pitcher obtained in offseason trade with Louisville is projected to be the long term anchor as Fargo seeks to return to its starting pitching dominance it had for a long time from seasons 8-20. While health rating is a possible concern, the comparison is to Tony McLaughlin who had a similar rating and was a mainstay of the rotation for 15 seasons. control, stamina and great splits to go along with vilosity make Simmons a top pitcher now and for seasons to come.

2, Giomar Diaz. Another starting pitcher in his rookie season following the same trades with Louisville, he is developing faster than expected. He could eventually settle into a long term middle of the rotation slot with good control, reasonable splits and a good combination of stamina, durability, health, vilosity and a good ground ball to fly ball rating. four pitches that grade average or better helps.

3, Julian Fontana. Yet another member of the huge trade from Louisville, the slugging 1b has the potential to hit for a good average and produce 25-35 homers per season if he lives up to potential. Health and durability will not be an issue for this rookie 1b who could slot into the position for the next 10 seasons in Fargo.

4, Ben Prince. the pitcher drafted with the 4th pick in the recently completed draft is especially effective against righties and he projects to have good vilosity and a high ground ball rating. How well his stamina develops is of some concern and he might work best in a 6-man rotation which Fargo has used before or as a 2-inning closer who would need more recovery time, in ways similar to how Lance Carino was used during seasons 12-15.

5, George Howell. Another pick from this season's draft, Howell has the potential to develop into a back of the rotation starter who has two plus pitches and great control. He projects to have good stamina and his only flaw is that he could be a tad vulnerable to lefties.

6, Matt Carter. completing his first year in the bigs, Carter has enough of a bat to be a 4th outfielder and the bat plays well enough so that he could be a reasonable offensive sub in right and a reliable sub both with the bat and glove in left and at first base.

7, Augie Acosta. This pick from the recently completed draft could if he fulfills potential be useful part of a bullpen with two above average pitches and projected control and splits that would make any manager comfortable. while stamina is not great, it is offset with potential durability and health that could lead to a long career in the bullpen.

8, Alexi Moscoso. while not the best defensive first baseman and while the splits are a bit worrysum, their is potential for this guy to have the occasional breakout season with the ability to make good contact and have lots of power behind it. He could long term end up as a DH with an AL franchise and provide 20-40 homers in the right situation for not a ton of money. The batting eye is also good, so a 2012 Carlos Pena type season is a strong possibility, if not more for this slugger.

9, Tike Skipworth. Taken in the prior draft, he has one flaw, weaker splits against batters in terms of effectiveness. If he gets to a diamond in the rough status, which could happen given his great makeup, the other parts of his game could play in the majors, given the 90 plus ratings both for his control and vilosity, which could place him in the back of a rotation.

10, Chan Martin. The same issues that describe Skipworth apply to Martin who is a relief pitcher. If the effectiveness can get better than is projected, his control and pitchability could make him a relief pitcher who is a useful part of a major league bullpen.

Las Vegas 
1. SP Eduardo Delgado,age 18 highA, ETA season 35 – Newly signed international prospect received a Franchise record $23 million signing bonus and quickly moves to #1 prospect for the Hangovers. He projects as a front-line starter.
2. SP Danny Rivera – age 22 AAA, ETA season 33 – The 6’6” lefty projects to be a middle of the rotation guy. Owning 4 solid pitches that could see him stay in the show for 10+ years.
3. SS Jerry Brooks – age 22, AA ETA s34 glove will carry him through the ranks, proj to be an above average guy at SS. Contact is high but hates facing lefties and a below batting eye won’t help in the show.
4. C Mike James, age 22, AAA s32 sept callup – Calls a good game, has phenomenal speed which isn’t typically for a catcher. Good power too, he be a very solid backup catcher in the show unless an injury derails his career.
5. LF Eliezer Palmeiro – age 21 AA, eta s34 – A keen batting eye, can be a contributor in the ML but don’t expect all-star numbers at any point of his career.
6. CF Francisco Posada, highA ETA s35 – def whiz, solid splits but low contact and poor batting eye won’t see regular action but a very solid def sub.
7. Rl Ed Shaffer, age 22, AA s33 sept callup – will be a good addition to a bullpen, good fastball but will need to develop his slider.
8. 3b Shaggy Quinlan – age 21, AAA s33 – solid ML bench guy, spot starter.
9. Rl Mitch Ruffin, age 22, AAA, s32 – has all the makings of a solid closer except for one probably, control. He has earned the nickname Mitch “Wild Thing” Ruffin.
10. P Antonio Ramirez, age 24, AAA s32 sept callup– can pitch anywhere in the bullpen, righties can be a problem but he has a great sinker.

