11 March 2014

Capra Season 31 Preview

 With another season of Capra baseball upon us, let's look back on the off-season that was, and look ahead at the season to come.

Off-Season Review 

*Free Agent Frenzy
  -Free agency always yields a high amount of activity in Capra, often to mixed results. This off-season was no different. Starting pitchers Carlos Cedeno (New Orleans) and Glenn Tomko (Jackson) were among the big winners as well as well as infielders Gus Li (Charlotte) and Mark Brooks (Chicago). Cedeno was the big prize, keeping teams waiting up until the end of the signing period before eventually inking a four year deal worth $60.3 million. Cedeno has been a solid starter throughout his career in OKC though he is coming off his worst season in which he posted a 4.93 ERA. He's an extreme fly ball pitcher, and while Zephyr Park in New Orleans isn't Coors Field, it's not exactly spacious. Gus Li got a five year deal from the Bulldogs and will be making 20 million this season. Li has consistently been one of the better overall players in the game and could slot in nicely at 2nd or 3rd in Charlotte's infield. Mark Brooks earned a five year deal at 9.6 per year as the Chicago Screw look to take the next step in the NL. And Glenn Tomko, the 37 year old veteran coming off a career year, managed to score a four year contract from the Jackson Five.

*Spending Spree in Jackson, Mississippi
  -With the fans up in arms after yet another losing season in Jackson, owner TBrad321 opened up the checkbook and spent big this off-season while being active on the trade market. The results have left the Five with a much improved roster and finally some optimism for the fan base. It started on the trade market, where the Five bolstered their rotation with the acquisitions or Torey Russell and Renyel Hernandez. Atlanta and Jackson were both deep in trade talks with Salem to acquire Hernandez with Jackson winning out over their division rivals with a last minute offer that included season 30 All Star and fan favorite Rondell Collins. But the thought of beating out Atlanta, the team that has owned the division of late, for a potential staff ace quickly mitigated the disappointment of losing Collins. It continued into free agency where they gave out a combined $96.3 million in contracts to the likes of Tike Garcia, Jude Michaels, and Glenn Tomko. Combined with a core of young players such as Ronn Hawkins, Vitas Young, and Michael Matsui, the Five looked prime to at least be a contender in the playoff race this season, which would represent a great improvement for the team that has failed to win more than 70 games since moving to Jackson.

*Active Trade Market
  -Capra's owners rarely shy away from making deals, and season 31 has proven to be no different. 17 trades have been executed thus far, six of which involved the Charlotte Bulldogs. The Bulldogs kicked off the off-season with a marquee deal with New York, sending them SP Cozy Carter, receiving a pair of promising young bats in return, Ivan Sosa and Erubiel Peguero. Charlotte has now moved two of the three elite starters that were a part of the league's best rotation and delivered a championship to Charlotte. Future HOF Bruce Dellucci was sent to Atlanta last season before moving Cozy to NY this season. Sammy Ontiveros still remains to anchor the Charlotte rotation. Charlotte capped off their off-season of trading with the fascinating Swan-for-Swann deal. A fitting end to another wild off-season in Capra.

Season 31 Storylines

 *Ottawa Ice--One hit wonder or dynasty in the making?
   -The Ice returned to the pinnacle of the Capra world after a 29 season drought by defeating Syracuse in a thrilling seven game series. After a relatively quiet off-season the Ice look prepared to defend their title with largely the same roster that won last season. The Ice had one of the league's best offenses last season and received a career year from Ross Governale with 43 home runs. Wiki Iglesias is one of the top young hitters in the league and looks like a future MVP candidate at just 23 years old. And Sherry Young and Charles Huang continue to get the job done in their early 30s. The Ice figure to be one of the league's top teams moving forward. But situated in the ultra-competitive AL North, their road back to the World Series will be a difficult one.

*New Top Dog in the AL South?
  -The Atlanta Peaches rebuilding process that began in season 23 culminated with a season 28 World Series Championship. But what looked like the beginning of a great run has instead seen the Peaches produce mostly mediocre results in the two seasons since (172 total wins and only one playoff series win) while the teams below them in the standings have closed the gap. We've already touched on the Five's spending spree, but the New Orleans Hurricanes did not sit back idly and watch, they were active in bringing in Carlos Cedeno to add to an already talented young roster. And the Richmond Blue Sox continue to add young, talented prospects through the draft. The trash talk has already began between Atlanta and Jackson, and the days of Atlanta having the division wrapped up by the All Star break appear to be over.

