Monday, October 31, 2011

Power Ranks (Pre-season)

Power Rankings

These power rankings are completed assuming ALL outstanding FA will be lost from their respective teams. I will do an update after the end of Free Agency near the beginning of the regular season.

Teams that received strong consideration but did not crack the top 10 (Pawtucket, Atlanta, Columbus & Seattle)

10. Baltimore Baydogs (Last Season Record 82-80)
The Baydogs made the playoffs for the 2nd consecutive season sneaking into the last NL playoff spot. The team then proceeded to go on a fairy tale run before bowing out in the NLCS to the Juggernaut from Little Rock. Dufferman completed a late season trade with Louisville (myself), that shored up his weakness at SS and CF. In the off-season The Baydogs appear to be losing 4 players from last years roster: two relief pitchers J. Ruiz & S. Bonilla who combined for 130IP 9-11 record and 4.55 ERA, H. Aspormonte former All-Star CF who is well past his prime but did post 12HR 53 RBI .710 OPS in 393 AB. Thus far all of the lost players are easily replaceable. The big off-season loss & the reason Baltimore didn't sneak up the list is the potential loss of A. Montanez a middle of the order bat that gave the Baydogs 30 HR 84RBI & .968 OPS worth of production

9. Washington D.C Quakers (Last Season 90-72)
During the off-season the Quakers relocated from Philly to Washing DC & during the trip the AL East Champions left a significant number of players behind. Three of the positional losses were: I. Andrews who can man any position on the field & posted a line of 9HR 42RBI .732 in 413AB, 2b J-Alacorn (429 AB 13HR 35 RBI & .664 OPS) & 1b-K.Jorgesen (427AB 13 HR 52RBI .695 OPS). I grouped those three players together because none of them are key contributors, however you do have to factor in almost 1300AB now need to be replaced including their starting 2b (Alacorn) & super utility I. Andrews. Moving on to the larger losses DH H. Towers will potentially be taking his 15HR 81 RBI .852 OPS in 501 AB to another team. Towers was likely lucky to post that line last year however his production will need to be replaced. The pitching staff only had two key losses one in the bullpen & one in the rotation. S.Beckwith leaves a 43 IP hole (3-1 4.15 ERA) in the bullpen but the largest loss of the off-season was V. Kraemer who despite declining skills is a front of the rotation pitcher. Lettry decided against paying him 20M for his 10M skill set and will have to attempt to fill the hole in FA. Kraemer went 14-6 with a 2.74 ERA in 197 IP last season

8. Cleveland Moosedawg (Last Season 89-73)
The off-season was very good the NL #4 seed. Cleveland only has two potential losses to their almost 90W roster. Sub-Super C. Acevedo takes 29HR 67RBI 1.061OPS in only 323AB to the FA market. Acevedo likely played over his head last season but he's capable of playing any position except for SS & CF and has good power. Speaking of SS the Moosedawg's 2nd lose was gold glove caliber J. May. While his bat left something to be desired 541AB 8HR 43RBI .604OPS his sparkling defense will be missed (12 plus plays). The biggest lost to the pitching staff was 13IP from former perennial Fire Man of the Year candidate W. Perez, however he is now a shell of his former self. One or two big FA pick-ups could see Cleveland rocket up the list

7. Minnesota Twinkies (93-69)
The first & only appearance of the new owners in the Power Ranks, although I have a feeling that may change based on off-season moves we'll see a few jump on to the list. The Twinkies return every major contributor from last season's team. Positionally they only loses are R. Morman (OF) & A. Duran (Back-up SS) who combined for 415AB 3HR 36 RBI & .590 OPS. It's almost impossible to get less production out of those 400+ At-bats this season. The entire rotation returns and the bullpen only lost S. Mills (85IP 7-3 4.43 ERA) & M. Bennet (43 IP 4-3 4.17ERA). Now to long-term Hunter owners M. Bennet is a big name as he holds the record for career saves 512, however at age 38 he'll be lucky to grab a SetB spot for a ML team this season

