Who’s gonna be all that for 2010?

The draft is history, the preseason power rankings have been chewed over, and a month of baseball has been played. Tim Lincecum is on pace for 40 losses and Ichiro is on pace for 792 at-bats and 280 hits. What we want to know though, is who do you think will post the best record in 2010?

New online: Schedule, rosters, and yes, stats!

It ain’t the prettiest, but it does the job. We now have a Web site “annex,” located here, which will house our statistical assets. The site presently has links to our 2010 schedule, rosters, standings and 20-game stats.

Team and player names are clickable, and column headers are sortable in most cases. You can even get detailed individual player stats, like this breakdown for Applegate’s Adam Lind.

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Warhawks, Isotopes suffer from too much talent

The Wisconsin Warhawks and Springfield Isotopes have already been identified as the two teams to beat in Gary’s recently released power ratings.  As it turns out, these two teams have been dealing with a talent surplus for a while now.
 
During the offeseason roster cutdown process, Wisconsin and Springfield released a total of 11 players who were snatched up by other teams in either the waiver draft in December or the March general draft.  Six former Warhawks landed with other teams, and five ex-Isotopes now play elsewhere, by far the most of any team league-wide.
 
In all, 32 players who were jettisoned last December were back in the league by March, including a pair (Savannah’s Darren Oliver and Margaritaville’s Rafael Furcal) who returned to the same team that had let them go.
 
Here is a team-by-team breakdown, including new team and draft positon (* indicates waiver draft selection):

Continue reading

Gophers rehash their draft strategy

The Gophers approached this draft with the primary goal of acquiring young, improving, retainable players who will hopefully mesh nicely with our strong nucleus to restore the club to the elite level by 2011. 

Our returning offense was several notches below the level of 2008-09 but still seemed competitive, led by franchise-type players Albert Pujols, Hanley Ramirez and Chase Utley in the infield.  Our returning pitching staff, however, was decimated by injuries and needed a complete overhaul. 

So the obvious strategy was to target young, improving starters with decent innings totals in the early rounds to get me through the 2010 season as a playoff contender and come back even stronger for 2011.  My next priorities were to assemble a decent bullpen, plug some holes in the outfield and fill the total void at catcher in the middle and late rounds. Continue reading

Wisconsin tops inaugural preseason Power Rankings

Play is underway for the 2010 regular season, the 31st in I-75 League history. But before we start separating the wheat from the chaff, let’s stick our neck out on the line with our first-ever Unofficial Preseason Power Rankings.

With the humiliation over our annual Mock Draft picks having worn off, we thought we’d pursue this new venture, and take a stab at predicting this year’s powerhouses, pushovers and fence-straddlers.

The following ratings are for entertainment purposes only — please, no wagering. They are based in large part on an evaluation of 10 key hitters and 6 key pitchers on each team using the Clips’ player rating formula, which in itself is biased toward players the Clips like to have given their ballpark and style of play. So it ain’t perfect.

Having said that… Wisconsin is going to kick our butts this year. Applegate’s evaluation shows the Warhawks have far and away the best offense in the league. Combine that with the third-best pitching and you’ve got a tandem that looks unbeatable, particularly in the South Division.

Coming in at No. 2 in the overall rankings is the expected North Division powerhouse, the Springfield Isotopes. Springfield flips the Wisconsin formula by racking up the best pitching staff, while tying for third with two other teams for best offense.  

Some things that you may, like me, find surprising in the rankings include Applegate’s lofty stature, Detroit’s mediocrity, and how far Bushwood has fallen. Read on for rankings. Continue reading

The deals keep on comin’: No. 2 pick changes hands

The Detroit Drill Team has maneuvered itself into the No. 2 draft slot after swinging a 3-for-3 deal with the Applegate Paperclips late Friday night.

Applegate likely gives up on its dream of acquiring Baltimore backstop Matt Wieters, but picks up some early-round currency in exchange: The Clips now have five of the draft’s top 30 selections.

The deal was this: Detroit gives Applegate picks in the first round (7), second round (23) and third round (30) for the right to draft behind Springfield in the first round (2), plus the Clips’ 13th- (149) and 14th-round (161) picks.

The exchange means that each of the first four picks in the draft has been dealt now. The new draft order:

1– Springfield 2–Detroit 3–Tropical 4–Margaritaville

5–S. Grand Prairie 6–Bismarck 7–Applegate 8–Hickory

9–Margaritaville 10– Superior 11–Savannah 12–Bushwood

The latest wheeling and dealing results in the following implications:

Continue reading

How latest trade affects Andrew Bailey

Wednesday’s blockbuster deal between Tropical and Springfield not only puts both teams’ cards plainly on the table, it also has the potential to significantly alter the first-round landscape.

In acquiring not only the No. 1 overall pick but also closer Mariano Rivera, the Isotopes fill two needs instead of just one. Previously sitting at No. 3, Springfield would have had to choose between nabbing a starting pitcher — and likely second helpings after Chris Carpenter had gone first or second — and a stud reliever like Andrew Bailey.

Now, with Rivera erasing the need for a closer and the No. 1 pick in hand, Springfield can snag Carpenter and place him atop a rotation of Felix Hernandez, Chad Billingsley, Clayton Kershaw and Wandy Rodriguez.

The deal also helps calm anxieties that were building in Applegate over who the No. 1 pick might be dealt to, and might that team swoop in to grab consensus top prospect Matt Wieters. With pennant-contending Springfield now in the drivers’ seat, the path would appear clear for Applegate to select Wieters.

Then Tropical would have an opportunity to add a franchise-cornerstone player to a team already blessed with Evan Longoria and Adam Jones, someone like Andrew McCutchen or Tommy Hanson.

That makes Bailey available in the fourth spot for Wisconsin, with a stacked lineup and a rotation recently bolstered by the acquisition of Jered Weaver.  The Warhawks already have Trevor Hoffman, but he only has 54 innings, and Wisconsin looks like the kind of club that could have a lot more save opportunities than that.

Editor’s note: We subsequently learned Margaritaville now owns the fourth pick, having acquired it from Wisconsin.