Friday, January 30, 2009

Top Draft Picks (11-20)

We'll now move onto the top 11th thru 20th picks. Here we expect to see less hall of famers, more busts, and some more fun surprises. It should be interesting to see what franchises got their franchise guy at these points and what franchises got career minor leaguers.

Top 11th pick overall
Tyrone Kennedy
Age: 27B/T: R/R
Born: Port Townsend, WA
Position(s): RF
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Drafted: 2005; cmick11
ML Debut: 2007
Draft Age: 22
From: Cal State Fullerton (SR)
Bonus: 3.07m
ML seasons: 2
2010 salary: 378K
2009 stats: Portland (ML) - 118 runs, 53 HR, 125 RBI, 17 SB, .284, .385, .611
Career stats: Portland (ML) - 425 games, 289 runs, 121 HR, 311 RBI, 38 SB, .283, .373, .570
2006 - (AA) NL All Star RF
2009 - (ML) NL All Star RF, Silver Slugger RF

What a tough choice this was. There were a few other solid choices I could have made and had an argument for. Tom Torres would have been a great pick. Bernard Hammond is one of the leading hitters in the ML this season, but how much of that is Colorado and how much is him rebounding from a poor season for the 42's last year. Corky Bowman is also from Colorado and will be an elite SS, but how much does that vsR in the 20's hurt him? We've seen batters overcome a low split versus righties with outstanding ratings in the other categories (Lariel Neruda comes to mind, but his split is 46, not in the 20's). Sean Pulsipher was my choice as I wrote this, but I reconsidered and went with the basher Kennedy over the OBP Pulsipher, although I can't wait to see what Bowman will do in a Humidors uniform and the rarified air!

Top 12th pick overall
Thomas Strange
Of Bricks
Age: 24B/T: L/L
Born: Pheba, MS
Position(s): P (SP3)
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Drafted: 2005; bobkordecki
ML Debut: 2009
Draft Age: 19
From: East Mississippi CC (FR)
Bonus: 2.97m
ML seasons: 1
2010 salary: 343K
2009 stats: Wichita (now Cleveland - AL) - 7-13, 166 IP, 141 K, 1.36 WHIP, 4.28 ERA
Career stats: 48 games, 16-19, 251 IP, 211 K, 1.35 WHIP, 4.16 ERA
Awards: None

Jim Foster was the most productive position player I could find. This was a case where the player seemed to outproduce the ratings, although I do not know what Ottawa's home park is like, maybe it's conducive to hitting. Regardless since I'm a ratings guy (the ratings never lie!) I'll always take them over stats, and Strange has the ratings. The "of Bricks" recently acquired Strange from Cleveland in exchange for Matt Gordon. It looks to be a good swap for both sides, time will tell who gets the better of the deal. What's telling is that this is the first of our selections that is not with his original franchise, and only the 3rd who is not with their original owner! This tells me a couple things A) When owners make great picks they like to hang onto them B) When owners make great picks they tend to stick around the league and C) Owners who stick around are more saavy and tend to make great picks. It's kind of tough to seperate B from C I'll admit, but it's interesting nonetheless.

The post will be continuously updated, let the debate begin!

Info format
ML Debut:
Draft Age:
ML seasons:
2010 salary:
2009 stats:
Career stats:
2006 -
2007 -
2008 -
2009 -

Monday, December 15, 2008

Top Draft Picks (1-10)

In this segment our illustrious Washington DC GM will break down what he believes to be the best players drafted at each slot in the first 9 seasons of Summer of '49. This will be an ongoing and fun project. For at least the first round and supplemental picks I will go through each of the 9 seasons picks at that slot and choose the best based on talent, bonus money will be considered but mostly just as a tiebreaker. IOW Johnny Ballplayer will not be discounted because he required 8 million to sign in the 2nd round. For later rounds I welcome GM's to trade chat me with their later round steals as I will not be going much past the 2nd round but would like to include some of the great late round draft picks.