*Which teams are on the rise?
  -This writer has identified a few teams, that look primed to take the next step this season. First, the Anaheim Anteaters look to have done an excellent job rebuilding their roster after the former perennial contenders had a few down seasons. The Anteaters are stocked with young pitching, including Marty Dale, Carl Ramirez, Sal Roosevelt, and Anderson McCartney currently in the majors, with former top pick Albert Sanchez at AAA ready to make an impact when he gets the call up. Emilio Hernandez and Eduardo Estrada are two of the top young bats in the game and Anaheim added slugger Chin-Feng Lee who hit 34 home runs in his first full ML season. Look for Anaheim to return to the playoffs this season

   The Chicago Screw posted a 90 win season and dispatched of Junior Hernandez and the Picards in four games in the NLDS before falling in heart breaking fashion in game 7 of the NLCS to Syracuse. Everth Cela hit .346 after coming over in a midseason deal with Salem. And the screw are hoping the addition of Mark Brooks will create a formidable tandem in the middle of their order and be enough to get to the World Series this season

The Dover Silastic Armorfiends saw their playoff drought stretch to 18 seasons, despite posting a solid total of 89 wins. Dover has won 80+ games in 9 of the past 10 seasons, but never more than 90. They look perpetually on the cusp of contention. Can they get over the hump this season? Edgardo Estrada is one of the league's best overall hitters with a .324 career batting average. Combined with Benny Palacios and Sal Murphy, Dover has one of the league's best middle of the lineup. Steven Bland appears ageless and continues to be an ace at the age of 35. If Dover can get consistent performances from the rest of their rotation, including Lefty Thompson, Fergie Simpson, and Maicer Johnson, they could break that postseason drought. My guess is they snag one of the two wild card spots and return to the playoffs.

Season Predictions

American League

 North: Ottawa Ice
 East: Cleveland Spiders
 South: Atlanta Peaches
 West: Oklahoma City Okies
 Wild Card: New York Sultans
 Wild Card: Dover Silastic Armorfiends

 MVP: Andrew Flores (Cleveland)
 Cy Young: Cozy Carter (New York)

National League

 North: Chicago Screw
 East: Syracuse Sicilians
 South: Nashville Friars
 West: Seattle Picards
 Wild Card: Toronto Beavers
 Wild Card: Anaheim Anteaters

 MVP: Fritz Doumit (New Britain)
 Cy Young: Junior Hernandez (Seattle)

World Series
 The Syracuse Sicilians defeat the New York Sultans in six games

Enjoy the season!

07 March 2014


I know I posted my big post, but I just wanted to put these guys next to each other.

G AB R H 2B 3B
Louie 2174 7689 1441 2163 358 93
Rudy 2339 8459 1477 2424 408 37
Mel 1942 8096 1571 2531 572 71

Louie 490 1336 639 1287 470 81
Rudy 429 1477 1331 1292 227 73
Mel 305 1226 711 1043 512 149

Louie 0.281 0.339 0.543 0.882
Rudy 0.287 0.386 0.496 0.882
Mel 0.313 0.371 0.514 0.885

You don't need me to realize these 3 guys are almost identical overall. Rudy has the longevity edge, Louie and Mel have more speed. What one lacks in power he makes up in OBP.  For me, offensively this is more or less a wash. So we look further.

All 3 were 2B's for the vast majority of their careers. As 2B's:

Louie 80 E, 83+, 3-, .984 F%, 4.88 RF
Rudy 111 E, 16+ 46-, .983 F%, 5.06 RF
Mel 169 E, 21+ 38-, .981 F%, 5.90 RF

Louie sticks out a lot here, with his 83-3 +/-. His RF is significantly lower than Barfield, but range factor is such a weird stat, and is heavily affected by the rest of your team. +/- is an individual stat. If I had to choose between those guys, it would be pretty clearly Louie, Mel, Rudy.

Now to consider awards:

Louie 9 AS, 1 GG, 4 SS, 2 MVP
Rudy 5 AS, 1 GG, 5 SS, 2 MVP
Mel 7 AS, 1 GG, 4 SS

Putting those all together, hopefully I've explained why, for me, the order is Louie, Rudy, Mel.