1)Denny Shibata potential All Star

2) Miguel Encarnacion great defense and decent bat

3)Tony Aguilar good speed and bat

4)Kevin Yamikazi lots of pop but will it work in our new stadium?

5)Orval McCorley potential trade bait as an AL DH, might catch

6)Boots Clark not sure what to do with this kid

7)Alberto Abreu potential lights out closer

8)Charlie Sullivan like the looks of this SP in our park

9)Vitas Crawford another great SS

10)Donnie Osick great looking CF prospect to supplant Martin

New Britain  
1. Estaban Diaz, IF/OF (AAA): Ceiling – 20/20 gold glove 3B
2. Giomar Owen, LF/1B (AAA): Ceiling – 40 HR middle of the order bat
3. Alfredo Latos, 1B (Low A): Ceiling - .320 20 HR 100 RBI with high OBP
4. Andy Russell, RP (High A): Ceiling – 40 save closer
5. Scott Robinson, 1B (High A): Ceiling - 40 HR middle of the order bat
6. Peter Adkinsson, IF/OF (AAA): Ceiling – solid utility player
7. Charles Chang, RF (AA): Ceiling – solid platoon OF
8. Cecil White, C (AA): Ceiling – impact 250 AB platoon catcher
9. Jason Carlyle, RP (High A): Ceiling – above-average 8th inning set-up RP
10. Esteban Samuel, RP (Low A): Ceiling – above average long relief or LH specialist

New York 
SP Milton Wehner
C Mark Ramirez
2B Bernie Posada
1B Nefi Castillo
C/DH Jerry Moses
SS Jaskson Russ
SP Gus Cheng
C/DH Ricardo Gonzales


Salt Lake City 
1. Yunel Gutierrez – RF/1B (eta season 32) – huge power bat with good contact and batting eye. Above average speed. Projects as middle of the order bat who should make multiple AS appearnaces.
2. Alberto Urbina – RHP SP (season 33) – should move into the rotation next year and provide immediate SP2/SP3 production. Above average against RHP and his plus sinker will help keep the ball in SLC’s smaller ballpark

3. Domingo Ordonez – CF (season 34) – massive power with + range should make him a regular AS for years to come.

4. Ignacio Gonzalez – SS (season 32) – gold glove caliber shortstop with massive power should produce 40+ HR annually. Despite being the faster player in the league, his swing for the fences approach will keep his batting average around the Mendoza line

5. Marvin Hayes – SP (season 33) – Should provide SP3 value next year as a very solid pitcher with solid control and a plus fastball that depends on movement, not overpowering velocity.

6. Fergie Upshaw – RP (season 35) – season 32 1st round draft pick has the stuff to be an elite closer in a few years

7. Jose Guerrero – RF/LF (season 34) – may not turn into an All-Star but he’s above average in every offensive category which will lead to a very long and productive MLB career

8. Benny Henry – IF/OF (season 33) – can play every position in the field except catcher and is a + defender and base stealer to go along with a very capable bat.

9. Clint Jenkins – 2B (season 32) – no power but above average bat and plus glove have him next in line for the 2B job in SLC

10. Morris Bourn – SP (season 33) – at worst will be a more than capable SP4/SP5 for a long time in the league.

San Francisco 
1. Richard Ratliff SS 19 years old (HiA .362/.414/.569) our #1 pick in this season's draft
2. Anibal Bolivar 2B 20 (AA .272/.338/.425) International FA, first season. hit .333/.444/.667 in 12 LoA post-season games last season
3. Raul Guzman 2B/CF 21 (AA/AAA .330/.401/.590) Recently promoted to AAA, former 1st-round pick, career .949 OPS in minors
4. Gio Coronado 1B 23 (AA .351/.432/.601) our #1 pick in last season's draft
5. Kent Bolton SP 23 (AAA 6-5 3.44) Went from HiA to AAA without missing a beat, ML likely next season
6. Benito Guerrero CF 21 (HiA .347/.407/.449) First-round pick in this season's draft, on 60-day DL
7. Jeremi Brooks 3B 23 (HiA .285/.363/.439)
8. Beamer Kendall RF 19 (HiA .306/.364/.448)
9. Ben Fleming RP 23 (ML 5-2 6 SV 2.82) Not true prospect, in majors 3+ years, only 23 and best RP in system
10. Mule Woodson DH 22 (AA/AAA .288/.425/.594) Recently promoted to AAA, former 1st-round pick