Best 1st overall -
Walt Brown
Dashboard Hula Dolls
Age: 23B/T: R/R
Born: Dunmore, WV
Position(s): 2B/CF
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Drafted: 2007: jweatherman
ML Debut: 2009
Draft Age: 20
From: Polk Community College (So.)
Bonus: 4.0 m
ML seasons - 1
2010 salary - 343K
2009 stats: Honolulu (ML) - .337, .415, .685, 132 R, 10 3B, 41 HR, 118 RBI, 56 SB
Career stats: Honolulu (ML) - 244 gms, .318, .394, .660, 231 runs, 19 3B, 72 HR, 206 RBI, 101 SB
Awards: 2009 AL ROY, All Star, Silver Slugger (2B)

The first pick in 2001 did not sign but thankfully every other top overall pick has. I felt Brown was clearly the best of the bunch. Brown made his ML debut in 2009 and won ROY to go along with a silver slugger at 2B. Brown possesses 100 speed and grades out to 90's or close to it in all hitting categories. An excellent second baseman Brown may also eventually be a passable center fielder.

Best 2nd overall -
Haywood Twitchell
Washington D.C.
Age: 23B/T: L/R
Born: Macksville, KS
Position(s): 2B/CIF/OF/DH
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Drafted: 2007: schuyler101
ML Debut: 2010
Draft Age: 20
From: Barton County Community College (So.)
Bonus: 3.71 m
ML seasons - 0
2010 salary - 295K
2009 stats: Washington D.C (AA) - .375, .438, .788, 138 R, 58 2B, 16 3B, 36 HR, 128 RBI, 15 SB
Career stats: Washington D.C. (Minors) - 291 games, .378, .457, .783, 341 runs, 157 2B, 29 3B, 92 HR, 338 RBI, 41 SB
2008 - (HiA) NL All Star, Silver Slugger (2B)
2009 - (AA) NL ROY, All Star, Silver Slugger (2B)

Phil Murphy and Mule Floyd each have a very legitimate claim to this spot but this author chooses Twitchell because he is similar offensively to both but plays a more valuable position on defense, 2B as opposed to COF/1B. The season 7 draft was heralded at the time as very deep and has lived up to the hype, we expect this not to be the last selection from season 7. And despite the accusations of hometown bias, that's my pick and I'm sticking to it!

Best 3rd overall

Fausto Rivera
New Orleans
Age: 25B/T: R/R
Born: Richburg, SC
Position(s): P (SP1)
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Drafted: 2007: rds_lsu

ML Debut: 2011?

Draft Age: 22

From: UCF (Sr.)

Bonus: 3.82 m

ML seasons - 0

2010 salary - 54K

2009 stats: New Orleans (AAA) - 5-2, 87 IP, 3.62 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 70 K

Career stats: New Orleans (Minors) - 81 games, 41-7, 439 IP, 424K, 2.62 ERA, 1.13 WHIP
2008 - (HiA) NL All Star

Maybe I should just rename this post "Season 7 draft recap". What's telling about Rivera is that despite the fact that I had the 2nd pick in season 7, I am regretful not only that Brown didn't somehow slip to me, but am now kicking myself for not taking Rivera 2nd overall. So to recap, the owner who got the best 2nd overall pick ever Haywood Twitchell (me), wishes he had picked someone else.

Rivera will be very good and rds has done a good job holding him back, his ratings are still shooting up and he has some development left, when he hits his projecteds (and he should) he will take the league by storm. Of course there is the matter of that health rating...

Erick Mullin & DaRond Neal both would have been worthy selections but I have to go with the top notch starter in this case.

Best 4th overall

Brant Lowry
Age: 24B/T: S/R
Born: Caledonia, MS
Position(s): P (LRA)
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Drafted: 2004: wolverine76
ML Debut: Cup of coffee in '08, up for good in '09
Draft Age: 18
From: New Hope HS
Bonus: 4.9 m; 2010 salary: 343K

ML seasons - 1
2009 stats: Detroit (ML) - 12-2, 6/6 svs., 118.2 IP, 2.43 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 123 K
Career stats: Detroit (ML) - 109 games, 20-5, 8/9 svs., 217.2 IP, 213 K, 3.06 ERA, 1.17 WHIP
Awards: 2008 - (AAA) AL All Star, Cy Young

In the early years there were some dreadful 4th overall picks, recently Chris Costello (S5) and Kennie Moss (S7) weren't bad but this came down to 2 players, Lowry and Miguel Diaz. Diaz will be an absolute masher in the outfield and it was hard not to pick him. Lowry is a reliever and typically they don't have as much value but he is different. Lowry is one of those special brand of uber-relievers capable of qualifying for ERA titles because they can pitch 160+ innings a season. Petec makes good use of the indispensable Lowry.

