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Sunday, July 20, 2008

NL North

Milwaukee Princes:

Hitting: They are right in the middle of the pack when it comes to batting average hitting at a .268 clip. They are below league average though when it comes to runs scored but are in first place in their division as the season draws to a close. They are led by young stud John Rose. At 28 the future is now for this kid. However, the ML ready position players are few and far between so free agency will be the key and resigning current talent. However, they are loaded with SS prospects and can probably send some away and trade for other weaker positions

Pitching: Their team ERA is just under 4, which is one of the top rankings in the league. Milwaukee has some incredible talent and possibly the best young pitcher in the majors with Ramon Jiang. Geraldo Ortiz is almost back and was incredible before getting hurt. Eddie Webster might be the leagues top closer and is only 26. The future bullpen looks incredible as well. A true force to be reckoned with.

Draft Class: The draft was horrid for them. The first pick wants 8.5 million and likely won’t sign. 2nd round pick Adrian Nelson projects ok overall, but likely won’t ever be a major league talent, plus he cost 3+ million to sign. Jayson Terry there 3rd round pick also projects well overall but won’t crack the majors & cost nearly 3 million to sign. The 4th round pick at cost and projecting well overall may be the only guy to crack the majors. Overall a disaster. Future drafts need to be better. DRAFT GRADE: D+

My Prediction: First in the division, maybe 1 round win.

Overall Grade: B+

Future Team Grade: B

Ottawa Sundragons:

Hitting: They are near the bottom of the league when it comes to batting average hitting at a .260 clip. They are near the middle of the league though when it comes to runs scored. They are led offensively by young slugger Doug Williamson who has slugged 50 homers this season and Midre Maradona who is a running fool and a potential multi-year all-star. They have also recently called up some young guns who will be in the majors for quite a while. Jin Woodard should be a stud, Junior Lee is a defensive future wizard, and they are full of others.

Pitching: Their team ERA is just under 5, which is right in the middle of the league rankings. Ottawa has a stud closer in Hades Riley but he is getting older and may be gone in a few years. Damion Towers is the stud of the Pitching Staff. Charlie Norton will be awesome as well. However, overall they have some severe deficiencies and will need to stock up for the future.

Draft Class: They made a great selection with their first round pick as Darrell Caufield will be a stud. 2nd Round Pick Lyle Kramer will also make the majors one day. 3rd round pick was a dog and won’t make it past AA, 4th Round pick won’t sign, but 5th round selection T.J. Koplove could make an impact eventually. All in all getting 3 potential difference makers, all at slot money constitutes a damn good draft in my opinion DRAFT GRADE: A-

My Prediction: 2nd in the Division.

Overall Grade: C+

Future Team Grade: B+

Boise Barnstormers:

Hitting: They are in the bottom ¼ of the league in terms of Batting Average and runs scored. Their lone All-Star is 27 year old Lonnie Morton he will be a difference maker for a long time, plus he also won the Home Run Derby. Benjamin Robinson is an overpaid, underperforming talent, but a talent at 29 nonetheless. Billy Winn is one of the top prospects offensively but there isn’t too to talk about behind him.

Pitching: They are in the top ¼ of the league in terms of ERA. Jarrod Mercedes is a great talent but is aging and injury prone. Ruben Trevino will be a stud for a long time and at 26 is also making an impact. They are stock full of major league young pitchers, but some of the depths they have lacks control and may not be true major league caliber. They have incredible depth at the minor league level, their AAA is LOADED. Pedro Gomez may win a few Cy Young Awards before all is said and done. Efrain O’Keefe may join him in that race too. Aaron Pierzynski will be their closer of the future and a stud at that.

Draft Class: Elmer Evans is an ok first round pick, but I am not sure he will ever be a meaningful Major League producer. Anthony Pagnozzi will be good as well, but again not a big time producer. Noone after that point will make any impact. DRAFT GRADE: C

My Prediction: 3rd in the Division.

Overall Grade: C

Future Team Grade: A (Pitching would be an A+++, Hitting drags it down)

Detroit Tigers:

Hitting: They are in the middle of the pack offensively with a batting average of .267. However, they haven’t been able to turn that into runs as they are 5th last in the league. They lack any semblance of power with only 84 home runs this season. Del Johnson has wasted away in AAA and is the best offense talent they currently have. Not sure why a 32 year old player making 5.4 million spent 110+ games in AAA. The minors lacks any meaningful offensive threats as well.