1. Edgardo Seanes P 22 yrs old AAA
2. Davey Wunsch P 21 yrs old AA
3. Frank Ishida P 23 yrs old AAA
4. Al Palmeiro P 20 yrs old low A
5. Vic Reynoso RF 18 yrs old low A
6. Jeff Wallace RF 21 yrs old rookie
7. Artie Kelly P 21 yrs old High A
8. Tony Beltre P 18 yrs old rookie
9. Bryce Scheffer P 20 yrs old rookie
10. Benito Uribe 1B 20 yrs old rookie

Syracuse - Current stats age ab hr rbi Ba Obp slg pct
Lance Polcovich AAA SYR LF 24 341 21 64 .279 .390 .543
Luis Gil AA SYR LF 21 335 23 71 .340 .428 .645

Current stats age w-l ip Era Whip
Wilson Jackson AA SYR P 23 2-4 79.0 2.96 . 1.20
Fernando Solano AAA SYR P 22 5-9 117.0 4.38 . 1.26
Benito Polonia AAA SYR P 23 11-5 108.2 2.82 1.09
Juan Zapata AAA SYR P 20 2-3 62.0 2.76 . 1.21
Ignacio Berroa AA SYR P 22 11-5 137.0 3.94 1.41
Domingo Valentin LoA SYR P 19 5-6 111.0 3.57 . 1.20
Lance Dixon AA SYR P 21 3-4 49.0 3.49 . 1.00
Ethan Bailey LoA SYR P 20 2-1 32.0 3.38 . 1.16
worked better over here sorry about the trade chat mess

Javier Rodriguez - CF......but most likely end up as a corner outfielder, 2B or even play 1st

Willie Mijares - RF
Benny Gonzalez - LF
Benny Alfonso - 3B
Jacob Takahashi - SS

Dennis Nicholson - SP
Clem Walsh - SP
Edgard Julio - RP
Milton Brumfield - RP
Ryne Reagan = RP

Friday, October 17, 2014

Season 32 Mid-Season Report

ML NL North (Season 32)
Team Owner W-L PCT GB L10 STRK Home Road Login
Salt Lake City Moguls irondawg 51-30 .630 - 6-4 W4 29-14 22-16 10/17
Milwaukee n/a's heinzkill * 47-34 .580 4.0 7-3 W3 26-16 21-18 10/17
Boise Mountain Hawks letchkins 45-36 .556 6.0 4-6 L1 23-16 22-20 10/17
Fargo Cats reggiedeal * 38-43 .469 13.0 6-4 L1 19-16 19-27 10/17

ML NL East (Season 32)
Team Owner W-L PCT GB L10 STRK Home Road Login
New Britain Bombadiers nwm11 51-30 .630 - 8-2 W3 25-14 26-16 10/17
Jacksonville Cubbies mark102857 41-40 .506 10.0 3-7 L3 19-23 22-17 10/17
Syracuse Marshals marsh_1 * 39-42 .481 12.0 5-5 L3 22-20 17-22 10/17
San Juan Pirata fletchkd 36-45 .444 15.0 4-6 L3 17-24 19-21 10/17

ML NL South (Season 32)
Team Owner W-L PCT GB L10 STRK Home Road Login
Austin Powers jclmnop 49-32 .605 - 6-4 W3 25-17 24-15 10/17
Durham Flying Hippos vector21 41-40 .506 8.0 4-6 W1 22-21 19-19 10/17
Memphis Mighty Mosquitos ccfought 36-45 .444 13.0 5-5 W1 17-26 19-19 10/17
Florida Flame Rattlers 30-51 .370 19.0 2-8 L5 16-22 14-29 10/17