Best 5th overall

Mule Black
Age: 24B/T: S/R
Born: Jonesboro, AR
Position(s): P (SP2)
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Drafted: 2007: nr6229
ML Debut: Mid-'08
Draft Age: 21
From: Univ. of Missouri - Columbia (Jr.)
Bonus: 10.44 m; 2010 salary: 360K

ML seasons - 2

2009 stats: Anaheim (ML) - 9-10, 166 IP, 4.01 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 153 K
Career stats: Anaheim (ML) - 61 games, 21-20, 386.2 IP, 365 K, 3.49 ERA, 1.24 WHIP

Season 7 draft class once again! This time it's Mule Black, another pitching stud who dropped to the 5th pick out of signability concerns. Wisely, nr6229 ignored those concerns and opened up the checkbook for Black. I believe Black was the 1st player from that class to make the majors and rightly so.

Ron Perry (S3) has had a very solid first 3.5 seasons and is a front of the rotation stud, but his ratings can't match the Mule, who will have an outstanding career as it is and is still improving!

Finally Malcolm Adams (S4) would have been a fine choice as well

Best 6th overall

Jeromy Thompson
Age: 21B/T: R/R
Born: Bayville, NJ
Position(s): P (SP2)
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Drafted: 2007: steelerstime
ML Debut: 2012?
Draft Age: 18
From: Long Branch HS
Bonus: 7.384 m; 2010 salary: 327K

ML seasons - 0

2009 stats: Richmond (LoA) - 20-2, 4 CG, 208.2 IP, 2.63 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 229 K's,
Career stats: Richmond (Minors) - 87 games, 56-8, 13 CG, 613 IP, 647 K, 2.41 ERA, 1.04 WHIP
Awards: 2008 - (LoA) AL All Star, ROY
2009 - (LoA) AL All Star, Cy Young

With a gun held to my head I went with another season 7 pick, Jeremy Thompson, but I love Dave Philips (S9) and his potential, particularly that gold glove. Kane Vernon (S6) was also in the running but it's gotta be Thompson, who tears up the low minors while being brought along slowly and patiently by steelerstime.

Honorable Mention - Jose Uribe (S2). Jose we hardly knew ya! Drafted by one-and-done juiceinhood in season 2 he was signed a few weeks later, never promoted beyond rookie ball and then retired in season 4. Such is the mystery of him that his career stats appear to be lost to the catacombs of history, never to be known again. In all likelihood he would have been an absolutely stellar RF today and maybe the top of this list had he just been promoted to Lo-A at the end of season 3.

Best 7th overall

Jose Johnson
Washington D.C.
Age: 24B/T: L/L
Born: Clarksville, TN
Position(s): P (SP4)
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Drafted: 2006: schuyler101
ML Debut: 2010
Draft Age: 20
From: Volunteer State Community College (So.)
Bonus: 3.44 m
2010 salary: 295K
ML seasons - 0
2009 stats: Washington D.C (AAA) - 17-2, 177.2 IP, 2.08 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 212 K's
Career stats: Washington D.C (Minors) - 114 games, 69-6, 646 IP, 655 K, 2.45 ERA, 1.13 WHIP
Awards: 2007 - (AA) NL All Star, Cy Young, ROY
2008 - (AA) NL All Star, Cy Young
2009 - (AAA) NL All Star, Cy Young, ROY

Season 1 to 9 this has to be the best draft slot so far. No busts, no unsigned picks and 9 very good players, some franchise guys in the mix to boot. Overall there teams have gotten incredible value at this position. I'd wish I could say there was a player that was a close 2nd but that would be a lie, there were about 5 of them. In the end I went with Johnson because elite pitchers are such a commodity in this world and he's one of them with ratings that are still inching up. Johnson will anchor the 42's rotation for the next 10 seasons and may win a Cy Young or 2, he's won it in his last 3 seasons of minor league ball.

