The Un-Mock Draft for 2015

Don’t call it a mock draft. We said we weren’t doing mock drafts anymore.

It can’t be a mock draft if we don’t have a draft order. We don’t know who is picking where at this point. (Well, we do know 10-15. But we don’t know the order of the top 9.) Therefore we feel safe in identifying 15 top players who could go in the first round without giving away any secrets.

Honestly this may be one of the least exciting — and most unpredictable — drafts we’ve had in awhile. We have less confidence in this non-mock draft than we’ve ever had: There aren’t a lot of good players who can contribute, there aren’t a lot of top prospects available, and most of the prospects who are available will have crappy cards.

There have been a lot of changes since our last not-a-mock-draft. Top prospect Oscar Taveras died tragically in a car accident after the season. Many other players in the second tier of the July list just flamed out. In fact, every player ranked 8-15 previously has fallen off the list this time around, and 9 players appear this time who were not on the July list.

Color us, meh.

1. Jose Abreu, 1B, Chicago White Sox (27) — This is the lock of the century. Abreu is not a prospect in the true sense of the word, but he had a phenomenal first year since coming over from Cuba, hitting .317 with 36 homers and a .964 OPS.  He’ll have one of the best cards in the set, not just among free agents. Previous: 1.

2. Jake Arrieta, SP, Chicago Cubs (28) — Arrieta finally fulfilled the promise he never realized as a highly-touted prospect with the Orioles. At 156 2/3 innings, he may only be good for 24 starts or so, but that .203 BAA, that 0.99 WHIP and that nicely balanced card will be hard to overlook. Previous: 5. Continue reading

What’s your club’s Star Quotient for 2015?

Major league baseball’s 2014 regular season awards have been handed out, which help provide a barometer to measure the returning strength of our clubs for the 2015 season.

The first thing that pops out at you is that Savannah had three pitchers score in the top five of the two leagues’ Cy Young voting: Felix Hernandez, Jon Lester and Jordan Zimmermann. That’s one heck of a pitching staff taking shape for the Scorpions next year.

Bismarck had a trio of Gold Glovers in Jason Heyward, Adrian Gonzalez and Zack Greinke, as did Wisconsin with fresher faces D.J. Lemahieu, Andrelton Simmons and Juan Lagares.

Satellite Beach will sport a hat trick of Silver Sluggers in Jose Altuve, Anthony Rendon and Justin Upton.

What does it all mean? We decided to score it and develop a Star Quotient. We took the MVP, Cy Young, Silver Slugger and Gold Gloves awards and assigned points to players who got votes/won awards by I-75 League team. In MVP, we gave one point to every player who finished in the top 10 in voting; in Cy Young we gave one point to every pitcher who finished in the top 5 in voting. Silver Slugger winners got a half-point for winning their position; Gold Glove winners got a quarter point. Here’s how it all totals up: Continue reading

Playoff pairings set after wild finish to 2014 season

It took a 161-game season and several days into November, but we’ve finally locked down the five teams that will challenge postseason favorite Chatfield for the 2014 I-75 League crown.

Margaritaville defeated Michigan 10-1 in a Game 161 blowout to secure the third wild-card position, spoiling the Moneyballers’ bid for a postseason berth in just their third season.

West Division champions Chatfield (106-54) and North Division champion South Grand Prairie (87-73) earned the top two seeds and first-round byes. The Warriors had to take 3 out of 5 from Destin in their final series to clinch the division title outright, and that’s exactly what they did.

South Grand Prairie will await the winner of an unusual first-round series that has the sixth-seeded Volcanoes with the better regular-season record (85-76) than the third-seeded team they play, Savannah (83-77). As South Division champion, Savannah gets the home-field advantage.

Chatfield will watch while fourth-seeded Bismarck (86-74) tangles with playoff newcomer and fifth-seeded Iowa (85-75), which makes the playoffs in its third season in the league.

Final records and playoff matchups are tentative, pending a review of final statistics by the Rules Enforcement Committee. That review is under way.

In addition to Michigan’s heartbreak, Springfield is the other club bemoaning its fate, missing the playoffs despite an 82-win season and second-place finish in the South. The Isotopes went into the month tied with Savannah with 71 wins, but an 0-5 mark in a head-to-head showdown with the Scorpions proved fatal to their playoff chances.