Friday, December 30, 2016

AL West Outlook

With two new owners this division is a tough read

COLORADO SPRINGS- Veteran owner trubrewcrew always competes and his almost 1000 game over on his W vs L record verifies that. CSP lost veteran Hawk Kerr who had a nice resurgence last year at the age of 35. They were also unable to hang on to C Pedro Amarista and back end stalwart Ahmad Grace. They were able to resign solid RP Bey Hammonds, Solid 1B Rex Lunsford, and make deals for C Chris Snow, and rookie stud 3B Polin Valbuena. They also made a handful of very nice FA signings. They are led by all world 2B Norman Piper and stallion SP Jonathon Mock. This team is setup to repeat on the Division crown they took last year and I wouldn't be surprised to see them make a deep run. Very Talented.

SAN FRAN- Returning for his 2nd season in Uecker bigronnie is looking to guide SF to an upgrade over the 64 wins they had last year. The only real loss they suffered was slugger Winston Corporan but that was easily off set by the promotion of some younger bats. Looking at the roster this team feels like a much more talented team than the 64 wins they had last season. Offensivley they will be led by Brian Manaea and Leandro Castillo. Two very nice players. The question that many of us will have is how will the pitching hold? There are a few ??'s there. If the pitching holds this team will approach the .500 mark. If it fails they will be 10 games below.

COLORADO- Joining us for his first season ever in HBD is leitz44! He is piloting the Colorado Express which relocated from Scottsdale. They had a dismal year last year only winning 45 games. They saw some defections losing 2 pitchers and a very solid defensive C and SS. They were able to sign another great defensive catcher in Andre Neal and longtime power bat Hawk Kerr. They will fill that hole at SS with two beastly rookies, Ray Hayes and Dante Ramirez. Future is bright as 6 of their top rated players are under the age of 26. If the veteran arms hold up there is no reason why this team won't boost that win total by 25 games.

SAN DIEGO- Joining us for his first season of Uecker is ackleyjosh. He relocated the franchise from Salt Lake to the warm confines of San Diego. Just cause he's a rookie doesn't mean he hasn't studied. Impressive moves were made in the keeping of ace Enrique Pescado, solid 2B Everth Flores, and shutdown RP Bob Sierra. They also made great signings in SP Evan Field and RP Ahmed Grace. It is debatable but it could be considered that they won free agency. This a very solid team with some great young core talent. In Salt Lake they finished 10 games under but were coming on strong. I Don't know if they have the talent to dethrone CSP but look for them to compete.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

AL South Outlook

OKC- After making the move from Huntington OKC is looking to win the division again this year. They didn't make many moves or lose any players really. This team has a really good core and is lead by slugger Yuniesky Mercedes and Wilfredo Borbon. The pitching is some of the best in the league and the back end is locked down by Julio Cubillan and Hector Romano. If it gets to them the game is usually over. If the offense is good this team has a chance to compete for the crown. Very good squad.

AUSTIN- Coming off an 89 win season and narrowly missing the playoffs the Rattlers are looking to take the next step. They made a couple nice moves in picking up slugger Terry Stowers and starter Shelby Benningson. On offense they will be paced by rising young star Bobby Ray Stanton and veterans Stowers and Harry Moraga. The team is strong in the rotation with Dean Skipworth, Renyel Montero, and rookie Hootie Russell(who the Durham scouts thought was drop to them in the draft). OKC is gonna be tough to dethrone but no reason this team won't be on the door step and competing for a wild card.

JACKSON- After competing for the division crown a few years ago the team has struggled to hit the .500 mark the last few seasons. They are in a slight rebuild mode it seems and with a managable payroll and some talent in the pipeline will be competing for the playoffs in a year or two. On offense they are paced by former ROY Enny Latos and the rotation is led by Juan Jacquez. I don't see them improving on the record of last year but the team isn't a dumpster fire.