Best 8th overall

Kordell Forbes
Age: 20B/T: L/L
Born: Washington, DC
Position(s): P (SP3)
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Drafted: 2008: harkov
ML Debut: 2010
Draft Age: 18
From: The Calverton HS
Bonus: 5.14 m; 2010 salary: 38K
2009 stats: Pawtucket (HiA/LoA) - 7-4, 139.2 IP, 2.19 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 115 K's
Career stats: Pawtucket (Minors) - 64 games, 22-12, 329 IP, 287 K, 2.92 ERA, 1.31 WHIP

There were 4 elite players at this slot: Forbes, David Polanco, Dan Franco, & Fausto Sanchez. Polanco and Franco are franchise players and all stars, Sanchez is a future star himself. It was hard to take Forbes over Polanco in particular, a classic now vs. future gambit that steelerstime and I had debated previously in the world chat. It looks to me that Forbes will hit the projections I have for him or come very close, and if he does he is superior to Polanco in virtually every way. His makeup may result in an earlier decline in ratings but I would trade him straight up for Polanco. Advantage Forbes. The Dominator will not be pleased.

So well done harkov, but before we give you him much credit for this brilliant pick let's point out that he also has the worst 8th pick ever, Glenn Gragg. Gragg has improved very little since being drafted 8th overall with an 80+ makeup, very curious, maybe harkov can shed some light on this. (To be fair to harkov to my knowledge this was before we had the ability to rank our draft board, correct me if I'm wrong)

Best 9th overall

Ernie Alexander
Age: 22B/T: L/L
Born: Butte, MT
Position(s): P (SP3)
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Drafted: 2006: nr6229
ML Debut: 2009
Draft Age: 18
From: Powell County HS
Bonus: 3.25 m; 2010 salary: 343K
2009 stats: Anaheim (ML) - 8-6, 24 GS, 129 IP, 4.19 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 102 K's
Career stats: Anaheim (ML) - 44 games, 19-10, 247 IP, 196 K, 3.71 ERA, 1.30 WHIP
Awards: 2008 - (AA) NL All Star

There were a number of worthy nominees for this slot, Jake Roberts "The Snake" and Giomar James both are excellent hitting 2B/CF. Yamid Encarnacion has been a steady run producer for several big league seasons and the soft tossing Bruce Schofield has great potential. But it's Alexander, the front of the rotation stud, who gets the nod. Anaheim went pitching heavy with it's top draft picks for a few seasons and that strategy may turn out to be brilliant in hindsight.

Best 10th overall

Mendy Griffin
Washington D.C.
Age: 26B/T: R/R
Born: Orosi, CA
Position(s): P (LRA)
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Drafted: 2002: anux
ML Debut: 2008
Draft Age: 18
From: Washingtoin HS
Bonus: 3.16m; 2010 salary: 295K
2009 stats: Washington D.C (ML) - 17-6, 3-3 svs. 170.1 IP, 2.96 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 150 K's

Career stats: Washington D.C. (ML) - 187 games, 42-10, 9/10 saves, 435 IP, 349 K, 2.81 ERA, 1.17 WHIP

Awards: 2006 - (AAA) NL All Star, Cy Young
2007 - (AAA) NL All Star, Cy Young
2008 - (ML) NL ROY

Ryan Nelson has 98 career wins and would have been a worth choice as would have future elite gloveman Wilfredo Mesa. Mendy Griffin is head and shoulders above both. I inherited him from the previous owner who had used him as a 1 inning closer and expanded his role to long relief, where his DURA/STAM combo enables him to pitch 160+ innings a season, I'll take those 160 quality IP in the 5th thru 7th innings versus 60 in the 9th any day. Griffin had 59 wins in his last 2 minor league seasons, 32 in his first 2 ML seasons and a little past the midpoint of his 3rd ML season has 9 more wins. He is already the 42's career leader in wins and today leads one of the best pitching staffs in the majors.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

2007 Internationals

HBD for HDer's II experienced a banner year for internationals in 2007. The DC 42's started the year by going all in for Cuban refugee Tony Castillo, not knowing what was to come. 12 prospects ended up signing for 10 million dollars or more, 6 of whom signed big league deals. In addition to those 12 there were many more quality internationals to be had, this was a classic case of the supply outstripping the demand. Owners frantically tried to secure bonus money each time a superstar international came along.

