Yastrzemski World's All-Time All-World Team

Since we have now finished season 30, it seems like a good time to compile a twenty five man roster of the all-time greats that this world has seen


The first player in Yaz's history to reach 3000 hits was Hall of Famer Ron Karnuth.  The walls of this thirteen time All Star's rec room are littered with too many plaques from his achievements.  The twelve Silver Slugger awards, five World Series titles, four Gold Gloves, and two MVP awards don't leave much space on the walls for wallpaper.

Power hitting Eduardo Sanchez occupies the second catching position.  With eleven All-Star appearances and nine Silver Slugger awards, he clearly has the hardware to deserve a spot here.

First Base

Enrique Valdes' career is not over yet, but he finds himself near the top of most important hitting records.  This big-money IFA signing started his ML career off with a bang, winning the Home Run Derby, Rookie of the Year, MVP, and Silver Slugger awards as well as making the All-Star team.    He has gone on to win five more MVP and Silver Slugger awards and Home Run Derby Championships, twelve more All-Star appearances, and two World Series Rings.  He has topped 800 home runs and 3000 hits in his career.

Rick Nicholson was the world's dominant hitter before Valdes came along, and his achievements are still nothing to sneeze at.  Eight MVP awards.  EIGHT!!  Ten All-Star appearances and nine Silver Slugger awards, a Rookie of the Year, two All-Star game MVPs and a Home Run Derby championship line the walls of his Oklahoma home.  If his Hall of Fame career could have lasted just a bit longer, he could be higher on the career lists, but he ended up with some nice totals nonetheless, having hit 745 career home runs, and ending up with a whopping career OPS of 1.117.  Too bad he never won a World Series ring.  Some might argue that he enjoyed his success during HBD's "steroid era", but we feel that he merits a spot either way.

Wilt Blair  has had a long and productive career.  Blair holds the world's record for career hits, at 3520, which will be a very difficult total to catch. With 709, he sits fourth in world history for home runs.   He doesn't hold as much hardware as Nicholson or Valdes, but he has proved himself to be deserving with results on the score sheet.  His awards haul is noteworthy any way, as he has won three MVP awards, eight All-Star selections, and four Silver Slugger awards.  The only thing missing, like Nicholson, is the championship ring.

Second Base

Ivan Armas was no stranger to the championship ring.  Like Karnuth, his five is more World Series rings than can fit on one hand (they don't fit on thumbs I'm told).  He played on two separate significant championship dynasties in his career, winning his first three titles in Detroit from season ten to thirteen, (the scandal years!), then his other two in Ottawa (now Iowa) from season twenty to twenty three.  Over 3000 hits, 471 home runs and a career OPS of .926 makes him far and away the most productive second bagger ever.  Eight All-Star appearances and 5 Silver Slugger awards and a spot in the Hall of fame make him the most decorated as well.

Third Base

The son of migrant fruit pickers, Fernando Rios was born in British Columbia, Canada, but raised in Mexico.  He was the clubhouse leader of Montreal's dominant teams from season twelve to twenty one.  He won three MVP awards, four World Series titles, was a nine time All-Star, nine time Silver Slugger, Rookie of the Year, won two Gold Gloves and was voted into the Hall of Fame in his first season of eligibility.

Another Detroit dynasty guy, ten time All Star Emil Franco was misused defensively for most of his career.  With a physique perfectly suited for left field (decent range and glove with a weak arm), this four time champion and Hall of Famer spent the majority of his career at third base.  His bat made up for his defensive deficiencies, having won the Silver Slugger award six times as a third baseman, and once at left field.

Short Stop

It's still early in Gary Leary's career, but he is on pace to be the most prolific SS this world has ever seen. At thirty two he already has seven All Star appearances, five Silver Sluggers and a Gold Glove award.  With 544 career home runs, he should easily eclipse the career mark of 602 for short stops set by Benny Villafuerte.

Left Field

Hall of Famer Carlos "the" Cruz "missile's"  career home run and hitting totals might have been hampered by spending such a great deal of his career in OKC and Las Vegas.  His awards cabinet is stuffed to the gills with his Gold Glove award, Rookie of the Year award, nine Silver Slugger awards, six All Star selections, two MVP awards, and two championship rings.  With 454 home runs, 314 stolen bases and a career OPS of .953, his stats are still pretty good despite spending most of his career in pitcher friendly parks.

Center Field

Jimmie Lopez was a machine out there.  He was a run driving, base stealing, premier fielding machine out there.  Ten All Star teams, two Gold Gloves, five Silver Slugger awards, three World Series rings and a spot in the Hall make him the most decorated center fielder ever.  His hitting totals are a bit inflated from spending more than a few seasons in Boston, but he chalked up some nice seasons on his other teams as well.  Stat wise, 532 home runs, 300 stolen bases and a career .956 OPS stand out as elite for the position.  J-Lo won titles on two different teams in his career.

Fernando Rosado has had a whale of a career, and he's still in his late prime.  This seven time MVP has piled up the stats and accolades since he entered the majors as a twenty year old. He has been a fixture at the All-Star game, having never missed one except in his rookie year (when he only played half the season at the ML level).  Ten Silver Slugger awards, a Gold Glove award, and two Home Run Derby championships so far is a huge awards haul for a player that is still only thirty two.  It would be truly sad if this guy never wins a World Series ring, since that is the only award missing for him.  He could reasonably finish with over 900 home runs and 3100 hits in his career barring a major injury.

Right Field

Alfonso Mercedes posted some ridiculous numbers in his career.  Even though it was in Boston, Mercedes gets credit for being one of the greatest hitters in the history of the world.  Only time will tell if his career record for home runs of 845 will ever be touched.  He racked up a few awards in his Hall of Fame career, including five All-Star selections, two Home Run Derby championships, a Rookie of the Year award, two Silver Sluggers, an MVP award, and three World Series rings.

Starting Pitcher

In a stellar career, soon to be Hall of Famer Vasco Montanez earned himself five Cy Young awards, eleven All-Star appearances, a Rookie of the Year award, and two World Series rings.  He is the world's all-time career leader in wins and strikeouts, and sits second for quality starts.  All told, he was one of the most dominant starting pitchers the world has ever seen.

Alex Ortiz isn't the power pitcher that Montanez was, but nonetheless he is arguably just as effective.  Although his relatively low stamina has prevented him from logging more than around 200 IP per season, he has always made the very best of his abilities anyway.  He sits atop the world in career ERA, WHIP and sports the best career winning percentage of .781.  Six Cy Young awards, twelve All-Star selections, two World Series rings, two no-hitters, and a Rookie of the Year award is the most impressive collection of accolades in the world's history, and he's not even close to being done his career.  Barring a massive injury or a trade to a bottom feeding franchise, 300 wins is all but assured for him.

Felipe Villa's great career has been helped along by the fact that he has remained a dominant force well into his late thirties. He sits first in the world's history with over 430 quality starts, and is second for wins and strikeouts.  This former Rookie of the Year has also won two Cy Young awards, two World Series rings, and nine All-Star appearances.

John Mailman delivered a great Hall of Fame career.  This eight time All-Star won three Cy Young awards and a championship.  He ended up third in career wins with 271, and is top five for career quality starts.