ML NL West (Season 32)
Team Owner W-L PCT GB L10 STRK Home Road Login
Tacoma Method finnski 45-36 .556 - 7-3 W3 22-20 23-16 10/17
Las Vegas Hangovers impressionah 42-39 .519 3.0 5-5 W1 18-20 24-19 10/17
Honolulu Warriors gregor199 36-45 .444 9.0 4-6 L1 18-18 18-27 10/17
Sacramento Savages Free_Barry 30-51 .370 15.0 4-6 L3 15-28 15-23 10/17
ML AL North (Season 32)
Team Owner W-L PCT GB L10 STRK Home Road Login
Philadelphia Phillies skuff730 * 41-40 .506 - 5-5 L2 23-20 18-20 10/17
Helena Berserkers yggdrasil 36-45 .444 5.0 6-4 L1 13-22 23-23 10/16
Trenton Hazmats drichter 28-53 .346 13.0 4-6 L2 15-27 13-26 10/17
Sioux Falls Scalpers ronazbill 28-53 .346 13.0 7-3 W4 17-22 11-31 10/17

ML AL East (Season 32)
Team Owner W-L PCT GB L10 STRK Home Road Login
New York FlyingSquirrels ozzzball19 51-30 .630 - 7-3 W2 28-14 23-16 10/17
Tampa Bay Black Dogs 2_black_dogs 45-36 .556 6.0 2-8 L1 23-16 22-20 10/17
Cincinnati Stingers freshfish205 42-39 .519 9.0 4-6 W1 17-24 25-15 10/17
Boston Blumpkins pieo 36-45 .444 15.0 4-6 L3 17-25 19-20 10/17

ML AL South (Season 32)
Team Owner W-L PCT GB L10 STRK Home Road Login
Louisville Sluggers atrain_east 59-22 .728 - 10-0 W11 30-13 29-9 10/17
Kansas City Golden Spikes siberiansoul 46-35 .568 13.0 5-5 W1 19-19 27-16 10/16
Mexico City Borrochos mcrobbyj 43-38 .531 16.0 5-5 W3 21-21 22-17 10/17
St. Louis Rovers zinpa * 42-39 .519 17.0 2-8 W1 22-21 20-18 10/17

ML AL West (Season 32)
Team Owner W-L PCT GB L10 STRK Home Road Login
San Francisco Begonias begonias 42-39 .519 - 7-3 W2 20-23 22-16 10/17
Wichita Shockers riverpirate 41-40 .506 1.0 4-6 L3 20-18 21-22 10/17
Seattle Pilots luvbuzzrdp 31-50 .383 11.0 6-4 L1 13-29 18-21 10/15
Anaheim Bacteria voteforlou 28-53 .346 14.0 2-8 L5 14-22 14-31 10/17

Sunday, October 5, 2014

 The Greatest of All-Time
Position Players

Let's just get this out of the way to be clear on one thing. Chin-Hui Lee was not a very good fielder no matter where you put him. A catcher by trade, he actually played a ton more over at first even though he was even less suited for that. Of course, it wasn't his glove that kept him in the lineup. I can sum up Lee's plate prowess with this single season stat line: .409 Avg, 62 HR, 163 RBI, .535 OBP, .873 Slg, which equates to an astounding OPS 1.408. That was in 135 games during Season 9. All but HR and RBI are Ichiro single season records. His best HR tally for a season? 84, tied for third most in a single season. He started his career off with 11 straight seasons of an OPS higher than 1.000, earning more than 100 walks in the latter 10 of those seasons and batting below .334 once. His decline would follow those seasons, but he had already left his mark. He wound up with the third highest BA for a career at .336, 5th most HR with 749, and still holds the record for highest career slugging percentage at .681 and his career 1.122 is also still a record.

How do you have the best ever list without the Home Run King and all-time hit leader? You don't. Ernest O'Connor made is presence be known very early on. Making his debut in the inaugural season of Ichiro as 21 year-old. Playing in an era of power hitting and offense, O'Connor was one of the best. He hit at least 50 home runs in 12 of his seasons, including 11 straight from seasons 2-12. It wasn't all or nothing for O'Connor either, hitting at least .300 in 13 of his seasons. And unlike Lee, he wasn't all bad with the glove either, winning a total of four Gold Glove Awards over at first base. It goes without saying it was his bat that got him on this list. His best season he hit .358, hit 85 home runs and knocked in a single season record 212 RBI. The HR King hit a whopping 941 dingers in his career, has the most hits with 3,448 and is second in career RBI with 2470, behind only Jaime Edmonds. When you speak of Ernest, it's hard not to bring up Edmonds. Both had very similar careers, but O'Connor gets the edge because he holds two of the most prestigious titles in baseball. 

