Sunday, July 08, 2018

Kinger alive and well

A recent post on the OOTP site incorrectly stated that Max Klinger, owner of the Toledo Mud Hens and a Korean War veteran, had died.  This has proven to be fake news.  Klinger is alive and well, however he is stepping down in his role overseeing baseball and business operations.  His son Doug will be the owner on record for the franchise, with Max continuing to root on his team from the owner’s box.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Brett Solo Traded

Brett Solo is heading back to the team where he started, the Cleveland Spiders.  Hawaii also gives up four prospects - SS Joe Lewis, 1B Bill Berry, P Alberto Ortiz, and CF Jody Rasmussen in exchange for pitcher Dustin Morris and minor league SS Albert Carillo.

Solo, 36, is hitting .219 with 9 homers and 34 RBI. He is signed for 4 seasons after 2018.  Cleveland is leading the Superior League Central with a 43-36 record despite getting almost no production from shortstops Kevin Tyler and Owen Reid.

Morris will fit into Hawaii's rotation, which has been devastated by injuries.  Most recently phenom Yodano Ventura's season ended due to an elbow injury.

In other news, Miami traded Roman Matos to Detroit along with minor league OF Alfredo Encinia for Jered DeMario.  Matos has been a disappointment since going 21-4 last season, and Miami decided to bring back the pitcher who had been their ace for the last 5 seasons.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Joe Young final game is a win

Joe Young took the field for the final time today as Miami’s starting catcher.  He was not tested on the base paths and handled himself well behind the dish, not allowing a passed ball or wild pitch, holding on to a throw from right field to tag a runner out at the plate, and calling a good game for Bo Greenwood, who took a shutout into the 8th inning.

At the plate Joe struck out his first two times up, drew a walk, then flew out to right.  In the bottom of the 8th inning the Stars put runners on the corners with 2 out to allow Joe one more time at the plate.  He lined a clean single into left for his 3,237th hit and 2101st RBI.  That single also allowed Joe to retire with a all time best .601 slugging percentage, after he had briefly fallen to .600.  Joe also retires with 710 homers and a .322 batting average.

After the single, Miami took the opportunity to give Joe a curtain call and standing ovation as he left the field for a pinch runner.  Cal Mathis ran for Young and caught the final inning as Dwight Schrute shut down Mars to earn his 21st save.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Denver promotes top prospect

The Denver Rabbits promoted top prospect Michael Stewart, who will play center field.  Stewart was the first overall pick in the 2016.  He began the 2018 season in AA but recently moved to AAA, where his .340 average and .493 OBP told Big Cheese that he was ready for the big leagues.

Stewart hit .320 in AA, and in 70 games combined in the minors has hit 18 homers, driven in 62 runs, and stolen 29 bases in 31 tries.  A switch hitter, Stewart is considered a 5 tool potential superstar.

Major League Wins All Star Game

Toronto's Ken Jones stepped to the plate with his team trailing 2-1, with two outs in the 7th inning and crushed a 2 run homer off Utah's Kawaimomona Nalani, into the Wrigley field bleachers. 

The Major league later added and insurance run.  In the bottom of the 8th the Superior League loaded the bases against Jake Richardson, but failed to score.  Alaska's Cesar Cordero struck out 2 in the 9th to save the 4-2 ballgame.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

All Star Break

This year's all star game will be hosted by the Chicago Winds in Wrigley field.  Starting pitchers are New York's Silvanos Tonka (6-2, 1.59 ERA) and Boston's C.C. Salbacca (10-3, 2.17, 112 strikeouts).

Here are the staring lineups:

Major League:

3B Michael Rondon, GD
1B Wellington Bear, NY
LF Bryce Parkman, STL
RF Conn Barbarian, FLA
DH Adrian Sandusky, LA
2B Alex Duran, TOR
SS Miguel Tejawa, DEN
C Kurt Kawasaki, FLA
CF Ryan Jones, BA

Reserves are catchers Matt Bulger and Dan Jernigan, infielders Steve Taylor and Lee Thompson, and outfielders Shane Canzler and Ken Jones.  In the bullpen and available to pitch are Peter Buchanon, Buddy Dervish, Brett Edwards, Scott Elzy, Brandon Sanders, Cesar Cordero, Kevin Ribaudo, and Jake Richardson.  Jonathan Umber was selected but unlikely to pitch.