Pitching: Their team ERA is just under 5.50 which ranks them 5th last in the league. They have also managed to blow 19 saves thus far. Scooter Bacsik will be a stud if he can stay healthy. Omar Gonzalez is also a great young talent who is already making a Major League impact. They have some meaningful talent through the minors as well.

Draft Class: With the 15th overall pick they made a great selection in Aramis Durazo. If given time to develop he will be a great asset. Hugh McDonald in the supplemental round is also a great pick, but he has been rushed and is already in AAA which will likely keep him from ever reaching his true potential. 2nd round pick Jeromy Ramirez was a hold out and wanted nearly 5 million to sign, well he signed and may crack the minors someday but won’t be a huge impact. 3rd round pick Willie Melo may also be an impact player some day. A few others will make an impact at the minor league levels DRAFT GRADE: B+ (This would be an A or even an A+ if Hugh wasn’t already in AAA)

My Prediction: Last in the Division.

Overall Grade: C-

Future Team Grade: B+

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

American League West

Oakland Oaks:
Without being number one in the west since the first season, Oakland can once again taste victory.
Hitting: With one of the worst batting averages in the league (around .250)I am a little surprised they are in first place. They have a pretty solid outfield, but most of their future infielders are still in the minors. Until Cory Snow and the rest of the gang can come up, I see that team batting average only rising a little bit.
Pitching: Their team ERA is almost 4, which is one of the top rankings in the league. Oakland is very happy to have a great pitching staff to make up for their not so great hitting. Led by possible Cy Young winner Victor Vega who most likely will be a 20-game winner and young pitchers Joe Lindsey, Mack Hitchcock their rotation is maybe the best in the league. Most of their good relievers are still developing in the minors, but the staff will make up for it.
Draft Class: Oakland has a pretty good draft (being sarcastic, their draft was amazing) receiving three first round picks! They picked CF Cory Snow at number three, which was a great pick. The other two round picks in the first round were Hank Lange who isn't have bad and possible pitching ace Augie Woodall. In the second round they selected a good reliever, Jim Bailey who could be very good in a couple of years. DRAFT GRADE: A+

My Prediction: Even though their hitting is weak, their pitching is lights out and is the reason I think they may end up in first place once again:
Overall Grade: B-
Future Team Grade: B+

Tacoma Rain:
Being the first year with a winning percentage, I think it is going to be a very close battle for first place.
Hitting: Tacoma has a very young roster, so it might take a couple more years for Rain to lead the league in hitting. I'm going to try to win before his future stars come up, because once they do, there won't be anything stopping him. Led by two time silver slugger Vasco Lee, their hitting is awesome. They also have a couple of shortstops...not one, not two, but 9 good shortstops! That could be his whole line up right there!!!
His hitting is so good, that it might almost be too good.
Pitching: Tacoma is pretty much right down the middle when it comes to pitching. But don't forget, they have a prospect team. When Darryl Priest, Donaldo Torres, and Roger Carpenter reach their full potential, their staff will be one of the best in the league. Their bullpen will be much much better once Joseph Chong comes up to the bigs.
Draft Class: Donaldo Torres was a good pick to help out their staff a little bit. I project a lot of walk/strike-out type of pitcher. With their next pick, they got Harold Ransom, another shortstop. No surprise there. DRAFT GRADE: C+ or B-

My Prediction: I'm a little confused with all of the shortstops, but their team is going to be very good.
Overall Grade: B- or B
Future Team Grade: A+

Las Vegas Venom:
Las Vegas
With a little under .500 winning percentage, Las Vegas is a gamble to win 1st place.
Hitting: Their outfield is one of the best in the leagues and their infield is still young. Once Howard Pryce and the rest of the squad finishes developing their hitting will be lights out.
Pitching: Their pitching isn't so good. They can not rush Phillip Benard to fast or their goes Vegas' whole pitching. Venom will be expecting big things from him.
Draft Class: Phillip Benard was a great pick by Las Vegas considering that they the need a Cy Yound type of pitcher. Hopefully Benard can do that for them. With their other first round pick they got another pitcher, who is very good. His name is Lariel Sierra and he will be able to provide Phillip with some help. Their second round pick, Phillip Howard is a good second baseman that was looking to be picked in the first round, but got picked in the second. It isn't looking good for Vegas to sign him. DRAFT GRADE: B