In my mind, Alex Martinez is the greatest position player of all time. The only true 5-tool player to make my list, Alex could do anything on the baseball field. He is in the top 5 all-time in multiple categories. He is now 5th in hits (3,138), 3rd in HR's (851), 3rd in RBI (2,292) and is 1st in three major categories with 2,508 runs, 197 triples and 896 stolen bases. To me, there is no arguing versatility. He was great in the batters box, but you had to pitch to him because he was great on the basepaths. A versatile defender, he spent a lot of time at two important positions, 2B and CF. His single season that sticks out, season 6, when he recorded 219 hits for a .356 average. He had 35 doubles, 14 triples and 74 home runs. Good for a .818 slugging pct. He scored a single season record 193 runs and stole 45 bases while being caught only twice. When you think about a complete baseball player, those are the types of numbers you think of.


Any time a pitcher wins 6 Cy Young Awards, he should be a shoo-in for argument of best of all-time. That is exactly why Carmine Jacquez is in the discussion for now. This list could change a little in the next few seasons. Maybe what is most impressive about Jacquez is he did what he did in the era of the big bat. At some point it will probably be more difficult to have him in the discussion because he only had 230 career victories, but there is no denying he was one of the best, if not the best, of his era. In his prime he put on a great run of success. From Seasons 8-11, he never had an ERA above 2.51, a WHIP higher than 1.10, pitched fewer than 215.2 innings and strike out less than 204. He won 77 during that span as well, earning half of his CY Young's in those four seasons. He may not be at the top of many career leaders lists, but he was one of the great ones to play this game. 

Larry Coombs pitched 22 seasons in Ichiro and had perhaps the greatest run of success. He made all-star teams in three different decades, earning his first as a starter in Season 9 and his final one as a reliever in Season 27. All told, he went to 12 All-Star games and won 4 Cy Young Awards. He won 20 games in a season five times while striking out at least 200 8 times. His consistency can be summed up with the fact that 7 times he won at least 16 games, had an ERA 2.61 ERA or lower, a WHIP below 1.09 and struck out at least 190, all in the same season. He is the all-time leader with 3,806 strikeouts, second in wins with 318 and fifth in career ERA at 3.01. Coombs notched himself into the best pitcher ever discussion for a very, very long time.

The best pitcher all-time in my mind is still pitching in Boise. Andres Gomez has had a remarkable career. His Cy Young Award winning seasons are over, but he has earned a record nine of them while making the all-star team 13 times. During his 16 full years as a starter, he held opponents to an average below .200 six times and he never had an ERA above 3.18. His finest season came back in season 21 when he went 19-2 with an ERA of 1.77. His WHIP was 0.97 and he struck out 197 batters in 193 innings. Opponent were only able to muster a batting average of .191 against him. At the time of this posting, he has 288 career wins, a career ERA of 2.62, opp BA of .212 and a WHIP of 1.07. All except wins would be Ichiro World records. His wins total is good for third. Wow!!! There should be no argument on this one, Gomez is the best of all-time. Let's hope he finishes his career strong.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Season 32 Preview
NL North
Boise - Boise celebrated its first World Series Championship with a ticket tape parade down 8th Street. Former 1st round pick Mac Chang was not in attendance since the owner withheld his WS ring since he was on the 60-day DL.

Change came quickly this offseason, with 6 players filing for FA, trying to make a quick buck off of the team's success. The GM allowed 5 to leave, but tried to stay in the Cammack sweepstakes as he was a former Boise 1st round pick. "We really wish Carl the best, but just couldn't offer him a deal commiserate with his ability".

Instead, Boise went a different way and will turn over the majority of PA behind the dish to Polin Campos, a youngster with promise, but doesn't have as much pop as Cammack. To fill the void, some juggling is going on in the Mountain Hawk OF. Much coveted, LeCure and Romero will be wearing Boise Brown this season. "We tried to trade for these guys in the past and were stoked to see them on the FA list for next to nothing".

