Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Power Rankings 3/12

1.      New Britain
The RockCats have the most wins in the MiLB, and have earned the top spot in the rankings. They have scored the 4th most runs by hitting the most homeruns in the league. Their pitching has also been great as they have the #3 Whip, and are 3rd in saves. Keith Carver is leading the way for the offense, but six players already have double digits in homers. Dewey Halter and Delanor Estes are setting the table with .370+ obp. This team is hot right now.

2.      Scranton
The little Yankees really on their excellent pitching staff. The starters are led by Julio Guillen, whom despite his 4-2 record has 64 k’s in 63 innings, only given up 1 homer, and holds a whip of 1.07. Jorge Espinoza has also been solid with a 1.10 whip. The team is 3rd in runs allowed, and 4th in WHIP. Their offense is also very good, being 8th in runs scored. Pedro Montanez has been one of the many valuable Yankees, but perennial all-star Mo Glanville has 15 stolen bases to go with 9 homers, and 40 runs scored.
3.      Syracuse
The Chiefs have the best offense in the entire MilB, and a big part of that is that rate at which they are slapping doubles into the gap. It seems as if they are taking walks or taking two bases. Then they steal bases (64, and only caught 15). They have the #3 overall OPS. James Bates is having an MVP type season with a .325/.409/.651 slash with 17 homers. Ben Mayne has already scored 52 runs despite only a .310 obp, but he has 17 stolen bases. Wow. The pitching staff has given up 266 runs (compared to Louisville who’s number one at 179). They have to make a move before the post season to clear that up.
4.      Vancouver
A lot of people feel Vancouver should be higher being the NL team with the most wins at 33. They have the third ranked offense in the league, 5th in homeruns, and 4th in OPS. Speaking of MVP candidates, Bobby Joe Owings is in the discussion with his .336/.407/.768 slash and 15 homers. RJ Lira isn’t far behind with .365/.433/.572 with 10 homers. If anything, they need bullpen help to solidify the pitching staff.
5.      Salem
Another team that could make a case as being the top team, is Salem. Led by MVP candidate Jackson Wagner (I drafted him), who holds a .304/.382/.660 with 19 homers. Salem has the number five OPS, but their pitching has set them apart being 5th in runs allowed, and 5th in WHIP. Three of the four starters are on fire…but the other two (Martin and Buchanan) have been garbage. The Volcanoes haven’t blown a save all season.
6.      Salt Lake City
The Bees are off to a good start this season. They sport the 2nd best Run scoring team in the MiLB. They got there by being 5th in doubles, 3rd in homers, and number ONE overall in OPS. No one member is over 1.0, but nearly everyone with regular playing time is over .800 or better OPS. This is a slugging team (.476 overall) and they hit a ton of homeruns (84, six with 10+, 3rd in MiLB). They would probably score more runs if they would stop trying to steal (24 sb vs 22 cs). The pitching staff hasn’t been good outside of Del Flier (6-0, 1.02 whip, 2.45 era). The bullpen is a serious strength.
7.      Louisville
Don’t expect the Bats to stay this far down for long. They are 6th in runs scored, and FIRST in runs allowed with the best WHIP. They also have the third best fielding. They are due for a big run, soon.
8.      New Orleans
New Orleans probably shouldn’t be ranked this high since they have a negative runs scored to runs allowed. But they do lead their division and have a team that can score at will. The only problem is the pitching which has been horrific.
9.      Iowa
My little Cubs from Iowa are exceeding expectations yet again. With the best fielding team in the league, they help a mediocre pitching staff. There has been a lot of turnover trying to find the right balance on this team and they are dangling Esteban Cedeno to get a right handed reliever.
10.  Charleston/Dover
This is kind of a cop out to have a tie, but I just couldn’t leave one out. These teams both have high expectations, and have yet to produce. Dovers pitching has let them down, while the offense has been solid. Charleston is just the reverse having good pitching but struggling on offense. Maybe they should discuss a trade? Just saying…

Honorable mentions:
Wichita 26-25 257/229, #5 RS, #4 sb
Durham 26-25 245/243, #10 RS, 4th doubles
El Paso 26-25 215/249, #1 sb, #2 fielding
Little Rock 28-23 213/196, #8 RA
Toledo 26-25 200/188 , #4 RA

Sunday, March 2, 2014

AL West Previews

Salem was looking to grab one more starter in Free Agency, but whiffed. Now, they have money available to make more moves, which they definitely will at some point. This team has been very good under 40-dog, and he has the players available to make another run in the playoffs. If they can get just a little more help (one or two bats, one or two pitchers) this team could win it all. Look out.

The season just started and Boise knows it's time for big changes. Quite a few players are on the block and ready to be moved. The team can definitely hit the ball and are solid offensively (828 runs scored). But the pitching is Horrible (yes…capital H). The pickup of Roosevelt Watson was a move in the right direction. If Boise can balance out the offense and pitching they might improve more than anyone thinks. We will have to see if anyone is willing to make a move with them in order to do so. (And I can think of a few teams with money and prospects that could trade young pitching for offense. Just sayin.)

Don't be fooled by this teams record last year. They are a team on the upswing, and are focused on young pitching. It won't happen right away, but when you have a young stud like Kurt Pride to build a staff around baseball becomes really fun. Another thing to be aware of is that Omaha has an $81 payroll, but only spent $63. They don't have a lot spent on Intl Scouting and only $10 spent on prospects so it makes you wonder a little bit what they have in store. My guess is they will be buyers and a big deal could come to pass at some point. Omaha made a ton of trades last year. Keep an eye out for category 5 storm...

Owner McAndrews became concerned after hearing talking of teams "tanking". It is a serious charge and one that is not taken lightly. I'll admit, there had been some questionable moves (look at the trades last year, as well as the transactions this year, and draw your own conclusions). The plan is obvious that Oak City is rebuilding. They purged salary, picked up some decent young guys, and came into this season knowing that they gave up 942 runs (which is a LOT). Young guys that should be in the minors are making starts this year, but they are being surrounded by other youngsters a. I'm not going to let Oak City off the hook. Tanking is tanking. If a team is not actively being improved to be competitive in the league, I don't know what else to call it. McAndrews seems like a nice enough guy and seems genuinely worried about being labeled. If this league had a minimum win expectation we would be seeing more of an effort not to allow another 100 loss season.