20 November 2011

Syracuse Sicilians Preview

After two mediocre seasons of 83 wins each and no playoff appearances the Sicilian nine moves into Season 22 with some questions answered and but several with answers still pending. In short, this season could be a success or something considerably less.

Catcher: Clayton Rollins, he of the .301-.380-.467 career averages, is back again. Season 21 saw his numbers a bit below his career figures, but still he hit .292, OPS'ed .829, and whacked a career high 24 homers. He also showed great durability in playing in 157 games, the forth consecutive year he has played in more than 155 games. He's a warhorse.

Lonny Alomar played well in his rookie season, as a backup, and managed to hit .284.

1B: The Sicilians platooned at the right side corner in 21 and it payed great dividends. Rookie Larry Flood hit .293, bonked 24 homers, and slugged .546 against RHP. Third year player Will Lee hit .287, bonked 13 homers, and slugged .569 vs. LHP. Both have been dangled as trade bait in the off-season but currently they are still Sicilians and ready to reprise their Batman and Robin roles.

2B: Future HoF'er Louie Hayes was shipped down the road in the off-season and now Sammy Guerrero moves over from 3B to man 2nd. Guerrero is a good gloveman who hits especially well against lefties. Veteran Carlos Olmedo was a late signee and will provide an experienced utility presence, decent bat and great glove.

SS: Jim Darwin won the Gold Glove in his first full MLB season. He added 19 homers to account for a heck of a double threat. He was a very popular target in trade offers over the off-season, but the Sicilian front office has, so far, resisted the trade temptation. Benny Scharein played several different positions with luster and surprised everybody with an average north of .270

3B: Veteran Tino Wood was brought in over the winter. He's a decent glove and a decent bat. Wood averages over 20 homers per season and has a career OPS of nearly .800. He won't replace Hayes bat in the lineup, but he's a solid major league and a workaholic locker room presence.

LF: Slugging Wilfredo Hernandez and his 28 homers was not resigned in the offseason. Wild and crazy rookie Steve Martin came up on fire after his midseason call-up. His .320-.426-.606 stat line with 18 homers in 86 games was worthy of some ROY consideration. He's back, will start against lefties and pinch hit. No one expects numbers like he showed last season, but he commands the strike (walking nearly 16% of his PA's) and punishes fences. Early in the season AAA .300 hitter Jason Dodson will get the AB's against RHP, but expect Terry Pariss (acquired in the Hayes' trade) to get his first call up very early.

CF: Switchhitting Ralph Hammonds is consistent. He's hit 7 homers three season in a row and averaged .271, .271 and .279 over that time. He's not very good, but he's consistent.

RF: Max Eckstein hit 31 homers, .244, and OPS'ed .760. All were 3-season lows. He also played only 149 games (with a 15-Day DL stint) after playing every game the previous two seasons. He confidently predicts he will bounce back. He better, or he won't be a Sicilian in Season 23. Hopefully, tough love works.

Starting Pitching: Buzz Andrews is 61-36 with a 3.41 ERA in his 4-year career. He's a good one. Mario Hyers had a career worst 8-15 record in season 21, along with a career worst 4.14 ERA. He still threw 226 innings and is expectedd to bounce back. Former Bonus Baby Everth Cantu saw his record fall from 16-5 to 8-10 and his ERA increase by 1-pt to 3.93. He is expected to sparkle again. Rookie Max Javier went 12-5 after his call up. Those 4 form a very solid rotational core. Thomas Borbon walks too many guys but is 21-21 over his career. He'll get 1st shot at the #5 spot. If he gets bombed, Yorvit Sanchez will get his opportunity in the rotation. He has filled every role in his career, from starter to closer.