New additions to the pitching staff include 34 year old rookie Eric Shiell, Former Diamond in the Rough Deven Jose, and old hat Nerio Buchanan.

That left old Boise stalwarts, Rico Medrano, Melky Del Rosario, Felipe Martinez, Kid Standridge, Ned Corey, Jose Unamuno and Ron Jay looking for a new home.

Boise's offense again looks like the best of the NL. The defense will be upgraded with Pedro Renteria taking over for Standridge and Winn moving to 3B, but remains weak overall. The pitching staff looks held together with duct tape, but will likely keep the team in games enough for the heart of the lineup (Maduro, LeCure, and Romero) to slug them past anyone.

Prediction: 97-65 1st NL North 

Fargo - Fargo looks to get closer to contending status in season 32, as management and fans are tired of the recent stretch of sub .500 baseball that has played out in North Dakota. The once proud franchise that seemed to make winning move after winning move, fell on hard luck, missing out on top international free agents.

During the off season, the club made major changes to its roster and for the first time, young pitching is on site ready to perform and other prospects are in the minors that could contribute in a couple seasons or be used to obtain additional veteran starters.

The team will open with a 5-man rotation, manager Reggie Deal in the past has gone often with a 6-man alignment.

The rotation will feature highly thought of Cooper Green, who overcame an injury and a couple of rough seasons when the young prospect was the best pitcher in the entire organization as the opening day starter. He will be joined by another young prospect obtained in the mega 12 player trade with Louisville, Bucky Simmons in the #2 slot of the rotation. Veterans Michel Lopez and Eric Estes man the #3 and #5 slots, while another young pitcher Sam Karns will take the #4 position. The bullpen could be a strength of the club, as the core of Gerald Ishida, Tony Park, Correy Kinney and Felix Jones returns, Jones is this season installed as the official closer. Veteran Doc Glass joins the core of short relief pitching, while three others are in long roles, Alex Feliz, Kevin Evans who returns to Fargo after a prior stent, and long time veteran Vic Maradona.

Fargo has seven players who will get the bulk of the starts at their respective positions. Newly obtained 1B Julian Fontana will begin his first full season in the big leagues, joined on the infield by veterans Hector Bennett at 2b, Wilbur Mathews at short and Paul Hoffman who will start at 3b. Hoffman and Bennet could flip positions. Veteran CF Desmond Keller will join the star studded outfield of Keith Bold and Mac Lin in left and right respectibly. Kirt Canseco will platoon with Jesus Iztirus at catcher. Matt Carter will be the other key bench player who can play corner outfield and 1b, while Vic Vazquez and Talmadge Walters will both serve in utility rolls playing around the infield and outfield.

Given the current rankings of the club in various pitching and hitting categories, the forecast is for an 87-75 record, which will depend on pitching performing above expectations and offensively performing at or above expected performance. 

Milwaukee - Fans in Milwaukee have been waiting for a big overhaul and a turn towards the future. They will have to wait a little longer as the n/a's have once again retooled to compete for a playoff spot in season 32. 

The two key losses for Milwaukee this off-season were starting 2B Bucky Thompson and longtime n'a SP Scooter Sutton. They did not make an attempt to re-sign either player, but did trade top catching prospect Mark Ramirez for Ezdra Valentin to fill the spot left open from Sutton. To fill the 2B role, Milwaukee hopes Minor League standout Brandon Hudson will be ready at some point this season. CP Domingo Palmeiro was acquired via trade to help boost a bullpen that lost a couple arms in Pedro Vega and Orlando Avila.

It will take good seasons once again from SP's Paul Gregg, Tuck Haynes and Brian Ueno to contend for a title along with Keith Garcia playing at his career averages. The biggest boost could come from second year guys SP Benji Pineda and SS Branden Payton. Each of whom had solid first seasons. 

The season outlook looks quite the same for Milwaukee. Win between 85-90 games and hope for a Wild Card berth.

