Monday, August 26, 2013

AL First Half Review

Well after completing the NL first half review yesterday, let’s take a look back on the First half of the year in the AL and what it has had to offer so far.

Biggest Surprise – The parody in the South and West
                The AL South and the AL West both boast the biggest parody amongst any divisions in our league.  Both divisions separate worst to first by only 7 games, leaving no team out of the division title race as the season approaches the All-Star break.  One hot streak may be all it takes for someone to run away in one of these divisions, setting up a nail biting second half

AL Cy Young – With much respect to everyone else pitching in the AL, it is Scooter Lee’s league and everyone else just gets to play here.  Despite having to pitch in Yankee Stadium, the winner of 2 of the last 3 Cy Young Awards is currently 10-3 with a sub 2.00 ERA.  He also leads the league in Strikeouts, WHIP and almost every other stat worth mentioning. 

AL MVP – I gave some thought to putting Scooter Lee’s name here as well, as his season has been that good, but you just can’t overlook the seasons Mariano Johnson and Paxton Harper are putting together.  Harper is 3rd in HR, leading in RBI’s all while hitting .316 and playing superb D out in LF for Boston.  Johnson’s leading the league hitting .379, is first in slugging and OPS and is trying to help Arizona overcome the loss of Juan Dominguez over the off-season as he left for greener pastures in the NL.  All that being said Paxton Harper key’s the offense for the team with the best record in the league and has to be the first half MVP.

With half a season left to go, anything is possible in any division. The trade deadline is looming, and soon buyers and sellers will emerge, so here’s hoping the 2nd half of this season is as competitive as the first all around.  If it is most races can expect to go down to the wire and be undecided heading into the last week of the season.

Coming soon: Season 19 Draft Review

Sunday, August 25, 2013

NL First Half Review

Well the season is slowly creeping up on the halfway point, so let’s review where we stand.  By the looks of things currently it is shaping up to be a 7 team battle out west for 5 spots.  This should lead to an interesting second half as teams jockey for playoff contention

Biggest Surprise – Charleston Chews – After years of mediocrity the Chews have themselves positioned for a possible post-season run here.  The only question is whether or not their pitching can hold up over the second half.  This team will only go as far as their starting rotation and defense take them.  Currently 2nd in the league in runs allowed but 13th in runs scored, this team has surprised everyone as it tries to capture its first division title. 

MVP – While Juan Dominguez has been everything Atlanta has hoped for and more, I just can’t justify giving an MVP to a player whose team is under .500, so my choice in this matter is George Wood, Mexico’s Do It All SS, who is currently leading the league in RBIs and is the focal point of the team with the best record in baseball.

CY Young – The half season Cy Young winner is probably the hardest choice I’ve made writing this.  You could make a case for half an Anaheim’s pitching staff alone for the award.  But in the end I’m going with Henry Weinhardt. Calling the Sandbox that is Mexico his home, Henry has still put up a first half stat line that would make any manager blush. 10-3 2 complete games, 2.28 ERA all while logging the 2nd most inning of any pitcher in the NL. 

If the second half of the season is anything like the first, all I have to say is we are in for a treat in the NL as the playoff races materialize and every game means something.

Coming Early Next Week - The AL and Draft Reviews

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Relocation Coming Soon

AL North - The Scranton Schrutes are leaving the Beet Farm, for hopefully greener pastures. After placing 3rd in the AL North and being left out in the cold by a ultra competitive Wild Card race, this team is still growing. Starting with their youth, Christopher Meluskey has proven he can be a future leader for this team. Winning the Gold Glove in left field and Rookie of the Year honors in season 17, he has the foundation to build something special wherever this franchise plants its roots next.

Magglio Escobar is still the ace of the pitching staff. Even at 33, he is a workhorse, reaching 220 Innings Pitched for the 6th time in his career. A move to even the slightest of a pitcher's park might help as he continues to age.

Right behind Escobar in the rotation, is veteran Lonny Sardinha who has proven he still has what it takes to compete at a high level. With former SS turned Gold Glove CF, Endy Lewis patrolling the field, not too many balls are gonna be falling in if hit in his direction.

AL West - Winning the division five out of the last eight seasons and making two World Series appearances (won it all in season 14), this franchise has been one of the most consistent in recent memory. Now looking for new ownership for the first time in 14 seasons, there is plenty here to get excited about.

Ace Greg Price added a fifth Cy Young award to his mantle in season 17 and has made plenty of room to add more going forward. With an offense that includes a 40 home run hitter in Darren Spencer (he's only 25) and future HOF hopeful, Tom Nickle, Price's 22 wins in S17 seem like a very repeatable task once S18 is under way.

NL North - A project going forward this franchise is just one season removed from a 91 win season. It may not take that long too get back there however. Given the right owner and a few good veterans like, Sean Jeffcoat whose .329 career average ranks him third All-Time in J5B history. Al Pimental is coming off another great year at the plate where he posted a .337 AVG and .437 OBP.

The youth movement that is on its way to this franchise will be key. All former first rounders, all pitchers. Taylor Barkley, Andre Stewart, Terry Beckett, and Glen Ventrella will all be headed to the ML ranks within 2-3 seasons. Whether these guys make it to the bigs or act as trade chips along the way, their contributions will certainly have an impact.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Shipping Up To Boston

Roy Cepeda
Age: 37B/T: R/R
Born: Santa Ana, CA
Position(s): 1B/DH
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Future Hall of Famer, Roy Cepeda's career isn't done just yet. On Wednesday afternoon, the league approved a trade that will send Cepeda to Boston, for a minor league pitching prospect.

Cepeda's entire career has been within the (currently) Texas Coyotes organization. After putting up HOF numbers throughout his career, Cepeda saw his playing time dip last season and continue to fall this year. "[Ownership] has always been honest with me and kept me well in the loop in terms of what they're plans for the team and myself have been."  said Cepeda. "I've been a proud member of the Coyotes for many seasons and will always cherish the time I've had here. In my reduced role, I tried my best to mentor the younger guys and always do anything the team needed. I just feel that at this point in my career I still have a little more to offer on the field, in the right situation, before its over."

Cepeda went to ownership asking for a trade over the weekend, and was quickly obliged. GM Diesel had this to say over conference call, "Roy has always been everything you want in a player. He's obviously talented, but his toughness and work ethic have always been his greatest attributes. He's been a leader on and off the field over the years and has done a fantastic job of mentoring some of our younger guys since they've come up."

"He came to me on Saturday and asked if I'd be willing to look at a trade, which I agreed. I knew it wouldn't be very hard to find a team that would want a guy like Roy, but I also wanted to make sure we traded him in to a good situation. He gave us a short list of places he thought he'd like to end up and the first call I made was to Boston. I knew they might have a need for a bat off the bench or DH and knew that they would give him the at-bats he was looking for."

"I'm very sad to see him leave. He's a great player, that has meant a lot to this organization and has become a great friend to a lot of us. I wish him the best."

Cepeda landed in Boston earlier this evening and had this to say to reporters, "I couldn't be happier to be here with the Patriots. They're a great organization. I know a few guys in the club house really well, and they have nothing but positive things to say. I'm excited to get on the field at Fenway."

Cepeda is currently third on the J5B all-time list in Hits and Runs Batted In. He also sits just five Home runs shy of 500 for his career.