Ricardo Tavarez was the best pitcher on one of the most dominant dynasties that the world has seen.  Spending his whole career with Detroit, this Hall of Famer finished his career with 252 wins, a 1.07 WHIP, a 2.66 ERA and holds the second all time record for winning percentage with .761.  More impressively, he amassed those statistics in HBD's steroid era. His awards haul is impressive, with nine All-Star games, four World Series rings, and three Cy Young awards.

If Bill Myers wasn't mishandled early in his career (he was ready for the majors two or three seasons before his rookie year), he would have the stats that should go with his dominant abilities.  Alas, you cannot turn back time.  Nevertheless, Myers has found a way into the record books, by notching two of the top five singles season records for earned run average, and currently holding the record for single season WHIP.  He has been to seven All-Star games, won a Cy Young award, and is a former Rookie of the Year winner.

Edgard Garces Has been a steady and consistent force for the Montreal Maroons for his whole career.  Having won the Cy Young award three times, World Series titles three times, earned All Star berths seven times, and a Rookie of the Year award, his hardware cabinet has needed to be expanded more than once in his career.  With 248 at age 35, Garces has an outside shot at 300 careers wins.

Middle Relief

We needed a long reliever on the list, so Pedro Lunar is the guy.  A key member of Boston's domination of the world from season six till nine, he won three world series titles in that span.  His awards haul doesn't amount to much beyond that, but that is due to the lack of respect that pitchers who play this role receive.  His 204 wins is impressive considering his lack of stamina. His career ERA of 3.47 and WHIP of 1.22 are both excellent, considering he spent almost half of his career in extremely hitter friendly Fenway Park.  His career strikeout to walk ratio stands second in the world at 3.75.

Short Relief (setup/closer)

Kevin Baek's career is still ongoing, but he has set the bar for career saves with 676.  He is currently 37, but has shown no signs of slowing yet.  He sits in first spot for k/9, with 8.87, and fourth place for career strikeout to walk ratio with 3.22.  His awards cabinet is stuffed to the gills with four Fireman of the Year awards, nine All-Star selections, and four World Series rings.

D'Angelo Lopez is second on that career list for saves with 609, but an impressive number for a relief pitcher to accompany that with, is his 127 career wins.  A key member of the Montreal Maroons from season twelve to twenty-six, he amassed quite a few awards in his career, such as four Fireman of the Year awards, ten All-Star selections, and three World Series rings.He is tied for second on the career WHIP list with 1.07

Jimmy Parker was the world's elite short relief guy before Lopez and Baek came along, and his Hall of Fame career was pretty impressive.  Number three on saves list with 567, he could have had more if he wasn't used as a starting pitcher for a few seasons.  Eight All-Star berths and a fireman of the Year award adorn the walls of his rec room in his Indiana home.

Mattthew Langerhans was not used as a closer for much of his career because he played a good chunk of it on the same team as D'Angelo Lopez.  Montreal's management was perfectly happy to let Langerhans shut down the opposition for the 6th and 7th innings, and then give the ball to Lopez to pitch the last two.  This arrangement worked just fine, as it allowed the team to have the best one-two bullpen punch ever seen.  Although his awards cabinet is not as full as others, his impact was reflected in helping Montreal to win two World Series championships.  He did rake in five All-Star appearances anyway.  Langerhans' dominance was expressed on the scoresheet, which is reflected in his career second bests for ERA of 2.59, and WHIP, at 1.07.  His career strikeout to walk ratio of 3.82 sits atop of the list, and his career k/9 rate is fifth ever at 8.37.