The Sicilian bullpen was pathetic in Season 21. P-A-T-H-E-T-I-C. It has to improve in Season 22. It can't be worse. Einar Ferrer, Paul Dong, and Orlando Bonilla were brought in to shore up this weakness. Bonilla throws 100 innings a year and has a career ERA of 3.45 and a WHIP of 1.10. He's a pretty good one. Buddy Bottalico was a bullpen bright spot as a rookie. He was 9-5 with a 3.02 ERA. Greybeard Julian Furcal had 17 saves but an ERA over 5. He was wildly overpaid. Thank God he'll be gone after this season! Cy McDowell has great skills, great makeup and a crappy career ERA of 4.38. He remains an enigma and will eventually get another chance to blow the closer role. Dong will get that role as the season begins.

That's it. This year's Syracuse Sicilians. If Wood hits, Eckstein bounces back, Pariss has a fine rookie season and the bullpen doesn't stink it up again, we may challenge for a Wild Card spot, riding on the backs of a decent rotation. We might win 73 games, too.

Play ball!

16 November 2011

Season 22 HOF Analysis

Here’s my take on this season’s HOF nominees. I’ve put them in 5 categories: No Doubt, Good Chance, Borderline, Short Career, and No Chance. The problem is that there are so many decent candidates, the vote gets split among them. For those who don’t use all 5 of your votes, think about players like Alberto Sosa, who has 550 HR’s and is about 15th in line (and won’t ever get in).

No Doubt

Hong-Gu Hyun – One of the great players of all-time, won 2 MVPs, went to 9 All Star games and won 9 Silver Sluggers! Hit almost 400 HRs, stole 250 bases, and had a blistering 1.000 OPS. Did I mention he did it all at CF?

Dennys Yamakazi – It may be hard for current Capra players to remember a time when there was only 1 truly great pitcher (the immortal Brett Tracy). Yamakazi’s numbers might not be staggering, with 190-133 W-L and a 3.89 ERA, but he was clearly the best pitcher not named Tracy in the early years of the league. No real-life pitcher won 3 CYA’s and isn’t in the HOF. His career ERA+ of 133 makes him comparable to Whitey Ford. He’s a HOFer.

Hal Randall – .336/.419/.563. Pretty much says it all. Over 600 2Bs, 375 HRs and 375 SBs. 2800 hits. And played a solid 2B. 11 All Star games and 8 Silver Sluggers. How could you possibly vote Evan Moore over this guy?

Diego Santana – 8 All Star games and an MVP for our greatest catcher yet. He slugged 475 HRs, including hitting 60 in a season twice, and had a .950 OPS. The definition of a HOFer.

Good chance

Desi Rodriguez – Gold Glove winning SS who went to 7 All Star games and hit over 500 HR. Sounds like a HOF lock! His .850 OPS hurts him a bit, but the huge contracts handed out to SS this offseason remind us how important this position is.

Jorel McGlinchy – A tough call, not an amazing offensive player, though respectable with over 500 2Bs, 200 SBs and an .812 career OPS. But an absolutely incredible defensive force, winning 10 GGs at CF and going to 8 All Star games. Racked up 424 (+) plays – the second most is 146. If you value defense, this guys is a HOFer.

Julio Johnson – 2-time MVP and 6 All Stars, plus a .941 OPS, while playing 2B and LF. Only 10 seasons, not quite as defensively valuable as Harry Pascual, but 2 MVPs speak loudly.

Mikey Tatum – Lfer who went to 9 All Star games, won 4 Silver Sluggers and 4 Gold Gloves. With 300 HR, almost 600 SB, nearly a .900 OPS and 1500 R, he’s easy to vote for.

Trenidad Prieto – 500 HR, 1700 RBI and 1500 R. A .957 career OPS. HOF numbers for sure. Only 4 All Stars and 1 Silver Slugger though, and at 1B in this league you have to MASH. He’d be a sure thing if he played another position, as it is… he’s not a bad choice.

Alexander Henry – 500 HR, 1500 RBI, .971 career OPS. 4 All Star games and an MVP. Another 1B with HOF numbers, but how many can you take. Tough choices here.

Clinton Anderson – This RF hit an enormous 667 HR, drove in over 1800, and scored over 1600. His .921 OPS is very good but does not elevate him from this group. He won an MVP, but only went to 2 All Star games.

