Thursday, March 19, 2015

Season 18 - Preseason Power Rankings

Season 18 is about to kick off, so it's time to check in with the preseason power rankings!   Claiming the top spot, the defending champs Little Rock solidified their squad with a few good pickups this offseason, so they start off as the #1 team!  Traditional powers Oklahoma City, Buffalo, New Britain and Pawtucket round out the top 5.   Will anyone be able to infiltrate the top 5 this season?  It will be interesting to see.   Good luck this season, here are the complete preseason power rankings!

Season 17

Team  W L    Comments
1 Little Rock  89 73 The defending champs look good and added a few players
2 Oklahoma City 98 64 Bring back pretty much the same solid group as last season
3 Buffalo  104 58 Always in the mix it seems, this season should be similar
4 New Britain  111 51 Lost a few Type A guys, but we think they'll be solid still
5 Pawtucket  92 70 Always one of the best offensive teams, should be in the mix
6 Syracuse 92 70 Made a splash in free agency, so could be even better
7 Tampa Bay 91 71 Add a few pieces this offseason to an already solid club
8 Honolulu 91 71 Dealt stud SP Mouton, but seemed to get a good return
9 Tucson 98 64 Still looking strong here, and should be in contention again
10 Boston 82 80 Made some nice moves in free agency, so should improve
11 New York 79 83 Seem to be looking to make a push this season
12 Seattle 92 70 Should be solid, the team looks the same as last season
13 Salt Lake City 86 76 Not much activity this offseason, but have a good core
14 Detroit 81 81 Had a bit of a step back last season, can they bounce back?
15 Nashville  85 77 Solid team last season, but need better pitching to move up
16 Rochester 83 79 Majorly up and down last season, but pitching looks solid
17 Atlanta 83 79 Pitching held them back last season, will it improve?
18 Santa Cruz 91 71 Under new ownership, this team has a solid pitching staff
19 Toronto 86 76 Played a bit above their numbers last season, so we'll see
20 Cleveland 78 84 Excellent offense, but need better pitching to take next step
21 Chicago  71 91 New owner signed some guys, but pitching still a concern
22 San Francisco 76 86 They've got great offense, but pitching hasn't panned out yet
23 Oakland 76 86 Another team with great offense and poor pitching last season
24 Richmond 72 90 Seem to be improving, but offense is a slight concern here
25 New Orleans 67 95 Didn't do much this offseason it seems, so we'll have to see
26 Charlotte 59 103 Pitching was an issue last season, and might be again
27 Helena 57 105 Have been in rebuild mode, can they take a step forward?
28 Louisville 68 94 Also have been rebuilding, and seemed better last season
29 Burlington 70 92 Offense is tough to come by in their park, pitching is good
30 Memphis  70 92 Lack of offense seems to be an issue for them as well
31 Vancouver 57 105 Looking to break through but not sure it will be this season
32 San Juan 57 105 Major pitching issues last season and offense was not great

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Season 18 Free Agency Preview

Kenny Powers has kicked off season 18, and it's time for the first blog post of the season, the Free Agency preview.  Overall, it's a pretty week free agent class, but there are still some solid players to be had.  Here's a rundown of our top 10 Free Agents available this offseason.  Good luck to those looking to land a player to get them over the hump this season!

1. David Frias, 30, 3B
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: .816 OPS
Salary Over/Under: 5 years, $65 million

Possible Destinations: Boston, Pawtucket, Salt Lake City, Burlington

Signed with Boston - 5 years, $45 million

Frias gets the nod as our top free agent this offseason, as he is a 5 tool player who would be above average in the field anywhere put shortstop, has good speed and baserunning ability and very good contact, power and splits to go with a decent enough batting eye.  His overall makeup puts him on top of the board, rather than dominance in any one particular area.

2. Alving Machado, 30, CF
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: .802 career OPS
Salary Over/Under: 4 years, $40 million

Possible Destinations: Santa Cruz, Syracuse, Burlington, San Juan

Signed with Chicago - 5 years, $41 million

Machado's bat is solid, but not spectacular, with nice power and batting eye, good splits and decent contact.  In the field, he has plus range, but his glove is a bit questionable.  With his bat, you might stick him out in CF and see what happens.