6. LA Baja Racers (90-72)
NL West champs are hungry after being bounced but the upstarts from Baltimore last season. LA much like Cleveland & Minnesota returns all of their core contributors from last season. The only hitter loss is B. Soblewski who started 69 games in CF last season and put together a very nice line of 19HR 47 RBI .905OPS in 332AB, however his skill set is no where near those numbers. In a full 500 AB season he's unlikely to top those counting numbers, he's a below average defensive CF & his career OPS of .751 is more indicative of his skill set. The Baja Racers are letting 100 IP worth of RP test FA, R. James (11-6 5.55ERA) & C. Knotts (2-5 8.23 ERA). R. James is tantalizing however he never seems able to put it together he's bounced around the league and based on his splits & control will likely end up in a new rotation again this season, while Knotts is better than an 8.23ERA, he's not any better than his career ERA of 4.5. I might have hung on to R. James & try to entice another owner into taking a chance on him however, if you can't post a sub 5 ERA in LA where can you?

5. Little Rock Renegades (112-50)
Most likely suspected to see the team that has taken the NL Pennant 3 consecutive years higher on the list & it won't take much in the FA or trade market to bump them up. However among the top 5 teams Little Rock is facing the most significant losses. They lose starting Catcher L. Wise and his 20HR 94RBI .854 OPS production, at age 35 he was unlikely to repeat but it is a hole that has to be filled. The bigger losses come in the bullpen timf losses 71IP of near elite production from R. Nelson & R. Zorilla & perhaps a bigger blow Closer T.Marin who has converted 59 of 66 save chances over the last 2 seasons walks out the door. However, the biggest loss & the nail in the coffin for at least a temporary drop is the potential loss of 10-Time AllStar & 6-Time Cy Young award winner R. Santiago. Last year he posted a ridiculous line of 267 IP 21-10 with a 2.80 ERA. As mentioned above after FA it would not surprise me to see Little Rock climb as high as 1.

4. Pittsburgh Stubbabubbas (98-64)
The NL North champions nip out the Renegades for the top NL team in the power ranks (yes that means the top 3 are in the AL, which makes sense since the AL has won the last 5 World Series). Dizzlebob's team takes the top spot based upon continuity, as outlined in his S20 wrap-up the Pittsburgh francise made some key FA acquisitions last season. Moving into this season the team does not lose a single impact hitter & suffers very limited losses in the rotation. Last season acquisition C.James from Richmond (now Monteray) leaves after giving the team 21IP, SetupB J. James takes his 3-6 5.5 ERA in 36IP to the market as well. The biggest lost was a S20 FA signing C. Johnson who turned back the clock (likely one last time) & gave Dizz 200 IP (Team High) 10-11 with 3.59 ERA. C.Johnson is very unlikely to repeat that performance however it will be the Stubbabubbas top priority to fill his rotation spot

3. Louisville Sluggers (103-59)
I know I know I can already hear the shouts of favoritism as the guy writing the rankings ranks his own team 3rd. Well when you right the Power Rankings you can do the same :). All joking aside the Sluggers face very limited losses from last season lead-off hitter and 2b M.Pulphiser walks out the door (.359 OBP &.726 OPS) however T. Hackmen who's skill set is marginally better offensively & defensively replaces him. C.Kienschink was a stabilizing force for 90IP out of the pen last year (3.73ERA) but the only major loss was half-season rental G. Kerr (3-Time All-Star) takes his Type A tag to FA. The Sluggers gave the defending champs a better run than the NL champs Little Rock could but eventually fell in 6 games. For the new owners the Sluggers are Hunter equivalent of the Atlanta Braves (if Atlanta had 2 titles), 20 straight playoff appearances, however has not progressed further than the ALCS since their S12 title