For the Superior League the lineup is:

CF Erick Reinfelder, Utah
LF Gregory Santor, ORL
3B Devan Arceneaux, MIA
DH Troy Wyckoff, CLE
SS Javier Soto, CHI in his home park
RF Billy Bass, MIA
C Jesus Valdez, MAR
2B Jorge Cendejas, BOS
1B Alvaro Samuel, LV

Reserves: Catchers Michael Sanders, Dave Thomas.  Infielders Terrence Hatcher, Bobby Barrios.  Outfielder Peter Rabbitt.

Pitchers: Kyle Bonderman, Matt Connors, Darin Sanchez, Jose Escobar, K Nalani, Claude Smith.
Pitchers selected but unlikely to pitch due to recent workload: Joe Callahan, Jered Pollard, Adam Castillo.

May the best team win.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Adducci under fire in Louisville

It's been a decade since the Louisville Sluggers had a winning record.  The fan base has mostly been patient with the rebuilding effort under long time general manager Jim Adducci.  That patience could be coming to an end.

It's not so much the performance of the team.  The Sluggers are currently 31-42, which is an improvement on last season's pace.  They are not in last place, slightly ahead of the Orlando Rugrats.  What grieves their fans the most is single completely inexplicable roster decision.

In January Adducci signed free agent Jeff Powell to a 3 year, 21 million dollar contract.  Powell had won 32 games over the previous two seasons for the Chicago Winds, but his ERA in 2017 was 5.12.  Seven million dollars per season is not a huge contract in this day and age, and seemed about right for a guy who could have been projected as a slightly below average starter.

The problem is Adducci gave up on Powell after only two starts.  True, Powell was awful, allowing 17 hits and 9 runs in 8.1 innings.  He was given his release, forcing the Sluggers to pay him the entire 21 million dollars.  As bad as those starts were, almost every pitcher will struggle at some point in the season, and there is no reason for two bad starts to change your opinion of the pitcher to such an extent.  If he was worth 21 million in January, it's hard to see how his value falls to zero that quickly.

It was already an awful decision by Adducci, but what really has gotten the fans angry is what happened next.  If Powell had retired, or gone somewhere else to get hit around, the Slugger fans could be mad at their GM for wasting 21 million, but that's it.  Powell however has done nothing of the sort.  After his release he signed with the Utah Utes and has been a complete sensation so far.

In 9 starts with Utah Powell is 8-0 with an ERA of 1.76.  He has allowed only 32 hits in 56 innings, with only a single baseball leaving the park.  Every time they look at the Ute highlights the Louisville fans have one more reason to think "what a moron".  It is likely that the 61 year old Adducci has limited time left in his job, and the Sluggers will soon be looking for a new GM.

Joe Young to Retire

Miami Stars designated hitter Joe Young, struggling through his 19th season, has decided to retire.  Joe is disappointed with his production in 2018.  In 55 games, Joe has hit .230 with 8 homeruns, 23 RBI, and a .678 OPS.

Joe will continue to play through the upcoming week as the Stars travel to New York for a 3 games series against the Knights.  His final game will be next Sunday, June 24th, at home against Mars.  Joe has expressed a desire to leave the game at the same position that he played as a rookie, and will start at catcher.  Manager R.J. Duke would not commit to how long Joe stays in the game at catcher, it will depend on how the game goes.

Young has hit 710 home runs in his career, the third highest total in league history, and holds a .601 slugging percentage, the highest by far as the only player above .600.

Joe began his career with the Las Vegas Gamblers, where he played five seasons at catcher.  Traded to Baltimore in 2005, Young played more at first base and DH.  Teaming with Kobe Jones and Wellington Gehrig Bear, Baltimore put up impressive win totals, including a 106-56 record in 2008, however the team could never reach the world series in his 6 seasons there.  Young won MVP awards in 4 of those 6 seasons, including a 2009 season where he hit .351 with 55 homers and 153 RBI.

Despite all the individual success, Joe was frustrated in his pursuit of a championship ring and after the 2010 season left Baltimore to take his talents to South Beach.  In Miami the Stars built an immediate winner in the first year of the super friends era.  In addition to Young, Miami brought in Bud McNamara, one of the greatest offensive catchers to ever play the game, and already had Brian Kaat in center field.  Young hit a career high .365, Miami won 100 games, and the team swept the Denver Rabbits in the world series. Joe won his 5th MVP award.

Miami struggled the following year in a typical championship hangover, but while the team expected to have to trade Young to a contending team, Young decided to stick with the team he had won with.  Miami rebounded to win 100 or more games in each of the next 5 seasons, reaching the world series twice, although they could not win another ring.  Joe picked up two more MVP awards in 2014 and 2015.

Manager R.J. Duke told reporters he was disappointed that Joe would not finish the season with Miami, but he respects Joe's decision and is grateful to have had the opportunity to manage "the greatest player I've ever seen."

