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!