Note - The third percentage listed is not OPS. It is OBPI. OBPI stands for On base percentage plus isolated power. I view OPS as a step in the right direction for player evaluation but still inadequate. I came up with OBPI to use in it's place, it is essentially a way of combining slugging percentage and on base percentage. A simple way to come up with OBPI is to subtract batting average from slugging percentage and then add that number to OBP.

Without further adieu, I present you with the top 5 internationals of 2007.

1. Miguel Sosa
Franchise: Columbus Crush (rpappy)
Hometown: Barahona, Dominican Republic
Primary Position: SP
B/T: S/R
Age: 22 Ht./Wt.: 6'3" 180
Bonus: 24.7 m

The grand prize of the legendary 2007 international crop is Miguel Sosa. Sosa throws 5 pitches (4-Seam FB, Curveball, Forkball, Change Up, Slider) with varying degrees of proficiency. The Dominican tore through the low minors after coming to terms with Columbus, winning 9 of his 11 starts. Sosa will anchor the Columbus rotation for years as a perennial Cy Young candidate.

Best Comparison: Pedro Martinez
2007 stats: 83 IP, 2.38 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 9-0, 96 K's
Awards: None

ETA: 2009

2. Jolbert Telemaco
Franchise: Pawtucket Privateers (harkov)
Hometown: Panama City, Panama
Primary Position: LF/RF
B/T: R/R
Age: 19 Ht./Wt.: 5'11" 196
Bonus: 18.2 m (MLB)

Picking between Telemaco and Castillo was very difficult but the Panamanian gets the nod at number 2 on our list. Telemaco is a masher who will drive in a ton of runs but save none in the outfield. Telemaco will be an MVP candidate for the Privateers in the near future, for the time being he will destroy pitching in the low minors. It is unclear whether the Privateers will deal with Jolbert's mediocre to poor defense in the outfield or relegate him to 1B.

Best Comparison: Manny Ramirez
2007 stats: .397, .467, .776, 41 R, 12 HR, 54 RBI, 6 SB
Awards: None

ETA: 2010

3. Tony Castillo
Franchise: Washington DC 42's (schuyler101)
Hometown: Preston, Cuba
Primary Position: LF
B/T: R/R
Age: 21 Ht./Wt.: 6'1 224
Bonus: 26.0 m (MILB w/STI)

26 million dollars for the 4th best position prospect speaks to the depth of the 42's system. The Cuban refugee was worth every penny and won the AA NL MVP in his first year of pro ball, despite missing about 30 games to injury. Expect to see Castillo continue to grow and fill out, finally settling in at the top of DC's batting order within a few seasons and becoming a perennial MVP candidate.

Best Comparison: Moises Alou
Strengths: Hitting, Baserunning
Weaknesses: Fielding, Speed
2007 stats: AA - .407, .489, .782, 115 R, 27 HR, 134 RBI
2007: AA - NL MVP, Silver Slugger LF
ETA: 2009

4. Alex Abreu
Franchise: Louisville Derbies (gerald007)
Hometown: Maneadoro, Mexico
Primary Position: CF
B/T: R/R
Age: 19 Ht./Wt.: 6'1" 177
Bonus: 5.4 m (MILB w/STI)

The Derbies found the steal of the season in Abreu, who comes in at 4th on our list despite receiving the 19th highest bonus in 2007. Abreu is a slick fielding centerfielder who has the potential to win more than a few gold gloves down the line. Abreu is also quite capable with the stick as he showed while progressing from Rookie ball to Low A.