Season 31 HOF rundown

Here’s my take on this season’s HOF nominees. Most of the shoo-ins have been elected, and there were few nominations this year. Should make for some good debate!

No Doubt

Bruce Kent – Kent has classic HOF numbers. 670 HR (6th), 1870 RBI (top 10), 1653 R (prob top 10). He played almost exclusively LF, and though he was a poor defender, he more than made up for it with his bat. Very short on awards, probably due to his defense, but he did pick up 3 ASG and 3 SS, plus the all-important MVP. Not the best all-around player ever, but he’s a no doubter for me.

Solid chance

Louie Hayes – 9 ASG and 2 MVPs from this 2B/3B say he’s a good candidate without even looking deeper. A power/speed threat with 490 HRs and 470 steals, he finished with an .882 OPS.  He compares very closely to his namesake Rudy Hayes, but was a significantly better fielder with more speed and more consistency.

Santos Flores – Not quite as high a peak as most HOFers, Flores gets the nod for outstanding longevity at a very high level of production. He played more games than anyone else, with 3,107 games played, mostly at RF. That left him 1st all-time in doubles with 670, 2nd in hits with 3,050, and 2nd in runs with 1,900. He hung on a little too long, bringing his OPS down to .830, but during his peak 14 years (that’s a long peak!) his OPS was .870. During those same 14 seasons he hit 563 2B, 319 HR and stole 578 bases. 6 All Star games.

Vasco Almonte – There have been few pitchers better than Almonte in this league, His career 210-109 record is excellent, along with a very good 3.31 ERA in over 2900 IP.  He only made 4 ASG but 9 times his era was below 3.50, so it’s hard to understand why. He’s comparable to Livan Lee (Almonte was an NL pitcher), but Almonte pitched more, and won 2 CYA. He stands out here.
Domingo Padilla – The greastest base stealer in Capra history contributed in more than one way.  He smacked over 600 doubles and almost 400 HRs.  He played 2B, LF and RF, solidly if unspectacularly. His OPS of .828 is a bit low for the Hall, but by stealing over 950 bases, he managed to score over 1750 runs, putting him at 5th all-time, and in company of 4 other HOFers. He deserves to join their ranks. 6 All-Star games and 5 Silver sluggers.

Rudy Hayes – He has a very high peak, winning back-to-back MVPs as a 2B. He didn’t quite put up the gaudy numbers that some of the other HOFers did, with 429 HRs, slightly under 1500 R and RBI, and an .882 OPS. He did contribute over 200 SBs. He also only went to 5 AS games. Without the great peak, he’d probably be borderline. But those 2 MVPs probably put him over the top.

Mel Barfield – An excellent 2B, went to 7 ASGs and won 4 SS and 1 GG. He batted .313/.371/.514 for an outstanding .885 OPS, and added 512 SB. He scored more than 1500 R and drove in over 1200. He might get my HOF vote except that the Hayes boys and their MVPs are in the way.

Melvin Hernandez – Very similar to Kevin Myers, Melvin’s raw numbers are ever so slightly worse. However, using my ERA+ calculator, it turns out that their ERA+ is neck and neck – 180 for MH to 179 for Kevin Myers. But Melvin pitched in a hitter’s park, which I haven’t included, so his pitching was even better. Melvin had slightly fewer innings (1677 IP), but he went to one more ASG than Myers (7), and won a Fireman award. These two players are almost identical, but I have Melvin a step ahead.

Kevin Myers – The sort of pitcher who only exists in HBD, and one of very few who may deserve the HOF. Averaged 140 relief IP per season during his peak, and had a career ERA of 2.62 over 1800 IP. Went to 6 All-Star teams, and would have gone to more had he been a closer, but he would have been less valuable. Way more innings than a closer, and second only to Junior Hernandez in ERA. Pretty good choice.

Livan Lee – An excellent pitcher who pitched at a very high level for a pretty long time. An astounding W/L of 212-109, with a 3.86 ERA and 2679 IP.  He twice topped 20 W and was under 3.00 ERA two other seasons. And all this in the AL! A very high level HOF candidate.

Hayes Corino – Another mashing 1B, and another guy who probably won’t quite get in. Excellent numbers with over 500 HR, 1400 RBI, and a .923 OPS. Might have been a HOFer with a shade more longevity. He did win 2 MVPs, which is huge, but only went to 4 ASGs.

