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Excuses, Excuses

Actually having some time to write and putting off grading final exams were two really good reasons to get back into the groove of contributing to the Capra weblog. Little did I expect that writer's block would be my nemesis. I looked back at some older articles and thought about doing an update on some of them or just the S11 version of the same thing, but those looked like too much work. Instead, just about five minutes ago I came up with

Fargo's Obituary

The Fargo Woodchippers, aged ten seasons, were officially declared dead by the Powers That Be at 9:52 pm on the seventeenth of December, 2008. Their death was a slow, gradual decline from the peak of perfection into listlessness and later abandonment by their caregiver, known fondly as Brett. These things do happen, as intangibles such as “real life” and “wow, this takes up way too much time” have reclaimed the lives of several others whom we have all come to know and love. Symptoms of the Real Life disease first began in the ninth season when Fargo lasted almost a month without its helmsman. Although this franchise's demise has been such a tragedy, this obituary will focus the rest of its space on the accomplishments of a true Hardball Dynasty. In Fargo's first nine seasons, the team won at least 101 games every year, finishing in first place in the National League's North Division and the entire National League each season as well. In most of those seasons, Fargo wa…

On Fielding Coaches

info courtesy of crickett13.

-this is Matt's first ticket to admin:
Never saw this happen before. Capra has 12 Fielding coach vacancies and only 8 coaches available with a fielding rating over 60. Why would that happen? Should that ever happen? It seems like fielding coaches retire but new ones are never generated. This will really have a very negative impact on some teams.

admin's response:
12/29/2008 7:42 AM Customer Support
Matthew,

Keep in mind that a rating of 50 is average. So, it won't be detrimental to a player's development if you have a coach with an average rating. The reason that this happens is because coaches retire out of the system, they get replenished every season if necessary with either retired player's or they are created.

Matt's response to admin's response:
12/29/2008 2:35 PM crickett13

Perhaps the fielding coaches should be handled a bit differently than other coaches since they can not be developed in the minor leagues. Even if you hire a n…

Approaching the 3/4 Mark

The big development in the National League is Fargo's apparent descent from dominant into simply competitive. With 9 straight seasons over .620, the Woodchippers are on pace for a .518 year. The 'Chippers' biggest challenges have been Brett Tracy missing the first 1/3 of the season to elbow tendinitis and the aging of stalwart arms Diego Ozuna(8-10, 5.21) and Tyler Henderson(0-6, 6.40). Are we seeing the end of Capra's and maybe HBD's biggest dynasty thus far?

Hail to returning and new owners: in his return to Capra after a 5 year layoff, robocoach has taken a perennially last place team into a current tie for first in the NL South. In the AL South, canadadry, in hist 1st season in Capra, has the Juggernauts in the thick of a tight race with the highly decorated Montgomery and Jackson franchises. And in his first year manning the Fresno Force(formerly Colorado) bballc has this squad on pace for its first over .500 season since S1.

The defending champion Scranton Brea…

Flashback: robocoach vs. Patrick Spencer

With robocoach back in Capra, this is a good time to revisit how one of Capra's bigger dramas unfolded. normandevils' Pawtucket Patriots finished Season 1 of Capra with a putrid .198 win % and did not return for more in S2. robo came aboard and promptly turned the team around by winning three straight division titles, a streak that was then continued by jeclapton123 for five more seasons and running.

As the inheritor of a .198 team in S2, robocoach also owned the #1 pick in the draft. robo waivered between Patrick Spencer and Al Maurer, before finally deciding on the former since pitching is so key in HBD. robo offered Spencer a 3-year major league contract in addition to the 6m bonus Spencer was asking. However, Spencer turned down the offer remained undecided about signing for 40 some-odd cycles. Of course, robo was nonplussed to say the least and let us know about his frustration on the chat page.

Still unsure about the Spencer's status, robo signed two quality internatio…

Scranton Breakers: S9 Champs!

crickett13's Scranton squad compiled a 14-4 postseason record, including a 4-0 World Series sweep over the St. Louis Archers, en route to earning their first World Series trophy. The Breakers entered the postseason as a Wild Card, the AL's 6th and final entry, but got off to a quick start by sweeping the Albuquerque Roadrunners, and then outlasting Montgomery Montreal, before making quick work of the Archers.




Coming Soon to a Ballpark Near You

Being that we are officially in season ten of Capra baseball, it seems fitting to look at some upcoming individual milestones as well as whatever else I stumble upon looking at league records. I also included some real-life comparisons with stats through the 2007 season.