A.L. North ______________________________________________________ Iowa City Barnstormers The Barnstormers did a lot to address pitching this time around, selecting arguably the best starter in this year’s class in Bobby McDonald… as well as crafty curve-baller Felix Barden. McDonald should be a bonafide #1 starter with a vicious sinking fastball that clocks in the high 90’s. He is only 18 years old, so Iowa City should take time letting him develop… with specific attention paid to being aggressive against lefties (his only slight Achilles heel). Barden is likely to start off spending time in the bullpen, as he doesn’t quite have the legs to throw starter’s innings. He boasts five pitches, including his signature filthy curveball and like McDonald, if he can figure out lefties he’ll have a ton of success as a pro. Shortstop Brendan Hale also has some of the tools needed to develop into a good major leaguer, though only time will tell what sort of impact he could have. A successful foray for the Barnstormers. Grade:A _______________________________________________________ Sioux Falls Screw Balls With the 8th selection, the Screw Balls added a serious power bat in Stone Nicholson. A fine athlete with good instincts in the field and serious home run power, Stone should enjoy a quick ascent to the majors. Without any glaring weaknesses, Sioux Falls feels that they have a potential all-star on their hands. The absolute downside for Nicholson would be an average stat line of 30-80-.265, but the ceiling is much, much higher. With the 30th choice, Garry Smart gives the Balls a tremendous defensive shortstop – slick glove and a cannon arm. Smart has a good eye at the plate, gets on base and should hit well enough to contribute a little offense too. A very solid top two for SXF! Grade: A ________________________________________________________ Syracuse Blue Sox The Blue Sox might have missed the mark a little in this year’s draft. They used their top pick to take Terry Santangelo – a safe enough choice, a little gritty with some poise at the plate, but unlikely to be a real difference maker. Santangelo is amenable to a move to first base, but the Sox could also opt to move him back to left field where he played at community college. With some good baseball instincts and smarts on the bases, he could be a piece for Syracuse – but not a building block. His agent is Bing Herges. Catcher Marcus Nation could be another solid if unspectacular contributor for the Sox. A left-handed contact hitter, he’ll need to punch singles up the middle if he’s to be successful at the plate. Behind the dish, however, Nation has a decent arm, calls a sound game and could be a viable option to manage a rotation. If Nation doesn’t pan out, they also have Brendan Meacham… with a similar skill-set: tons of potential behind the plate, but very little promise with his bat. Grade: C- __________________________________________________________ Toronto Trout Due to budgeting constraints, the Trout opted to sign Dominican righty Octavio Portillo and subsequently threw in the towel in regards to signing selections from this year’s draft class. It’s quite a shame that Scott Yount, one of this year’s top rated starting pitchers will go unsigned. Grade: N/A ___________________________________________________________ A.L. East ___________________________________________________________ Boston Red Sox Taking advantage of eight selections in the top 100, the Red Sox prioritized position players over pitching this time around. Top selection Barry Lincoln is an athletic outfielder, who uses his excellent bat speed to hit to all fields. He runs well and could boast regular 20-20 seasons in his prime. A confident 19 year old, Lincoln is one of few prospects who chose not to hire an agent, instead representing himself and hard-lining the Boston suits into a 7.5 million dollar signing bonus (on the surface quite steep in slot money terms). Lincoln’s pal Jimmie Hutch (the two met at a tournament years ago) also chose the same route and received the same money from the Red Sox. Hutch is a gifted center fielder with excellent speed and good baseball IQ. Though he was probably drafted by Boston as extra incentive for Lincoln to sign with the club, he still deserves merits based on his own abilities. Player agents are likely frustrated by the actions of this pair, as they together achieved a financial coup that nobody can take a percentage from. It’s not a concern to the team, who is only concerned with adding talent and depth to their system. Along with the selections of infielders Marty Nixon and Jackson Todd, the Red Sox appear to be making a commitment to solid defense and team speed. Grade: B+ _____________________________________________________________ Chicago County Ramblers Sometimes fans need to root for somebody to overcome the odds, and a 5’7” pitcher coming off two Tommy John surgeries at age 18 might seem like a long shot. Chicago’s first rounder Jim Jacquez is that small injury prone pitcher that Rambler fans can get behind. If he stays healthy, Jacquez has a lively sinker that he uses to induce groundball outs, ideal for the friendly confines of Wrigley Field. The patient right-hander with pinpoint control is a gritty competitor, whose finesse approach should allow him to last into the late innings of his starts. If he stays healthy, the County Ramblers look to have landed a winner. There are some other pieces in play for Chicago, as reliever Chuck Hoyt looks like a potential set up guy; Terry Bigbie won’t hit a ton, but could platoon or be a nice utility fielder off the bench; and catcher Casey Wells has great hitting instincts and looks like the real deal. Grade: A- _____________________________________________________________ Jacksonville New Jacks With the top selection in this year’s draft, the New Jacks surprised a few people opting for slick gloved New Mexico State senior Harvey Wilkins. A consensus top-10 choice, the future leadoff hitter’s ascension to the majors should not take long, but he’ll need to prove that he can hit better than .300 as a pro in order to justify going #1 overall. Wilkins needs to be on base in order to use his speed, and time will tell if his batting eye will translate against ML pitching. Without any other standout selections in this year’s draft, Jacksonville has pinned their hopes on second rounder Steve Poppel and their signing of Panama speedster Chico Maradona adding to team quickness as they appear to be moving towards a “small ball” approach. Grade: B- _______________________________________________________________ New York Crunch The Crunch were no doubt pleased to see Jeimer Cortes still available to them at #11. The five-tool athlete out of Auburn is close to ML ready and should use his speed to make a difference for New York both on the bases and in the field. Cortes projects to a 15-20 home run hitter who murders left handed pitching. His development as a base-runner and with his glove will determine how the Crunch will deploy him when he reaches the pros. Outfielder Nap Yacko is a defense first option who needs to prove his acumen at the plate to become more serviceable, while sluggers Danny Raines and Al Candelaria both have some offensive pop and could work their way into the New York lineup if they progress well through the system. While they didn’t get any pitching help whatsoever in this season’s draft, the New York brass likely felt that they already have several strong young arms in the system and addressing positional needs was a priority. Time will tell how many pieces they’ll develop, but they’re likely quite pleased to land Cortes at their draft position. Grade: B+ _________________________________________________________________ A.L. South _________________________________________________________________ Charlotte Designated Drinkers Karim Townsend has an electric fastball and a filthy curve. Charlotte sees all of the raw tools in the 18 year old’s elastic arm to invest some serious time in honing it. With plenty of natural ability and arm strength, “Project Townsend” will be mostly about locating his pitches. He’s good at changing his tempos and giving hitters different looks to keep them off-balance, but to be successful he’ll need to be more consistent throwing strikes. He also has a tendency to let pitches hang up in the zone against lefties and this will be exploited if his control doesn’t improve. If he develops improved command with a more vertical delivery he could be a solid starter for the D.D’s. Lefty Emil Stafford throws a terrific four-seamer and mixes up his arsenal well, but he has a reputation as an erratic, low-velocity hurler who on occasion will tip his pitches to an alert opponent. Second round pick Scott Chace could turn into a good short-inning guy (or at least a situational reliever) down the road if he can tame his chronic wildness. Some potential pieces for Charlotte in this season’s draft, but not a standout crop. Grade: C _______________________________________________________________ Louisville Lobsters Shortstop Harry Sowders has some serious plus defense, with some slight objection to his range. Maybe a move to third would suit Sowders, but his skill at fielding grounders is something to behold. That being said, for a first round pick, Sowders probably doesn’t have the chops to become an impact hitter. In a puzzling move, the Lobsters subsequently used four consecutive picks to choose middling highschool catchers. Of the four, Oliver Montgomery and Matthew Hayes both show tremendous poise and acumen behind the plate as signal callers. If they don’t have a future as pro players, they should at the least contribute well to help the Louisville pitching prospects along on their upwards trajectory. In summary, this is not a draft that Lobster fans will remember down the road. Grade: D _____________________________________________________________ Nashville Catfish The signings of pitchers Wilfredo Torcato and Miguel Villafuerte cost the Catfish their first two rounds in the draft, so expectations were tempered going in. With no picks in the top 60, Nashville needs to be satisfied with Matt Borders and Paul Halter. Borders projects to be a good (but not great) major league hitter, who gets around quickly on fastballs and pulls solid line drives to the left side of the field. If his defensive game plays at second base he could be rock-solid at a position of some offensive scarcity. Though his range is decent by ML standards, he has trouble with his double play pivot and can be error prone when hurried. If he needs to switch to left field down the road, his bat won’t look nearly as good. Third rounder Paul Halter is a true all-or-nothing power hitter. He doesn’t move well on the bases or in the field, so if he’s not making contact he’s not worth a roster spot. When he does make contact he’ll hit moon shots, but amassing strikeouts as he goes. If