Wesley Smith – A difficult player to position, Smith was the best hitting SS in the league for almost a decade. Normally, that would be enough to get a HOF nod. He had excellent gap power, hitting over 500 2Bs, and adding 320 HRs and 439 SBs. Career OPS of .878, with over 1500 Rs. But he was out of position at SS, and was a terrible defender (in 1650 G at SS he made 389 E, 8 + and 92 – plays). Despite winning 8 Silver Sluggers at SS he only went to 5 All-Star games. He certainly is not a poor choice for the HOF, but I’m not 100% convinced myself yet.

Sammy King – It’s always funny when two players are so similar, and these two catchers are neck-and-neck. They sport nearly identical OPS – King one point higher at .899. King played a significantly longer, with 7100 PAs. 6 ASG, 3 GG and 2 SS for King, who was better at throwing out baserunners, but Alexander was the better pitch caller.  Both are solid candidates for the HOF.  I would choose King first, but it’s awfully close.

Doug Alexander – Another member of the Fargo Woodchippers dynasty, and another guy who isn’t a bad choice for the HOF.  A spectacular slash line of .327/.425/.473 gives him an OPS of .898. He finishes with 5800 PAs, so his career is a hair on the short side. But he’s one of the best catchers we’ve seen in the league.

Javier Leon – Another DH whose peak was even higher than Colome, but had a little less longevity. Leon went .318/.379/.623 for a 1.002 OPS! 556 HR and 1482 RBI, 1 MVP and 3 All-Star games. He was a great player, and worthy of a vote, but there’s just too many players ahead of him.

Denny Cooper – Third 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.

Taylor Bowie – One of the top closers we have had in the league, but still maybe not quite dominant enough. He has roughly the same amount of saves (500) and innings (900) as Nerio Miller, but his ERA (3.24), is a bit higher than Miller’s (2.93). And remember, Miller played in a higher offensive era. And most importantly, Nerio didn’t make the HOF. In Bowie’s favor, he went to 8 All-Star games and won 5 Fireman awards. He’s not a bad choice.

Ariel Cortez – Very valuable pitcher who pitched over 3600 IP. He also won over 240 games, good for 5th all-time. But with his 4.11 ERA he’s a shade behind HOF quality. 5 All-Star games and 1 CYA.


Lewis Boswell – Another excellent every day reliever who deserves some consideration, but pales beside Kevin Myers. Boswell pitched over 2100 innings, all as a reliever and put up a 1.19 WHIP and a 3.66 ERA, mostly in the AL. He won over 100 games and saved almost 300, and went to 4 ASG (like Myers, it would have been more had he been a closer).

Denny Martin – Another 200-game winner retires, but this one is probably a hair short of HOF. He went 221-124 (.640), and pitched 2925 innings to a 4.09 ERA.  Went to 5 All-Star teams and won a CYA.

Desi Martin – The other Martin also has some impressive numbers, retiring at #4 all-time in wins, with 247. But his longevity is his only Hall claim – his career ERA is 4.45. He didn’t even have a high peak; his best season was probably when he went 19-10, 3.72 for Fresno. Only 2 All-Star games underscore this highly-consistent yet average player.

Stan Coleman – Played 1B and LF about equally, and had great power. Hit 545 HR and drove in over 1500 runs. His .888 OPS means he was really excellent, but not quite elite. 6 ASG, 1 GG, 1 SS.

Lou Witt – Played 2B and CF, got just over 2000 H, batted over .300.  A very nice player who finished with an .882 OPS and over 270 SB. He was very good, but not unbelievable. He went to 3 All-Star games and won 4 Silver Sluggers.

Al Perez – Played a long and productive career, amassing over 2300 H and almost 1500 R. A career OPS of .830 while playing some CF and more RF. He went to 8 All-Star games, demonstrating that he was well above average consistently, but just didn’t quite put up big enough numbers.

Al Cedeno – Three similar players in a row, Cedeno played SS, 3B and RF, almost 2300 H and 1200 R, .840 OPS.  A notch behind the other two, he played in just one AS game, and a GG in RF, and he’s clearly not quite a HOFer.