3. Rodney Long, 3B, 29
No Designation
Key Stat: Ratings over past numbers
Salary Over/Under: 4 years, $32 million

Possible Destinations: Tampa Bay, Boston, Memphis, Little Rock

Signed with Pawtucket - 1 year, $6.24 million

Long's career numbers at the plate do not particularly impress, but he has good contact, power and batting eye, although his splits are mediocre.  In this free agent class that is lacking beyond 1B/DH types, his ability to play a good 3B along with potential for better offensive numbers gets him a high spot on our list.

4. Tommy Stoddard, 29, SP
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: 3.40 career ERA
Salary Over/Under: $4 years, $44 million

Possible Destinations: Rochester, Salt Lake City, Vancouver, Oakland

Signed with Syracuse - 5 years, $65 million

Stoddard is the top free agent pitcher on our board this offseason, thanks to his outstanding control and splits, and solid pitch selection.  He has excellent velocity and keeps the ball down well.  His only downside is limited stamina/durability which will limit him to 160-170 innings per season, but those should be quality innings that he contributes.  His age, at only 29, is also a plus.

5. Achilles Sadler, 32, DH
No Designation
Key Stat: .951 career OPS
Salary Over/Under: 3 years, $21 million

Possible Destinations: Detroit, Oklahoma City, Memphis, New Orleans

Signed with Atlanta - 2 years, $7.8 million

Sadler has a nice combination of excellent power, splits, particularly vs. LHP, and an elite batting eye to go with decent contact.  A slight decline in power, and a bit of a drop off in numbers last season are a bit of a concern, but his ratings indicate he still has an elite bat.

6. Carlos Mercedes, 30, C
Type B Free Agent
Key Stat: .852 career OPS
Salary Over/Under: 3 years, $20 million

Possible Destinations: Rochester, Burlington, New Orleans, New York

Signed with Honolulu - 4 years, $21.3 million ($16.65 million guaranteed)

Mercedes is another big power bat with plus splits and decent contact and batting eye.  He'd make a serviceable catcher, although his zero range is of slight concern.  Whether at catcher of DH, his huge bat will be a nice asset for any lineup.

7. Ron Wilkinson, 35, SP
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: 3.70 career ERA
Salary Over/Under: 2 years, $20 million

Possible Destinations: Syracuse, Memphis, Oakland, Louisville

Signed with Tampa Bay - 1 year - $8.5 million

Wilkinson is a solid righty who was put up multiple consecutive solid seasons, putting up an ERA below 4 while throwing over 200 innings.  He's outstanding vs. right handed hitters, and has plus control.  His pitches are good, but not elite, and age is a slight concern, but he should have a few more solid seasons left in him.

8. Butch Borland, 34, LF
Type B Free Agent
Key Stat: .921 career OPS
Salary Over/Under: 2 years, $17 million

Possible Destinations: Detroit, Oklahoma City, Salt Lake City, Little Rock

Signed with Syracuse - 3 years, $20 million ($14 million guaranteed)

Borland is a pure power hitter with nice splits and a pretty good batting eye.  His contact isn't great, but that hasn't stopped him from posting a most impressive career OPS.  He is at the age where hitters start to decline, so a long term contract probably isn't in the works, but he should continue his great hitting for at least a couple of more seasons.

9. Enrique Rivera, 32, RP
Type A Free Agent
Key Stat: 4.14 career ERA
Salary Over/Under: 3 years, $16 million

Possible Destinations: Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Vancouver, Tucson

Signed with Little Rock - 2 years, $9.2 million

Rivera gets the nod as the best reliever in this season's free agent class, thanks to his outstanding control, solid pitches, and very good splits.  He was roughed up a bit last season, which is a concern, but we think he can bounce back and post decent numbers while working 100+ innings.

10. Javier Bonilla, 33, SP
Type B Free Agent
Key Stat: 3.98 ERA last season
Salary Over/Under: 3 years, $26 million

Possible Destinations: Pawtucket, Santa Cruz, Vancouver, San Juan

Signed with Boston - 2 years, $12 million

Bonilla is a workhorse right-hander, with two excellent pitches and solid splits.  His velocity and ability to keep the ball down are good.  His control isn't that of an elite starter, but Bonilla will eat up a ton of innings and has the potential to post solid numbers like he did last season.