Halter can draw some walks and keeps his average afloat past .250 or so, he’ll likely pay off in long-balls. Grade: C- _________________________________________________________________ Wichita Tomcats It’s an understatement to say that the Tomcats went pitcher-heavy in this year’s draft. Taking pitchers with their first 14 selections certainly loaded up their minor league system with young arms. Fifth overall pick Malcolm Whitman has the makings of an inning-eating workhorse, with poise beyond his years and an upper-nineties fastball that’s sure to improve. Whitman is a tireless student of the game, keeping written records of each hitter he faces and leads by example with his workout regimen. He should develop into a top tier starter, though there are some concerns that he’s somewhat vulnerable against left-handed bats. Stocky righty Matty Brower could be another inning-eater for Wichita, but he’ll need to throw strikes more consistently if he’s going to compete. How Whitman develops long-term will be the real litmus test for the Tomcats’ draft success. Grade: B ________________________________________________________________ A.L. West ________________________________________________________________ Anaheim Halos The Halos chose pitchers with their first five selections in this season’s draft, but the value of those arms won’t be known for a few seasons. The standout is 6th overall pick Troy Glynn out of Baylor, a craftsman who relies on a sinker-splitter combo to keep hitters off balance. Glynn is fairly polished already, but has struggled at times against lefties and some scouts don’t see him transitioning smoothly from college to the pro ranks. While he does have #1 starter upside, Glynn still needs to mature a bit to prove he’s the real deal. The next four pitchers selected by the Halos are all long-shots to achieve much more than marginal success, and if one or more of them carves out a niche in Anaheim they’ll have surpassed expectations. Grade: C _______________________________________________________________ Kansas City Royals K.C. achieved tremendous success last season, with an A.L. best 99 wins and a World Series berth. They decided that signing a couple of free agent pitchers (at the expense of Type A draft pick compensation) was their top priority in attempt to get ready for another deep playoff run. Going into the amateur draft, the Royals seemed drawn towards under-sized Texans with limited speed and power. Their first choice, at pick #63 was maligned CSU senior Sonny Williams, who after several drug arrests, cut a plea bargain offering his testimony in a well-publicized DEA case in exchange for his freedom. After his intervention, Williams has re-focused his attention on baseball and the Royals were willing to give him a chance. A slender 5’7” he’ll never generate much power, but he’s a patient hitter with a knack for protecting the plate and fouling off pitches until he finds one to his liking. His base-running and defense are both passable, but unexceptional. Tim Griffin is more or less a smaller, weaker version of Williams, standing at only 5’5” (though some scouts expect him to eventually grow another three inches and gain 25 pounds – but then, projections are tricky). Griffin, like Williams, is a decent contact hitter who can draw some walks, but won’t drive the ball enough to generate extra base hits. They both demonstrate great range, but inconsistent glove work and weak but accurate throwing arms. For their late draft position, if one or both of these small Texan contact hitters becomes a regular in the K.C. lineup it will be a success. Grade: D ________________________________________________________________ Oakland Olmecs The only pick of significance for Oakland this time around is infielder Julio Gallardo, a near-ready major league defender with good quickness and a cannon arm. Though he played mostly shortstop throughout his college career, Gallardo could be more natural at the hot corner where his quick reflexes and strong arm will be assets. At the plate, Gallardo will need some time to develop. He has occasional power that should translate to 10-15 homers per season, but he’s more of a gap hitter who will hit his share of doubles. Projecting as a solid pro, at 22 years of age his path to the majors will likely be an accelerated one. Grade: C ________________________________________________________________ Oklahoma City Rodeo Clowns In the first round, the Clowns opted for Virginian high-schooler Julian Arroyo. Projecting defensively to gold glove caliber heights at second base, scouts have called Arroyo’s range “once in a generation”. As sterling as his defensive pedigree might be, he’ll need to work hard to become productive as a major league hitter. With a decent eye at the plate and good speed on the bases, Arroyo also bunts well and can hit to the opposite field. Strikeouts have been a problem for the 18 year old, who could fit in well at the bottom of the OKC lineup as long as he’s able to bring his batting average up to .250 or thereabouts. Michigan born Christian outfielder Gio Aguilera has great speed and tremendous patience, but like Arroyo might struggle to generate offense. Catcher Bobby (the son of) Crosby shows some pop at the plate, but despite a strong arm doesn’t necessarily have the mental make-up to be an everyday major league catcher. Grade: C- ___________________________________________________________________ N.L. North __________________________________________________________________ Detroit Tiger Sharks Coming out of the Youth Opportunities Unlimited program in Los Angeles, Victor Monroe has seen his stock rise rapidly in the last year all the way up the draft ladder to tenth overall. Monroe is an agile shortstop who has some untapped power potential and could prove to be a steal for the Tiger Sharks. One knock on Monroe is his inconsistent glove-work, which could prove less than ideal at shortstop. He has fantastic range, which might play well at third base along with his strong arm. With 20+ home runs and solid OBP being realistic targets for the infielder, Detroit should take their time to let him develop. Left fielder Brant Wight has fantastic speed, but might be best suited to a platoon situation (or coming off the bench in the late innings with his strong bunting and base-running skills). Reliever Nate Brown could easily be an “inning-a-day” reliever, but nothing at this point indicates that those innings will be good ones. Grade: B _______________________________________________________________ Madison Scavengers The Scavengers scored with their first pick, landing the much lauded midget infielder Garland Lewis. Standing at a scant 5 feet 3 inches in height, the diminutive Lewis uses his 160 pounds of solid muscle to generate surprising power and a cannon throwing arm. His compact stance will also allow him to draw more than his share of walks, projecting him to a high OPS ceiling. With stumpy legs, “Little G” has short strides and won’t dazzle on the bases or with his range as a shortstop. This could eventually mean acclimatizing him to another position, such as third base where his arm will still be an asset. Despite some minor shortcomings, Madison still has a potential all-star on their hands. They also landed serviceable catching prospect Francis Bell in the 4th round. Grade: A ____________________________________________________________________ Montreal Maroons The Maroons are coming off a World Series win and have temporarily shifted their focus away from accumulating youth in order to stay as competitive as possible at the ML level. Without any high draft picks to speak of, they still need to be fairly pleased to land young relief prospect Danys Marquez. Boasting a good 1-2 fastball-curve punch and great breaking stuff, Marquez isn’t a flame-thrower but remains quite difficult to hit. If his hones his control, he could be a lights-out closer one day. Grade: C- _____________________________________________________________________ Philadelphia Pheremoniacs At one point the highly touted R.J. Ugueto was slated to be top 10 slam dunk. Some arm troubles derailed his junior college season, and he saw his stock drop to late in the first round where Philly took a chance on him being fully recovered. Though it appears his velocity has dipped, he still mixes up four pitches and should have enough control to keep throwing strikes. There are some concerns that his stamina won’t return, potentially pushing him to the bullpen where much harder throwers than he usually thrive. Also, he can be victimized by the long ball if he leaves his fastball hanging up in the zone. Scouts are still impressed with Ugueto’s poise and determination, a hard worker who could make the Pheremoniacs gamble pay off. Philly fans are still waiting to see if they’ll ink compensation relievers Jon Peterson and Danny Forbes. Both have some upside, with Peterson being the more promising of the two. Twelfth round pick Ismael Henriquez doesn’t look very good, but his agent his Bing Herges. Maybe he’ll be a diamond in the rough. Grade: C ______________________________________________________________________ N.L. East _______________________________________________________________________ Atlanta Spartans At #18, Atlanta may have landed the best pure hitter in the draft in Enos White, a prototypical slugging first baseman with legit 40+ home run potential. White is all but a sure thing, leading a few pundits to wonder how he could slide so far down the draft board. There is something to be said for the one-faceted “offense only” nature of his skill set, as a detractor from his overall worth as a player, but hitters like White aren’t a dime a dozen and many scouts had him locked down as a top ten or even top five pick. Perhaps with his flat refusal to ever attempt a bunt (in games or even in drills), he publicly came across as stubborn and perhaps difficult personality in the club house. However, those in circles close to “The Great White”, cite him as a good team-mate and a leader on and off the field. Bunting is simply not a part of his game. With an astounding eight other picks in the first round (including supplemental), the Spartans added a serviceable catcher in Mateo Jacquez, a speed-phenom in bag-swiping second baseman Garret Jones, an all-world defensive shortstop in Claude Pederson, as well as a group of potentially useful pitching prospects. Atlanta did a good job restocking the shelves. Grade: A+ _______________________________________________________________________ Cincinnati Red Army No team put less stock in this season’s draft than the Red Army. They’ve devoted the least amount of capital towards amateur scouting of any team in baseball, and with the money they’re paying Sandoval and Rosado they were left with a pittance to sign prospects. Top pick Reggie Neal is a southpaw bullpen arm who knows how to throw strikes with consistency. The