Brett Simms and Julio Johnson can join all-universe slugger Walt Cashman as the second and third men to hit 400 career doubles. In real life, 154 players have hit this milestone.

The aforementioned Cashman is just a hit away from 2,000. Nobody else has 1,800, and only 24 active players have 2,000 MLB hits. He could also score his 1,350th run to pace the field.

Henry Menechino should easily reach 500 home runs this season. Rudy Lombardi (argh!) leads a list of guys just a stone's throw from 400 after he hit exactly 100 in the minors. This year, Gary Sheffield became the 25th player to hit 500 home runs. Kip White, Trenidad Prieto, et al lead the pack behind Menechino and Lombardi. If history repeats itself, t…

btw,

things have been a little slow around here these last couple weeks as it's been the start of the semester for me and i've been busy gearing up to teach. i'll try to do some smaller posts to keep regular.

One More Ranking

sanderbear offers a new ranking that looks at balance(derived at by considering the highs and lows in MLB in BA, ERA, and team Wins since 2001) and stability(# of teams lost at rollover compared to hbd average). you can read a more full explanation of sanderbear's rankings, and the rankings themselves, here: 133 Worlds Ranked

Capra clocked in at #26. Combined with our other rankings at #18 and #22, we can confidently say that we are in the top 20 or so worlds of the approximately 150 on the site.

now if we could just get Fargo to stop dominating us and spoiling our competitive balance ;-)

Where Capra Ranks

A recent trend in the HBD forums has been to attempt to rank all 150 or so HBD Worlds using varying methods. Somebody devises a statistical methodology and then punches in data for all the worlds and posts the results, which are followed, of course, by many pages of debate on the validity of said rankings.

tecwrg recently posted his rankings which are based upon the # of -(minus) plays within each world's most recently completed season. His theory is that quality worlds care about defense and will not either play people out of position or in spots that will be detrimental to the team's ability to execute the fundamentals. Out of 142 worlds, his system ranked Capra at #18. Not bad. Another way to think about his rankings, though, is to consider the positive difference between + plays and - plays(see his chart). If his rankings were ordered that way, Capra would come in at #5 overall. Now that's more like it.

98greenc5 posted a different set of rankings this morning that is ba…

Int'l Report Card, Round 3/Preview

Will feature the following players:

P Sammy Reyes, Ottawa Ice. $4.8m bonus.
C Raul Ortega, Little Rock Travelers. $4.8 bonus.
P Michael Li, Toronto Beavers. $4.5m bonus.
P Orlando Armas, Pawtucket Patriots. $3.9m bonus.
P Ugueth Rosado, St. Louis Archers. $3.5m bonus.
3B Julio Wilfredo, Chicago Vipers. $3.3m bonus.
P Matty Calvo, Buffalo Hunters. $3.2m bonus.
SS Del Gabriel, Oklahoma City Drunken Ducks. $2.9m bonus.

Int'l Report Card, Round 2

Round 2 of the I.S. Report Card covers 8 more players listed in descending order of signing bonus. Remember, the grades are not reflective of merely said player's projections, but rather the cost of acquiring that set of skills. And again, my projections are based on a $14m advance scouting budget. Please feel free to disagree with my grades in the comments section.

1B Ismael Maduro, Anaheim Anteaters. $15.9m bonus.
-We may be a little partial here, but Maduro projects to us as a near Hall-of-Fame masher and is a good deal at almost any price. His only offensive category that projects under 82 is his lefty-split, the one weakness we would cherry pick if we could. We are especially fond of his potential future success against righties(94) and his eyeball at the plate(100). His durability, at 78, could be better as he'll have to sit out a few games every season. And it's a shame Maduro doesn't play a tougher position to fill, but otherwise, the Anteaters have found a worth…

A Look at the Division Races & Post-Season Predictions

NL North: No news here. Fargo will cruise to their 9th straight division flag and is currently on pace for their best record yet, in spite of Ozuna, Henderson, etc. all getting old enough to need Viagra prescriptions. Minnesota looks very strong for the first wild card seed.

NL East: Chicago(formerly Atlanta) is on pace for their 8th straight division title, though Syracuse is coming on hot and heavy and currently just a game behind. This looks like the first time since S1 that this division will have two better-than-.500 teams in a race.

NL South: Little Rock has been leading El Paso by a nose all season long it seems. This is a close, two-pony race that should come down to the wire. Stay tuned.

NL West: Anaheim hosts a comfortable, eight-game lead, though, considering their collapse late last season, they're not likely to get complacent. Division-rival St. Louis features too many weapons and will be in the playoff hunt, one way or another, at season's end.