2. New Britian Yorkies (109-53)
I really wrestled with this ranking, it's very difficult to knock the 2-time defending champs out of the top spot but with several significant losses I had to bump them down a peg. There is an old staying that "Flags fly forever" and NB went all-out last season acquiring two former MVPs down the stretch in Britt Perkins & E. Johnson who combined for 36HR 114RBI in approx. a half season of work, both will receive their rings & then join the FA market. NB pitching staff could also seriously face a drop off as they lose a combined 470IP of elite production from M. Cheng (team leader in IP) 15-9 3.66ERA, P. Onteriveros (13-4) & W. Perez (11-1 2.45ERA). Given the losses, I likely should have drop the Yorkies a couple spots but back-to-back 'ships earns you the benefit of the doubt

1. San Fransico Night Demons (103-59)
It is very scary to see how little SF lost from last season. The Night Demons return their entire pitching staff from last season & from their hitters they only lose a combined 750AB from three bench players. B.Rameriz-C (6HR 36RBI, .730OPS), J.Rivera (3HR 12RBI .672 OPS & K. Humpries (15 HR 55 RBI .890 OPS) are the only notable losses. All three players are easily replaceable from within the organization or via FA (which as a fellow AL team is scary). The Night Demons have been a model of consistency winning their division 18 of 20 years & only missing the playoffs once. A majority of the team tasted championship champagne in S17 so they are battle tested. I am selfishly hoping the new crop of AL West owners can push Bjb back to pack.

Meet Redraider68

Name: Dan

Age: 42 Married, 2 kids Fred (10) and Sammi (2 months)

Job: Associate Database Administrator for an online university

My favorite HBD moment: Will be the first time I make the ML postseason. I just missed the wildcard in Lasorda last season by 2 games.

Know anyone from Hunter in real-life: Bigtex1 and I are brothers.

Favorite Teams: Cincinnati Reds, Oakland Raiders (hence the screen name), Ohio State Buckeyes.

Favorite Player: I took over a trashed team in Lasoda midway through the season so I received the #1 the following year. Dewey Crespo is a perennial MVP nominee (no wins yet) but his resume does include 5 All-Star appearances, 5 Silver Sluggers, 1 Gold Glove and Rookie of the Year.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Meet Stazrunner

As I mentioned I'll be trying to through these up one per day (missed yesterday was busy getting the house ready for a Halloween party).

Also as mentioned they are going up in the order I recieved them so the quickest trigger/mouse in Hunter is Stazrunner. I must admit he has exquiste tastes in hockey teams.

Name: Craig

Age: 28(single)

Job: Patient Admin Clerk for the military

Favorite HBD Moment: Have not had any moments worth remembering. I guess the rebuilding project that should come to success shortly in Maris world

Do you know any Hunter owners in real-life: No

Favorite Sports teams: Boston fan (Sox,Celts, B's, and Pats)

Favorite HBD player (which world)- Hoping it will be a twinkie (Hunter)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Meet the Commish

Name: Josh

Age: 29 (Married, first child due in Jan)

Job: Work in telecommunication sales (Engineer by trade)

Location: Waterloo, Canada (Yes, your commish is a canuck)

Favorite HBD Moment:

Winning my 1st Title in Hunter (S10), I had already picked up a WS in Monument Park but my Hunter team was my first team. It was especially sweet because I had blown a 3-2 series lead to Radek (a problematic owner) the previous year. Unfortunately my win came at Rockdawg's expense :)

Do you know any Hunter owners in real life?:

Yes, timf, beerman324,shmish & wolfhoundkl (original owner left after season 19. I've know timf since I was probably 8, him & I were in each other's wedding parties. I know what you are all thinking he was probably Bridesmaid (after 3 straight WS losses) all joking aside he was a groomsmen. Beerman324 I met at McMaster University, we were in the same Rez & then shared a house with 4 other guys for the next 3 years. Just like in University where I beat his a$$ consistently in Madden, I own him in HBD (85-51) as well :). I mention Wolf because he was another roomate in University & lived with Beerman & I. He also the reason I've met Shmish. Shmish & Wolf are friends in real-life and the 3 of us took in a Bruins/Leaf games last season. Shmish & I spent most of the game arguing over who was better David Reyes or Wendall Kinkade (the answer is clearly Kinkade).