Chuck Coleman – An above-average SS with big power. He had some major seasons, but not great longevity – he only played 11 full seasons. He was probably HOF level at his peak, but didn’t seal the deal. 5 ASG, 1 SS and a late career GG at RF. 

Raul Costilla – A LF with lots of power (526 HR), but just an .853 OPS for his career. Went to 3 ASG and won 1 GG and 1 SS. Not quite enough for this HOF.

Short Career

No Shot

Wally Ramirez  - Some decent numbers overall, but certainly not enough for the HOF. 439 HR, 1273 RBI and 1143 R from a 1B won’t do it. A very nice .900 even OPS. He had one spectacular season where he won all 3 of his awards: he was an All-Star, Silver Slugger and MVP in season 21. But never even went to another ASG.

Bobby White – A nice save total, at 419, but that’s all that’s particularly outstanding about White. He did pitch a lot, amassing 1400 IP, but with an ERA of 4.08. He notched 2 Fireman awards, but only 3 All-Star games.

Jorge Lima – Had some huge seasons early, but for his career was much too pedestrian for this HOF. 353 HR and and .886 OPS for an outfielder won’t quite do it.

Alex Lopez – I’m a fan of the everyday reliever in this game, but the overall numbers have to be higher.  He pitched over 1300 innings, but 1.37 WHIP and 4.04 ERA aren’t HOF numbers, even in Capra.

Aurelio Astacio  - A sub .800 OPS and no really outstanding moments mean Astacio doesn’t even belong on this list despite being a CF.

Santos Flores
Age: 42B/T: R/R
Born: Los Abreus, CU
Position(s): RF
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Santos Flores hung up the cleats after season 26. Here's why he's a hall-of-famer.
  1. Awards He's a 6-time all-star and won the Silver Slugger and Gold Glove at right field.
  2. Consistent Quality He didn't ever get accused of swinging from his heels. Flores never struck out 120 times. He never struck out 100 times. Flores never even struck out 85 times. His low was 50 strikeouts and his high was 81 over a long career. All told he only struck out once per 8 at-bats. Flores's home runs plus stolen bases added up to 55 or better each season from his rookie year of season 8 through season 20. Up until his last two seasons he was a starter, hitting 9 or more home runs and stealing 17 or more bases. He averaged 20 home runs and 36 stolen bases per 162 games for his career.
  3. Okay, time for the longevity stats. He's #2 to Jim Heathcott in at-bats, plate appearances, and pitches seen. He's got 31 more doubles than hall-of-famer Hal Randall. He's #2 in games behind hall-of-famer Rudy Lombardi. He's #5 in hits. He's #2 behind hall-of-famer Rogers Glynn in runs. He's got one more triple than hall-of-famer Walt Cashman without playing in the triples seasons.
  4. Something Different He's not a first baseman or designated hitter. Flores would be the first player known primarily as a right fielder in the hall of fame.
     I wrote that as the S26 playoffs were winding down and I reflected on what a great career Flores has had. Imagine my surprise when Flores didn't retire when Season 27 rolled over! He went on to play two more seasons and add to the lore that has developed around The Best Pure Right Fielder in History (TM). So, in trading a couple of points' batting average/OPS, he's strengthened his case while playing for a dud of a team to end his career.
     To bring you up to date, Flores finished his career #1 in the following categories:
  • at-bats (+210 over Heathcott), 
  • plate appearances (+271 over Heathcott), 
  • doubles (+35 over Randall*), 
  • games (+162 over Lombardi*), 
  • pitches seen (594 over Maduro), 
  • and triples (4 over Cashman* who had 50 triples in the first 2 seasons while the world was triple-happy).
     Amazingly, Flores hit at least one triple every season. Even when his speed dropped into the 30s he hit two triples in his last year. Flores finished 2nd in hits (103 behind Heathcott), 2nd in runs (217 less than Glynn*, 62 ahead of Randall*), and probably #6, 7, or 8 in stolen bases, although the list stops at #5.
* denotes Hall-of-Famer
+ denotes North Star

     So here are my campaign points as I'm wrapping up my rally:
  • #1 in triples and doubles 
  • #2 in hits 
  • 3 years over .900 OPS, 10 over .850 
  • Best season's hard to pick: 8? 10? 12? 15?
  • Gold Glove and Silver Slugger, 6-time All-Star 
  • 10 seasons of 39+ doubles 
  • 15 seasons of 30+ stolen bases to start career