AL North: Montreal loo…

Separated at Birth?

In the S5 Amateur Draft, 3B Trenidad Rios was selected with the 19th overall pick by the Anahaim Anteaters. That same season, Anaheim paid a whopping $12.3M bonus to sign 18 year-old 3B Moises Guzman from the Dominican Republic.

Both right-handed sluggers with solid defense at the corner, Rios and Guzman are similar physical specimens, with Guzman just 1 inch taller and about 10 pounds heavier. The big difference is that Guzman has better health and durability, but otherwise it'd be hard to tell them apart.

The following season, Anaheim traded Guzman to Jacksonville for soon to be All-Star SS Delino Julio. Guzman proceeded to rip apart minor league pitching for the next few seasons and is currently in his first campaign at the big league level, much like his old 3B competition, Rios. Since both these young studs are in their first big league season, let's compare the stats and soon just how alike they really are:

Trenidad Rios: 270/341/601. 27hrs, 70ribbies, 29/60 bb/k ratio in a…

How has Round 1 of the Draft played out?

I had wanted to post this prior to the S9 draft but real-life took over. I started thinking about whether or not Round 1 draft picks are sure locks for the Majors so I did a quick look and found the following:

Seasons 8
1st round picks (1-32) 256
Not in the league 25 9.77%
In the Majors 121 47.27%

Well, this doesn't tell the full story now does it? Since players from S7 and S8 haven't had the time to progress thru the minors.


In the Majors by Draft Season
Season 1 21 65.63%
Season 2 26 81.25%
Season 3 24 75.00%
Season 4 19 59.38%
Season 5 15 46.88%
Season 6 12 37.50%
Season 7 4 12.50%
Season 8 0 0.00%

I also decided to take this one step further... which franchises have been the most active in advancing their Round 1 selections up to the majors. The following is a little misleading since some franchises …

The Year of the Four Firsts

In the season eight draft, Montgomery had four first round picks in the amateur draft.

Now a year later, where are they now?

(20) Tony Otonez was the first of owner Beernoser's four first rounders chosen, and Rebel Yells could be heard throughout the Constitution, as the young catcher was the one player they were hoping would fall to them. The 22 year old Missourian has not disappointed either. He's spending this season at High A and is batting .329 with 24 home runs and 71 RBI's as the season 9 draft approaches.

(25) The Stits were also happy to land starting pitcher Erik Rakers. His story has not gone as well though as his personality left mangement questioning his work ethic. The young hurler was traded to Scranton for major league slugger Juan Valentin, but things haven't gotten better up north. A misunderstanding left the 18 year old missing the plane to Scranton, and once he got off on the wrong foot, things have only gotten worse for the first rounder as he has spe…

Amateur Draft On Deck

With the release of amateur prospects this morning we're now just a few days from the draft. So let's look at the teams that stand to get fat on the future. These are teams with a nice array of picks in the first two rounds.

Tacoma Typhoon Picks
#22, #29, #33, #36, #60, #69

Jacksonville Juggernauts Picks
#28, #34, #41, #75

Anaheim Anteaters Picks
#26, #40, #44, #73

Jackson Riverdogs Picks
#31, #35, #43, #78

Toronto Beavers Picks
#11, #37, #58

Florida SunRays Picks
#18, #38, #65

Only one team has forfeited their first round pick via a free agent signing. The San Juan Express will at #42 and #76, after losing pick #29 by signing Lee Plunk.

Mile High Times

Since S2, bowlum's Colorado Bombers(previously Boise) have averaged a $108M player budget, partnered with 8 consecutive losing seasons, all hovering around .450. Prior to S9, bowlumbrenner expressed frustration at the team's continued lackluster performance and threatened to leave the Coors Field bandbox for more neutral confines.

But those threats were just that, though maybe strategic motivations. A third of the way into the season, the Bombers are off to their best start ever at 29-22, including victories in 10 of their last 13 games. Of course, the Bombers lead the league in hitting, at .324 and OBP at .387.

Ironically, though, Colorado is playing much better on the road, 18-11, versus their home record of 11-11. And while the Bombers still have room to improve their staff ERA of 6.03, they have climbed to 25th out of 32 pitching staffs, an improvement from their previous seasons. Could this be the beginning of a more promising era in the Rockies?