SAN JUAN- Speaking of dumpster fire! The last few years this team has had multiple owners and needed a fireman to step up and put out the flames. It looks they found there man in trbrew! The team is gonna take a few years to get righted but it is not devoid of talent. The rebuild will be lead by former 3rd overall pick Buddy Carter and slugging OF Sticky Bush. The team has made some fiscally proper transactions and I look for them to pick up some talent in all available means. We can stifle the contraction talk because San Juan will rise again!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

AL East Outlook

I'm probably a little biased but this is the toughest division in Uecker!

Burlington-  They shocked the league by winning 108 games last year. This team was bad for years but they drafted and signed IFA's well. With 7 players rated 79 or higher and all of them under the age of 30 it seems the future is bright and it's here right now. They are anchored by stud hitter Leonys Cabrera and 2x Cy Young winner Clyde Lara. They did lose 18 game Adam Waltman but should be able to overcome that with young talent. Shored up catching as well this off season. Was the success a 1 year thing or are the Lake Monsters here to stay? I say they are in it for the long run.

Durham- After 101 wins and getting bounced in 3 games during the playoffs you think there would be some changes. Durham stayed pretty status quo with the only addition being 2 time MVP Joe O'Connor. He should see many good pitches hitting behind Ruben Bochachica. They did suffer the loss of veteran back end arm Yunesky Romero and slugging 1B Terry Stowers. Will be looking for contributions from rookies Jhoulys Hernandez and Vinny Tabaka. They will be looking to win games 13-12. Should be in line for a wild card as long as they don't get too injured.

Boston- Can they follow up the 101 win season with the loss of a few good players? The offense is anchored by all world players Mac Aoki and Omar Polonia. With some super nice complimentary pieces this team will score runs. The back end of the rotation is questionable until they get into the playoffs and can run a short staff. One way or another Boston always finds a way to compete by milking stats from guys that are under valued. Always in it until the end.

Richmond-  The Rebels got the tough luck award last year. Finishing 10 games over .500 while competing in the buzz saw division is one heck of an accomplishment. The Rebels are gonna score. They have tons of young hitters and are paced by Darby Connelly and Benny Alonso. They were able to resign Dan Leroux and added two bullpen arms in Brace Kemp and Izzy Castner.  Only question is if the pitching will hold up in this division. If they can improve on last year it is a heck of an accomplishment.

AL North Outlook

Let's go over some free agent signings and trades that may impact the upcoming season. 

AL North

Buffalo- Looking to shore up pitching they signed 3 arms to steady the rotation. They also signed steady catcher Pedro Amarista to add some offensive juice and keep the arms in line. With 3 prospects on Kartchy's top 10 list I'm guessing they will do some promoting from within. They did choose not to bring back a couple key pieces to last years season but they were clearly replaceable. No team has more young talent. Tough division but I'd look for them to compete much better this year.

Montreal- This team competes year in and year out. Very solid management. They lost a couple really good Type B players but always find a way to be at the top of the pack. They can lose some good players because the owner is smart with payroll and are able to draft and spend well. Also having a couple players on Kartchy's list they will get contributions from younger players. As always this team will compete for the division crown. 

Chicago- I don't know if a team was hit harder by free agency then Chicago. They lost the new $30 million man Kendry Tarasco and, 2 time MVP Joe O'Connor. The squad has six players under the age of 27 and with a rating of 71 or higher so there is some young talent. Plus we can't forget about the slugging Juan Gallardo who can anchor any lineup. With that said this teams strength will be pitching and they have lots of it. Even with the losses they are still the team to beat.

Wichita-  After improving their record by 5 games last season Wichita is looking to make the next leap. They have a bunch of young talent like Rhiner Redondo, Ned Hobbes, and Gary Saunders. They are anchored by veterans Vic Casilla in the bullpen and Andrew Patrick on the offensive end. I don't think they are ready to compete but are not far off. If the offense struggles they have enough talent to flip for a great bat. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Here is the list of preseason top prospects by each position. I focused more on current rating as it was easier to project. I also left out Diamond in the Roughs because they too are hard to predict. Players in the minors without ML experience were the only ones considered.

