Volcanoes come out on top in first RenHart Projections

By Dave Renbarger

Watch out for Margaritaville this year.  Manager John McMillan’s Volcanoes are ready to erupt, featuring an outstanding lineup, tons of pitching and an airtight defense.  According to a less-than-scientific analysis of all 15 rosters conducted by two league managers two days after the draft in Kissimmee, the Volcanoes are the overwhelming favorite to win the I-75 Mail League title in 2013.

Other projected divisional winners are Savannah by a small margin over Hickory in the Southbound and Bushwood by an eyelash over Superior in the Westbound.

The three remaining playoff teams, according to the analysis conducted jointly by Savannah manager Steve Hart and Bushwood skipper Dave Renbarger, will be Hickory, Superior and Bismarck.

Three other teams — Wisconsin, Satellite Beach and SGP — are well within striking distance of the sixth-place Bombers and should be considered solid playoff contenders.

Full disclosure:  These rankings are admittedly somewhat subjective.  They are based more on general roster observations and less on empirical statistical data.

Our methodology:  We ranked all 15 rosters in six categories — lineup vs. righties, lineup vs. lefties, starting pitching, relief pitching, defense and speed — on a 1 to 5 scale.  Then we weighted the six categories in terms of overall importance thusly — lineup vs. righties 3x; lineup vs. lefties 1x; starting pitching 3x; relief pitching 1.5x; defense 1.5x and speed 0.5x.  Then we did the multiplication and additon to come up with the final numbers.

Here is the grid that details the rankings:

NORTH v RHP (x3) v LHP (x1) SP (x3) RP (x1.5) DEF (x1.5) SPD (x.5) Total
MARG (1) 4.5 (13.5) 4 (4) 4.5 (13.5) 4.5 (6.75) 5 (7.5) 4 (2) 47.25
BSK (6) 4 (12) 4 (4) 2.5 (7.5) 3.5 (5.25) 5 (7.5) 3 (1.5) 37.75
SGP (9) 4 (12) 5 (5) 2 (6) 3 (4.5) 3 (4.5) 3.5 (1.75) 33.75
APPL (10) 3 (9) 2 (2) 3 (9) 3.5 (5.25) 3.5 (5.25) 1.5 (.75) 31.25
ENG (t-12) 2 (6) 3.5 (3.5) 1 (3) 2 (3) 4.5 (6.75) 4 (2) 24.25
SOUTH v RHP (x3) v LHP (x1) SP (x3) RP (x1.5) DEF (x1.5) SPD (x.5) Total
SAV (2) 4 (12) 5 (5) 4.5 (13.5) 4 (6) 3.5 (5.25) 2.5 (1.25) 43
HICK (3) 5 (15) 1 (1) 4 (12) 3.5 (5.25) 4.5 (6.75) 2 (1) 41
WISC (7) 5 (15) 4 (4) 2.5 (7.5) 1.5 (2.25) 3 (4.5) 4 (2) 35.25
SATB (8) 3 (9) 2.5 (2.5) 3 (9) 4.5 (6.75) 3.5 (5.25) 3 (1.5) 34
SPR (11) 1.5 (4.5) 4 (4) 5 (15) 2 (3) 2(3) 3 (1.5) 31
WEST v RHP (x3) v LHP (x1) SP (x3) RP (x1.5) DEF (x1.5) SPD (x.5) Total
BUSH (4) 5 (15) 4.5 (4.5) 2.5 (7.5) 4 (6) 3 (4.5) 4.5 (2.25) 39.75
SUP (5) 4 (12) 4.5 (4.5) 4 (12) 3 (4.5) 3 (4.5) 3 (1.5) 39
MICH (t-12) 1.5 (4.5) 2 (2) 2 (6) 2 (3) 4.5 (6.75) 4 (2) 24.25
IOWA (14) 3 (9) 2 (2) 1.5 (4.5) 1 (1.5) 2.5 (3.75) 2 (1) 21.75
CHAT (15) 1 (3) 3.5 (3.5) 1 (3) 1 (1.5) 3 (4.5) 1.5 (.75) 16.25
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Few surprises in 2013 first-round selections

How’d the draft go, you ask?

Pretty much as expected, at least in terms of first-round talent. Thirteen of the 15 players identified in the mock draft actually were selected in the first round — only Jacob Turner and Will Middlebrooks (who were chosen in the second round as picks 18 and 29, respectively) failed to earn first-round money. Five players went exactly to the teams we predicted, when we predicted.

The mock draft accurately nailed the top 8 players who would be chosen, although the order was jumbled a tad. The unpredictable Margaritaville Volcanoes shook things up by going for a pitcher (Kris Medlen) instead of a hitter (Yeonis Cespedes), leading to a bit of a shell game among the first five picks. Iowa then smartly resisted temptation and snagged a couple of young starters (Matt Moore and Matt Harvey) instead of ace closers with picks 7 and 10, leaving the top closer (Fernando Rodney) for pennant-eyeing Hickory. South Grand Prairie eschewed a young starter in favor of a booming bat in Brandon Moss, signaling a possible intention to  play for the top of the division this season.

After Wisconsin and Savannah made predictable picks, Springfield pulled the surprise of the round, drafting young catcher Yasmani Grandal and almost immediately announcing it had buyer’s remorse. Sympathetic Phil Roselli swooped in, offering draft picks for Grandal, and the exchange was completed in the blink of an eye.

Later in the draft, Applegate took a self-imposed penalty in Round Seven, deferring on pick 104 until after the draft had concluded. The Clips had two pitchers exceed their pitching limits during the 2012 World Series (Sergio Santos by 2 innings and Greg Holland by two-thirds of an inning.)

Pick Team Mock Actual
1 Superior Bryce Harper Bryce Harper
2 Margaritaville Yeonis Cespedes Kris Medlen
3 Bushwood Kris Medlen Yu Darvish
4 Savannah Jarrod Parker Jarrod Parker
5 English Yu Darvish Yeonis Cespedes
6 Michigan Manny Machado Manny Machado
7 Iowa Fernando Rodney Matt Moore
8 Hickory Matt Moore Fernando Rodney
9 S. Grand Prairie Jacob Turner Brandon Moss
10 Iowa Ryan Cook Matt Harvey
11 Wisconsin Andrelton Simmons Andrelton Simmons
12 Savannah Adam LaRoche Adam LaRoche
13 Springfield* Matt Harvey Yasmani Grandal
14 Applegate Yasmani Grandal Ryan Cook
15 Chatfield Will Middlebrooks Adam Eaton