Evan Moore – Gets the accumulater vote, but was never as good as the rest of the guys in this category. A solid .869 OPS with over 500 2Bs is very nice, but the only reason he’s this high is because of the 3000 H. Only one All Star game. I personally wouldn’t put him in until a lot of these other guys get in. Played 1B for his whole career despite being listed as a 2B on his HOF card.

Denny Cooper – Second all-time in SBs with 721, this speedster also got on base and hit for power, giving him an .897 career OPS. 4 All Star games and 4 Silver Sluggers. He also played an excellent 2B. Another high-level candidate.

Harry Pascual – 4 All Stars, 4 Silver Sluggers and a .939 OPS from a 2B. Despite only 10 full seasons, it’s hard to say he doesn’t belong.

Nerio Miller – 9 All Stars, 6 Firemen and a CYA. 2.93 career ERA and 487 Sv. The fact that he pitched less than 1000 IP keep him out of the sure thing category for me.

David Wanatabe – The all-time Saves leader by a mile, with 623. Went to 10 All Star games and won 5 Fireman awards. But he only pitched 50 IP more than Nerio, with a 3.67 ERA. Hard to say who was better. Some will vote for him. I probably won’t.

Ron Quantrill – I still haven’t figured out how to rate pitcher’s careers. 176 W and a 3.87 ERA aren’t mind blowing, but there are so few pitchers with those numbers that I think it’s much harder than it seems. 6 All Stars and over 2800 IP.

Borderline

Roosevelt Davenport – A victim of too many good players – he’s next in line to a lot of guys. Should get lots of respect for 586 HRs and a .920 OPS, but only went to 3 All Star games. He played a below average 2B for most of his career, then played an above average LF.

Darin McClellan – A Davenport clone, he hit 589 HRs and had a .921 OPS. Despite that he only went to 1 All Star game. Played 1B, LF and DH. Doesn’t really stand out.

Ringo Weston – Played CF, SS and 3B, got over 2300 H and 1300 R, with an OPS of .845. Excellent all-around player, maybe not quite HOF quality.

Anthony Gipson – This excellent 3B went to 6 All Star games, won a Gold Glove and 4 Silver Sluggers. His 399 HR and .899 OPS ironically echo his HOF status: Not Quite.

Mel Barfield – This 2B went to 7 All Star games, won a Gold Glove and 4 Silver Sluggers. A very similar player to Gipson! Hard to complain about 300 HR, 500 SB and an .885 OPS, but with the difficulty of getting in, he probably won’t see the HOF.

Geronimo Ordaz – Almost made it to 3000 H as a SS and compiled an .850 OPS. He compares in some ways to Desi Rodriguez, but never won a gold glove and only went to 3 All-Star games. One step below.

Alberto Sosa – Hard to argue against players with 550 HR, but this RF is going to come up a hair short with his .890 OPS, and the fact he only played in 2 All Star games.

Clyde Unroe – 500 HR and 1500 RBI for someone who played 2B/LF is always good. Only 2 All Star games and an .895 OPS make me think twice.

Julio Iglesias – Played 3B and SS, went to 6 All Star games and won 3 SS and a GG. 300 HR and almost 300 SB, with a .903 OPS. I think he’s just below the HOF.

Don Wilson – Has the magic .300/.400/.500 mark, but just barely, registering a .910 OPS. Went to 4 All Star games, and was an excellent hitter. Too much competition here for him though, with Prieto and Henry in front of him.

Tyler Henderson – With 444 Saves and a 3.47 ERA, 6 All Stars and 2 Firemen, he’s a poor man’s Nerio Miller. Not quite enough.

Matthew Torres – Made 4 All-Star games and 1 Fireman, pitched a lot for a reliever, racking up over 1600 IP, 108 W, and 208 saves. His 3.72 ERA keeps him out of the elite reliever discussion.

Short Career

Ryan Parrish – RFer Parrish was a masher, compiling a .991 OPS with over 300 HR, but with only 8 full seasons it’s probably not quite enough for the HOF.

