May 23, 2008

5th Round All-Stars

The fifth round is where we crack into the top 100, with selections 81-100. There is a noticeable, though hardly dramatic, increase in talent. This team is long on solid average hitters, though short on power. We also have the makings of a strong rotation.

c - Henry Blanco, Podunks, 2000 (92nd overall)
1b - Chad Tracy, Rebels, 2005 (85)
2b - Placido Polanco, Roadrunners, 2001 (84)
3b - Melvin Mora, Jackals, 2001 (97)
ss - Michael Young, HearseRiders, 2002 (87)
of - Chone Figgins, Eagles, 2004 (97)
of - Coco Crisp, Hooded Crows, 2003 (81)
of - Randy Winn, Podunks, 2002 (96)
sp - Erik Bedard, Miracle, 2005 (86)
sp - Aaron Harang, HearseRiders, 2003 (89)
sp - Ted Lilly, Heat, 2002 (86)
sp - Chris Young, Razorbacks, 2005 (88)
rp - Scot Shields, Wind, 2003 (93)
rp - Juan Rincon, Jive, 2004 (81)

Best finds: Michael Young has collected 200 hits in each of the last five seasons, hitting over .300 every year and winning a batting title in 2005. Polanco is a .305 career hitter who has posted .331 and .341 averages in two of the past three seasons. Figgins blossomed into a super utility player with awesome speed and leadoff ability. Harang is a workhorse who led the NL in strikeouts in 2006 and finished second last year.
Deepest position: If you want an unheralded starting pitcher, this is your round. In addition to the four on the team above, Bronson Arroyo (Jackals, 2001, 85), Doug Davis (Blackhawks, 2004, 88), Ian Snell (Dobermans, 2006, 84) and Edwin Jackson (Beaz, 2006, 86) have all contributed.
Weakest position: Catcher. Most of the backstops taken have been one-year patches. Blanco, who was cut loose and drafted again in the 7th round in 2005, is about the only one to maintain any kind of value over time.
Lucky number: 86. In addition to Bedard, Lilly, and Jackson, the 86th spot has produced of Jason Michaels (Dirtnappers, 2003) and lhp Chris Capuano (Roadrunners, 2004).


May 17, 2008

6th Round All-Stars

We continue our series on the best of the MMDA draft since 2000 with a look at the sixth round. You would expect the talent to get better as we climb up the draft. In this case you'd be wrong. It's hard to make an argument for the sixth-round stars against their seventh-round brethren. The standouts are few. The standard sixth-rounder probably didn't stick more than two years on most clubs.

c - Bengie Molina, Kangaroos, 2000 (109th overall)
1b - Justin Huber, Qillars, 2006 (116)
2b - Kevin Frandsen, Bombers, 2007 (104)
3b - Mark Teahen, Jive, 2006 (102)
ss - Billy Hall, HearseRiders, 2003 (106)
of - Gary Matthews Jr., Dealers, 2000 (116)
of - Brady Clark, Podunks, 2002 (116)
of - Eric Byrnes, HearseRiders, 2004 (119)
sp - Jamie Moyer, Phizzers, 2001 (103)
sp - Jake Westbrook, Wind, 2002 (113)
sp - Brian Bannister, Pilots, 2007 (117)
rp - J.J. Putz, Roadrunners, 2006 (117)

Best finds: Billy Hall, Mark Teahen, J.J. Putz, Gary Matthews Jr. Hall's power blossomed over the years and though he eventually moved to the outfield he was a solid shortstop and utility guy for several seasons. Teahen took a season to develop but became a solid hitter who was pushed to the outfield by Alex Gordon. Putz went undrafted in 2005 and was picked in '06 after a second crappy effort as a starter. It all turned around for him when he became a full-time reliever. Matthews Jr. wandered as a journeyman before finding the magic of HGH and breaking out with the Rangers before cashing in on a big money contract.
Deepest position: None really, but starting pitching by default. Moyer was unceremoniously dumped by the Pilots in 2001, but has managed to log another eight seasons of innings eating and sometimes more. Westbrook has enjoyed his moments in the sun. Bannister surprised many, including the Mets, by becoming a solid No. 3 starter after a trade to the Royals.
Weakest position: First base. Justin Huber? Come on. The next best option was Kendry Morales. Anyone remember Morgan Burkhart?
Lucky number: 117. Two years in a row the draft spit out Putz and Bannister. Will the Jive be as lucky with Billy Buckner in 2008?