C: Michel Aybar - Montreal Profound Boules
1B: Hanley Grahe - Helena Bears
2B: Horacio Vicente - Pawtucket Pickers
3B: Matty Nunez - St. Louis Clydesdaves
SS: Ivan Rios - Montreal Profound Boules
OF: Will Gonzales - Oklahoma City Sliders
OF: Bryan Long - Montreal Profound Boules
OF: Paxton Shipley - Buffalo Buffalo Bisons

P: Leonys Lugo - Pawtucket Pickers
P: Rafael Adames - Buffalo Buffalo Bisons
P: Louie Kim - Buffalo Buffalo Bisons
P: Curtis Gott - Memphis BBQ Baby Back Ribs
P: Houston Buckley - Memphis BBQ Baby Back Ribs

Don't get mad if your player wasn't there that you think should be! A lot of these were tough calls and my opinion also doesn't mean much. I'll take suggestions for the mid-season prospect list!

I'll try to expand it next time as well. Maybe top 10 overall or top 10 pitchers and positions. Maybe one day we can get it to top 50 overall prospects.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Some tips and fun facts

Most of you have much more experience than I do so you might know all the little intricacies of the game, or you may not. I just wanted to share some of the little details you might not know.

Player Development:

  •  Off-season Development for pitchers are for categories like Stamina, Durability, Makeup, Velocity. They do not improve during the season unless they are a DITR.
  •  For Hitters: the development is Power, Range, Durability, Speed, Throwing Strength, They won't improve during the season either. 
  • In Season Development for Pitchers are the other categories like Effectiveness, GB/FB, Pitches, Control.
  •  For Hitters the development will be for Glove, Throwing Accuracy, Contact, Vs R and Vs L, 

  • Obviously games are simulated 3 times a day on the Part 1 Cycles
  • Player Development occurs only on these cycles as well. If you're looking out for the next development cycle, it will come on Part 1
  • International Prospects only come up during the Part 2 cycles. If you are looking out for international prospects, only look during Part 2. 

I'll have more later.

Also, before the season starts I'll have the preseason top prospects

Monday, December 12, 2016

Welcome to Season 35

First off congrats to Tampa on the World Championship. Some timely hitting,  and  Donaldo Flores shutting the door propelled them to hoisting the trophy. It was a good run for Nubin and Burlington. Was pulling for you.

I'd like to welcome the three new owners to Uecker and thank the returning owners for their dedication to the league. I know it isn't always the most vocal group but I think Kartchy does a great job running it and the fellow owners are top notch. This is my 8th season here and I don't recall a disagreement ever.

Want to remind the new owners of the $25 million max IFA budget. You can start with $20 mil and transfer the other $5 mil if needed. Also please remember to manage your minors and we don't accept tanking. Kartchy can add anything else as this is all I remember.

Good luck this year folks and please don't get mad when that Championship Trophy travels to Durham after the season!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

NL division series Cin vs Ari

This series has offense written all over it!

Cinci comes at you from every spot in the lineup. They feature a plethora of guys who hit and one of them is my favorite player not named Bocachica, Tomo Martin. He does it all from the catcher spot. Phenominal offensive player who should be the NL mvp. If he has an off game don't worry Lee, Everett, Santos, and Cameron will make sure you are on your toes. Great, great offensive team.

As good as Cinci is Arizona is no slouch. They come at you with 3 hitters boasting a .961 OPS or higher. They also have 7 guys with 22 homers or more. You have to worry about Redondo, McConnell, and Ward. They are game changers. Don't know if 1-8 there is a more solid offensive team in the NL.

I think this series is going to come down to pitching and Cinci has some great arms. The best pitcher to ever grace Uecker world is Apollo Madson. After getting his 300th win and turning 38 he still went out and through 200 solid, solid innings. Sad thing for other teams is that he may not be the best current arm on the squad. That distinction could fall to John Shibata. He worked in 220 innings of sub 2.60 era ball this year. If the starters make it to the 7th the game is over. Cinci has a great back end bullpen with 5 steller arms ready to come in and shut you down.

Arizona is at a disadvantage here. After failing to acquire pitching help at the deadline they will depend on Yean Carlos Avilan and Pedro Oropesa. If they can get quality innings and avoid the bullpen having to eat innings it gives them a punchers chance.