Favorite Sports Teams:

Boston, Bruins (Champs), Miami Dolphins (Suck for Luck), Toronto Blue Jays & Toronto Raptors

Favorite HBD Player (which world):

Long-time Hunter owners know my answer to this question, as I've written sonnets about my love affair with Magglio Javier (Hunter LF- Seasons 1-10), 5-Time MVP (Hunter record) & 10-Allstar (Hunter record). The season 10 title was especially sweet because it was the last year Magglio wsa on the team prior to leaving for FA. So he left Louisville a champion. In true professional sports fashion when he was languishing in the minors in season 15 for Los Angelos. Randyrossac was nice enough to trade him back for a bag of balls so that he could retire in Louisville Red. He's since been inducted into the HOF.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pittsburgh Studdabubbas S20 Wrap-Up

After 5 losing seasons, the Studdabubbas surprised even themselves by winning 98 games and the NL North for the first time since Season 14. The Bubbas won the first round bye but were quickly booted from the playoffs by Baltimore 3-1. While this success was rather shocking to everyone in the league, the reason was obvious—The Studdabubbas got lucky in free agency. Their Season 20 pickups in chronological order:

3B Charlie Carson - 29 y.o. - 5 years at $7.4M

Carson was playing second fiddle in Los Angeles ever since Eduardo Alarcon signed that monster 5-year deal and the Baja Racers declined his option for Season 20. This signing was a bit of a surprise since the Bubbas already had Buzz Abernathy at 3rd but it made sense. Carson was a huge upgrade and hit 31 homers batting 4th and gave Matt Buchanan some protection. After the Carson signing, Buzz Abernathy was shipped off to Los Angeles to get his $6M salary off of the books (this freed-up more money for the Bubbas to sign a couple pitchers).

Deivi Posada - 28 y.o. - 4 years at $5.2M

Getting a solid SS allowed veteran Frank Turner and youngster Pablo Andino to platoon at 2nd (hitting primarily against lefties, Turner hit .306). Posada's defense and .354 on base percentage made this another nice upgrade for the Bubbas.

CF Darron Stoddard - 31 y.o. - 3 years at $7M

Last season's CF, Charlie Bird, was not working out as an everyday player so the Studdabubbas went after 4-time all-star Darron Stoddard. Stoddard led-off most of the season. He had an OBP of .352, stole 24 bases, hit 24 home runs and batted-in 76 runs. He made his 5th All-Star Game in season 20 and is still fairly young.

SP Pedro Manto - 33 y.o. - 2 years at $4M

Everyone knows how cruddy Studdabubbas' pitching is so getting a washed-up starter like Manto was quite an achievement in Pittsburgh. Manto pitched well with a 15-9 record and a 1.33 WHIP. Well enough to be chosen for his first All-Star Game since season 11, when he was with San Francisco. This was the first time a Studdabubba pitcher was chosen for the all-star team since Kevin Pickering in Season 13.

SP Carlos Johnson - 34 y.o. - 1 year at $3.7M

Speaking of washed-up starting pitchers, Pittsburgh picked-up this bum off of the scrap heap. But dang it if this bum didn't have some game. Johnson's record was only 10-11 but he pitched 200 innings and had a WHIP of 1.31.

Another big acquisition in Season 20 was the Studdabubba's first round pick (6th overall), set-up man John Fisher who had a good season in Hi-A last year. The Studdabubbas also dished out $14.5M to sign international starting pitcher, Charles Bong. At AA, Bong went 5-1 in 10 starts with an ERA of 2.45. So it appears pitching help is on the way. Let's just hope it gets here before the hitting starts to die off.

The Studdabubbas spent pretty much every penny they had available last season in free agency. But beyond just spending it, they got some good, younger players to sign reasonable contracts. And, despite the signings, Pittsburgh only has about $40M wrapped up in salary going into Season 21. They still have some guys they need to sign but they are still in good shape.

Part of the reason Pittsburgh had such a good season was that some of the NL powerhouses started to fade but Season 20 was easily the best free agency period in Studdabubba history.