problem with Neal is that those strikes are usually quite hittable and he’s almost certain to get knocked around like a rag-doll once he reaches the higher levels. While it’s clear that Cincinnati’s focus lies elsewhere, their amateur draft still deserves a failing grade. Grade:F _______________________________________________________________________ Cleveland Bad Seeds The Seeds rolled the dice with 19 year old righty Stan Workman, a hard-tosser who keeps pitches down in the zone and likes to challenge hitters. He’ll likely be able to compensate for his slightly erratic control by keeping bats away from his sinker and cut fastball. At this point Cleveland feels that Workman might be best suited coming out of the bullpen, but the possibility does exist that he could stretch out to handle starters innings if he develops well. The Bad Seeds chose pitchers with their first fourteen selections in this season’s draft. Grade: B- _______________________________________________________________________ Huntington Dangerous Carew After missing the playoffs by the narrowest of margins, Huntington changed their approach in an attempt to win everything this year. The D.C. went “all-in” over the off-season signing an eyebrow-raising four Type A free agents, including Del Chen, Jin Ho Sano, Yonder Trevino and Willie Montanez. With less money left for their scouting and prospect budget than any team other than Cincinnati, Huntington certainly has their eyes on the prize rather than on the draft. With only one pick before the fifth round, they found the gentlest-throwing 6’8” behemoth that baseball has likely seen. Towering Quinn Pauley usually can’t muster the steam to get through an entire inning of tantalizing batters with his 65mph sinker before retiring exhausted to the showers. He only appears in a positive light when compared to Red Army draft pick Reggie Neal. While they receive high marks for some solid free agent contracts, this season’s amateur draft was a charade. Grade: F _______________________________________________________________________ N.L. South ____________________________________________________________________ Austin Metropolitans The Metros had a pretty favorable draft slot at number three, and didn’t hesitate to select Wyoming-born Esteban Pascual. A five tool star in the making, Pascual has an effortless swing and excellent bat control, allowing him to choose his pitches carefully and send them wherever he wants. A true student of the game, Pascual will consistently strive to become a better all-around player. Though he may take a few years to reach the majors, he’s already mature beyond his years and is as close to a lock as a sure-fire star as anyone coming out of this year’s draft. His agent is Bing Herges. With their subsequent pick, Austin landed catcher Dean Robinson, who is another incredibly smart and natural hitter. With great hands and plate patience, Robinson is considered to have mid-range power, but an extremely high batting average and OBP ceiling. Some tout him as a future all-star behind the plate, and while his defensive skills are adequate, he has tons of room to improve if he’s to become a high-caliber everyday catcher. In his time at USC Robinson never played a full season, so he still needs to prove that he can handle the rigors of a full major league campaign. The Metropolitans have no doubt landed two excellent players to build around and can start looking to the future. Grade: A+ ____________________________________________________________________ Jackson (Twenty) Five While top selection Rudy Jensen has no discernable flaws in his game, he projects as a “safe” pick albeit with limited upside. Scouts project the 9th overall pick as an adequate defender at shortstop, with steady if unspectacular offensive potential. While Jensen is a sure-fire major leaguer, he’ll likely be a bottom of the order bat. Injury prone lefty starter Don Buford could be a work horse for Jackson if he overcomes a myriad of issues both on and off the field – scouts peg him as quite a long shot to be sure. Where the (Twenty) Five draft got interesting is with their supplemental selections of college catchers’ Troy Rodgers and Brayan Jepsen. Rodgers has a strong arm behind the plate and has some serious promise as a top-tier hitter, but his slow learning curve in terms of baseball IQ might hinder his ability to manage a pitching staff. There are those who see Rodgers more suited shifting to first base, or DHing if he were traded to an AL team, where he could focus solely on his bat-skills. Jepsen has much more potential as a catcher for Jackson, and with some work could become a decent ML hitter as well. The 21 year old Jepsen will need to recover from his three shoulder surgeries and stay healthy if he’s to reach his potential as an everyday player – otherwise he could still find himself in a back-up or platoon situation. Grade: B __________________________________________________________________ Mexico City Jalapenos After winning a ML-best 103 games last season, the Jalapenos didn’t have a pick until #33, but they feel that they’ve found an off-the-radar gem in first baseman Emmanuel Tavarez. Big, strong and durable, Tavarez is a pure power hitter with good instincts at the plate. He’ll launch monster bombs to all fields and leave southpaws quaking in their cleats. Surprisingly, many scouts didn’t have a book on Tavarez – every team with a first round pick passed on the right-handed slugger and some hadn’t even heard his name. Mexico City knows that aging star Enrique Valdes is in his twilight years and until drafting Tavarez they didn’t have a clear heir-apparent. Even though he plays at a non-premium defensive position, not drafting Tavarez when they had a chance could be the regret of many teams around the league. Grade: A ________________________________________________________________ Monterrey Border Jumpers 18 year old righty Joe Lomasney’s fastball is his bread and butter, and when it’s working he should be a reliable starter for the Jumpers. A wiry, hard working six footer, Lomasney has a few red flags that might hinder his long term success. The first one is his “injury prone” tag, which he’ll need to shake if he’s to stay on track developmentally. The second is the inconsistency with his command, and with a pitcher who doesn’t really impress the radar guns, his location will needs to be spot-on if he’s to get the best of major league hitters. While Lomasney could turn into a solid #3 or 4 starter for Monterrey, there’s some risk attached and selecting him at #15 may have been a reach. Grade: C- _____________________________________________________________ N.L. West _____________________________________________________________ Helena Phantom der Nacht With the #2 pick in the draft, Helena added lightning quick second baseman Danny “The Jet” Beirne. A plus defender with good instincts and a reliable glove hand, Beirne’s speed is his greatest asset both offensively and defensively. While he doesn’t project game-changing power, he’s a tenacious hitter with a short swing and shouldn’t have much trouble getting on base. With his wheels, he’ll likely beat out his share of infield hits and looks like possible future leadoff man. If there’s a knock on Beirne, perhaps he’s over-confident with his legs at times and makes foolish decisions on the base-paths. Every opponent knows how quick he is, and they’ll expect him to run – he’ll need to develop a better sense for selecting his base-thieving opportunities or he’ll continue to tip his hand and fall into traps. He’s a big personality in a small body, and he’ll be a dynamic and exciting player for Helena. Grade: A ______________________________________________________________ Salem Dead Bunnies With the 7th pick overall, the Dead Bunnies shored up their defense with shortstop Len Hendrick. He should be a rock steady presence for Salem at a high-pressure position, so it’s really hard to knock the selection despite some offensive shortcomings. A methodical defender, Hendrick has a great first read as the ball leaves the bat and covers vast amounts of infield as a result. While he doesn’t throw the “frozen rope” that some of his counterparts might, his toss to first is always right on the mark. While fielding is his calling card, Hendrick does know his way around the batter’s box, demonstrating some sound fundamentals such as patience and pitch selection. He isn’t completely without speed or power, but he likely won’t do consistent or drastic damage as an offensive weapon. Hendrick looks like a sound everyday player for the Dead Bunnies. Grade: B ______________________________________________________________ San Fransisco Giants Like Troy Rodgers in Jackson or Dean Robinson in Austin, Charley Brooks is a tremendous hitter who might not be suited for duties behind the plate, yet has found his way onto an NL team. Brooks could be the best hitter of the bunch, with quick hands and a Joe Dimaggio swing. The trick for the Giants will be to find Brooks a position at which he feels comfortable and can help the team (or at least where he won’t be a liability). He does have a strong and accurate arm, and the Giants may experiment with him in the outfield, but assuming his pitch calling is never going to be pro-caliber, logic would suggest that he’ll wind up at first base. If Brooks can avoid his chronic fatigue issues, he should be a heart of the order hitter with a high batting average ceiling. His agent is Bing Herges. The Giants subsequently chose nine pitchers in a row. Brian Blauser has a nasty curveball and some excellent tools, but looks best as a one or two out specialist. Justin Jones looks like a set-up guy, but he’s awfully small for a pitcher and might come just short of a major league skill-set. Fire-baller Luis Martinez throws some serious heat, but scouts feel he may lack some of the fundamentals needs to succeed at the highest level. Grade: B- _____________________________________________________________________ Vancouver Vampire Bats Like the Dead Bunnies, the V-Bats opted for stellar defense as their top priority when they drafted Noah Albers with the 19th overall pick. Albers has great range and an outstanding arm and looks like a future gold glove candidate. As a hitter, Albers has modest power and should be able to keep himself in the lineup getting on base in a variety of ways. Hard throwing starter Trent Becker has a great mix of power and control, relying on five average pitches that he’ll need to hone before he can ply his trade against pro hitters. He relies a little too heavily on fly ball outs, which could easily turn into chronic long-balls. Becker looks promising, but he’ll need to be well-coached through the system. Hurler Davy Jennings is a dark horse candidate for success as a pro starter, but odds are good that he’ll wind up as a long reliever. Not a bad crop for Vancouver this season. Grade: B