Salt Lake City - Last Season: 96-67, Wild Card

Key Additions: Victor Pujols

Key Losses: Paul Hoffman, Ross Sheffield, Art Biddle

Prediction: 93-69, wild card

Season Outlook:

More of the same this season for the Salt Lake City Moguls as not much has changed since last season. Top of the rotation starter Albert Maranon and Cameron Dobbs look to bounce back from late season injuries to anchor a solid, if unspectacular staff.

Gone are former face of the franchise Paul Hoffman and reliable long reliever Art Biddle. Fans were dissapointed with the decision to let Hoffman go, but management cited issues with contract length demands hung up negotiations. The Moguls do have potential offensive help stashed at AAA if slow starts happen.

This team is build around it's staff and the emphasis on defense up the middle. That formula has been successful the past few years, but we don't see it being enough to knock WS champ Boise off the division throne. However if the Moguls can avoid injuries to it's top starters and get enough offense out of it's position players then another wildcard run is likely.

NL East

New Britain - New Britain is coming off a surprisingly strong season 31 and is poised to ascend to another division title. Backed by a powerful lineup led by Allan McMichael and newly acquired Babe Towers runs should not be a problem in New Britain.

Success will come down to a maturing pitching staff with all 5 starters under 28 years old. If the starters pitch to their upside and the bullpen stays healthy then this team should win 90+ games.

Prediction: 92-70 and a one game win over Syracuse for the division title.

Syracuse - 80 to 90 wins depending on injuries 

NL South

Memphis - With the young talent of the franchise having speed, a change in ballparks was needed. This team will be built around speed, defense, and pitching. Some of our sluggers will not appreciate the new stadium, but the pitchers have out voted them. Looking for continued offensive production out of the young guns Brinkley and Thomas, and James will eventually move into the ace of the staff in pitching. Predicted winning percentage is .500 .

NL West

Las Vegas - The Hangovers have aspirations of returning to the playoffs after missing it for the first time in 15 seasons. Gone are vet 1b Moe Stratton and leadoff man Benny Crespo. 1b Hugh Alexander will finally earn a full time role in the offense and hope to add some pop along with perennial MVP candidate 3b Todd Magnuson and the consistent Julio Rosado. The pitching staff anchored by long time Hangover Cal Trammel entering his 19th season with the club and just 12 wins shy of 250, to go along with Marc Browne and the enigmatic Slick Kubenka can hopefully steer this team back to the playoffs. The bullpen, however, is a major question mark that will need to perform better than recent seasons suggest in order to avoid missing the playoffs for a 2nd straight season.

Sacramento - The second year into a full rebuild, the Savages hope to see improvement after a horrible season 31. I predict a 72-90 season with 24-year vet Eric Hill filling in nicely to a new role at closer.

Tacoma -   With this team making the playoffs for the first time in 10 seasons, the hopes are high to repeat in Tacoma....but the way the first week of the season has gone, them hopes may be dashed if something doesn't turn them around.

The starting pitching, may be the weak link, but should be able to hold its own at home in the confines of Cheney Stadium. And the bull-pen, i would match up with any team in the league. But, if they don't have a lead to hold, it is futile, and leaves Hayes and Escuela, shaking their heads.

In the field, with Coleman coming in off the bench, Hogan, Scott and Sheffield, there should be some power to keep the Method in some games. What with being built around pitching control and defense, that puts a lot of pressure on the hitters to perform when needed...which is often. And management may be in need to rethink their motives behind the players put on the field.

Best case scenario, is the Method pick up some steam and run to the division title once again. Worst case scenario, is that they were a flash in the pan and pray for a .500 season. 

AL North
Helena - I am just hoping to make the transition period between new owners seamless and continue the winning ways.I locked up Bruce Ochoa and Hamlet McMillan with contract extensions. I have tried to find solid role players to fill out the rotation. On the offensive side I signed Carl Cammack to provide some firepower from behind the plate. We look good on paper.

Sioux Falls - Things are starting to look up in Sioux Falls, we continue to improve on our records each year, albeit baby steps. Young talent last year needed a year to develop and should see better outcomes this year. Young pitchers Vernon and Smart had their first full year in the majors last year and Simpson is an older rookie and should have a smooth transition into the majors. We arguably have the most athletic and complete outfield with Robinson, Smalley and Lopez. Robinson and Smalley may be MVP candidates when it is all said and done, although it is very hard to dethrone Shea for that title and Lopez is a GG winner. Lansing had a coming out party last year and hopefully he continues the same this year. Also on a personal level we are looking for Baez to get on or near the 3000k hit club, ending last year with exactly 2800. Looking for a 77-85 record this year.