My Prediction: Good, but not good enough this year. If they work on their pitching, Vegas could be a contender in a few seasons.
Overall Grade: C+ or B-
Future Team Grade: B or B+

Honolulu Lava Kings:
Being the worst team in the West and only being over .500 once (only by two games) I don't see them leaving fourth place.
Hitting: Their hitting isn't bad, but it isn't great either. They have two good hitters; Jose Tavarez and Adam Lawrence. Besides that their isn't really anyone else.
Pitching: Dennis Parris is their best pitcher, and he isn't anything special either. Their bullpen is average, but could use a little work. Their pitching could use a few better arms.
Draft Class: I Like how he picked a hitter and a pitcher in the first two rounds. Dennis Parris should help the hitting, and adds pop to their line up. Willie Rosario will be a big help to their pitching and was a good pick. DRAFT GRADE: B

My Prediction: Needs some major work, and until that happens they will be in fourth place for a while.
Overall Grade: D+ or C-
Future Team Grade: C or C+

Prediction Standings:
1st- Oakland Oaks
2nd- Tacoma Rain
3rd- Las Vegas Venom
4th- Honolulu Lava Kings

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

American League South

El Paso Lizards:
El Paso
The lizards, or the ex-Bulls are a very good team in the Long Haul. El Paso won there only World Series in the very first season of this world. Not saying anything against edric, but 7Yankees7 setup edric pretty well. Being over .500 every season so far is why El Paso will probably make the playoffs for their 4th time.
Hitting: The Lizards hitting is above average (around .280). I am not surprised since the Lizards star player Midre Manuel is a THREE TIME MVP, ROY (same year he won his first MVP), three time All Star, and three time Silver Slugger. Oh, and he can field to winning one gold glove. The best part is he's ONLY 26! Along side Nomar Welch, there hitting is pretty good.
Pitching: His young pitching is good too, led by injury prone Rudy Perez and Sandy Nilsson who has great splits against Lefty's. They also 4 time All star closer Todd Christenson to finish off the games in the 9th.
Draft Class: The Lizards drafted all pitchers in their first few rounds of the draft including future ML starter Cory Ford and the ultimate wild pitcher Junior Corcoran. DRAFT GRADE: B-

My Prediction: With the help from 7Yankees7, the Lizards just need a good pitcher and they should be getting first easy.
Overall Grade: B+
Future Team Grade: A- or A+

Texas Justice:
After Texas turned around from a bad first season, things are looking up for Justice.
Hitting: There always has to be a number one, and when it comes to hitting its Texas. Texas team batting average is over .290! Ken Wight who is the face of Texas in my opinion, is very underrated because of the fact that he hasn't won ONE award at all throughout his career. Solid outfield, beast infield, and two good platoon-type of catchers, I wouldn't be surprised if they keep up this league leading team batting average.
Pitching: Now, why would the best hitting team in the league not be one of the elite teams in the league. I'm just guessing it's their 5.46 ERA (7th worst in the league). Shame Brian Hara hasn't done what he should be doing, having a career ERA of almost 5. I think that there pitching could do much better, but that just might be me.
Draft Class: Thomas Ashby, wouldn't be my first choice as a pick, but I guess when you need a future hitting catcher, you need a future hitting catcher. I like how the picked a SP (Oscar Palmer) to help out their team. He isn't have bad also. DRAFT GRADE: C

My Prediction: Not this year, but maybe next if he gets Hara to start pitching he can really take over the South.
Overall Grade: B
Future Team Grade: B+

Oklahoma City Knights:
Oklahoma City
Pitching is great, hitting not so great.
Hitting: 7th worst in hitting and an incomplete line up- I'm not surprised. Wilson Reagan who is their best batter, isn't even having that great of a career stats wise. Need some work on their batting order.
Pitching: I'm guessing the great pitching evens out the bad hitting. But their pitching is pretty top notch with three future star SP and two veterans leading the way their staff is pretty much set. I think the Knights are relying on Gregg Coco to lead OC to 1st place.
Draft Class: Banana Ripken 18th overall? I'm not so sure I would have picked him that early, but that could just be me. James Cummings next? I don't know. DRAFT GRADE: D+ or C-