Dustin Scott – Also a RFer, put together a .940 OPS and 250 HR. His 8 seasons were not quite enough.

Walter Webb – Had some massive seasons early as a C, but was too old. Finished as a DH with fewer than 300 HR.

T.J. Smart – Another early C with huge seasons, but a too short career. Has a massive .998 OPS, but fewer than 1000 H and only 175 HR.

No Shot

Marvin Bryant – This 2B/SS was a nice player, but an .851 OPS with no speed will not get you a HOF spot.

George Brow – He played a nice CF and came to play every day, and contributed with a .293 AVG. Not a real HOF candidate though.

Henry Sullivan – Awards don’t tell the whole story, but the fact that in 8 seasons this 3B didn’t win any probably tells enough.

Peter Mitchell – Did some catching, but mostly a DH. Put up a huge .423 OBP, but the rest of the numbers are not enough for a pure hitter to make it.

Shawn Morton – HOF voters have to remember how hard it is to pitch in this league. A 3.78 career ERA is very good. I just don’t think his 108 W and 1800 IP are enough.

John Kennedy – Won a CYA and has a 3.87 ERA. Again, I think 109 W and 1500 IP don’t cut it.

Matty Ortiz – His 3.98 ERA and 132 W probably won’t do it. He almost made it to 2000 IP though.

Zachrey Cohen, Esteban Tejera– Do not belong on this list.

15 November 2011

Owner Interview: rls1

He is CAPRA's hard working commishioner. He runs the most respected (and hated) franchise in the league. As an owner, he has impressive collection of 19 division titles and 4 (!) world series titles. Here is an exclusive interview with rls1.

1. What is your RL situation (age, location, family, career)?
42. Indianapolis. Grew up in Southern California. Married for 15 years. Two daughters, ages 11 and 5. Teach writing at Butler University.

2. Favorite Capra player on your own team? On someone else's team?
Currently, our 1B, Ismael Maduro. All-time, his predecessor and Hall-of-Famer, Kip White. Elsewhere, I like to see players that we drafted and developed do well with other teams.

3. Biggest HBD blunder?
Dropped out of the International Market a few seasons ago. When you pick near the end of the 1st round every season, that makes it hard to develop any prospects at all. Now we've got nothing in the system and time is about to run out on whatever run we've had going.

4. Your general HBD team building strategy?
Pitching #1, Defense #2, Offense #3. Subsequently, we suffer with a weak offense most seasons and are eliminated from the postseason when we run into great pitchers.The fun challenge is finding how to get better at #3 without sacrificing #1 or #2.

5. If you could add/improve any feature to HBD, what would it be?
I'd like to have individual settings for base stealing. Currently, Maduro has been throw out in 27 of his 30 career base stealing attempts. He really shouldn't try again. But the engine is going to keep sending him unless I also stop my rabbits from running.

6. One interesting RL fact about yourself.
-Once spent a night in jail with sjstapleton.-Made music video debut in James McMurtry's 1995 clip "Where'd You Hide the Body." (around the 50 second mark)-Chipped one of my front teeth while getting drunk in Tijuana at age 19. As horny as I was, and drunk, refused the Mexican bar whore eyeballing me.-Have around 15,000 old baseball cards somewhere in my attic.-Workout playlist (on shuffle)Ted Leo "I Got Your Number"Iron Maiden "Die With Your Boots On"Rage Against the Machine "Sleep Now in the Fire"Sugar "Tilted"AC/DC "For Those About to Rock"Bob Mould "Sacrifice/Let There be Peace"Metallica "St. Anger"White Stripes "Fell in Love with a Girl"

12 November 2011

Dransfeldt leaves


Michael Dransfeldt
Jacksonville, AR (AP) - "I'm taking my talents to Huntington."

And, with that statement, Michael Dransfeldt became the second most hated man in Cleveland.

Speaking at a press conference in his hometown, Dransfeldt stated that he felt that Cleveland was too cosmopolitan and snobbish for his tastes.