Kansas City Season 29 Preview

Season 28 : 92 – 70 record, 1st in the AL West
Lost to the WS winner, the Nashville Catfish 0 – 3 in Divisional Play In Series

IN : Harvey Davidson (2B); Jin Hyun (C); Bill Thomas (CF); Elroy Parker (SS); Odalis Zurbaran (DH/C); Gerardo Rosado (RP - acquired end of season 28) and Tim Newfield (RP - acquired end of season 28).

OUT : Stretch Fogg (RF); Walt Reid (LF); Vicente Perez (DH); Clark Malloy (CF); Benny Barker (MIF); Macbeth Pierce (RP) and Eddie Walsh (SP/RP).

The Royals reached the playoffs for the first time since Season 8 ! This year, the team expects tougher competition from the Rodeo Clowns and the Olmecs, both teams improving with key additions. The Halos won’t be an easy challenge either.

The starting pitching rotation should again be solid with :
Julian Guardado, Cy Young candidate and 18 game winner anchoring;
Harry McEnerney, could be # 1 on some teams;
Ozzie Tamura, 15 game winner on his first full ML season;
Clay Borbon, back from season ending surgery with future ace potential;
Clarence Glanville, one of the best 5th starter in the league.

The bullpen is lead by Cesar Beltre with 35 saves on a so-so year. It is believed that the acquisitions of Gerardo Rosado and Tim Newfield are a step in the right direction. We expect better results from the group.

The acquisition of high price FA Harvey Davidson alone is an improvement of the offense side. He’ll join Bill Adams; Ryan Wright and Christobal Baez to form a difficult line-up to face. The team fells that it can obtain 20 HR from FA Jin Hyun also. Odalis Zurbaran will start the year with the Royals, and is expected to contribute.

Davidson will be moved from SS to 2B, and with the addition of Bill Thomas and Elroy Parker, trigger a domino effect that will transform the team from an average fielding team to an above average one.

The team’s objective is not only to make the playoffs, but go deeper in them. But it won’t be easy, the AL West looks to be one of the tougher divisions in the Yaz world.

Nashville Season 29 Preview

Historically, the Nashville Catfish have not been one of the dominate teams in Yaz. Prior to last season, they had only won the division once, qualified for the playoffs only three times, and had never won more than 89 games in a season. However last season the team was finally able to break through, winning 94 games thanks to a late-season run and grabbed the #5 seed going into the playoffs. The Catfish rolled through the first two rounds, sweeping Kansas City and top ranked Chicago in 3 games. In the ALCS they defeated division rival Charlotte, and it is was on to their first ever World Series, where they met the 101 win Mexico City Jalapenos and their all-world starting rotation. It was a classic series and went the full seven before the Catfish were able to claim their first ever title.

So coming off their best season ever, what can this team do for an encore? The team is young and mostly intact from last season, but it did suffer the loss of the greatest Catfish ever, 3B Frtiz Blackwell. Blackwell hit .328 with a .403 OBP last season with 32 HR and 125 RBI on the way to winning the AL 3B Silver Slugger. Needless to say, he won't be easy to replace, but someone has to. Walt Sirotka was brought in via trade to replace him in the field, but probably not in this number 2 spot in the lineup. That will likely go to one of the free agent first basemen brought in to overhaul the position, Pinky Baez or Juan Rodriguez, although outfielder Vicente Hernandez and DH Tony Carrasco may have something to say about that. Other than at 1B and 3B, everyone else on offense returns, so as long as Blackwell can be replaced and 2B Bartolo Nieto can continue his 40+ HR hitting ways, the lineup is in great shape.

Pitching has never been the strongest aspect of the organization, but the team is getting some help from some rookies this season. Late-season call-ups SP Vance Hines and RP Neifi Diaz are ready for full-time duty after proving their worth during last year's playoff run. Look for Diaz to supplant veteran closer Willy Ginter this season, while Hines tries to transition from the bullpen to the rotation.

Thanks to the second big trade of the off-season, Louis Hill joins the rotation after coming over from Mexico City to replace Cookie Mesa. The rest of the rotation, Rudy Dale, Jason Jameson, Fred Guerrero and Brad Burks all return, with Burks likely the odd-man out and headed for the bullpen.

Given the returning talent on this team and the fact they look to have patched their biggest holes in the line-up, the front-office expects the Catfish to be another 90+ game winner and playoff contender.

Detroit Tiger Sharks Season 29 Preview

Felipe Villa grimaced and exhaled into the reporter’s face. He was asked for the hundredth time if he regretted re-signing with the Detroit Tiger Sharks after nine seasons away. Villa left Detroit after winning a World Championship in season 19 and won another with the Hosers after he signed a big-money contract with the Ottawa franchise. He’s not used to losing and he doesn’t like to talk about it. “I have no regrets coming back to Detroit- I really don’t” Villa said…but then he reached forward and whispered “…but I really don’t know if management knows what direction to take”.
Villa is not alone in questioning GM Feamster’s attempts to bring a title back to Detroit. While Montreal and Philadelphia made big off-season moves, Detroit could only show the signing of Oleg Bako as an improvement over last season.
The Tiger Sharks are in flux. As in most seasons, they are good enough to be competitive but not bad enough to improve through the draft. The future lies in the hands of C.C. Lary and Pete Connor, but the two heralded outfielders are several seasons away. A third big-time prospect, Philip Jackson, was recently promoted to take over CF duties, which means that former all-star Sammy Durham will be riding the pine before he gets traded. Bako takes over in LF and fan-favorite Ryan Miller returns as the right fielder. Miller may have the best arm of any right-fielder in the league.
Pitching will once again be a relative strong spot with a rotation headed by Luis Candelaria. Candelaria was once a can’t miss prospect, but his development has leveled off, and the 26 year old Mexican would be a number two or three starter on a good team. Zip Priest follows Villa in the rotation and is a serviceable number three starter. Ed Neal and Eduardo Cruz round out the five starters. Rule V pick Hal Lennon could force his way into the rotation with any kind of injury or poor performance from the aging starters.
The infield is strong up the middle with Delmon Grimsley and a combination of Josh Baker and Carlos Palmeiro at second. Palmeiro looks to have won the starting nod, but Baker has some better offensive potential. First and third are question marks, and are being help down by cast-offs from other teams. Dicky Gleason and his very unfriendly contract of 8.4 million is expected to see most of the action at first- which is good for Gleason, but bad for the Tiger Sharks. The hot corner is weak with 32 year old Albert Smart making the roster. Detroit is desperate for power and if Smart can tally 20 round trippers, he will have met his modest expectations.
Yorvit Gonzalez is back at catcher. Several seasons ago Detroit had an abundance of riches with two big time catching prospects. A decision to trade Zephyr Miles for Candelaria has not been worth the cost to the franchise and is another example of the second-guessing that is heard all through camp. Will Felipe Villa ever belong to another championship team? When asked that very question, the future hall of famer frowned, took the cigarette from his mouth- and gave a heavy sigh. “I don’t know- I’m 42 –er I mean I’m 38 years old- I don’t know how much is left in the tank”. Villa could very well earn another ring- but with another club. Word around the clubhouse is if Detroit sputters in the early going, Villa could be peddled for a pitching prospect. And to the people of Detroit that would only give more reasons to question the ability of Feamster to bring a title back to Motor City.