My Prediction: Getting worse and worse every season, I don't see that changing.
Overall Grade: B- (only because of the Knights rotation)
Future Team Grade: B- or B

San Antonio Sentinals:
San Antonio
Keep rebuilding, rebuilding, rebuilding... Not even going to talk about now, just the future
Hitting: Just saying they have the third worst hitting in the league. Their whole line up for the future is stacked including last years 4th overall pick David Bong and future Gold Glover Victor Rijo. Future is looking bright.
Pitching: Not great right now, but in the future...WATCH OUT! Season 1's second overall pick and future Cy young winner Ernie Perry is going to lead his team to a future championship.
Draft Class: I like what he did in the draft with picking Clay Mahoney and Freddie Williams. DRAFT GRADE: A+

My Prediction: No way is he getting first this year.
Overall Grade: D- or D
Future Team Grade: A+

Prediction Standings:
1st- El Paso Lizards
2nd- Texas Justice
3rd- Oklahoma City Knights
4th- San Antonio Sentinals

Sunday, July 6, 2008

American League East

Boston Taverneers:
With the second highest batting average in the league and at least 90 wins every season so far, Boston is the team to beat in the East.
Hitting: Boston is at the top when it comes to hitting (.290 batting average). They are led by veteran All Star Joe Brown and season's two 11th overall pick Chris Reid who is an all around short stop.
Pitching: Boston's 3 main men (Raul Duran, Howard Malone, and season 1 ROY Darryl Morgan) are lights out just like the Celtics big 3. Their bullpen is just as good, led by future All Star closer Charles Moreno.
Draft Class: Tecwrg drafted another future All star closer and possible Hall of Famer Billy Palmer who has great control and amazing splits. With their other 1st round pick they pick another reliever Billy Stevens who is a little worse than their number 1 pick. In the second round they picked a good bottom of the rotation pitcher Paulie Keats and hard hitting first basemen Gus Knight. DRAFT GRADE: A- or A

My Prediction: Boston does just as good as their other seasons and it all comes down to their last few games of the season to see who will take 1st- New York or Boston.
Overall Grade: B+
Future Team Grade: B+ or A-

New York Cosa Nostra:
New York
New York has just been great these past few years, coming in first the last three years. I would not be surprised if they keep up this streak.
Hitting: New York is right behind Boston in hitting with a .284 batting average which could change in just a few games. Most of this is due to David Tamura. A real let down is the huge decline injury prone second baseman Morgan Walker who could have been a top hitter in Long Haul.
Pitching: NY's rotation is very good- probably better than Boston's. They have 5 lights-out starters in the majors right now-all under 30. They are still waiting for T.J. Garcia; their first round pick of season 2. No doubt about it, their staff is one of the best in the leagues, maybe even the best. Cosa Nostra's pen is pretty decent too with the help from set up man Sam Jackson.
Draft Class: NY's first round pick Albert Sewell is a decent hitter that if used correctly could be productive. In the second round of the draft they selected a HUGE steal Pablo Suarez. DRAFT GRADE: B-

My Prediction: New York does just as good as their other seasons and it all comes down to their last few games of the season to see who will take 1st- Boston or New York.
Overall Grade: B+
Future Team Grade: A

Durham Bulls:
a 500 ball club- that says it all.
Hitting: Around .270 batting average, the Bulls are right in the middle, not to bad, not to good. Sherm James who is the star of the team can't win for them. James needs some help so Durham should consider trying to either sign or trade for a big bat next season.
Pitching: Most of their pitchers are still in the minors including Bernie Webster, who doesn't have great splits but still isn't too bad. Their main man in the late innings is their closer Jumbo Campos. He's not terrible, but he won't be an All Star closer.
Draft Class: With the 10th overall pick they picked the good hitting catcher Russell Jefferson. He's a good hitter, but with the 10th pick I think they should have gotten someone better. Their next pick was an above average pitcher Wilfredo Terrero who could be a good number 3 pitcher for them. Their other pitcher (Dorian Merrick) who isn't anything special could be a below average pitcher in the majors. DRAFT GRADE: C+ OR B- (I still feel they could have got a better player than Jefferson with the 10th overall pick)