Make no mistake Arizona is a good team, however, Cinci is a wreaking machine. I don't know if there is a team that can beat them this year in either league. Cinci in 4.

NL divisional series Tol vs Tampa

Offensively the power numbers are close but that is about it.

Toledo gets on base very well( they don't have a player with more than 230 at bats who doesn't cary at least a .330 OBP) and when they do there is a great chance they will get the runs across. They feature 5 guys with 20 or more home runs and are paced by Jon Stanley and Irving Guzman. At first glance the offense doesn't look spectacular but when you dig in a little the truth comes out. They are good.

Tampa is powered by stud Yunesky Mercedes. He does everything for this offense besides steal bases. With an OPS close to 1.000 he is a threat every time he has the lumber in his hands. Brutus Turner excelled in what appears to be a part time role but Tampa might need him to provide firepower in more of a full time capacity if they want a chance. 

The Buds have 5 very good starters who are capable of giving them innings of great pitching. 1-5 they are very solid. Toledo relies on these guys as the bullpen is not deep. They do have 3 very good options and if it gets to Klassen he will close the door. He converted on 54 of 57 save chances this season. 

Tropics pitching is buoyed by 2 time fireman of the year Donaldo Flores and starter Wladimer Soler. Soler while not  huge strikeout pitcher has great stuff. Flores, while a little off this year, still knows how to close the door. 

Honestly Toledo should win this series in 4 or 5 even if the pitching doesn't hold up well. However you can never count Tampa out. They are always in the mix year after year. 

Divisional series preview Bos vs Mon

In the second match up we will break down Boston vs Montreal.

Offensively we have another very close contest. Boston doesn't have one superstar on the hitting side but is paced by great hitters in Mac Aoki, Crash Villarreal, Omar Polonia, and Miguel Ortiz. All contributed immensely to Boston's offensive success this season.  Boston did a really good job of spreading it around as 13 players garnered more than 200 AB's this season.

Montreal is paced by Angel Zumaya and Louis Polonia. Both capable of changing games with thier bats. Budding superstar Max Osborne contributed greatly this year. With a .869 OPS and only 12 homers it means that he gets on base and drives balls to the gap. Very solid offensive squad all around.

Pitching edge definitely tilts to Boston. They put up extremely good numbers for playing half their games in Fenway. Not one of his starters is going to blow you away but they are solid. Bullpen doesn't blow you away but as unspectacular as the numbers are they produce.

Montreal features 5 starters that can be considered innings eaters. Which is what they needed with their offensive prowess. Bullpen features stud Ismael Castro who can close the door on any situation. He is surrounded by some other good arms. If they can get 6 effective innings from the starters this bullpen can shut you down.

If Boston can get good innings from the starters they should win this series, Lots of talent and very even keel team. If pitching is fair Montreal wins in 4.

On to the divisional series... 1st breakdown Chi vs Tre

First off congrats to the teams who have been eliminated already. Not easy to make the playoffs! Good job and good luck next year!

Match up #1  Chicago vs Trenton...

Offensively the teams are fairly close with team OPS's separated by a mere .06 rating.  The main difference between the two is that Chicago has more speed which is shown in their SB and extra base hit totals.

Chicago is paced by lead off stud Kendry Tarasco who is always a threat when on the base paths and super sluggers Joe O'conner and Juan Gallardo. X factor for Chicago could be Tim Freeman. The young slugger had a great year and seems to be a steal for where he was drafted in season 29.

Trenton trots out superstar Ruben Bocachica, who set the season RBI record and slugged 66 home runs. He's followed up by budding star Erik Bard and a couple other sluggers who can put the ball over the wall with regularity.

Pitching is also very close but tilts towards the side of Chicago again. Between the teams there are no real super stars. Trenton's Teoscar Chantres is as close to it as you will see in the series. The only advantage that may slide one way or the other is Trenton's bullpen. The bullpen could very well be the deciding factor if Chicago gets to Trenton's starters.