International Signing Report Card

Roughly 20% into the season, we've already seen 24 international players sign on, with 5 of them landing bonuses north of $10 million. From time to time here we'll assess the respective value of these signings by assigning letter grades that consider the following: player projections, likelihood of reaching and performing at the big league level, age, size of investment, etc. You get the idea.
(Keep in mind, this is all based upon my 14M advance scouting reports. Someone with $20m sunk into advance scouting[Las Vegas Jackson, etc], or $5[Fargo], for that matter, would see the prospects as worth more or less. We're probably close to the league average here.)

SP Odalis Leon, Cleveland Spiders. $22m bonus.
-While we only see his overall projection as 75, Leon offers the potential for excellent control, splits, and a superlative four-seam fastball that all equal a potential #1 ace. However, there is reason for concern: his secondary pitches are mediocre and need work beyond their…

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise

as Gomer Pyle so nicely put it. Here are some dudes who, 20% into the season, appear to have made a deal with Lew Siffer to enhance their previously modest skill set, or are playing beyond the physics of the HBD age code.

CF Ernie Dorsey, El Paso Diablos: 365/425/600
-Dorsey hasn't hit 300 since winning ROTY in S4, and holds a career line of 291/350/520. With 63/41 splits, Dorsey cannot maintain such a lofty average and will soon come back down to earth.

CF Harvey O'Leary, Chicago Vipers: 357/417/468
-Leary's contact is 30 and his power 18. How jeclapton has milked a career line of 282/354/348 from this Corey Patterson wannabe is anybody's guess.

2B Don Torres, San Juan Express: 286/381/827
-There's something in the water in Puerto Rico. The Express keep turning the kind of career-minor chumps we've all got buried in our system into veritable all-stars. Just look at Torres' horrible contact and splits and explain how this guy has not only left the yard 30 times i…

International $

16 year-old Dominican pitcher Michael Inoa broke the signing bonus record last week when he agreed to become the baseball property of the Oakland A's for 4.25M. Clearly MLB GMs are amateurs when it comes to the big-time market for international players.

Capra's 1st large $ international signing of S9 landed this afternoon when the Florida Sunrays inked 18 year-old Dominican pitcher Karim Pichardo for a robust 11M. Pichardo is an offspeed/sinker specialist who projects as possible late-inning ace for the Rays, if his development goes according to plan.

Earlier this season Jimmie Feliz signed with the Buffalo Hunters for 4.7M, a relatively modest amount in the landscape of HBD internationals. The competition for internationals in Capra was not always this steep, however.

Let's look back to Season 1's three biggest bonuses and see what happened:

P Alberto Vargas. 8.8M, Scranton Breakers.
Vargas has never quite panned out. He was effective in five minor league seasons for the …

A Cautionary Tale

The Minnesota North Stars had a horrible pitching coach in season 1 and did not enjoy the remedy that was employed in the most recent case. Instead, Preston Rowan went through the entire season with the worst fielding IQ on my coaching staff, a 3, and proceeded to permanently alter the careers of several players. Over the course of that season, Minnesota's starting nine had these effects:Oleg Ramsey: lost 5 points in range and 3 points in fieldingHarry Unamuno: 2 and 1Tom Burkett: 3 and 2Jose Almonte: 0 and 5Jose Roque: 2 and 0Paul Clemens: gained 1 and LOST 16Bill Benes: 0 and 6Jose Garces: no change
In the farm system, several others were significantly impacted on the way to the show.Darrin Hatcher: gained 2 and lost 8Rudy Lombardi: gained 3 and lost 8Jeffrey Brow 0 and 5Lonny Urbina gained 1 and lost 11Herm Munoz: gained 2 and lost 14Daniel Miller: gained 6 and lost 15
In conclusion, fielding coaches can make a big difference. Within a week of starting this franchise, it was w…

Coaching Trouble?

steelerstime recently pointed out that the Rochester Rough Riders reported to ST with a Fielding Instructor that sported a Glove IQ of 8. Subsequently, some of Rochester's young talent took hits in their ability to field and catch the ball, as evidenced here: Tiny Allen, Henry Siddall, Tyler Buhner, Jimmy Little, and so on. steelerstime was kind enough to submit a ticket on this to admin, and they have replaced Rochester's original FI with another, slightly better version: Groucho Lesher.

This got me to wondering what other coaches out there that may do damage to their squads. The good news is that there aren't many. Nine seasons into Capra, we have seen more quality coaches and IQ improvements than retirements, making it easier to land solid staffs and harder to get stuck with a stinker.
At the big league level, the lowest rated Pitching coach(Jaret Fyhrie) sports a 76 IQ, a respectable # that would have been a mid-grade pitching coach for Capra's first 4-5 seasons. Sa…

Cleveland Spiders Top Ten Prospects

1. 3B Michael Dransfeldt. Age 19. HiA. ETA: Late Season 11.Hit a .342/.401/.754 in 62 games in Low A after being the #2 overall pick in Season 8. Drafted as a shortstop, he has been moved to 3B where his range is more than adequate and his glove and arm should be huge assets. Possessing superb pitch recognition, power, and contact, nothing should stop a player with these talents and this makeup from becoming an All-Star fixture, perhaps as early as Season 12.