AL East
Boston - Well, with the FA signings of SP's: Dave Romero , Wladimir Blasco , Art Biddle , Teddy Kinney , & RP Gary Allen , I feel the Blumpkins now have an above average Starting rotation, & a decent Bullpen, I feel we will increase ou W total by at least 25

Cincinnati - This young Stingers team is on the verge of being ready to contend this season.

Offensively 1B Miguel Barrios should lead the way after a 38 HR, 108 RBI season last year but will certainly struggle defensively making the transition from mostly DH to 1B. Former #1 pick Reginald Barney will take over full time at DH and his bat has future HOF'er written all over it. 3B Bob Hart and LF Spud Riggs return and will provide the veteran leadership. GG SS Neftali Alvarez also returns to give the Stingers solid defense on the left side with Hart. 2B Trinidad Merced is looking to take the next step after a solid rookie season as his future is looking brighter then ever. At catcher Juan Espinoza and Edgardo Johnson will provide a perfect combination of pitch calling and defense while not lacking in offense in the back of the order. The only question is center field. The hope is for prospect Torey Bradshaw to take charge in the spring. RF looks like newly acquired Arnold Rocker will platoon with Neifi Marrero.

The big question is the pitching. Last season was a disaster. The starting pitching was very young and mismanaged. The Stingers rotation retooled with the signings of Odalis Rodriguez and Watty Rossy. Donatello Turner has all the makings of a #1 starter and will be the opening day pitcher. Julio Henriquez and William Pong will need to make huge strides after sub par first full seasons as starters. The bullpen will once again be led by solid vets Anibal Pujols and Al Smith while the other 2 spots at short relief will be up for grabs in the spring. Long reliever Ernesto Santiago had another solid year after an all-star appearance while Ryan Smart had a horrible year and has much to prove in the 3rd year of a 5 year deal. On the bright side closer Trot Fredrick had a great rookie year making 32 saves on his way to an all-star appearance and contention in fireman of the year and ROY voting.

Prediction: 82-80 Just over .500 but falling short of the playoffs

New York - Seriously doubt New York will come close to last seasons record but still hope to be a contender in the division. A couple of new faces will be in the starting lineup but 3B Franco, LF Cook and 1B Ordaz will still anchor the offense. Starting pitchers Grace, Gonzales and Wan hope to lead the pitching staff along with a couple of newcomers to the rotation. Overall New York should be an above .500 team this season.

AL South

AL West

San Francisco - For several years, we hoped for a .500 record with a promising future beyond that. Last year, we finally reached .500 exactly. It happened that .500 was enough to win our division, and we surprisingly managed to win two playoff series before falling in the LCS.

From that team, we lost a catcher who led the team in HR (and was easily replaced) and a SP, who we replaced with a strong FA starter, Pedro Santiago. We added a couple of minor parts, but mostly we're hoping our batch of younger players keep improving. We also re-signed 5-time Gold Glove CF Ron Powell for three more years.

There was a lot of luck involved last season, yet we still won the division by ten games. I think this team is better than last season's, so a second consecutive playoff spot is on the agenda.


Paul's Picks
NL North
Boise                 94-68     
Salt Lake           86-76
Milwaukee         85-77
Fargo                 75-87

NL East

New Britain        92-70
Syracuse            90-72
San Juan             77-85
Jacksonville        76-86

NL South

Austin                  93-69
Memphis              78-84
Durham                73-89
Florida                 70-92

NL West

Las Vegas             87-75
Tacoma                 80-82
Honolulu               75-87
Sacramento           65-97

AL North

Helena                   88-74
Philadelphia           86-76
Trenton                  78-84
Sioux Falls             74-88

AL East

New York               94-68
Tampa Bay             92-70
Cincinnati               78-84
Boston                     66-96

AL South

Louisville                 94-68
Mexico City              84-78
St. Louis                   83-79
Kansas City              80-82

AL West

San Francisco          85-77
Wichita                     76-86
Anaheim                   70-92
Seattle                      68-94
NL Champions - Boise
AL Champions - Louisville

Season 32 World Champions - Louisville