May 13, 2008

7th Round All-Stars

This is the first in a series of entries looking back over the draft since 2000. We'll start with a look at the 7th round. Many managers take a low-cost shot at an unheralded prospect in the seventh, but the odds are long against hitting it big here. Teams will generally have better success filling out a bullpen or bench spot with a one-year player. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. Here's an all-star squad of 7th-round finds:

c - Brian Schneider, Huskies, 2002 (134th overall)
Gerald Laird, Qillars, 2004 (131)
1b - Shea Hillenbrand, Rockcrushers, 2002 (132)
2b - Brian Roberts, Pilots, 2003 (136)
Adam Kennedy, Eagles, 2000 (125)
3b - Casey Blake, Blackhawks, 2000 (131)
ss - Adam Everett, Greyhounds, 2003 (131)
of - Raul Ibanez, Qillars, 2002 (123)
of - Matt Diaz, Dazzlers, 2007 (127)
of - Ryan Spilborghs, Dazzlers, 2007 (122)
sp - Fausto Carmona, Qillars, 2007 (124)
sp - John Maine, Cobras, 2006 (135)
rp - B.J. Ryan, Heat, 2002 (126)
rp - Scott Linebrink, Dirtnappers, 2004 (139)
rp - Salomon Torres, Stingers, 2003 (128)
rp - Justin Speier, Wind, 2001 (131)
rp - Jeremy Accardo, Roadrunners, 2006 (128)

Best finds: Brian Roberts, Raul Ibanez, Fausto Carmona, John Maine, B.J. Ryan. Carmona and Maine would make a nice 1-2 punch in most rotations, and we all had our shot at them. Ryan quickly evolved from a lefty specialist into one of the most dominating closers in the game.
Deepest position: Relief pitching. Not surprising, due to the unpredictable nature of relievers and the fact that there are 8-9 relievers taken in the 7th round in an average year.
Weakest position: First base, outfield. These are generally the easiest positions to scout, and the good hitters go earlier than this.
Best 7th-round scout/luckiest team: Qillars. In addition to Laird, Ibanez and Carmona, they also plucked a solid backup catcher in Gregg Zaun (2005, 131) and closer Danny Kolb (2003, 127) right before he blossomed for his two good years.


May 9, 2008

End of an era in Rochester

Since 1997, Jeff Kent has been a staple in the Pilots lineup. In his 12th season, he was leading the team with a .305 average and had 6 homers and 23 RBI through Rochester's first 51 games. But he's cleaning out his locker following a trade to the St. Louis Bombers. Kent and relievers Scot Shields and Matt Lindstrom went to the Bombers for pitchers Braden Looper, Peter Moylan and Justin Speier. The Pilots also sent their 5th round pick to St. Louis and received the Roadrunners 7th to finish the deal.

Kent ranks first on the Pilots all-time list in at-bats with 6,217 (with three road games left in his Pilot career). He appeared in 1,613 games, collected 968 RBI and knocked 288 home runs. He holds the team record with 392 doubles and ranks second in club history with 40 triples. He will be missed, though his position had been taken over in recent years by Chase Utley, who may some day match Kent's contributions.

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May 4, 2008

If The Season Ended Today . . .

Playoff picture, awards and draft order if the MMDA played a 30-game schedule. Awards are selected by the game.


No. 1 Huskies vs. No. 8 Blackhawks
No. 4 Crows vs. No. 5 Breakers

No. 2 Jive vs. No. 7 Stars
No. 3 Beaz vs. No. 6 Roadrunners


Mark Teixeira, 1b, Jive

Numbers: .353/.436/.828 with 15 HR, 35 RBI, 30 R in 116 AB
The Case: Leads league in runs created/27 outs, total bases and total average—whatever that is—as well as home runs, runs scored and slugging. He ranks second in RBI.
Others Receiving Votes: Derrek Lee, 1b, Huskies; Adam Dunn, of, Jive; Alex Rodriguez, 3b, Breakers; and Ryan Howard, 1b, Crows.

Cy Young

Josh Beckett, rhp, Huskies

Numbers: 5-0, 1.37 with 48 SO, 6 BB, 32 H, 4 HR in 52 2/3 IP
The Case: He leads all pitchers in wins, strikeouts and innings, and ranks third in ERA and H/9.
Others Receiving Votes: Dustin McGowan, rhp, Jive; Rich Hill, lhp, Roadrunners; Chris Ray, rhp, Crows; and Derek Lowe, rhp, Beaz.

Top 5 Draft Picks

1. Dirtnappers
2. Bats
3. Fishermen
4. Bulldogs
5. Miracle