My Prediction: Needs work. At best, a little over .500.
Overall Grade: C or C+
Future Team Grade: C+ or B-

Chicago Longshoremen:
Chicago never had a winning season finishing fourth every season except the first season(which they finished third). Also changing owners four times isn't a good thing either. Since majesty95 had the first overall pick the last two seasons in a row, things aren't looking so bad at Wrigley Field.
Hitting: Surprisingly, Chicago has been able to keep a team batting average of about .280. With the help from future stars(season 4's first overall pick) Fred Little and Rule 5 Draftee, Theo Griffiths their line up is pretty solid. What i would recommened is get rid of Alex Perez, who is taking up about 12 mil a season. C'mon, 12 mil for a career batting average of .273? Besides a few players, their lineup is pretty good.
Pitching: Now I bet you're all wondering why is his team doing so bad with a good lineup? Well maybe having the second highest ERA in the league is the problem. Geronimo Rijo is pretty good(forgetting about the bad control), but he can't pitch every game for them. And I'm hoping that it won't come to rushing this years first overall pick, Quinton Hundley up to the bigs just to win a few more games. Oh, and by the way, he's a complete monster that guy. In order to win Chicago really needs to work on their pitching.
Draft Class: Before taking a good look at their draft, I prayed that with having the first overall pick two years in a row, they got some good players out of losing. Well first off, they got pitchers with their first five picks, which I'm very glad to see. Second, they got lights out SP Quinton Hundley. With the next pick they got a average reliever to help out there below average bullpen, Alexander Winn. Overall, majesty95 did everything he was supposed to in the draft. DRAFT GRADE: A- or A (mostly because of all the pitchers they drafted and future Cy Young winner Quinton Hundley)

My Prediction: Without pitching they won't be winning any games soon, but majesty95 has done a great job rebuilding.
Overall Grade: D+ (huge improvement this year)
Future Team Grade: C (wouldn't be surprised if next season this grade changes from a C to B+)

Prediction Standings:
1st- New York Cosa Nostra
2nd- Boston Taverneers
3rd- Durham Bulls
4th- Chicago Longshoremen

American League North

Minnesota 34ers:

Minnesota is probably the best team in Long Haul R us. Awstyn has won 2 World Series and is currently fighting for his third straight. With a winning team every year so far, I would not be surprised that awstyn wins it all once again.
Hitting: With the help from last years MVP and 3 times All Star Marino Moreno Minnesota has a team batting average of 281. His hitting is a big part of why he has won every year.
Pitching: Pitching is not superior, but still is good ranking at 13 in ERA for pitchers. His young staff and bullpen with keep devolving over the years and will eventually be at the top. With the help of veteran closer Stan Lewis his number 1 bullpen in the world should help him to keep winning games.
Draft Class: Obviously his draft class is not that strong since he had 32nd pick in the draft. In the first round of the draft he drafted center fielder Stu McCartney at 32. The outfielder straight out of high school is nothing special but it’s a very good fielder. With the 39th pick in the 1st round awstyn drafted the 18-year-old short stop Eric Klingenbeck with amazing hands. He is not the best hitter, but is a great fielder. Also, Stu and Eric shared the same agent, Sam Smoltz. In the second round of the draft awstyn selected Dave Ramsey. Dave has good pitches, but just doesn’t have the splits or the control to be an average pitcher in the majors. DRAFT GRADE: D

My Prediction: Once again the 34ers win a world series.
Overall Grade: A-
Future Team Grade: A

New Britain Superbas:
New Britain
Superbas is not the worst team in Long Haul, but they aren’t the best either. With almost a .500 winning percent I don’t see jsandman2003 beating the 34ers.
Hitting: Their hitting is not their weakness. With a team batting average of .281, there contact is great. The difference between Minnesota and New Britain is 46 home runs. In a few years when the second overall pick in seasons 2 draft, Mike Fassero and this years 8th overall pick, Mike Youkilis come to the bigs, New Britain will have one of the best hitting teams out there.
Pitching: One of the reasons New Britain can’t win is their 5.75 ERA. Superbas’ top three pitching prospects, Tony Costilla, Esteban Gonzalez, and Miguel Sanchez are still in the minors. Once they come up that ERA should go down. And their bullpen is ranked third (tied with the New York Monsters and the El Paso Lizards).
Draft Class: Jsandman2003 had a very good pick in the draft. With the 8th overall pick he choose Mike Youkilis, an all around shortstop that can hit, field, and get injured. Oh wait that’s not a good thing. The only down side to Mike is his projected 34 health. As long as he can stay healthy, Mike will be a very good pick. DRAFT GRADE: B-

My Prediction: New Britain will have a good team in the near future, but for now, first place is not a factor.