2. SS Omar Olivares. Age 21. AAA. ETA: Season 10.Viewed as a future star after hitting .330/.417/.626 in AA as an 18 year old, his failure to put together the kind of performance that would mark him as a future superstar has led to him being eclipsed by Dransfeldt as the crown jewel of the Spiders' farm system. He continues to struggle with left-handed pitching and there are concerns that he might not live up to potential as a fielder. The bat doesn't play quite as well at second or third, so staying at shortstop is a key.…

85 and Over Club

I stole this posting's idea from rls, who did the same thing for season 7. The following players enter season 9 with overall ratings of 85 or higher. This Club does not account for projections, only current ratings. Let me know if I've missed anyone.

National League
Fargo Woodchippers
Harry Pascual 86
Brett Tracy 90
Ringo Weston 94
Toronto Beavers
Walt Cashman 90
Rochester Rough Riders
Gene Blair 86
Buffalo Hunters
Rico Sanchez 88
Florida SunRays
Brett Simms 87
Jose Sardinha 85
Little Rock Travelers
Wilt Beckett 85
El Paso Diablos
Evan Moore 85
St. Louis Archers
Rudy Carver 86
Hong-Gu Hyun 89
Melvin Martin 88
Vancouver Maintaineers
Garrett Stewart 86
Anaheim Anteaters
Billy Leary 85
Patrick Spencer 87
American League
Iowa City BEEF
Ariel Rosario 86
Scranton Breakers
Mikey Tatum 88
San Juan Express
Rogers Glynn 86
Al Ontiveros 85
Jackson Riverdogs
Al Maurer 85
Montgomery Constitutions
Al Cedeno 91
Chip Turner 91
Las Vegas Longballers
Geronimo Ordaz 86
Albuquerque Roadrunners
Ariel Cortez 85
Hal Randall 88

Minnesota's Top Prospects

Everyone surely would like to brag that their farm system has the best fruit ready for picking. In the case of Minnesota, the club might not have the best players, but they certainly have a lot of them. In total, there are 164 North Stars stocked from low A to the majors, just six players short of the maximum allowed by the rules. Naturally, this makes picking a top ten among the prospects difficult as ten players is less than 8% of the farm system. Let's give it a try, though.
Hector Flores AAA Pitcher, 2nd year proFlores may not actually qualify as a prospect since he got a very impressive cup of coffee in Minneapolis to save a starter going into the North Stars' deep playoff run, but Flores was a season 8 international signee who made an immediate impact on the AAA squad. Look for another callup late this summer; he's the first remedy if there's injury or ineffective funk.

Davey Rivera AAA Pitcher, 7th year proRivera was brought along slowly, but he is still jus…

Anaheim Anteaters Future Shock: Top 10 Prospects

1/ SP Hugh Palmer. Age 24. AAA. ETA: S10
Selected 13th in the 1st round of the S6 draft, Palmer dominated the lower minors and has averaged a 16-4/3.35 record in 3 minor league seasons. Palmer's big calling card has been the punchout as he's K'd 502 batters in 51o frames. His heater is in the mid-90s and still developing. Palmer comes with 2 good pitchers, the fastball and slider, but could use a better forkball and curveball to sharpen his repertoire. Palmer's about a season away from the bigs and projects to a solid #2 or #3 starter.

2/ SP Vasco Almonte. Age 22. AAA. ETA: S10
A former 1st round draft pick by Atlanta/Chicago, Almonte was traded to Anaheim for fellow prospect Tony Mendoza. Almonte has been consistent in the minors, if unspectacular, with a 4.15 era and 1.32 whip. However, Almonte is just 22 and has progressed quickly through the minors with a AAA season already in the books. If he continues to develop his fastball and change-up he can become a stalwart in…

Spring Training Leaders at the Halfway

6-time and running AL West champ Albuquerque wields Capra's best ST record thus far at 8-1. Next are Anaheim at 7-2 and the new-management-Redlegs of Huntington, also at 7-2. Four teams are at 2-7, but they include some of the league's consistently best teams(Fargo, St. Louis, Little Rock, and Florida), so let's not put too much stock into this.