Montreal Maroon Season 29 Preview

Season 28 saw the Maroons finish below .500 for the first time in 20 seasons.  Unhappy with this result, management busied themselves this off season with improving the ML on-field product in mind.  It was abundantly clear that the main shortcoming of the roster last season was that besides MVP Juan Valenzuela and LF Ernie Jenkins, there was not much by way of hitting.

Since there isn't much help coming up from the farm, management decided that it was time to add a boost to the lineup via free agency.  With there being a huge crop of high end talent available, the Maroons decided to target a few of the lesser lights in hopes of securing some decent talent without being caught up by any bidding wars.  The gambit paid off, as the team signed 3 type A free agents to reasonably priced, short term contracts.  The first to sign was former first overall pick Scott McGowan, to man 3rd base.  Next up was Toronto's Santo Figureoa, who will play RF.   Edgardo Johnson should bolster the back end of the rotation for the franchise that originally signed him as an IFA.

Management did not sit on their hands for long, as it was soon announced that the team had pulled off a blockbuster trade that would bring a great deal more hitting ability to the team without taking anything away from the current roster.  By trading Andres VerasWillie Pena and Willie Miranda for Juan Polanco, Albie Nieto, and Yonder Trevino, they add hitting and fielding in exchange for pitching and youth. Both teams came out of the deal happy, but history will tell which one came out ahead in the end.

This team added a pretty decent amount of talent to the ML level this off-season.  It says here that they added enough to earn the 10 more wins necessary to fetch a wildcard spot.  We predict that, barring any catastrophic injury troubles, this team should battle it out with Philadelphia all season for the division title, but will ultimately fall short by one or two games.


- 90-72, 2nd in NL North, 2nd wildcard spot, loss in the first or second round of playoffs.

Season 29 preview of The Cincinnati Red Army

by Reginald Van der Sloot
of the Cincinnati Free Press

It was a busy off season for Red Army GM Douche LaRouche. Cincinnati ownership put pressure on the 31 year old Canadian executive to "Cut Salary, and invest in Starting Pitching"

LaRouche followed those orders by shipping out long time reliever Jin Ho Sano to the only other Franchise that Sano had personal ties to, the Ottawa Hosers. The Hosers are the team that signed the native of Yokosuka Japan at the tender age of 18 in Season 18 for $13.9 million. Sano is poised to be a key member of Ottawa's 3-man closer by committee, his career 1.23 WHIP and 3.87 ERA are a welcome addition to the Hosers.

Also taking up residence near the Rideau Canal and robot/Prime Minister Stephen Harper are switch hitters Jean Berkman and MVP candidate Steven Soriano. Red Army defence may struggle in season 29 as both Berkman and Soriano each won the Gold Glove last season at their respective positions. Berkman's defence is slick enough in the eyes of the Ottawa coaching staff that he is pencilled in as the starting 3B for at least the beginning of season 29. Soriano is moving back to 2B -the position that he played from his being incepted into the big leagues until his acquisition by The Red Army- and is slotted in as the number 2 hitter in a very potent Hoser line-up.

LaRouche is "Saddened to have been forced to trade to 2 young stars and a long-term member of the team in Sano but I'm excited to welcome Juan Polanco and Vic Miranda"

Miranda has a wonderful bat from the left side of the plate with the ability to be a thorn in the side of both lefties and righties. He has ample power, and good plate vision. Unfortunately Vic's defensive abilities come up a little short, even for a 1B. He does however have youth on his side and one of the best fielding coaches in Eric Long. Those two factors should work in his favour and as a result we might see some improvement there.

Polanco is one of the most coveted young position players in both leagues. The Cincinnati fans were given another large trade to dissect just days later when in typical Rd Army style, Polanco was immediately shipped out of town,in this case back to Canada. Montreal is where he ended up where young Jaun was packaged with super-sub Albie Nieto and long-time Red Army Starter Yonder Trevino. Like Sano, Trevino is going back to the team that signed him as an IFA way back in season 15 as an 18 year to a $15.1 million signing bonus. Trevino's 148 career wins, 22 complete games, 3.56 ERA and 1.23 WHIP suggest that he was well worth the initial investment. The Maroons are hoping that he is still worth the $7 million dollars left on this, his last year of a 5 year deal.

LaRouche has publicly stated that he dealt Trevino because there was no chance of being able to re-sign the 4 time All Star before he hit Free Agency. It is not because of the disappointing game 7 NLCS performance last season versus Mexico City "Actually I love the guy, my Wife and I named are most recent addition to our family Trevino... our bright red beta-fighting fish. I wanted him to retire a Red Army. He expressed his desire to win a world Series but to not re-negotiate his contract before Free Agency. He'd rather play out this contract and I respect that decision. I felt that with Spike Parris becoming a Free Agent the following season and the price that good SPs are going for in Free Agency, that it was essential for the competitiveness of the Red Army that we bring in some young and controllable arms.

Trevino, Nieto and Polanco were the price that Montreal set in order to bring in 2 very good SPs in Veras and Willie Pena. "We also received Willie Miranda in the deal, and we feel that once he develops fully that he will be an adequate replacement for Berkman in RF"

Veras, one of the top IFA signings of season 26 ($23.7 million bonus) projects to be a very nice number 2 or 3 once he gets promoted from AAA and has the ability to throw close to 300 innings per season. Willie Pena will fight it out with Parris and Veras for the 2-3-4 job. It appears that these 3 will be surrounded by Viciedo as the number 1 and Harold Leach as the number 5.

The unloading of salary by Douche LaRouche allowed Cinci to go out and sign veteran back stops Jesse Newson and Carlos Cervantes to back-up season 27 batting champ Zephyr Miles. Newson and Cervantes might play a little bit of RF this upcoming season and should provide some nice pinch-hitting this season. The Red Army used some of their freed-up cash to re-sign FA Ralph Lambert. Lambert is entering the twilight of his career and it is believed by the Vodka soaked Red Army scouts that a similar performance to last season's 1.18 WHIP and .217 OAV is certainly not out of the question. Lambert will be joined by Miguel Neruda in the pen. The Type A free agent relief pitcher was signed to a 1 year $4.6 million dollar deal.

LaRouche has admitted that he was chasing FA Starters Ciriaco and Padilla between the mega deals with the Hosers and Maroons. "Unfortunately the price got to be too high for our comfort. More unsettling to us was the length of the deals that the agents were demanding. Ultimately I convinced ownership to allow me to make a maximum-deal offer to Fernando Rosado and we luckily won the sweepstakes. We are ecstatic to have Fernando with us and we hope that he can add to his career total of 7 MVPs.