Overall Grade: B-
Future Team Grade: A- or A

Toronto Maple Leafs:
With help from newly acquired free agent Gary Sadler their hitting is almost perfect. But hitting isn’t everything. They have the third worst ERA in the league. In general I don’t feel their team is to bad and have a pretty good lineup and with a little work could become a better team.
Hitting: With the most homeruns in the world their hitting isn’t too shabby. Their stacked line up with power like his including 2 times All Star Jumbo Cerveza is definitely a team to be scarred to face. If they could just add a little more contact to bring that .264 average up, their line up would be solidified in my eyes.
Pitching: As I said before, they have the third highest ERA in Long Haul this season. I feel the reason for this is not so much the young pitching staff, but the bullpen. His bullpen is not the best in the world led by Hector Rincon who is not having the best seasons ever. If he could improve his bullpen he could be much better. Also Ralph Mora isn’t doing so great and I know Toronto was expecting big things from him but he is still young and still has much more devolving to do.
Draft Class: With the 9th overall pick the Maple Leafs drafted the high school shortstop Mikey Cohen. He is a good fielding short stop with a weak glove. Has good contact and great durability. He should be an All Star shortstop for their team in a few seasons. DRAFT GRADE: B-

My Prediction: Fix the bullpen and the low batting average and Toronto will be a pretty good team.

Overall Grade: C
Future Team Grade: B+

Cleveland Elite Senators II:
I’m not going to even bring up what happened in the beginning of the year, but I think we all remember it. Cleveland isn’t to bad, but they are in last place. With help from one of the best players in the league Gerald Lim his staff is looking pretty damn good. His hitting on the other hand…
Hitting: His hitting doesn’t have any real stars on the major league team except for newly acquired
Paul Terrell who has a huge contract, which I dumped even though he was having a decent year. The next best hitter is an absolute beast Rodney Grove who can’t play more than a 100 games. Besides that there isn’t really anything that good except for Albert Castillo who they drafted this year at number 14. Oh and I don’t think he should be playing shortstop, just saying.
Pitching: Their pitching staff led by
Gerald Lim, Sam Romano, and Ichiro Irabu is pretty freakin good. I think any owner would want to have them on their team. I know I would. That down side to it is that the three of them combined is costing foxspor54 31.4 million bucks a year. Still they are very good. Their bullpen isn’t so good; we will just leave it at that.
Draft Class: They had a pretty good draft this year acquiring
Albert Castillo who can be really good once he comes up; just don’t rush him. With their next pick the drafted a very good SP Kiki Rijo who could be lights out for them at the bottom of the rotation. Their second round pick pitcher, C.J. Kirwan will just be a mop up. DRAFT GRADE: B

My Prediction: They have a good team, just had a bad season. They made the playoffs three years and even came in first place in the first season. As long as foxspor54 doesn’t make any bad moves and dumps some of those useless contracts, Cleveland could once again make the playoffs.

Overall Grade: B-
Future Team Grade: (Besides this years draft which was very good, I don’t see any young good players that could make a difference in the future) C-

Prediction Standings:

1st- Minnesota 34ers
2nd- New Britain Superbas
3rd- Cleveland Elite Senators II
4th- Toronto Maple Leafs

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Scoring at all-time low in AL

With teams like the Sentinals moving from an extreme hitter's park in Santa Fe to an extreme pitcher's park in San Antonio, run-scoring in the American League has come down significantly in Long Haul's fifth season:






Season 1






Season 2






Season 3






Season 4






Season 5






MLB '07






MLB '08






Scoring in Season 5 (through 119 games) is down 3.6 percent from the previous all-time low in Season 1, and while it's still 9 percent higher on average than in Major League Baseball's AL in 2007 and 16.1 percent higher than in 2008 (through yesterday's games), it's a far cry from Long Haul's Season 2 when six AL teams gave up more than 1,000 runs.