In the end Chicago should be expected to win in 5. Tough team with lots of talent that won't be neutralized by Trenton's small park.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

NL playoff preview

The little sister league actually has some big brother type teams. Cincinatti is a stone cold killer and will come in well rested, as they could have been on auto pilot since the mid season classic. Solid, solid, squad. We also have the classic graybeard demolition squad coming out of Toledo. With over 26000 wins and 21 world series titles he knows how to put together a team. In Arizona, Kartchy has his division locked up and is stuck in the 3rd seed. Just kinda biding his time waiting to unleash the fury.

Tampa Bay pretty much has the first wild card locked up. After taking NLCS participate Toledo to the brink last year can they beat either of the ass whooping machines in Cincy or Toledo this year?

Here is where it starts to get ugly. There are 6 teams vying for 2 playoff spots.  The goofy part is that there are 3 that can win the NL south and 3 that can take the second wild card. The 2nd place finisher in the South has zero shot at the wild card. Honestly we should take the spot from the south and just make a 3rd wild card. They are probably gonna say we all 3 are good and just beat up on each other. This ain't football. Be a shame to have a team with a losing record keep a better squad out but that's how the ball bounces.

I think when it comes down to it we'll feel the Sting and Charleston will come out victorious over the little Texan's that couldn't and the fast food king Memphis.

The 3 way race for the last wild card spot is honestly anybody's. They are all peeing down their legs currently with losing streaks a glow. Helena is just happy to be in contention for something other than the doormat. Have you ever been to Philly? Surprised that team is still kicking and hasn't been eliminated from the throngs of dysentery. And the Pickers might have to forfeit if that can't push back the start of their scavenging show on A&E network. All joking aside if Helena can salvage the last game of this current series they are in the driving seat. The final games against Seattle and Vancouver are about as easy as it gets.

Good luck in the playoffs fellas!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

American League Playoff Races

With 10 games left there are 3 spots up for grabs.  In the AL West Huntington leads Austin by 2.  In the wild card race Trenton is entrenched in the #1 spot with a 6 game lead over Montreal (Who absolutely destroys me every time we match up), and Montreal has a 1 game lead over Burlington and 5 games over Austin.

Huntington is going to have to fight  for that division.  After just running into the Boston buzz saw and loosing 3 of 4 they get to decide their own fate with with a 4 game series against the suddenly reeling Burlington and a 3 gamer versus the steady Austin squad. They finish up with the rebuilding Jackson squad that would probably take pride in knowing that they finished Huntington's season if it comes down to it.

Austin coming off a lucky 4 game split with Trenton is in the drivers seat for the West. They play a Buffalo team that is more than willing to lose after meeting the MWR, the 3 gamer with Huntington, and a cake match up with Montgomery. They have to be the odds on favorite for the division.

In the wild card race it would take a serious meltdown for Trenton not to take 1 of the 2 spots. With a 7 game lead over the 2nd spot it would take an almost perfect run to unseat them. A pedestrian 5-5 gets them a spot. The schedule isn't favorable but with Trenton's dominance over Boston this year the spot should be sealed after the 4 gamer with them.

Montreal has the easiest path to the second wild card as their schedule is not an overly hard one with 6 of the final 10 coming against teams with a losing record. Although there are rumors in the Trenton locker room about some rest coming up allowing the teams closet to the Boules some less than stellar competition. Trenton doesn't seem to want anything to do with the Boules in the playoffs.

I think it is too little too late for Burlington. Going to take a huge last 10 for them. 7 of the last 10 are against teams ahead of them in the playoff pecking order. Can't count them out when they have two at least two starts from Lara and Torrealba in the final 10.

Congrats to the Cubbies, Boston, and the Brew Crew for locking up spots already. Mixed on the Brew Crew because the division laid down this year but the Boston and Chicago squads are real.

Welcome to Uecker!

Hopefully we can keep the blog updated and find cool things to analyze and discuss.  I think I will start with a breakdown of the playoff races by each divison. Remmber all views are my own and if you disagree take it out on Frymaster. He introduced me to HBD!