Monday, April 28, 2014

Season 15 Free Agency Preview

Matty Posada
Age: 31B/T: S/R
Born: Higuey, DO
Position(s): P (SP4)
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Stewart Mouton
Age: 32B/T: R/R
Born: Trenton, NC
Position(s): P (SP1)
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Who will bolster their rotation with these former Cy Young winners?

Season 15 Free Agency Preview
Season 15 is upon us, and it's time to get rolling with offseason free agency.  This year's class is heavily weighted towards pitching, and is top heavy with two Cy Young award winning studs in 3 time winner Posada and one-time winner Mouton.  The hitting class is fairly weak, but there are a few good finds out there nonetheless.  It will be an interesting free agency period for sure, good luck to all, here's the complete top 10!  No, make that a top 11!  We missed a key player on our first go-around.

1. Matty Posada, 31, SP
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: 2.63 career ERA
Salary Over/Under: 5 years, $95 million

Possible Destinations:  Chicago (AL), Pittsburgh, Detroit, Oklahoma City

Signed with Nashville - 5 years, $102.8 million

It's not often that the opportunity comes along to land a 3-time former Cy Young winner, but alas the opportunity is for the taking this off-season.  Posada is elite across the board and sure-fire ace.  At his next destination he will be looking to cement his legacy as one of, if not the, greatest pitcher in Kenny Powers history.  He will not come cheap, however. 

2. Stewart Mouton, 32, SP
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: 2.64 career ERA
Salary Over/Under: 5 years, $90 million

Possible Destinations: Nashville, Seattle, Chicago (AL), Durham

Signed with Honolulu - 5 years, $91 million

Mouton, a former Cy Young award winner himself, seems every bit as elite as Posada.   He has the same incredible career ERA, and great ratings across the board.   He hardly is a consolation prize if you don't land Posada, he could be just as good.  Someone will land an ace by signing Mouton, but again it will be costly. 

3. Chipper Nippert, 31, SS
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: 41 HR 120 RBI average
Salary Over/Under: 4 years, $62 million

Possible Destinations: Helena, Oklahoma City, New Britain, Durham

Signed with Seattle - 5 years, $75.5 million

Despite lackluster splits, Nippert has managed to flat out crush the ball throughout his career thanks to elite contact and power.  Still, the subpar splits may lead to some variability in batting average, but he should still crush a ton of home runs.  His biggest asset is his plus fielding ratings that making him a realistic play at shortstop.  That kind of power and contact at shortstop is pretty rare, making him a major asset to whomever lands him.  Age is a slight concern, but he should be able to put up similar numbers for a few more seasons, if not more.  

4. Brooks Michaels, 29, SP
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: 4.07 career ERA
Salary Over/Under: 5 years, $58 million

Possible Destinations:  Oklahoma City, New Britain, Detroit, Helena

Signed with Durham - 5 years, $42.5 million

Michaels is not quite as elite as the top 2, but can still be a solid add to a rotation.  The big difference between Michaels and the top 2 is pitch quality, but he is still a great SP.  His career ERA suffered a bit in Dover, so he is better than it indicates, and he is only 29 years old, which means he should be just as effective at the end of his contract as he is now.  

5. Herbert Davis, 35, RP
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: 3.48 career ERA
Salary Over/Under: 3 years, $36 million

Possible Destinations: Durham, Seattle, Honolulu, Oakland

Signed with Seattle - 3 years, $22.8 million

Davis is an innings eater RP that is still going strong at age 35.  Hard to say that he really has any weaknesses in his arsenal, as we give him plus ratings across the board.  Age may be a slight factor at this point, particularly if teams are thinking of a 5 year deal, but he should still be extremely solid for the next few seasons for sure.  

6. Harry Vargas, 37, SP
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: 3.60 career ERA
Salary Over/Under: 2 years, $22 million

Possible Destinations:  Pawtucket, Scranton, Buffalo, New Britain

Signed with Helena - 2 years, $13.3 million

Still going strong at age 37, showing little signs of decline in his output, Vargas will be a solid add to just about any rotation.  He's yet another pitcher with strong ratings across the board in this free agent class.   The question is, how much longer can he produce at an elite level, and how much will owners be willing to pay given that fact.  

7. Jose Alonso, 33, 3B
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: .295 career AVG
Salary Over/Under: 3 years, $30 million

Possible Destinations:  Chicago (AL), Oklahoma City, Tampa Bay, Nashville

Signed with Pittsburgh - 3 years, $26.25 million

In a very weak free agent class of hitters, Alonso earns the nod as one of the top offensive players available.  He is great in the field, and should work anywhere except SS, which is exceptional for this stage in his career.  He has elite contact, and is great against righties and has a solid batting eye at the plate.  He should have a few good years left in him, and has championship experience, winning 4 rings with OKC.  

8. Reid Fassero, 33, RP
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: 3.83 career ERA
Salary Over/Under: 3 years, $27 million

Possible Destinations:  Seattle, Scranton, Pittsburgh, Cleveland

Signed with Pittsburgh - 2 years, $4.5 million

A returnee from last year's list, Fassero didn't exactly conquer the world during his 1 year deal in Cleveland.  Still, he's a very solid RP capable of eating a lot of innings, so that definitely has valueAlthough not as good as Davis, he is two years younger and is capable of bettering his mediocre performance from last season. 