During the short news conference days after signing the 4 year $70 million deal with a 5th year mutual option of $20 million and a $5 million buy-out. Fernando Rosado stated "that he loved his time in Toronto, that the recent ALCS defeat was shocking and devistating. I would trade my personal accomplishments for a World Series Championship... or two or three"

Cincinnati may have overpaid for the now tremendously wealthy 31 year-old Dominican as his overall abilities will most surely be in decline over the net 4-5 seasons. There is no question though that the acquisition of Rosado is what allowed LaRouche to deal Polanco and Nieto and thus improve their pitching. Overall, Cincinnati has lost some depth in the field, and versatility at the plate but their overall pitching depth has gotten stronger and what looked like a 5 year window of competitiveness may have been lengthened by another few seasons with the addition of the 3 very good pre-arbitration eligible players.

The Red Army will be in a dog fight to make the playoffs this season due in large part to the division that they play in and not their own possible in-abilities. The NL North is arguably the toughest division in the World. It is home to the crazy good Dangerous Crew, the always extremely competitive/often dominating Spartan Franchise. Then there is the young and always improving cross-State rivals in Cleveland, the Bad Seeds.

The bookies in Vegas are leaning toward making Cincinnati the odds on favourite to win the division by no more than 2 games, with the last place team in the division finishing a mere 6 games out of first.

The offence is going to be relatively consistant in the match-box that is Great America Ballpark. Despite the hitters, it would not be out of the realm of possibility to witness The Red Army on the sidelines come October for the first time since season 22, especially if they run into injury trouble or the pitching is erratic.

Huntington Preview

The Huntington franchise has spent the majority of the last 29 seasons in the gutter. When I took over the reigns to start in season 28 the franchise had very little to attract a good owner. I took it as a challenge to prove to myself that I can win with any team.

It was quite a task and worse then I initially thought. Coming into it I thought hey a team with Mel Darr, Maicer Calles and Stu Burke cant be to hard to win with. Then I found out Darr was not resigned. SO I had my work cut out for me. Well I used smoke and mirrors and somehow made the playoffs and almost pulled off the huge upset to make the LCS.

Now its season 29. The team is still not as good as I want but in far better shape ( no more bad contracts). I have no one young or great to work with but I have some decent pieces and should be on pace for the same type of season as last season. This franchise will hopefully no longer be thought of as an easy win at least as long as im at the helm. I would expect another 90 win season and with some luck a playoff appearance.

The Show Comes to Wichita

Not sure if you all noticed the construction going on south of the city. You know the one I'm talking about, the huge stadium they've been building for the last 18 months. Well it's finally done and our new Yaz team, the Tomcats, will be residing there this year.
The T'Cats finished in last place in the AL South with a 67-95 record last year. They scored only 690 runs on the season (second lowest in the AL) and gave up 874 (5th most). I haven't seen anyone "in the know" who has projected them over 70 wins this year. So when I drew the assignment to cover them the word that went through my head was not the type of thing my editors would let me print here, but in watching them this spring they may just have turned things in the right direction. They have 5 new faces in this years opening day lineup vs last years. The ball was jumping off their bats this spring, both the big leaguers and the minor leaguers were "crushing" it. They lead all Yaz teams in runs scored (117), Hits (200), BA (.302), OBP (.372), and OPS (.883) while finishing second in 2B (35), HR (34) and SLG (.511). Now I know the list of people who have been let down after getting excited over a big spring training is long, but if nothing else, it points to the fact that they should do much better than their 15th best in scoring last season and with the pitching staff slightly improved and the defense going slightly in the other direction their runs allowed should be near the same. So allowing the same number of runs and scoring more should work out to more wins, and even if it doesn't, it sure is fun to watch the ball fly over the outfield fence.
So let's all get the family together, head down to the corner to catch one of the 20 team buses that run every game day (the ride is free if you have tickets and comes off the price of the tickets if you buy at the stadium) and enjoy a nice summer day supporting our new team, the Wichita Tomcats. Win or lose it should be a fun team to watch, and who knows, we may just surprise some of those "experts".

All Time Franchise Players

Since this world has now been around for 27 seasons, I feel like it's been long enough to say that most franchises have a "all-time" 25 man roster.  I'll start it off with the glorious Montreal Maroons, the most storied franchise in the history of the world.

Michael Phelps
C Domingo Cervantes
1B Enrique Valdes
1B Juan Valenzuela
2B Victor Cairo
3B Fernando Rios
SS Javier James
SS Britt Voigt
LF Ernie Jenkins
LF Steve Guerrero
CF Joe Rollins
CF Artie McDonald
RF Bailey Dykstra
SP Edgard Garces
SP Vic Lopez
SP Willie Pena
SP William Fujiwara
SP Julian Guardado
SP Troy Sewell
SP/RP Alfredo Alicea
SP/RP Clarence Jacobsen
RP Matthew Langerhans
RP Michael Stieb
RP Richard Cho
RP D'Angelo Lopez

Next up is the Charleston Franchise, currently undergoing an ownership switch.

C Eduardo Sanchez
C Clay Wise
1B Juan Rodriguez
1B Jamie Miadich
2B Rickey O'Brien
3B Andrew Meyers
3B Cristobal Gomez
SS Hunter Durbin
SS Albert Santayana
SS Lawrence Roberts
LF Francisco Castro
LF Napoleon Hughes
CF Mendy Song
CF Zeke Rain
RF Joey Swann
RF Freddy Whang
SP Felipe Guillen
SP James Taylor
SP Chris Adams
SP Gus Tanner
SP Mac Lee
SP Brutus Black
RP Lonny Mercado
RP Jayson Levine
RP Vinny Jiang

Then it's Monterrey, currently looking for new ownership.

C Napoleon Gray
1B Paul Gomes
1B Ruben Johnson
2B Herb Wilkerson
2B Norm Lee
2B Frank Yates
3B Skeeter Anderson
3B Eugene Hoover
SS Joe Watson
L:F Rafael Rodriguez
LF Carl McCorley
CF Alex Keller
CF Joseph Kimura
RF Pedro Lee
SP Walter Zoltan
SP James Milone
SP Hector Mateo
SP Manuel Lee
SP Marv Blake
SP Santiago Bearga
SP Marino Villa
RP Paul Kuroda
RP Pablo Barrios
RP Javier Tavarez

Louisville has submitted his own list:

C  Anthony Ross
1B Wilt Blair
2B Bert Lee
2B Red Grebeck
3B Iago Todd
SS Jim Dorsey
SS Jerome Owens
LF Walter Taft
CF Morgan Borland
CF Hugh Chase

RF Tyler Cox
RF Fonzie Michaels
DH Tony Mendez
SP Javier Estrada
SP David Pressley
SP Russell Workman
SP Alex Ortiz
SP Tony Silva
SP Joaquin Fernandez
P - Ed Hurst
P - Davey Rosario
P - Andruw Allen


C Carlos Cervantes
C/DH Bo Murphy
1B Torey Rosario
1B Calvin Martin
2B Tomas Bennett
3B Nate Coolbaugh
SS Mark Kyung
SS Alberto Oliva
LF Jose Fernandez
CF Napoleon Watson
CF Michael Mathews
RF Sam Hodges
SP Vasco Montanez
SP Ricardo Gonzales
SP Samuel Mercedes
SP Trenidad Padilla
RP Victor Nieves
RP Felipe Herrera
RP Edgard Guerrero