"I hated that place, man. They were a bunch of snobs that never accepted me for who I am. I like to drink warm beer out of a can. I think it is more convenient to have my washing machine on the front porch. I don't even like to wear shoes during the offseason. Huntington seems more like my kind of town. Heck, it can't be that big, I'd never even heard of it."

Cleveland owner and GM dcbove appeared dismayed about how the negotations had ended. "We had offered him a large extension last season and had a 5 year, $85 million deal on the table when he signed elsewhere. He just didn't want to come back."

The Spiders will miss Dransfeldt's production on the field. He had 9 Silver Sluggers, 5 Gold Gloves, and 8 All-Star appearances in his 10 years as a major league 3rd baseman. He was an MVP finalist 9 times though he never won an MVP. However, GM dcbove said they won't miss his antics off of the field.

"It is hard to understand such a horrible lack of loyalty. We squashed the rumors that he had fixed games during the Season 16 playoffs when he hit only .188. We covered up his meth addiction and the subsequent relapses that led to such a substandard Season 19. We overlooked his questionable relationships with prostitutes and farm animals. Apparently Michael did not appreciate our efforts."

Cleveland has already stated their intention to move Enrique Astacio from shortstop to third base and call up Tony Plata to play shortstop. Rumors have swirled that they've dangled Gil Thornton and Devaris Barker in an effort to acquire a corner outfielder.

"I can't comment on any deals," said dcbove. "If we can find a bat to replace Dransfeldt then we'll make a move. Otherwise we intend to rely on some of our prospects. With all the money that we'll have lying around, we expect to be huge players in the IFA market this year."

As for Dransfeldt? "I plan on drinking a quart of Wild Turkey tonight and then driving my truck out into the swamp to shoot me some racoons. Just like every Saturday."

One can only imagine that his old neighbors in Cleveland won't miss him. His production, however, will be sorely missed.

07 November 2011

Owner Interview: bursny483

Burnsy, owner of the Cinncinati Roses and reigning Capra champion, has 11 HBD seasons under his belt. In that short time, he's amassed an impressive .541 winning pct, to go with 5 division titles and 6 playoff appearances. He's been more than kind in volunteering to be our first owner to be interviewed. On to the questions!

1. What is your RL situation (age, location, family, career)? I'm 28, live in the NYC area, and work in the sports and entertainment field.

2. Favorite Capra player on your own team? On someone else's team? My favorite player on my team is probably Coco Hentgen. I had the first pick of the draft in my first year here, and I'm proud of my selection. He's a franchise player, and will be a star at 2B for quite some time. My favorite player on another team is Bruce Harper. He's been a beast his whole career, and I always love a good power hitter. Within my division, it's Alex Valdes. Whenever Mike gets sick of him, I'd be happy to take him off his hands.

3. Biggest HBD blunder? One year I thought the amateur draft was a day later than it actually was. Luckily I ran my formula builder once beforehand, PM but I didn't get to do more preparation.

4. Your general HBD team building strategy? Overall, I try not to limit myself to any particular strategy, and just try to put myself in the best possible position based on what's available to me. But I like to play to my ballpark, so I'm a fan of power hitters. I also like to get above average defense at each position, if possible. And I've always thought it's important to have at least one true ace on your staff, and that it becomes more important in the postseason. This past year proved me right.

5. If you could add/improve any feature to HBD, what would it be? I'd like the HOF to be fixed. It's probably my biggest (and probably irrational) pet peeve with the game. If a handful of owners are apathetic to their world's HOF, PM you're significantly less likely to get anyone in. I think people should be voted in based on % of those who actually vote to alleviate this issue, and I like to see less players have the ability to be nominated. I can see how that could make the whole process a little overwhelming.

6. One interesting RL fact about yourself. My first ever trip to Fenway Park (probably my favorite ballpark) was in July of 1994. I witnessed an unassisted triple play by John Valentin, and being the baseball dork I am, was the only person in my section who recognized the feat that we all just saw. Years later, I remembered that a Seattle prospect made his major league debut at SS that game, and in looking back at the box score, found out that it was Alex Rodriguez.