Best Comparison: Andruw Jones
2007 stats: .333, .440, .711, 21 R, 4 HR, 27 RBI
Awards: None

ETA: 2010

5. Willie Espinosa
Franchise: Syracuse Saltine Warriors (namshub)
Hometown: Zulia, Venezuela
Primary Position: CF
B/T: S/R
Age: 21 Ht./Wt.: 5'10" 188
Bonus: 12.0 m (MLB)

Espinosa was signed in the second half and appeared in 21 games for Syracuse's High A affiliate. Willie played excellent baseball and will start 2008 in Double A. He is believed to be close to his peak and is poised to zoom through the minor leagues

Best Comparison: Melvin Mora
2007 stats: .316, .447, .763, 19 R, 5 HR, 14 RBI, 5 SB
Awards: None

ETA: 2009

Thursday, May 15, 2008

42's Top Pitching Prospects

On the Farm: Top Pitching Prospects

The 42's hope to build a quality staff in the coming years around the following prospects amongst others. The numbers in parentheses following mention of pitches are the current pitch rating followed by the projected.

1. Jose Johnson
Role: #1 Starter
B/T: L/L
Age: 21 Ht./Wt.: 6'1" 189
Acquired: Draft
Draft: 2006 Round 1, Pick 7
Bonus: 3.4 million

2. Mendy Griffin
Role: Wherever he can be used, Setup, Closer, Long Relief, even spot or tandem starter.
B/T: R/R
Age: 23 Ht./Wt.: 6'4" 188
Acquired: 2003 trade with San Antonio
Draft: 2002 Round 1, Pick 10
Bonus: 3.2 million

3. Lawrence Wright
Role: #1 Starter
B/T: R/R
Age: 22 Ht./Wt.: 6'2 182
Acquired: Draft
Draft: 2005 Round 1, Pick 3
Bonus: 3.8 million

See the full report at

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

AA World Series - Chew top 42's in one for the ages

The 42's won the first 3 games of the AA world series and were trotting out staff ace Jose Johnson for game 4. What could go wrong?


In game 4 the Chew got to Johnson early and often and cruised to a 14-12 win that looked a lot closer than it was. The Chew got Juan Espada in game 5 and won 17-9 to make things interesting. The 42's were up 3 games to 2 but were headed back to the Chew's home stadium and facing a team with all the momentum. Charleston won game 6 convincingly 6-1 but in game 7 again had to beat Jose Johnson, who had gone 18-1 during the regular season. Charleston had their own ace on the hill and Matt Gordon was up to the challenge. Both starters allowed early runs and the score was deadlocked at going into the 9th inning. Walter Krause retired the 42's 1-2-3 to take it to the bottom of the inning and possible extra innings. After retiring the first 2 batters 42's closer Slash Langston gave up a 2 out, opposite field solo home run to DH Nick Alexander. The home run barely cleared the wall and the outstretched glove of Carlos Mateo.

In a series filled with former first round picks and international bonus babies it was 17th round pick Nick Alexander who walked off the field both hero and MVP. For the series Alexander went 12-29 with 3 home runs and 8 RBIs

AAA World Series - 42's top Chew in 5

In a contest between the winningest AAA team and the AAA representative of arguably the finest top to bottom franchise in either league it was the 42's that came out on top. After losing the first game of the series the 42's went on to sweep the last 4 games to take the AAA crown.

What the series lacked in drama was made up for in Star Power. Both squads boasted a slew of future Major Leaguers. Pitchers Joey Romero & Enrique Moraga along with 2B Hugh Branson headlined the Chew AAA team. 1B Yamid Encarnacion and pitchers Sammy Henriquez & Mendy Griffin are certain to be starring for the 42's ML team in the near future.

After hitting 4 HR's and driving in 8 runs 42's Catcher Mateo Medrano was named series MVP.

Career Minor Leaguer and former 42er Norm Cooper was bittersweet about the victory. "It was nice to see alot of my former teammates and friends out there celebrating but it killed me at the same time. We really wanted this one."

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Chew down Pelicans in 6

Charleston Chew take Low A World Series 4-2. In the end, the Chew offensive machine was just too much for New Orleans top rated pitching staff. The turning point of the series was when the Pelicans gave up 5 unearned runs, which resulted in a 3-run loss in game two.