9. John Saitou, 35, SP
No Designation
Key Stat: 3.43 career ERA
Salary Over/Under:  3 years, $27 million

Possible Destinations:  Scranton, Pittsburgh, Oakland, St. Louis

Signed with Detroit - 2 years, $10.4 million

Saitou, although not as elite as some of the other options in the class, could be a nice, cheaper alternative to some of the big guns that will be more expensive.   His last two seasons in Pawtucket weren't great, but he still has very good control, and pitch quality, and nice splits.  He doesn't keep the ball down or throw with a great deal of velocity, but can still be a sold #3/#4 type for at least a few more seasons. 

10. Edwin Pierzynski, 28, 3B
Type B Free Agent
Key Stat: 186 career HR
Salary Over/Under: 4 years, $32 million

Possible Destinations: Helena, Nashville, Honolulu, Toronto

Signed with Pittsburgh - 5 years, $34.3 million

Pierzynski isn't exactly an elite hitter, but in this weak offensive free agent class, he makes the top ten.  His last few seasons have been disappointing at the plate, but he still has plus power, and a good batting eye.   His mediocre contact and RH split, are a bit of a drain on his batting average, and that is his downside.  He can still play a decent 3rd base in the field, and is only 28 years old.  

11. Pep Hasegawa, 32, DH
No Designation
Key Stat: 285 career HR
Salary Over/Under: 2 years, $9 million

Possible Destinations:  Durham, Chicago (AL), Helena, Pittsburgh

Signed with Tampa Bay - 3 years, $9.3 million

Pep is one of the best hitters available with great power and nice splits.  His contact and batting eye are mediocre, which has resulted in him struggling some years.  That, and the fact that he played most of his career in Seattle, but even a move to St. Louis didn't help much.  I guess we still think he's capable of doing better, and would be a nice addition as a DH in the AL.  

Friday, April 4, 2014

Season 14 Wrap Up

Oklahoma City
Oklahoma City Bombers (NL)
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Oklahoma City wins it all again in an even-numbered season!

Like clockwork, Oklahoma City took home their 4th consecutive even-numbered season World Series title.  That's not to say it was an easy road, as they were down 3 games to none in the ALCS to Honolulu.  Apparently, they forgot it was an even-numbered season until Game 4, as after that there was no stopping them, as they won 8 games in a row to take the crown, beating fellow number 1 seed Pawtucket to take the crown.  Pawtucket had a great season as well, but it appeared after the amazing comeback, Oklahoma City was a team of destiny, and there was no stopping them.  Congrats to both owners on great seasons, and the good news for all of the owners is that it is an odd-numbered season coming up, so it's anyone's title to take!

Individual awards were also handed out for Season 14, let's take a look at the winners. 

Most Valuable Player
American League -  Jason Tolbert, New Britain - .334 AVG 35 HR 127 RBI
Tolbert won a very close MVP race in the AL with a fantastic season at the plate.  The 28 year-old takes home his first MVP with his best season yet in his 6th full season in the majors.  He also made the All-Star team, his 2nd, and won a Silver Slugger, also his 2nd.  Tolbert looks to have many more productive seasons ahead of him. 

National League
J.C. Ganzel, Honolulu - .303 AVG 51 HR 119 RBI
Jeremy Randall, Buffalo - .299 AVG 44 HR 110 RBI
Speaking of very close races, the NL MVP race ended in a tie, and resulted in co-MVPs.   Ganzel crushed the ball all season for Honolulu, and also made the All-Star team (2nd), won a Silver Slugger (2nd) and took home a Gold Glove in RF (1st).  Extremely impressive, he's an elite talent and at jsut 26 years old, could get back here again.

Meanwhile, Randall caught games for one of the best pitching staffs in the league, while being extremely productive at the plate.  On top of this being his 3rd MVP win, only the 3rd player in Kenny Powers history to do so, he also won his 5th Silver Slugger and made his 5th All-Star team.  At just age 27, he has a decent chance of becoming Kenny Powers' first ever 4-time MVP. 

Cy Young Award
American League - Matty Posada, Detroit - 21-6 1.84 ERA 220 K
Posada was dealt to Detroit in the off-season, as Louisville began its rebuild process, and the deal yielded high dividends for Detroit.  Posting a microscopic ERA and a solid strikeout total, Posada took home his 3rd Cy Young Award, having won the previous two with Louisville.   He also made his 7th All-Star appearance, and is still only 30, so he will be shooting for the rare feat of 4 Cy Young awards, which has been done by only one other player. 

National League - Alberto Campos, Tucson - 21-4 2.79 ERA 203 K
Touted as the top prize in this past off-season's free agent class, Campos did not disappoint and lived up to his massive contract by taking home his first Cy Young award.  Campos was dominant in Tucson all season, and made his 6th All-Star appearance as well.  Luckily for Tucson, he's still got 4 years left on his contract!

Rookie of the Year
American League -  Brett Leach, Madison - .283 AVG 53 HR 135 RBI
A young 23-year old slugger, Leach helped anchor one of the league's most potent offenses with a tremendous rookie season in which he crushed 53 homers.  He also made the All-Star team.  The Rookie of the Year race wasn't even close, as not many rookies put up such elite numbers.   Look for him to continue to win awards in seasons to come. 

National League - Alex Sanchez, Tucson - .287 AVG 48 HR 127 RBI
In another blowout win, Sanchez took home the Rookie of the Year award in the NL, with similarly impressive numbers as his AL counterpart.   His elite power should enable him to produce many more similar stat lines in future seasons, of which there will be many, as he is only 21 years old. 

Fireman of the Year
American League -  Jay Borbon, Nashville - 2.90 ERA, 41 SV - 3rd win
National League - Damaso Perez, Vancouver - 2.96 ERA, 41 SV - 1st win

That's a wrap for Season 14, hope to see you all back for Season 15, after a hopefully quick rollover!