Former teammate Brian Kaat, who retired last fall, said "I'm sad that I won't be able to watch Joe hit a baseball any longer, but perhaps we can hit some golf balls together now.  He's the monkey brother that every cat needs, although most never even know it.  I'm glad I got to know it.  Thank you Joe, for being my teammate.  May you find happiness in your decision."

Sunday, June 03, 2018

2018 DRAFT LIVE

1. Louisville Sluggers: Walt Carson, RHP, Miami
2. Charlotte Hawks: Mike Ryan, RHP, San Diego State
3. Green Day: Jim Jackson, CF, San Francisco CC
4. Baltimore: Bill Taylor, RF, Cal State Fullerton
5. Bay Area: Jason Cornett, RHP, East Brunswick HS
6. Florida: ???

Penguins are on the clock.  Please make selections in comments section.

Draft Scouting Reports

These are the top players, not in an specific order.

Payne, Andrew  SS, HS

Payne, from Plantation Florida, is a rare two way prospect.  As a hitter he has a short, compact swing that will allow him to hit at the highest level and perhaps show average power.  As a pitcher, he sits in the mid 90s with potential plus pitches in his slider and forkball.  Though a slight 5 foot 10, Payne is not a fast runner and will most likely move off shortstop as he progresses, as his hands are error prone.  He might be able to play second base or left field at the big league level.

Carson, Walt - RHP, COL

Carson throws his fastball 96-98 from a sidearm slot, making him very tough on right handed hitters.  His slider is a plus pitch right now and his changeup has potential to be an outstanding pitch.  At 6'4, 215, Carson, knicknamed "the Wall" has a classic build and good stamina on the mound.

Gonzalez, Ricardo - CF, COL

Gonzalez has a sweet lefthanded swing with potential to hit for average and power while controlling the strike zone.  He can handle all three outfield spots, but is best suited to a corner.  He runs well and has a strong enough arm to play right field.

Jackson, Jim - CF, COL

Jackson is a potential 5 tool player and possible #1 overall pick from San Francisco.  He does not have a single dominant tool but is average or better in all phases.  He could hit .280 with 20 homeruns, has a strong arm, top of the line speed (under 4 seconds from home to first as RHB) and plays gold glove defense.  In addition, Jackson has good enough stuff to be draftable as a starting pitcher.  He has been clocked as high as 98 MPH, and features a curve, change, forkball, and knuckle curve.

Meyer, Wade - C, COL

Meyer is a big slow catcher with a short compact stroke, good patience at the plate, and above average power.  His throwing arm is well below average and his catching skills are raw.  He'll have to earn a living with his bat, likely with a move to first base.

Rippin, Eliot - RHP, COL

Throws a mid 90s fastball with an over the top delivery.  He's got 4 pitches, with the slider being his best.  Rippin generates groundballs and is a potential top of the rotation starter.

Smith, Kris - RHP, COL

A high schooler from Michigan, Smith throws in the low to mid 90s and has maintained his velocity deep into games.  He has potential average offerings with his curve, slider, and change, and also has shown the ability to cut his fastball.  Smith keeps the ball down and gets groundballs.  He struggles with holding baserunners but fields his position well.

Solis, Jorge - LHP, HS

Solis was born in Puerto Rico but moved to Minnesota.  He relies on a 92-94 mph sinker that generates ground balls, and also throws a curve and a cutter, both potential plus pitches.  Solis is a good competitor but very raw on the mound.

Thompson, Anderson - RHP, COL

The closer at Oral Roberts, Thompson throws a 97 MPH heater and generates swings and misses with that and his slider.  He has no third pitch.  His teammates call him "Hoss".

Annett, Jerry - LHP, COL

A 22 year old lefty from California who tops out at 92-94.  He projects to have a nice slider, a tough changeup, and a plus splitter.  He'll need to improve his command.  He has the pitches to be effective starting, but struggles to last deep into games.

Bowman, Jeremiah - RF, COL

Bowman has a lot of talent and makes hard, consistent contact at the plate.  Despite his size (6'5) he doesn't lift the ball yet, though he may develop average power.  Bowman runs well but struggles to pay attention in the field.  So far he has been below average in the corners.

Cornett, Jason - RHP, HS

An undersized (5-9) pitcher with a mid 90s fastball, Cornett throws a mid 90s sinking fastball and has a dominant changeup. 
A big, strong lefty starter from Eastern Michigan.  Throws 4 solid pitches including a cutter that can reach the mid 90s.  A solid, repeatable delivery makes him a good bet to iron out his command issues.

Espinoza, Armando - LHP, COL

A big, strong lefty starter from Eastern Michigan.  Throws 4 solid pitches including a cutter that can reach the mid 90s.  A solid, repeatable delivery makes him a good bet to iron out his command issues.

Gray, Tom - LHP, HS

Only 5-10, 165 pounds, at 17 one of the younger players in the draft.  Does not light up the radar guns with an 88-90 fastball, but is an excellent athlete, can repeat his delivery, throws strikes, and has an excellent changeup.

Higgins, Rick - 3B, COL

Born in Canada, Higgins played 3 years at Louisville where he showed big time power, blasting 18 homers in 46 games.  He's a free swinger, a below average runner, and needs to work hard to be an average defender.  He'll go as far as his bat can take him.

Hudson, Anthony - RHP, COL

A big power arm from Old Dominion, Hudson has hit 100 on the radar guns.  He can get swings and misses with a forkball and also has shown an average changeup and curve.  He locates his pitches well and has a chance to stick in a rotation, but also fits the prototype of a closer.

Jordan, Broderick - CF, HS

A lean, athletic center fielder from Brooklyn NY.  His speed is well above average, arm is average.  He needs experience to learn how to use his speed both in the field and on the bases.  He'll need to improve his pitch recognition, learn which pitches he can drive in order to realize his above average power potential.

LaCroix, Laurent - LHP, HS

Has a 3 pitch arsenal which includes a low 90s fastball, a swing and miss change, and a quality curveball.  He pounds the zone and has good movement on his pitches.  Projects as an eventual mid rotation starter.

Lester, Kelsey - CF, HS

A long, lean, athletic center fielder born in Oklahoma.  He has above average power potential, a solid lefty swing, and a strong throwing arm.  His speed is below average, which will require a move to a corner in the future, with his arm he could be a good fit in right.

McDonald, Jerry - CF, COL

Lean and athletic from California.  He's a plus runner with a below average arm.  His pitch recognition is improving, and he projects as a .270 hitter with possible above average power.

Medina, Victor - RHP, COL

Power pitcher who tops out at 97, he has a decent slider and change.  When his command is on his stuff is good enough to draw swings and misses.

Robinson, Ryan - RHP, COL

A 23 year old college senior with a quality sinker that sits in the low 90s.  His changeup needs work.  He'll need to improve his command but could end up as a solid bullpen arm.

Ryan, Mike - RHP, COL

A 6-5, strong framed power arm.  Fastball can reach 96-98, however he does not have good feel for a breaking ball.  His best secondary pitches are a change and a forkball.

Taylor, Bill - RF, COL

Long, lean, athletic outfielder with above average contact skills, a smooth swing, quick hands, and good pitch recognition.  His power does not match his frame, but is improving.  A solid defender with slightly above average speed and a strong throwing arm.

Tufnel, Monte - 3B, COL

The younger brother of Utah's Derek, and the son Nigel Tufnel, Monte is a college senior at Oklahoma state.  His defense at third base is top notch, with good hands, a quick first step, and a cannon for an arm.  His running speed is below average.  Tufnel  can put a charge into the ball and hit for power, but his swing is long and he can struggle with offspeed stuff.  Shows good patience at the plate.

Valdez, Pedro - RHP, COL

A 20 year old right hander who projects to have a 3 pitch mix includin a mid 90s sinker, a live cutter, and a plus circle change.  He has the tools to throw strikes and miss bats while holding down a rotation spot.

Williams, Bob - RHP, COL

A sinker/slider guys who throws in the low to mid 90s, Williams is a closer from Miami who could move quickly into a big league bullpen.

McCullogh, Jeff - LF, COL

A big strong lefty bat, his raw power is better than his game production at this point.  Arm and speed are at best average.  Looks like he will hit for average and power in the middle of someone's batting order.

DRAFT ORDER, 2018 First round

1. Louisville
2. Charlotte
3. Green Day
4. Baltimore
5. Bay Area
6. Florida
7. Hawaii
8. Springfield
9. Las Vegas
10. Mars
11. Phoenix
12. Orlando
13. Denver
14. Toronto
15. Cleveland
16. Alaska
17. Philadelphia
18. Portland
19. Los Angeles
20. Chicago
21. St Louis
22. NY Cobra
23. Miami

Supplemental Round
24. Denver
25. Charlotte
26. Boston
27. Toronto
28. Cleveland
29. Bay Area
30. NY Knights
31. NY Cobra
32. Miami
33. Toronto
34. Cleveland
35. Bay Area
36. Toronto

Toronto will have a chance to add to their system depth with 4 of the first 36 picks.